nsurance can be a complicated purchase. You’re not buying bread or milk. You’re buying a promise of protection that could potentially make or break your financial well-being. How do you know that you’re making the right choices about coverage? Are you sure you’re getting the best possible value for your dollar? The options can seem bewildering.
Mutual Benefit has sold its coverage exclusively through independent agents for over 100 years. We’ve seen first-hand how the advice and advocacy of agents benefit our policyholders. Here are seven reasons why we believe the independent agency experience benefits you:
They give you a choice – Independent agents represent many different insurance companies that offer a wide variety of coverage options and price points. Most on average sell for five to eight different insurance companies. There’s no need for you to accept one quote from one company, and there’s no need for you to spend time filling out many different online applications to get your own quote comparisons. With their connections and their knowledge of the market, agents can often find a better value for your insurance dollar than you might find searching on your own. Agents do the shopping. You do the saving. They find you the right blend of price, coverage, and service.
They are licensed experts – Independents can explain the complexities of insurance in simple terms, helping you make smart decisions. They make a career out of assessing their customers’ insurance needs and matching them with the insurance carrier best equipped to meet those needs at a price the customer can afford. Think about it. While you might research wording for wills on the Internet, you’ll likely go to an attorney to ensure that the document is drawn up correctly. Why wouldn’t you seek the advice of a licensed insurance professional to be certain that your home, your auto, or your business is properly protected?
They are personal advisers – Agents not only find you competitive pricing, they make sure you are adequately covered. Working with you face-to-face, your agent becomes your personal adviser, taking the time to listen to you and understand your individual needs. They know it’s not just about finding a price you can afford; it’s also about making certain you are appropriately covered so that you don’t end up insurance-poor if you do suffer a loss.
They are your advocate – If you have a billing or claim concern, or need to change your coverage, your agent can be your advocate, working with the insurance company on your behalf.
They are right around the corner – Independent agents are your neighbors…they share your interest in the community where you live, and understand the benefits and challenges of living in your locale. They are often highly involved in the community, sponsoring youth sports teams, buying from your local businesses, supporting school organizations, and voicing opinions at the monthly Chamber of Commerce meeting. They are right around the corner, ready to help.
They offer one-stop shopping – Independent agents can often meet all of your insurance needs with the companies they represent, providing auto, home, renter’s, and business coverage. Many offer life and health insurance as well.
They are consultants for a lifetime – Independent agents periodically review your coverage. They are there to help you through all the changes in your life, whether you’re going from renting an apartment to buying a home, starting a business, getting married, renovating your home, adding a teen driver to your auto policy, or looking to cover that retirement condo.
Car insurance is sold through three different means independent agents, captive agents, and direct through the internet. An independent agent is an agent with options. Independent agents have more to offer than other agents making them a strong competitor in the insurance industry. Learn what independent agents are and how they can help you get a great rate on insurance.
Independent agents have been around since 1896.
Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America or the Big “I” is the association that helps build the structure of independent agencies. More than 7100 independent agencies are selling on behalf of 43 different insurance carriers across the U.S.
An independent agent has a secret weapon.
Quick quotes from multiple insurance carriers are one of the major benefits of independent agents. If you are shopping for insurance, independent agents are a great place to start because they can check several different companies’ rates all at once. The more companies checked equals a greater chance of finding the best rate for you and your family. The time-saving factor is huge because you only have to provide your information one time.
The ability to retain the same agent even if you switch carriers is another perk of having your insurance with an independent agent. A strong relationship can be built with your independent agent and if your rates start to creep up, your agent can possibly find you lower rates without ever switching agents.
Many people put up with higher rates because they are not comfortable leaving their trusted agent. Independent agents give their clients more options.
An independent agent works for you, not the insurance company.
An independent agent is not an employee of an insurance company. Technically, an independent agent’s boss is you, the client.
Independent agents broker insurance companies and get paid commission; however, they do not receive a salary as an employee. Working with an agent that is not solely employed by one carrier is nice because you can get unbiased advice.
A good independent agent can be proactive when it comes to your insurance rate. They are able to get a head start when it comes to rate changes. For instance, if an agent knows one of its companies’ rates is increasing, they can start looking for a better deal before the increase takes place. Captive agents are helpless and have to roll with the punches of the carrier they represent.
Independent agents provide personalized customer service.
Since an independent agent works for you, often times they will file your claim with the parent company. Personalized customer service is a high priority for independent agencies. Having an agent makes it so you don’t have to deal with the automated 800 numbers quite as often. Plus, an agent can give you advice before filing a claim.
Independent agents have the ability to be a great time and money savers for their clients. However, just because an agent is independent doesn’t mean they are the best. You still need to look for good agent qualities, such as availability, knowledgeable, and proactive.
Insurance Carriers Selling Products through an Independent Agent
The list is a good portion of independent insurance carriers. Find a thorough list of carriers at Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. If you are looking for an independent agent, look for the Trusted Choice brand which is owned by Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.
• Allied Property and Casualty
• American Strategic
• Auto Owners
• Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
• Cincinnati Insurance Company
• Colorado Casualty
• EMC Insurance Companies
• General Casualty
• The Hanover Insurance Group
• Harleysville Insurance
• The Hartford
• Ohio Casualty
• Peerless Insurance
• Penn National Insurance
• The Republic Group
• West Bend Mutual
• Westfield Insurance
• Zurich North America