Published August 10, 2020|14 min read
This article originally appeared on Money Under 30.
Policygenius combines technology with personalized service, helping consumers find competitive rates on insurance. Recently, Policygenius’ Frank Kumpuris shared his insights with Money Under 30 on finance and insurance.
It’s never too early to invest in insurance coverage.
You’ll need insurance to protect your belongings, including your car and home. You’ll also need insurance to cover any medical bills.
But one thing adults often neglect is life insurance. Maybe you have a policy through your employer and think you’re covered. But often these policies are low in value, which means they may not provide sufficient coverage.
Luckily, it’s never been easier to sign up for insurance. Thanks to technology, you can go online and input a few basic details to get a quote in minutes. You don’t have to sit down with an agent or go through time-consuming medical exams to get coverage for every area of your life.
But how do you know you’re getting the best price?
That’s where Policygenius comes in. Policygenius delivers quotes from multiple insurers, allowing you to choose the best option. Best of all, you can get all your insurance at once. Policygenius offers auto, homeowners, renters, life, disability and even pet insurance all in one place.
Recently, we sat down with Frank Kumpuris, Policygenius’s vice president of life and disability insurance operations. He discussed a few ways millennials can build strong financial habits.
Policygenius uses technology to make buying insurance easy. You simply input some basic information and Policygenius does the rest. You’ll get multiple quotes from insurers, allowing you to compare them side by side to choose the best one for you.
One feature that sets Policygenius apart from others in the industry is its live chat. You can access a representative who will answer any questions you have about insurance. You’ll see the live chat box at the bottom of each screen. This combines the convenience of shopping policies online with the personalized service you get with an insurance agent. Policygenius also houses a plethora of educational content about different types of financial planning — from insurance to wills and estate planning — so you can feel confident in your financial decisions.
Frank Kumpuris has been a part of the leadership team at Policygenius since 2018. Kumpuris was drawn to Policygenius due to the way the company uses technology to make locating affordable insurance easier.
With more than 15 years of leadership experience, Kumpuris specializes in leading and mentoring teams for high performance. Prior to joining Policygenius, he worked in city expansion and operations for Google Fiber, and as a consultant at McKinsey & Company.
MU30: What drew you to the insurance industry?
FK: Insurance (health, home, car, life — all types, really) is a necessity when it comes to creating your own financial plan, but it’s full of complicated terms and concepts many consumers don’t understand and don’t have time to research and learn. I wanted to be a part of Policygenius because I believe we are building a business that combines a really great digital experience with top-notch experts to help consumers get insurance right.
It has been great to be a part of Policygenius over the last two years. Since I joined the company, we’ve expanded into home and auto insurance, opened a second headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, and most recently launched a really innovative new life insurance product with Brighthouse Financial that doesn’t require a medical exam.
MU30: For Millennials on a budget, what do you feel are the most important types of insurance to have in place?
FK: First and foremost, it’s essential to have health insurance. Especially in times like these, it’s important to have coverage when you need medical attention. The Transamerica Center for Health Studies found that millennials are more likely to forgo health care than previous generations, as more people in this demographic are living paycheck to paycheck. There are accessible options out there, so it’s important to shop around instead of deciding to go without.
Aside from health insurance, the coverage millennials should have will depend on their personal circumstances. If they have a car, auto insurance is a legal requirement in most states, and if they own a home, their mortgage lender will likely require them to have homeowners insurance.
For both, we recommend re-shopping your auto and home policies annually. Pricing and markets change frequently, and you may be able to get the same coverage at a lower rate. Policygenius conducted a survey that found one in three American policyholders have never done this — but of those who did, 42% switched their homeowners or auto policies.
Beyond these, it’s a good idea to look into life insurance — especially after you get married and start a family — and disability insurance as your income grows. Life insurance financially protects your loved ones should you no longer be around to do so yourself, and disability insurance helps replace your income should you become unable to perform the duties of your Job.
MU30: What’s one thing millennials get wrong about insurance?
