Two types of agents sell insurance policies: captive and independent. A surprising number of consumers aren’t familiar with these terms or what they mean.
Captive Agents: Carry only one insurance provider, like State Farm or Farmers.
Independent: Have access to multiple insurance carriers and can offer their clients more options.
Why is this distinction important? Because while there are certain advantages to working with a captive agent, working with an independent insurance agent provides a considerable number of benefits a captive agent just can’t.
So what are the most significant advantages of working with an independent insurance agent? Here are the top three we frequently hear from customers.
#1 Better Customer Service arguably the most significant benefit of working with an independent insurance agent.
The benefits that come with excellent customer service can’t be overstated. It can mean the difference between claims resolved in days rather than weeks (or months), and many independent agencies promise to return calls quickly, some within 24 hours or even less.
Working with a local independent agent usually means you get lighting quick responses to your questions and requests.
So, for example, if you decide to hit the tag agency at your lunch hour, you’re going to be frustrated and inconvenienced if you can’t get your insurance agent to respond quickly to your request for an ID card.
Help Throughout the Claim Process
Independent agencies that are dedicated to a culture of excellent customer service offer support throughout the claim process. Less service-oriented agents believe their job is done and dusted once you’ve filed the claim.
Faster, More Efficient Insurance Claim Processing
A hands-on independent insurance agent can often resolve a claims issue in a matter of days. They’re involved throughout the process and can translate the often confusing language of insurance for their clients.
Effective communication between the insurance agency, adjuster and client is a critical component of excellent customer service. Often, customers complain that some of the big insurance agencies take months to process a claim, and they don’t communicate in the interim, so the client doesn’t know the status of a claim.
Additionally, an involved agent has a thorough knowledge of the policies you hold, and what’s covered under them so they can quickly catch mistakes an adjuster may make which could result in a denial of the claim.
Personalized Coverage Reviews
An independent insurance agency will take the time to review coverages with their clients regularly.
Why is this important? Knowing you have sufficient coverage that applies to your specific life and business circumstances provides massive peace of mind.
For example, an independent agent can review your coverage with you to ensure that your assets are adequately protected should the worst occur. You want to know that your home, your auto, and your family will be able to withstand anything thrown their way. You are hoping to plant a seed that will bloom for your family in the future? Your independent agent can guide you.
An independent agent can go over all of your policies to help you determine whether your existing coverages make sense given your current situation. New baby? It would help if you had an update in your coverage. New home purchase? It would be best if you had a coverage update. Are you facing retirement? Your agent can help you determine if your coverage is up to speed with your latest life change.
#2 Multiple Insurance Carriers Mean More Options
Because independent insurance agents work with multiple carriers, they can offer their clients more and better options with their clients’ unique and particular needs in mind.
Captive agents can only offer one option; they can’t put together custom tailored solutions which often leaves the customer under or over insured.
Independent agents have access to a much more significant portion of the insurance industry.
Independent insurance agents can also offer quotes from multiple insurance companies which can mean significant savings for their clients. They’ll look for the best value by finding the optimum combination of price and coverage.
Stay With a Trusted Choice As Your Needs Change
Moreover, clients don’t have to change agencies if their insurance and service needs change. So for example, if you live in a rental property and are looking to purchase a home, it’s not going to be a hassle to move from renter’s insurance to home insurance. You don’t have to worry about the headache of finding and changing over to a new agency if you work with an independent agent that offers a wide variety of coverages.
An independent agency often offers all of the following insurance products:
• Home insurance
• Renters insurance
• Flood insurance
• Life insurance
• Auto insurance
• Motorcycle insurance
• Business insurance
If you decide to go into business for yourself and you’re already working with an independent agent that’s proven to be responsive, knowledgeable and honest, you can feel good about purchasing business insurance from someone you already trust.
#3 You’re the Priority
With a variety of products available and a personal knowledge of your life and business circumstances, an independent insurance agent can offer customized solutions, not one-size-fits-all, quick-fixes that don’t provide adequate and appropriate coverage for you.
An independent agent is concerned with the quality of the product being offered, and whether its value is in alignment with its cost given your unique circumstances. A customer-focused agent with experience and specialized knowledge can help you understand how a particular insurance product works and why it might be a good fit for you.
Captive agents work for and are paid by one insurance company, either with a combination of salary and commissions or just commissions alone. So a captive insurance agent has the insurance company’s— and often their own— best interest at the top of mind, not the customers.
On the other hand, independent insurance agencies employ professionals who don’t work for a particular insurance company, and instead, they work for their clients. Independent insurance agents represent you, not the insurance company. That’s a considerable distinction.
There is even an industry association for independent agents, the Independent Insurance Agents Brokers of America.
Get The Service, Quality, and the Choices You Deserve
At Songer Insurance Agency Inc, we hire agents only if they fit with our culture of hard work, excellent service, and recognition of efforts to help as many people as possible.
We offer the best, most diverse products tailored to fit your needs. Our agents are knowledgeable and respond quickly and can provide creative solutions for coverage that’s just right for you.
Why not connect with us today to get your personalized insurance consultation? We’d love to hear from you! We are located in Beckley WV and do business in the whole state of West Virginia. Located at 2955 Robert C. Byrd Dr. Beckley WV, 25801