Purchasing home, business, or disability policy can make the difference between future ruin or weathering an unexpected financial storm—so it’s worthwhile to seek professional advice. An independent insurance agent can help look at your current coverage, gauge your needs, and offer cross comparisons of policies from a diversity of underwriters. The work of an independent agent doesn’t end when you find your policy though; you can count on their continued assistance when it comes time to file a claim or search for necessary updates on your coverage.
Independent vs. Captive Agents
We covered this topic at length in a previous post, Independent vs. Captive Agents, but in short, captive agents work for insurance companies and are employed to sell the products of that company. Independent agents, on the other hand, work under brokerages and act as a bridge between their customers and a number of insurance companies.
Choice and Convenience
For consumers, this translates into the difference between consulting a salesperson or hiring a personal shopper. The salesperson, played here by the captive insurance agent, is only able to present products from the company they represent, while the personal shopper can provide their client with products from the full variety of sources.
An independent agent’s ability to shop around translates into the ultimate one-stop-shopping experience for all your policies. Rather than attempting to find appropriate life, home, auto, and disability coverage from a single company, an independent agent can assemble coverage from a variety of sources, with an eye to both price and your individual needs.
A Professional Advocate
Customers are often attracted to the choices provided by independent agents, but the claims process is where these professionals really begin to shine. If you worked with a captive agent to find your policy, you are stuck dealing with a representative of your insurance company when it comes to filing a claim or deal with a billing issue. An ethical captive agent will still try to work on behalf of their customers, but they still represent your insurance carrier—a difficult problem to surmount when your interests and those of your agent’s employer are at odds.
An independent agent’s success or failure depends on creating successful relationships with long-term customers, so when the time comes to file a claim or settle a dispute, an independent agent can be counted on to represent your interests to your insurance company. For this reason, we encourage our customers to call us before they file a claim with their insurance company. Having an informed professional there to advocate on your behalf is crucial to making the claims process move smoothly, and can take some of the stress out of an already difficult time.
A Relationship that Matters
An independent agent is more than a salesperson there to make a deal, we are resources you can turn to again and again as your family grows, your business develops, and your life takes off in new directions. When you form an ongoing relationship with an independent agent you gain access to an industry insider who has a complex understanding of the industry, and as the years go on, your needs as a consumer as well. We encourage our customers to consult their agents on a regular basis to discuss any need for increased coverage or note areas where they might save money by making changes to their policies.
Large insurance companies and their agents may be ubiquitous, but the customer experience offered by independent brokerages remains unmatched by captive agents. Independent agent’s lack of ownership ties to policy underwriters allows us to provide our customers with flexibility, advocacy, and bias-free advice that creates great consumer-to-policy matches and keeps our customers returning to us for years to come.