The most important insurance shopping question you should ask is, who do I buy from?
Shop with the who in mind before you shop for the price, the carrier or anything else.
As an independent agent I recommend that you consider an independent insurance agent. They can use their multi-carrier relationships to provide you:
- Customized policies
- Competitive pricing
- Unparalleled advocacy.
To be fair, there are times you may want to use an exclusive agent also; these agents are generally limited to offering what only one carrier provides, however, sometimes what they offer may be the best for your situation and could be worth looking into.
There is a lot to be said about working with one agency for all of your insurance needs whether they are independent or exclusive agents.
The benefits include:
- Convenience – You have one place to contact if you have questions, need service, have a loss or just need to get your coverage explained.
- Meaningful relationships – Working with one agency over time allows you to get to know, like and trust each other. And as you grow together you get to celebrate the special moments as well as grieve in times of loss. This adds more meaning to life.
- Better risk management – When one place knows all about you and the various risks, exposures and coverage you have, they can help you to avoid gaps in your coverage.
- Unmatched advocacy – As part of your inner circle, an independent agent can provide you with customized policies, competitive pricing and they can go to bat for you as needed from time to time. (I’m a little biased, but this is one of the advantages that an independent agent not limited to a particular company can provide.)
- Peace of mind – You know what you’re getting! You don’t have to wonder whether they’re telling you the truth or if they will answer your call with a smile. You know they are going to be there in your time of need.
As you shop for the who, here are some questions to consider:
Do they care about me? – Is it about me, my family and my business or is it about them? Are they working for your benefit or for theirs? You’ll pick up the answers to these questions if you look for them.
Can I trust them? – Do they answer and/or return my phone call, text or email in a timely manner? Do they arrive on time? Do they set clear expectations and follow through with them? Do they look you in the eye? What’s their track record? Do they represent sound companies? Is their place and way of doing business systematic and organized? Is their staff happy; do they enjoy what they’re doing and are they proud of the company they’re working for?
Can they help me? – Do they know what they’re talking about? Do they invest in personal and professional development? Don’t be afraid to ask what classes they have taken or are taking. Are they members of professional insurance associations such as Trusted Choice, LAAIA, PIA and FAIA?
Are they busy? You know how it is when you pull up to a restaurant during the typical busy period only to find just one or two cars in the parking lot. Don’t you think twice about going in?
In his best selling book, The 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership, John C. Maxwell wrote, “A leader’s potential is determined by the people closest to him.” This includes your insurance agent. Your potential is determined by the insurance agent you choose. The quality of the individual and their team determines the value added to you and yours.