FK: The number one thing millennials get wrong about insurance is simply not having it. Someone may not have insurance for a number of reasons, including not knowing how much coverage to get or even what type of policy they need. But regardless of the reason, there are free educational resources and experts available online that can help identify options that will get you the coverage you need and fit within your budget. We all need insurance — it’s a safety net that protects against those unexpected events that can become overwhelming financial burdens.
MU30: Should millennials seek advice from an insurance professional before shopping for an insurance policy?
FK: Insurance is complicated, so working with a licensed professional is a great way to make the process easier. We also believe that a marketplace, like Policygenius, is a great place to start because it gives you access to a wide variety of options, as well as guidance and advice from licensed experts.
MU30: What are the benefits of getting life insurance or homeowners insurance quotes through Policygenius overpricing insurance directly?
FK: Whether you’re shopping for life, home, auto, or any other kind of insurance, it is way too time-consuming to go site-by-site to all the different insurance companies to get estimates. With Policygenius, you only have to input your information once when you’re searching, and we do the rest of the legwork for you — from helping you find the policy that’s right for you to handling the back and forth with the insurance company to sending you the final paperwork. And because our advisers are looking at a full marketplace — with no commission incentive to push a single product — they can help you compare different coverage amounts, carriers, and policy types to help you get insurance right.
MU30: If you were to come up with three hard fast rules about the general subject matter of insurance based on the experiences you’ve seen firsthand in the industry, what would they be?
FK: Always shop around. Insurance companies have varying policy rules and prices, so the best way to get the coverage you need is to shop the full scope of the market.
Your workplace coverage likely isn’t enough. Plenty of employers offer workplace benefits like life and disability insurance, but these policies are often insufficient to adequately meet financial needs — and you can’t take it with you when you switch jobs. Even if you are covered through work, it’s worth looking into finding additional coverage.
Remember insurance is a safety net. Regardless of your circumstances, none of us can predict the future — that’s why we have insurance. You’ll hopefully never need it, but it’s best to be prepared.
MU30: What would you tell a millennial who has had a tough time getting life insurance due to pre-existing health issues or homeowners insurance due to multiple recent claims?
FK: Life insurance companies look at several factors as part of your application, including your health. Generally, the healthier you are, the better rates you’ll receive. Having a pre-existing condition, like depression, high blood pressure, or diabetes, may increase your rates and make it more difficult to get coverage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t secure a policy. Every insurance company has different coverage options and guidelines for evaluating these conditions, so it’s important to shop around. My advice would be to shop with an independent marketplace like Policygenius, which means you’ll work with a licensed advisor who knows which carriers may look more favorably on certain conditions and can help you find what will work best for you. Demonstrating what steps you’re proactively taking to improve your health, like regularly seeing a healthcare provider or taking medication, can also help you get a better rate.
When it comes to applying for homeowners insurance, one of the things carriers look at is your claims history. If you’ve made a number of claims, you may have a more difficult time finding coverage because insurers may perceive you as a higher risk. Again, your best bet is to shop the market, as companies have varying policies and some are more flexible than others. Just be aware that your premiums will likely be higher and you may be required to take proactive steps to prevent further claims. For example, if you’ve made a number of theft claims in the past, a homeowners insurance company may require you to install a security system before they write you a new policy.
MU30: For someone in their 20s who is on a fairly tight budget who has already made a hard and fast decision not to get life insurance and is willing to gamble and skip homeowners insurance too, what would you advise them?
FK: Oftentimes, mortgage lenders require homeowners to have insurance to get a mortgage — so, for the most part, having homeowners insurance isn’t really an option. That said, I would recommend purchasing homeowners insurance in any case. Otherwise, you’ll be footing the bill for any physical damages to your home or liabilities that occur there, which is not something you want, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
That said, there are cost-effective options out there for folks on a budget. For example, you could consider a high-deductible insurance policy — meaning that you’re willing to take on more of the cost if you were to make a claim. In return, you’re expected to pay less on your regular bill. If you’re going to choose a high-deductible homeowners insurance plan, you need to be sure you have enough money set aside to cover a potential loss. Talk out your circumstances with a licensed insurance adviser to make sure you understand the financial impact of your policy choice, should you need to make a claim.
