Independent insurance agencies, or non-captive agencies, offer a variety of benefits compared to captive agencies. Captive insurance agencies are owned by, or affiliated with, one particular insurance company. Consequently, they can only offer policies from that individual company. This limits the customer in a number of ways. Choosing a local independent insurance agency might be a better option for you. Here at Reliable Agency, Inc, we are proud of our independent status! Clients are best served by local agencies who are in tune to a client’s needs. Above all else, people come before profits. Here are six things that answer the question, “What is an independent insurance agency?”
Independent Agencies Offer:
- More Options
Independent agencies work with numerous insurance companies. Consequently, they can offer a wider range of policy options. This give you, the customer, the ability to compare coverages and choose which one fits your needs best.
- Customized Coverages
Independent agencies can tailor policies to meet the specific needs of each client. This is especially important for businesses, which may require specialized coverage that is not available or offered by every company. Individuals with multiple policies will be able to find the best coverages instead of having to settle for the only thing available.
- Personalized Service
Independent agencies typically pride themselves on offering personalized services to each client. This means clients can expect to receive one-on-one attention and have questions and concerns addressed promptly. And because the agency was able to compare rates between multiple carriers, it results in the best combination of price and coverages based upon the clients own unique needs.
- Local Knowledge
Independent agencies have a deep understanding of the local market and the specific and unique needs of the community. As a result, this becomes valuable for clients who are new to the area themselves or not familiar with the local insurance landscape.
- Ongoing Support
Independent agencies are not just a one-time resource for purchasing insurance. They provide ongoing support to their clients, helping them to understand their policies, file claims, and make any necessary changes to their coverage.
- Better Response Times
Especially evident with more modern, tech-savvy agencies and agencies with strong customer service skills, clients will benefit from the ability to communicate with the agency numerous ways and know that they will get a response in a timely manner.
How To Select An Independent Insurance Agency?
- Know what is important to you. Knowing what is important to you personally can help identify the insurance agencies that you can be comfortable doing business with. First, identify the qualities most important to you and look for an agency that meets your expectations. It is natural to prefer to do business with an agency that can be trusted and that has your best interests in mind. Is philanthropy important? What about volunteerism or community support? Do you want 24/7 access via a mobile app? Modern agencies embrace change with technological enhancements and offer clients tools that other agencies do not. Can you meet your new agent virtually, or is it important to you to meet in-person? How quickly did the agency reply to your email or call you back? Whatever you expect from the client-agent relationship, now is the time to ask important questions.
- What do your friends and family say? Those closest to you might have plenty to say about who they like or dislike, and why. Have any of them gone through a claims process with their agency? How was that experience? How often do they hear from their agent, and what are the conversations like? When they call their agent, how quickly do they call back? In return, when an agent contact you, the client, do you respond in a timely manner also? An agency should be able to return any call or reply to any email within 24 hours or less. If you suffer a loss and have to make a claim, your local agent should be by your side through the entire process, offering you support and advice. The best agencies create long-lasting, authentic relationships with their clients and truly want what’s best for you. Your friends and family should have plenty to say about who they’re with and who they recommend.
- What do you get from the agency? Does the agency conduct annual reviews of all your policies without you having to request them first? Do they have a mobile app for you to access all your policy information, ID cards, or request changes or even start the claims process? Is the agency licensed and able to service all your insurance needs? It is important to think about all that you hold dear, and if an agency can help you insure each properly.
- What kind of online presence does the agency have? Many agencies collect online reviews from sources like Google, Facebook, Yelp just to name a few. So finding their reviews may help you learn more about that agency. Does the agency respond to every review, good or bad? Scroll through the agency’s Facebook or other social media accounts. What type of things do they post about?
- Are they a member of the Trusted Choice network of independent agencies? Trusted Choice represents a network of independent insurance agencies and brokers that are a part of their local communities and support the people and businesses in it. And unlike captive agents, they work for you and have access to multiple insurance companies to find you the best coverage. And when your goals change, they’ve got answers — no need to keep changing insurance agents!
It is important to remember that communication between both the client and the agency is imperative. Without it, critical policy information may be missed and could cause you to be improperly insured. You deserve to be able live life joyfully without having to worry about your insurance needs. If you are concerned about your policies and would like to start a relationship with an independent agency that has your best interests in mind at all times, contact Reliable Agency today for more information!