Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agency?
Independent versus Captive Agents
There are two primary types of insurance agents – independent and captive. Independent agents are contracted with many insurance companies and can offer quotes and services from all. On the other hand, captives are tied to a few insurance companies and generally cannot offer the products of others.
An example may help illustrate: When purchasing a house, a buyer wants a realtor that will look at all homes in the area that fit their criteria. That is an independent agent. Now suppose another realtor only shows homes their own real estate company is selling. That is a captive agent.
Which is Best for You?
When shopping for insurance coverage, the main considerations are 1) service, 2) coverage, and 3) price. We hear it from our clients every day that, though coverage and price are important, service trumps them both. They expect us to be helpful, responsive, available, and dependable. Thus, if an agent’s service is poor, if they can’t be reached for questions or they lack care, then you shouldn’g want their insurance coverage at any price. When choosing an agent, talk to references, read reviews and testimonials, and ask your friends about their service. Only then can you consider whether the coverage offered meets your needs. Once suitable coverage has been identified, prices can be compared.
An independent insurance agent offers choice and professionalism, avoiding the bias that comes when you only have one insurance company to offer. Because they are independent, they can shop multiple insurance companies and place coverage at the client’s discretion. In such a situation, insurance companies understand they are competing for your business and therefore offer their best pricing up front, freeing the agent to focus upon service, making recommendations, and explaining the differences between coverages so that you can make an informed decision.
Captive agents are owned by insurance companies in one way or another. They are either employees of the companies or are otherwise bound by contract to only offer certain brands of insurance. This can be an attractive business model since it is simple. Captive agents need to learn fewer insurance products and work with fewer insurance companies. Many of the large, national insurance brands are a form of captive agent. However, with only one tool in their toolbox, they may not be able to offer an optimal solution.
So how do you shop for insurance for your home, auto, or business? One option is to approach several of the larger national chains and request quotes. This is a time-consuming process whereby you provide the same information over and over. It is then upon you to interpret those quotes and ensure no coverage gaps exist.
Bankers Insurance suggests an alternative. Approach an independent insurance agent, have them shop your insurance with their stable of insurance companies, and allow them to present solutions from across the market. They are your advocate, advising on coverage and highlighting concerns.