Insurance has changed a lot over the past several decades. Customers are now empowered to do their own research, pick policies online, and are promised deep discounts at every step of the way. With all this new found insurance buying power, do insurance customers still need independent agents?
Actually, yes, now more than ever. Insurance is changing, and having a good agent will allow you to sift through this sea of insurance policies with confidence. Additionally, an independent insurance agent will make sure you have the coverage that you need. No more, and no less. They achieve this with a custom, long-term approach that will adjust and adapt to your needs over decades into the future.
Independent insurance agents tend to have longer-term relationships with their clients. Online brokers or captured agents do not. Part of the reason for this is because no matter which insurance you choose, your independent agent can remain the same. This way, you can switch or upgrade insurance if you need to, but your trusted, friendly agent will be there to aid you through the process. This can be great when your insurance is scaling up, or your old coverage no longer meets your current needs. For instance, you have the same cars, but you are adding a business vehicle, or are converting a personal vehicle to a business vehicle. Or, you want to use a business vehicle for personal use. Independent agents are great for situations like this because you can depend on them to determine a policy that will suit these unique situations. Compare this to online brokers that largely depend on the customer to know exactly what kind of coverage they need.
A Custom Approach
Speaking of unique situations, independent agents tend to take a tailored approach to picking policies. This is not possible for a large insurance company. For example, independent agents work with regional insurance companies. These companies make sure your coverage matches the realities unique to your area. With larger companies, your policy may include extra coverage that ultimately you will never need (hurricane insurance in WI anyone?). Independent agents give customers the advantage of having more appropriate coverage for their needs, instead of having blanket coverage that applies to everyone.
Asking the Right Questions
How do independent agents meet their clients’ needs? Good question. It has a lot to do with asking the right questions up front. In order for an agent to match a client with the right policy, they need to know exactly what the client needs—and this can mean asking a lot of questions that the client did not even know mattered. These days, insurance policies are getting “granular”—that is, the small insurance nuances do matter. That’s why it’s important to have a good agent asking you the right questions before you pick a policy. Have a pool? Do farm animals need to be insured? Inherited grandma’s rubies? Expect your insurance agent to cover a lot of ground in your initial conversation. This is to make sure you have the right coverage.
And this isn’t to say that an independent insurance agent will railroad you into a single policy either. Far from it. The independent agent’s job is to provide options for the client, so they can make the most informed decision when buying a policy. This empowers the customer to make their own choice but saves them the time it takes to find the appropriate policy.
Been Turned Down? Live Dangerously?
Another benefit to choosing an independent agent is that they can match you with insurance companies when many companies have turned you down. Some people, jet-ski owners, for instance, may pose a high-risk situation for insurance companies. Additionally, there are about 200 insurance companies in WI and about 2000 insurance companies throughout the US. Instead of the client having to wade through a sea of policies, independent agents draw on their years of experience to find a policy that will meet the needs of the client. Some insurance companies are willing to work with clients like this. It’s just a matter of finding the right company.
Having an independent agent also means that you have someone acting on your behalf when you do need to make a claim. You get into a car accident, your house is broken into, or you need to file a claim for your business. In the aftermath of these situations, the last thing you’d want to do is read through page after page of your policy—or worse yet—wonder if you are covered. The insurance agent would help in this situation by acting on your behalf with the insurance company.
Agents are There to Help You
You should note that independent insurance agents are licensed professionals. They study insurance as a vocation to know the ins-and-outs of a variety of insurance types. This way, you know that you have a competent consultant for however long you need the insurance.
You can also bank on the fact that your insurance agent is local and accessible. We’ve all experienced the faceless customer service that comes with many large-scale services or corporate products.
Thankfully, if you decide to choose an independent agent, you know you can just drive to their office when you have to. Heck, you might even find them at your kid’s baseball game or at the gym. They are members of your community, not at the end of an hour-long “hold” period.
To summarize, choosing an independent agent can reap a variety of benefits. They draw on years of experience to find a policy that suits your needs. Agents know hundreds of companies that can insure your unique situation. They are consultants and benefactors for claims. Independent agents are more accessible than online brokers or captive agents. If you own a small or medium business with unique insurance needs, an independent agent may be for you. If you are interested in G2 as your independent agent, reach out to us for a chat. We have decades of experience in the insurance business, and we maintain the long-term relationships with them we mentioned earlier.