What is an Independent Insurance Agent?
For an insurance company, there are two common methods for selling insurance. One is to use a Direct Writer approach, and the other is to use an Independent Insurance Agent.
A Direct Writer represents one company. They sell the insurance company’s policy directly to consumers. Some have store front offices with in-house sales staff (example: State Farm or Farmers Insurance), while others are almost entirely online (example: Geico or Progressive).
An Independent Insurance Agent represents multiple insurance companies and acts as the liaison between the insured and the insurance carriers.
Why use an Independent Insurance Agent?
Represent multiple insurance companies: As alluded to above, Independent Agents have the ability to quote multiple insurance companies. Insurance companies have different risk appetites, so programs and pricing can vary significantly depending on your specific risk profile. For example, one company may perform well for “empty nesters”, while another company performs well for families with young drivers. By having multiple insurance companies to approach, an Independent Agent can match you with the company and program that best fits your specific needs.
Multiple lines of business: Independent Insurance Agents have the ability to quote more than just your auto. They are in a position to quote auto, home, umbrella, life, health, commercial business, and some can even issue performance bonds. Independent Agents have the expertise and market reach to handle anything from a single shot motorcycle policy to highly complex commercial risks. They are a “one-stop-shop” for all things insurance!
Knowledge & Expertise: Insurance is complex. A single insurance policy can be hundreds of pages long. An Independent Insurance Agent can help you navigate your insurance options and summarize your coverage in a clear concise manor. Not only do Independent Agents deal with the subject of insurance on a daily basis, but working with multiple insurance companies provides a better understanding of the insurance market as a whole. Independent Agents must stay on top of the latest product offerings, legal environment, claims handling performance, and competition. Working with a variety of companies provides a great resource for information gathering and sharing.
Claims handling experience & backing: When the unthinkable happens, who is by your side? Independent Insurance Agents provide a professional resource, an ally, and a friend in the event of a loss. They have experience helping insureds navigate the claims process and can help you report a claim, review your insurance policy, work with the adjuster, and reach out to the insurance company directly.
Conclusion: Independent Insurance Agents can help you through every step of the insurance process – from risk analysis and professional guidance, to shopping your policy, to the placement process, to claims – your Independent Insurance Agent is a powerful resource and companion.