Hey, have you noticed that your auto insurance premiums tend to creep up after a few years? In spite of a clean driving record, and you don’t drink, and you're in a good demographic range, your company never rewards you for sticking with them, right?
If you sign up with a car rental company you get perks and discounts. If you sign up with airline mileage plans you get free trips, faster service and airport lounges.
But if you stay with an auto insurance company for more than a year, your only reward is higher premiums.
A recent article in TIME (online) says that if a customer doesn’t shop around every year and then call their insurance provider and make specific demands, that customer will pay on average 19% more than necessary. To save money, and get the best value, you got to take advantage of introductory deals and discounts, stay with the company for a year or so, then jump ship and take advantage of someone else’s good deal.
The same principle applies to pay TV and wireless providers.
So says Brad Tuttle in his article, “Proof That Loyalty Is For Suckers: Best Customers Get Penalized With Higher Bills.”
The loyalty issue perhaps is not in play here because auto insurers and Pay TV and wireless providers do not make a big play for loyalty. In fact, it’s not something they talk about. They don’t want to talk about it. They do not ask you to be loyal, nor do they promise that they will keep your fees down. They hope instead that the inconvenience of switching services will be more onerous than paying the higher premiums they charge year after year.
Airlines, on the other hand, want our loyalty, they ask for our loyalty, they beg for it. And they offer incentives to keep our loyalty.
So perhaps it’s not fair to complain about auto insurers who apparently do not value loyal customers—they have never said they do.
Anyway, this introduces for me a discussion of loyalty in the larger picture. And if we were ever to preach on the topic this certainly could be a starting point. The first question in this discussion could be: Why be loyal to any commercial enterprise, or to a friend, or to God? (That is, is loyalty always tied to incentives to be loyal? If there’s nothing in it for me, am I less likely to be loyal? Do I require from God that God be faithful to me? What if God is faithful, but I don’t always recognize that faithfulness as such?). There are other questions about loyalty, of course. But it’s a start.
For a good philosophical discussion of loyalty, see the entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.