Personality of the insurance agent
Have conversations with potential agents. Explain your situation and request a quote. Just asking doesn’t mean you have to work with them. This is an opportunity for you to get an idea of how they work and whether you are comfortable with them.
There are 2 types of insurance agents:
A. Independent Agents – These are people who run a small business and represent a number of insurance companies or are an affiliate.
B. Direct Insurance Agents – A direct insurance company sells directly to you without an intermediary, usually online.
Go with the independent agent as they have the ability to provide you with the best price and coverage for your needs. They have all the data they can compare between insurance companies. They sell a variety of insurance and financial products, including property, life, accident, health, disability and long-term care insurance. They are your one stop shop for insurance needs.
A knowledgeable insurance agent can provide advice on determining the coverage and limits a customer needs to protect their family and investments. An insurance agent with credentials has a certificate of qualification, authority or competence and a guaranteed professional in the field of the insurance industry.
Good to have:
- CFP – Certified Financial Planner.
- CLU – Chartered Life Underwriter
- CPCU – Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter
- ChFC – Chartered Financial Advisor
- PFS – Personal financial specialist
- CIC – Certified Insurance Advisor
- ARM – Associate in Risk Management
Before buying insurance from an insurance agent, make sure that the agent is licensed to sell insurance. It’s like a patient is consulting a doctor and the doctor has to be licensed before he can dispense prescriptions. Every state requires insurance agents to be licensed to sell policies. Some states require separate licenses to sell property and casualty insurance versus life and health insurance.
3. Customer Feedback
While checking to see if the agent is licensed, you should also check to see if any complaints have been filed against them. For the business, you can check the NAIC’s CIS or call your state insurance department. The insurance department can also tell you if any complaints have been filed against the agent. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if consumers have made complaints — or compliments — about the agents you’re considering.
4. Ask questions
It’s okay to ask questions when looking for a real estate agent. In fact, you should be asking questions when deciding who to work with. Some good questions are:
- What is your field of expertise?
- What is your reach? Are you local? Statewide? rural?
- What is your experience in my industry? How many years have you been writing this type of insurance?
- Do you have customer references?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many companies do you represent? Which?
Of course, there are many factors to consider when choosing an insurance agent. When you rely on someone to provide you with the best coverage for your business needs, keep the most important things in mind. You always have the option to switch brokers, but it is much better to do research beforehand to find the right insurance partner.
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