For many people, insurance is a bewildering topic. Most people know that they need insurance, but don't understand much about it. Furthermore, the law requires some insurance, such as auto insurance and mandatory workers compensation. Other kinds of insurance make good sense because it can help protect and replace important and valuable assets. Some people think it does not really matter where they buy their insurance. But this misconception could be costing them money, service and protection, and possibly their financial security. Insurance not a commodity – almost all policies are different, some crucially different, and a good agent will be able to explain these differences. Insurance isn't like buying bread or milk as not all coverage, insurance companies or policies are created equally. Insurance is an important safety net for your family, your home, your car or your business. Don't treat the purchase lightly!
Almost everyday I review client's insurance portfolios and answer their questions. As the owner Sullivan Insurance & Financial, my job is to know what our companies provide and what the competition does not, and train my staff on these issues. Comparing "Apples for Apples" in insurance has become a difficult task. Many companies have chosen the "A La Cart" approach to insurance, which is to start with the basics and let the customer add on the options for a specified price. This approach requires the customer to know more about insurance or have confidence in his or her agent. Many of the companies we represent try to put together a better “package” or bundle of optional coverages into one or two special endorsements for one competitive price. We all know the package price is lower than the "A La Cart" price and therefore equates to more coverage at a lower cost. In my experience, the more a customer knows about insurance, the more likely he or she is going to choose an Independent Agent. The informed customer knows his or her choices are not limited to one company's options or coverage. As an Independent Agent we can select the coverage based on the customers individual unique exposures and match their needs with the company that would do the best job for the best value. The informed customer also knows that as companies change their rates, they can switch companies without having to change agents. Either way, if you are forced to know more about insurance or to trust your agent, choosing an Independent Insurance Agent is a good answer.
One of the challenges of doing business in the 21st century will be the ease of doing business or convenience. Customers want to do business fast and with as much ease as any other Insurance company. As one that is responsible for the operations of an agency with clients in 3 different states, I always have to be aware of what our clients want and what is in the best interest of our clients based on our unique needs assessment tool. We implement practical procedural and operational changes that meets the needs of our clients. Some of the things our office provides are listed below: We have ...
- Toll Free number for customers that are out of town or on vacation.
- Information and email available on the internet with our new website with information to help clients.
- Hours that work for our customers (open 7am to 5pm, Fridays till noon, and by appointment ANYTIME).
- Night and weekend appointments for customers with busy schedules.
- Client payments accepted right in our office on behalf of the insurance companies.
- Provided an email newsletter to our clients.
- Offer annual reviews to ALL our clients.
- Access to well over 40 insurance companies.
- Qualified personnel that are available to answer question (every full time employee is a Licensed Insurance Agent).
- Comparative rating software for our both home and auto insurance.
- 25 plus point "Needs Assessment" checklist to find your unique coverage needs & all the discounts available to you, your family or business!
- Financial Planner as our onsite financial & life “specialist”.
- Free Life and Financial Document Reviews - drop off your life policy or financial statements for a free, no obligation "second opinion".
As an Independent Insurance Agent, we:
- Are Licensed professionals with strong customer and community ties.
- Provide excellent service and competitive prices because we can access the insurance coverage from over 40 insurance companies (and growing).
- Unlike other agents, we are not beholden to any one company; therefor, policyholders do not need to change agencies as your insurance and service needs change.
- Assists policyholders when they have claims.
- Are a client’s consultant, we work for our clients to determine the consumer’s needs first and always.
- Offer consumers a choice of insurance plans and programs (access to over 40 insurance companies).
- Are a value “hunter” who looks after our client’s pocketbook in finding the best combination of price, coverage and service.
- Offer one-stop shopping for a full range of products - Home, Renters, Auto, Business, Commercial, Bonds, Life and Health, as well as Financial Services.
- Can periodically review a policyholder’s coverage to keep up with changing insurance needs.
- Treat policyholders like a person, not just another number – you are the reason we are in business!
Customer satisfaction is the key to an independent agent's livelihood.
So, serving policyholders is an independent agent's most important concern.
The bottom line? Not all insurance agents are created equal! The best way to protect yourself is to make sure you understand what you’re buying and the nature of the product’s limitations, penalties or fees if you want to drop the policy.
How do I find the RIGHT agent/agency? - well, we think you already have, but take a look at some of the steps you should consider?
Kevin P. Sullivan