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Lou Harlan

Ask an Agent with Lou Harlan

  1. When did you join SELCO Insurance Services, and what does your role entail?

    Lou: I joined SELCO in 2009 as an Insurance Specialist at our Santa Clara Branch. I just had my 10-year anniversary and have kept the same position and worked at the same location since my hire date. I also work at our West 11th Branch one day a week.

  2. Before we dive back in to insurance, let’s talk a little bit about your days as an oil rig derrick hand in California. Can you explain (in layman’s terms, ideally) what an oil rig derrick hand is and what that gig entailed? When was this, and do you think you could still do it?

    Lou: I worked in the oil fields of Bakersfield and Taft, California, in various positions, including as a derrick hand when I was about 21 years old (sometime around 1980). As an oil field drilling rig employee—or “roughneck,” as we were commonly called—you were part of a crew responsible for the maintenance and day-to-day operations of the oil and/or drilling rigs. The derrick hand sits atop the derrick (the framework that holds the drilling machinery) on a drilling rig, guiding the stands of the drill pipe into the fingers at the top of the derrick. Other duties might include monitoring pH and calcium levels, viscosity and the mud weight; adding chemicals and oil-based fluids; and being responsible for the shale shakers and mud pump. Could I do it now? No. The position requires a great deal of physical durability. (I’ve had hip- and knee-replacement surgery since those days.)

  3. When you were completing your business degree back in the day, did you have any designs on working in the insurance industry? What prompted you to make the switch to insurance?

    Lou: I did not specifically set out to be in the insurance industry. I got into this business because a lifelong friend of mine encouraged me to join his organization—which catered mostly to farmers and ranchers in Oregon—early in my career. The position required a great deal of travel time, and I eventually grew tired of being away from home five days a week. So I decided to make a switch and pursue a position in the insurance industry with much less travel time so I could spend more time with my family.

  4. And now all these years later, you know a thing or two about Medicare, long-term care, and life insurance, just to name a few. Insurance, to the layperson, can be very confusing—especially with all the recent changes. How important is it to you to explain all the nuances of insurance to your clients?

    Lou: My goal is to explain to my clients, in lay terms, the importance of knowing what they’re getting and paying for. By understanding their needs and providing them with ample information and knowledge, they’re able to make educated decisions when purchasing insurance products. Ultimately, this will help ensure that they’re protecting themselves and their loved ones adequately and in the most cost-effective way possible. My goal is to explain the importance of knowing what my clients are getting and paying for.

  5. We talked in this newsletter about the importance of checking off all insurance boxes before becoming a rideshare driver. A common belief is that your personal auto insurance along with Lyft or Uber will always cover you when you’re on the job. But that isn’t necessarily true, is it?

    Lou: Insurance policies and coverages, as well as specific underwriting guidelines and limitations can vary greatly from company to company. There can often be gaps in coverages that you as a consumer may not be aware of. Companies can exclude certain coverages without a specific endorsement, have limitations, or perhaps not cover you at all as a rideshare driver. For this reason, I feel it’s important to have a licensed professional to whom you can talk to directly. They can explain any possible areas that can directly affect you as well as ramifications that you may encounter in your situation.

  6. You delve a little bit in the insurance of antique, classic, and vintage automobiles. For all the enthusiasts out there, what advice do you have for successfully and safely insuring these cars?

    Lou: Classic/antique car insurance is a non-standard type of auto coverage designed to meet the insurance needs of specialty or vintage car and motorcycle collectors. Since this type of insurance is highly specialized, there are considerations and criteria you need to be aware of before purchasing a plan to cover your pride and joy. Generally speaking, a classic or antique car and motorcycle policy should cover the “agreed value” of vehicle. Most standard auto policies cover “actual cash value” of the vehicle, which means depreciation occurs year after year. With an “agreed value” policy, if something were to happen to your classic or antique car or motorcycle, you can have an approximate monetary value attached to the vehicle in the event of a claim. Only classic cars that are used on a limited basis are eligible for nonstandard classic auto coverage—most of these policies have mileage restrictions of about 5,000 miles annually. These and other factors are considered in pricing a classic car policy. SELCO offers these policies at competitive rates.


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