What can you expect from an Independent Insurance Agent?
Your local agent:
- Helps you assess new risks in order to determine if you should retain a risk or transfer it to an insurance company – in other words, helps you determine how much of a deductible is best for your unique situation,
- Chooses which companies they will represent assuring that any policy they offer you is issued by a reliable company with solid financial strength,
- Works with clients on risk assessment, risk management and loss control activities to help them become better risks,
- Makes sure that all of your policies are coordinated to offer the best coverage at the best price – without leaving gaps or duplicating coverage,
- Works for you, not the insurance company.
- Does the shopping for you, obtaining insurance quotes and coverage – and occasionally “shopping” their insurance coverage’s with multiple companies to determine the best combination of coverage and cost for the various services offered by the companies,
- Act as the client’s intermediary and representative when dealing with various insurance companies – this includes communications with underwriters, auditors, claim departments and billing departments,
- Regularly reviews financial information on companies and the insurance industry,
- Negotiates policy terms and premiums,
- Obtains answers to coverage questions,
- Works with companies to assess and find coverage for new and emerging risks,
- Communicates with carriers about conditions in the marketplace,
- Works to review, evaluate and encourage new carriers into the marketplace,
- Is your expert resource when a claim needs to be filed and can contact the company and get the claim process rolling – help you complete the claim forms and advise you on the progress of your claim – making sure you receive a prompt and fair settlement,
- Reviews claims in order to implement corrective action and forestall renewal problems.
It is the agent’s job to act as part of your financial team – like your attorney or accountant – to provide professional advice to help you manage your risk protecting your current and future assets. The agent then annually – or more frequently – reviews your account to ensure that your insurance products are responding to your changing needs.
For example, in health insurance we have seen dramatic increases in premiums. Consequently, the agent will receive calls from the majority of health customers every year asking “how can we reduce the cost to a more affordable level.” The agent must know and stay on top of the available products on the market, coverages and exposure to assist that the customer in meeting the financial needs of their family.
While many insurance companies offer similar products and coverages, each company is unique with respect to their own options, pricing, and many other variables. An independent agent’s job is to know what those variables and options might be – advise you the insurance customer – and help you get the best coverage for your specific need and budget. Speaking of which, most independent agents are paid on a commission basis through business arrangements with the companies they represent so unless your situation is exceptionally large – where a fee arrangement might be more appropriate – the services of your independent agent are included in the price of your premium.
Insurance is about peace of mind, and that’s what you get when you trust your protection to an independent agent. Peace of mind is more than taking care of you when you have a claim – it’s also knowing you have the right coverage in case you need to make one.