MU30: What are the benefits of long-term disability insurance for millennials?
FK: Disability insurance helps replace your income, should you be unable to perform the duties of your job due to illness or injury. Many people think that they’ll never need long-term disability insurance, but some of the most common claims are the result of cancer, mental health needs, and pregnancy, according to the Council for Disability Awareness.
Disability insurance has multiple benefits. Beyond enabling you to maintain your quality of life without your job, you’re able to use the payout with discretion — the way you would your regular salary — and it’s tax-free because you made the premium payments with after-tax dollars.
MU30: With better health care and life expectancy increasing, how do you foresee the life insurance industry changing for Millennials in the coming years?
FK: It is hard to predict how the industry will evolve, but we have seen prices come down for quite some time as insurers have better access to data and build more robust risk models. Basically, the more an insurance company feels they know about their customers, the better they feel about offering lower prices and better coverage options.
Based on that thinking, if people are living longer and have better access to healthcare, insurance companies should continue to steadily lower their prices and even offer policies with longer terms. That said, the cost of coverage almost always increases as a potential client gets older, so it is better to lock in coverage at a lower price sooner rather than later.
Looking ahead, we expect to see the insurance industry continue to adapt to the digital age by further utilizing technology and data. This will help millennials, who’ve grown up online, get insurance faster and easier, and ultimately make insurance policies more accessible. For example, instead of a stack of paperwork to sift through, people will be able to retrieve all of their policy information from their electronic devices.
MU30: Who in your life has been the most instrumental in teaching you about money management?
FK: This is a tough one, considering I studied finance in college and graduate school and have had the opportunity to work at some really great places like McKinsey & Co. and Google.
I would still have to say my parents. They taught me the value of hard work and the importance of saving for the long term. I still clearly remember hustling for tips in my first full-time job before college when a lot of my friends were out having fun, and that value of hard work has stuck with me.
MU30: What’s the best advice you’ve received (not necessarily money-related) that has shaped how you lead your life?
FK: I’m going to bring this back to my parents again and one of the lessons they taught me early on in life: Treat others as you want to be treated. The Golden Rule is golden for a reason.
Especially now, with everything going on in the world, we have to make a conscious effort to respect, listen to, and support one another — just as we want others to do for us.
MU30: What’s your top personal finance tip?
FK: Pay yourself first. Work toward saving for the long term before making non-essential purchases. Budgeting on a monthly basis is a great way to do this because it helps you see where your money is going ahead of time. Personally, I set up automatic withdrawals into my savings account, so I don’t even have to think about it.
MU30: What is the financial book/website/podcast that has most influenced you?
FK: Typically I find more motivation outside the world of finance because it’s different from my day-to-day. I read a lot of newsletters every morning when I first wake up, so I know what is going on, but the one I like the most is The Daily Pnut.
It is brief, but it does a great job of giving me a more robust perspective on world and U.S. events and linking to some great articles for when I have time to dig deeper on specific topics. It also usually excludes flashy graphics and clickbait links that I prefer to avoid.
MU30: What piece of wisdom would you give your 20-year-old self about managing money?
FK: I would tell myself to start saving right now because you can never start too soon. Personally, I went to graduate school at 25, just a few years after completing my undergraduate degree. Starting to put money aside earlier would have been helpful — even if I hadn’t used those savings to pay for my grad school tuition, they would’ve been helpful for food and rent.
Policygenius makes buying insurance easy. You can get all the policies you need in one place. Since the site shops multiple insurers, you’ll also have the confidence that comes with knowing you got a great deal on insurance.
Instead of focusing solely on technology, though, Policygenius is helping customers by giving them access to advice when they need it. You can talk to a representative if you have questions about the site or the type of insurance you need.
Money Under 30 is grateful to Frank Kumpuris for his thoughtful advice to Millennials about money and insurance. We can’t wait to see where the insurance industry is going next.
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