Selecting the right independent insurance agent to take care of your insurance needs should NOT be an “eeny, meeeeny, minyyy,mooeee” decision. You are looking for a long-term relationship with someone you can trust and someone you’re comfortable with. You wouldn’t buy a car without shopping around, and you shouldn’t select an independent agent without doing some research too. Let the independent insurance agent do the shopping for you.
So what should you look for when looking for the right Independent Insurance Agent?
- Know the Difference between Independent Agents and other Insurance Agents (Captive Insurance Agents)
An independent agent may be a small-business owner who represents a number of different insurance companies (on average -six). In contrast, agents who represent large, national insurance companies are employees of their company and only sell products from that company. A direct insurance company sells directly to you- without an agent and typically all online. An independent agent has the opportunity to best match price and coverage for your needs, and if an insurance company is competitive one year but not the next, your independent agent can quote other carriers. That is why they are called independent! Always ask the agent this crucial question: will you work hard for me and with me?
- Ask for Referrals.
Referrals from family, friends, and colleagues are a good place to start. When you ask around, find out why they like their independent agent and then listen to what they have to say. Ask about their customer service, whether the agent is friendly, and if they’re knowledgeable. Additionally, these are other good questions- Is their policy reviewed annually, does the agency reach out to them, and if so, how often? And here’s the million dollar question if there ever was one: If they have had a claim, ask about the experience in dealing with the agent/ agency!
- Decide If Location Is Important to You.
It may be important for you that your independent agent has offices in your community. You have the convenience of being able to stop by to ask questions or help with a claim. This is key to developing a trusting relationship between you and your agent. Many independent agents are deeply committed to their community and are actively involved as coaches, scout leaders, or civic leaders. This stuff really matters, trust me! Find an agent who has a similar value system as you do, as well as one who is located in your area.
- Visit The Agency’s Websites.
Websites are full of information, and this should help you get a feel for the agency itself. Make sure to take a look at the following website pages: the history of the agency, the staff’s bios, and their customer testimonials (Google Reviews etc..). The agency’s website can give you a feel for the personality of the agency, what they think is important, and the type of customer service they provide. Google to find out more about the agency.
- Interview the Independent Insurance Agents.
You should interview the independent agents you are considering. Yes, just like a doctor, you should take the time to interview agents and find out if they are going to be a good fit for you and your family. See if you like the person as well! Heck, you’re probably going to be working with that individual for a few years, so it’s a good idea to see whether or not you’re going to like each other. Furthermore, you should feel respect for their knowledge and get a sense about their integrity. If you don’t get that feeling, than you need to find an agent that gives you that feeling.
- Knowledge & Trust Are Key.
It is not so simple to determine knowledge and trust, because these qualities are established over time. However, you need to start somewhere, so a good jumping-of point is asking the independent agents about the products they sell and how they determine which coverage products and limits you may need. This will give you a good feel for how the agent does business. The key is comfort and trust. If you don’t have that feeling, move on.
Remember that your relationship with a great independent agent is likely to last a long time (at least we hope so), so it pays to take the time to choose the right agent for you.
As your independent agent for the past 15 years, it’s our job is to help you become educated on what you need for CT Insurance coverage, along with selecting the best policy and limits for you. Our job is to work hard and do what’s best for you and your family’s future.