What Is An Independent Agent?
An independent agent is a person or company that is not restricted to representing just one insurance carrier, but instead represents various carriers. They are still contracted by the insurance companies and must adhere to the rules and policies of all the companies that they represent, however, they are free to choose which companies they sell and service policies for.
Why Choose An Independent Agent?
In today's marketplace, many people choose to shop for virtually everything online or over the phone. This has many advantages and will continue to grow in popularity. Even if a person wants to use the internet to shop for insurance, however, they should still consider the value that an independent agent brings.
The Power to Choose - Since an independent agent represents various companies, it's in their best interest to shop around for the best policy to meet the customer's needs. A captive agent (an agency that only uses one insurance company) has only one choice and will do its best to sell you that company, irregardless of whether it's the best for you. As an Independent, we will find the coverage that is best for you.
You Make a Difference - Insurance companies like any other business are in existence to make money. Rates are constantly adjusted up or down to reflect changes in the economy or to offset large disasters. A good independent agent searches for the best rates that fit the needs of his customers. What happens behind the scenes is that if one insurance carrier is not selling any policies, they'll ask its agents why. If their rates are higher than their competitors, they'll be forced to reduce them or lose money. So by shopping with an independent agent, you help to keep rates lower and make the industry more competitive.
Personal Plans - Companies that use captive agents usually try to sell package policies and offer discounts to encourage customers to buy everything from them. In the past, customers who wanted "bundles" had to use a captive agent. So you may have paid more for your home than was fair, but it saved you money on your car insurance so you went with it. In recent years, companies that use independents have entered this game and it has made the insurance industry much more competitive. You can now enjoy the savings of a bundle with most companies and some even offer it even if the other policies are not with them. For example, you could have your car insurance with one company and your home insured with another and still receive a discount. Once again, this means more choices for the consumer, more competition between the companies, and helps to keep the premiums lower.
Personal Service - By using an independent agent, you are able to speak with an actual person who most likely lives and shops in your community. They know the neighborhood and your neighbors. When you have a problem, you're able to speak with an agent face-to-face rather than over the telephone with a person who could be halfway around the world.
More Informed - No two companies are the same and there is no insurance company that is "the best." If this was the case, they'd be the only insurance company. A captive agent knows the rules and conditions of only the company they represent. An independent agent knows the requirements, strengths and weaknesses of various carriers and is forced to research trends more often and more thoroughly. Consider a worker who has done only one job for twenty years and wants to search for a new job. He's more restricted than somebody who has worked on various tasks throughout his career and has familiarity with multiple jobs. The same is true with insurance agents.
The bottom line is that there are numerous reasons for using an independent insurance agent; not only should it save you money, but you'll also be getting the best policies for your needs. As one of the largest independents in the region, Shirley Katz Insurance is an excellent choice when shopping for you and your family. With over a dozen carriers, we're confident that we'll be able to find a plan that works for you.