Know Your Machine

A gem of a guest article- supplied by American National- author unknown.

What is the best way to make a point or get a message across to a reader? Well, using a past experience to tell a story and use that to convey your message is one of the best ways to drive home an idea to ponder. Humor is also a great way to deliver your message even if you are using someone else as the subject of your story, in this case my brother.

 Stick with me for a bit here because there is a point to my childhood story. My brother and I had a great childhood back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. No television or video games especially no cell phones. We had to make our own fun. Our childhood home was located at the end of a long street with a very long driveway. We had a game or contest if you will where each one of us would ride our bicycle from the end of the street as fast as we could and down the driveway and slam the brakes to see who could stop the closest to the garage door without hitting it. We thought it was pretty much the same thing as landing a jet fighter on an aircraft carrier without going over the end of the ship. By the way, who needed a helmet? We were daredevils. One afternoon, I was really on my game and had posted some pretty good results. I was consistently beating my older brother skid after skid closer and closer to a pending emergency room visit. In those days bicycles had a foot brake that allowed you to jam the pedal backwards for an incredible skid with black tread marks screeching down the pavement. My brother grew angry that I was simply dominating him run after run.

 Here is where it gets really good. Recently my oldest brother had his bicycle converted to hand brakes. My brother decided to go get the oldest brother’s bike and use it because it was much faster than anything we had. So, there he is, at the end of the street fixed with determination to win and a machine well equipped to do the job. As he made the slight turn from the street to the driveway, I could see the joy in his face that he knew I was done. He pushed the outside of the envelope to its extreme and was past the critical point of hitting the brakes. Then it happened, time to execute emergency braking procedures. He violently stomped his foot backwards , forgetting this was now a hand brake machine, and only got the spin and clicking you get with a hand brake bike. In a moment of sheer terror that seemed to last a lifetime, the horrid look on his face when he realized his absolute error in forgetting the hand brake has stuck in my mind forever. The crash was indeed impressive. By the time I gathered myself from uncontrollable laughter, he was just coming too, the bike was halfway through the garage door and the front wheel was missing. Wow, I thought, you win.

 So what does this have to do with insurance? Well not much. What it does do is point out the importance of knowing all the small details of your instruments, tools, products. When you reach a critical pinnacle with your clients as in claim time, retirement, benefit rider acceleration, you do not want that look of sheer terror my brother had in his face when he realized no foot brakes. Clients are expecting you to be the expert. You need to know every detail of the products or you may wind up stuck in the garage door missing a front wheel.

About Jeffrey Berson

40 years in and around the industry has made Insurance a part of my DNA. I have had the pleasure of working with and for some of the greatest minds in our industry. My "Bersonal" View is an attempt to capture some of the best ideas, the best concepts and the best practices in a way that can lead to success for others. It will certainly be my point of view, so please...don't take it "Bersonal".
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