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Sure, The Other Guy is a Jerk, But What Did You Do?

I got a call from a client last week.  His first words were, “They’re RIPPING ME OFF!”   The problem was liability insurance.  The client is a subcontractor in the building trades.  His contracts run from 1 Million to 12 million dollars.  

Anyone running contracts of that range is not a relaxed guy anyway, and this was a last straw.  The quote for his liability insurance for New York City had come back and the down payment only was $36,000, due immediately.  He was surprised, to say the least.  He had decided that the other guy, his insurance agent and all insurance companies were jerks.  (He may be partially right about insurance companies!)

He was in full roar, reacting to something, being reactive.

This problem was resolved as it always was going to be resolved – by communication.  When he investigated he found out that the insurance agent had made the quote relying on old and inaccurate information.  The administrator at the insurance agency had either not received corrected info emailed months earlier, or had received it and not added to their file for action.   

Now if he had been proactive (active before an event), he would have calendared when the insurance would be renewed.  Two months before renewal, he would be talking to the agent about how the prior year had actually turned out, so that the upcoming quote would be accurate.  At two months, he would have an idea of the  requirement for an accurate down payment and start setting aside the money.  The whole matter would have taken an hour to complete.  

Instead, he spent a day pretty much enraged, scaring the hell out of his bookkeeper.  He yelled at the insurance agent, who was growing to think my client might be too hard to handle.   He got me worried, but I didn’t have the information to help.  In the end, his mind turned on and the raging bull turned off.  He asked how the quote was based, learned the quote was based on incorrect estimates, provided actual figures, the insurance was re-quoted, and the matter resolved.  

The proactive path would start early with communication and with facts.   Of course that would not have been so exciting, but it would have taken much less energy.  

Meanwhile, he had created a scene, cost himself a day, aggravated everyone in his environment, used up enough personal energy for a week, and got himself so upset, it took another week to chill out.   He did not control his business.  He was actually the jerk in the situation.