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  • Writer's pictureDerek Carroll

What Is An Independent Insurance Agent?

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

America was born on the idea of capitalism and with that, is built on the idea of competition in the marketplace. I too support the believe that people should be given choices. I know I want choices of which kind of milk I can purchase at the grocery store, shoes I can purchase at a shoe store, and cars I can purchase at a car dealer.

I feel insurance should be no different. The reason I am passionate about choices for insurance shoppers is because there is no one insurance carrier that is best for every single person. If there were true, then we would only have one insurance company as opposed to hundreds of them.

Every insurance carrier is different. Whether it is the way an insurance carrier prices their coverage, the type of coverages they offer or the type of risk a particular carrier is willing to cover; it is impossible for any one carrier to be the best option for every single person. Given the endless option in the marketplace today, it is both efficient and beneficial to purchase your insurance coverage through an Independent Insurance Agent. They can give you competitive prices, options of coverages, and product knowledge that will leave you feeling best informed and giving you the most value.

What is an Independent Insurance Agent?

The pain point for many insurance customers is the amount of information they need to provide simply to receive a quote. Gathering personal, vehicle & home information, and coverage preferences is not enjoyable and not something insurance shoppers want to do for each carrier they contact.

Watch the video below to find out why I feel an independent agent has the best intentions and abilities to create long term relationships with their customers.

As mentioned above, when I go to a store I want to have choices of which milk, shoes, and cars I can purchase. Insurance is no different. I want to provide my clients with the options they need to find a policy that is right for them. Providing a policy that can meet their budget and risk appetite is crucial.

An Independent Insurance Agent is an insurance agent who represents multiple different insurance carriers.

This is different from a captive insurance agent who only sells for one carrier and from direct carriers who sell directly to customers. An example of a captive agent would be State Farm or Farmers who only offer one company's insurance policy.

When dealing with an Independent Insurance Agent you will find many benefits:

By offering multiple carriers we are able to shop many carriers at one time to find the premiums and the coverages that our clients need and want. A captive agent can not provide options to their clients like an independent agent can leaving customers still wondering if they have received a fair price for their coverage options.

Customers can feel good knowing that they have been able to have a professional insurance agent review their coverages and price shop multiple carriers giving them piece of mind that their insurance has been handled correctly when dealing with an Independent Insurance Agent.

This is great when shopping for insurance because customers can gather their information and relay it to one agent and not worry about setting up meetings or phone calls with multiple agents (who has time for that?). When a client calls our office for a home and auto quote our agency will quote the customer with up to twelve different carriers.

After evaluating the coverages offered by each carrier and the pricing of each carrier, our agency will present the quotes to the customer. Customers are delighted to know they have a professional insurance agent review their coverages and price shop multiple top rated carriers giving them piece of mind that their insurance has been handled correctly and without bias.

This is also helpful to our clients at the renewal of their insurance policy. As insurance premiums generally only increase, our agency can monitor those increases and pro-actively shop our clients' insurance policy to make sure that we are still providing the best value to our clients. The best part is much of this happens without our client's knowledge and we simply call them and say, "Hello, with your upcoming renewal we have reevaluated your coverages and shopped your insurance with our numerous carriers and found you a better value on your insurance, can we email you the documents to electronically sign to switch?" They don't have to go through the process every few years of gathering their information and calling multiple agencies.

Our clients are also receiving the benefit of having an agent to support them when they have a claim or need a question answered. When purchasing insurance from a direct writer (companies who sell directly to a customer without the use of an agent through the use 800 phone numbers or issue policies directly online) a client will not get the same level of understanding about their insurance policy. An independent agent is willing to take time to make sure that their clients understand the coverage they are purchasing and are there for them during claims to make sure they understand the process.

The ability to offer competitive premiums from multiple carriers, product knowledge, and be a local source whenever you have a question on your policy is what separates independent agencies from captive agents and direct writers.

Next time your insurance policy is up for renewal or you just have a general question on your policy feel free to reach out to a local independent insurance agent. You can call Clark Carroll Insurance Agency at 815-244-1570 and we would be happy to talk with you.

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