What to look for in an insurance agent
Why an agent is important
Having an agent adds value to your life in many ways. By involving a professional, you gain the combined experience of thousands of insurance transactions and the advice and expertise to answer your questions and guide you through your purchasing decisions, but it doesn't stop there. Once you have purchased the insurance policy or plan, an agent can be involved with the ongoing service needs and to make sure that your interactions with the insurance company are handled fairly. Period policy reviews with your agent can help stay on top of your changing needs.
How to choose an agent
There are a lot of factors that you can use to evaluate an agency. Ultimately there are a few key characteristics that you should look at when selecting an agent:
Competency: Every state has guidelines and a regulatory body that governs the insurance industry and specifically licenses agents to do business in that state. The ability to qualify for an insurance agent or broker license may suffice for a state insurance department, but it is only one step in developing the competency required to adequately solve problems. Look for someone who is an expert in the field and who has proved their ability through years of experience.
Specialization: if you have a particularly unique situation, it can be helpful if your agent has experience solving similar problems to the ones you are facing. Some agents make it their priority to become an expert in a certain field and possess a greater ability to help structure an insurance program that fits your unique needs.
Trustworthiness/Integrity - You need to know that the agent will do everything in his or her power to conduct business in an ethical manner and to do what is right.
Ease of Doing Business: While it's common to do business locally, some agents give a level of service unmatched by others and merit a long-distance relationship.
Many agents have built a legacy in the insurance industry and provide a consistently high level of service to their clients. They earn the repeat business of their clients through genuine life-long friendships that endure the test of time. All insurance companies experience periods of competitiveness and times when they are not-so-competitive. We have chosen to be an independent insurance agent because we like that it gives us the opportunity to build those enduring relationships with our clients. Our ability to service clients with a variety of insurance carriers makes it possible to pass through periods in time when rates go up for everyone, and as the insurance industry continues to evolve and more techniques are developed by insurers to be competitively priced for the best policyholders, It is also great to have the ability to offer clients multiple options so that they have the peace of mind that they are paying a fair premium. Products from different insurers are not all created equally.Read next:
What to look for in an insurance company