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How Insurers Determine Your Premium: An Interview with Dave Wittmann at Dave Wittmann Insurance Agency

By Dave Wittmann

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

We are an independent agency and have been in business for 36 years. We have an excellent team of 11 licensed agents, and they all have a lot of experience and knowledge within the insurance industry. We have offices in both Little Chute and Brillion, and we service clients all around the area, mainly from Green Bay to Appleton to Oshkosh, but we have many clients throughout Wisconsin and some who have moved out of state as well.

Being an independent agency makes us unique from captive agents, such as State Farm, American Family, or All State, because those agents can only exclusively sell the one company they represent. Unlike them, we have contracts with over 100 companies. Our clients continually benefit from this for a multitude of reasons. For example, if their premium goes up a significant amount at renewal, we automatically have agents re-shopping these accounts with our other companies to find better options. All companies have their own underwriting guidelines, so if a client makes a significant change, such as getting a trampoline or certain dog breeds, then we can move them to another company that will accept that type of exposure.

Our product offerings include Home, Auto, Life, Health, Business, Farm, Long Term Care, RV's, Medicare Supplement, Snowmobiles, Motorcycles, Financial Planning, Risk Auto, SR22 Filings, and more!

First off, what is the definition of an insurance premium?

An insurance premium is the price you pay to an insurance company in exchange for their promise to pay in event of a loss.

What factors do insurance companies use to determine your premium?

This completely depends on the line of insurance you are looking at quoting, but there are countless factors that go into determining a premium. For example, with auto insurance, the premium is determined by the garaging zip code, vehicle type, mileage travelled, past motor vehicle violations and claims, credit, highest education, prior insurance limits, etc. Of course, the liability limits and deductibles chosen affect the premium as well. There are also additional discounts factored in, such as multiple vehicles, supporting home policy, good student discount, and mature driver. It's not a simple equation, and as more statistics come in, insurance companies are making the calculations even more complicated. We are no longer able to answer the question "What does is cost to insure a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan?" without knowing a lot more information about the driver.

Why is my income not a factor in this process?

Insurance companies haven't linked income to be a factor in whether or not someone is going to have a loss. However, they do rate on factors that may be related to this, such as your highest education and some companies rate based on your occupation.

Income may come in to play in other circumstances, such as determining how much life insurance you'll want to have in place, but it doesn't affect the actual premium.

Is there any way to receive a reasonable premium with a low credit score?

Although credit is a big premium-driver, it still is only one of a multitude of factors that go into determining the premium. If all the other rating factors are favorable, the premium can still be reasonable. However, we do have one company that does not rate for credit at all, so their premium usually comes out the best for someone who doesn't have a high credit rating. Being independent, we are able to have options for clients in all types of situations.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

We are open Monday through Thursday, 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, and on Friday's 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. We also are available evenings and weekends by appointments. We know that all our clients have different schedules, so we try to be as accommodating as possible with their schedule. We can be reached by phone 920-788-1000, email at davew@wittmanninsurance.com, our website wittmanninsurance.com, fax 920-788-9390, our Facebook page facebook.com/wittmanninsurance, or just stop in!

We are located at 300 Patriot Drive Little Chute, WI 54140. Our Brillion office phone is 920-756-2836 and address 207 S Main St Brillion, WI 54110.

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