While it's easier than ever to purchase insurance (especially auto insurance) right over the phone or the internet, most families and business owners still prefer to purchase their insurance through an independent agent as the products and risks families and business owners face are far more complex than ever before. Because they're professionals in the field, insurance agents will be able to inform your decision-making process and select coverage packages you might otherwise be unaware of.
While many insurance companies offer similar products and coverage, each company is unique with respect their own ions, pricing, and many other variables. An independent agent's job is know what those variables and ions might be, advise you, the insurance customer, and help you get the best coverage for your specific need and budget.
Selecting the right insurance agent can be fairly simple and painless. Below are some of the steps your should consider while looking for the right agent for you, your family or business:
Ask for referrals from friends and fellow business owners. Other small-business owners have dealt with the same challenges you'll be facing when looking for a trustworthy and reliable insurance agent. Good word of mouth can be more valuable than a multi-million dollar ad campaign.
Look for professional associations of independent insurance agents. States and most major cities will have networks and professional organizations to help you get in touch with agents that serve your community such as the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (or locally In MA - Massachusetts Association of Independent Agents www.massagent.com).
Meet with agents in person. You'll get a good feel for an insurance agent's professionalism and personality by discussing your insurance needs in person rather than over the phone. Take a look at their website – is it up to date, does it have a wealth of knowledge and can you use their website as a resource, do they have a “needs assessment” or questionnaire to help identify risks you are facing? Take the time to meet with other agents within Massachusetts (The Greater Haverhill area or Essex County, Bradford, Groveland, Georgetown, Byfield, Boxford, Methuen, North Andover, Andover, West Newbury, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, Merrimack, Amesbury, or other Massachusetts towns) or in New Hampshire (in Rockingham County, Plaistow, Salem,Atkinson, Hampstead, Newton, East Hampstead, Danville, Sandown, Kingston, East Kingston, Seabrook, Pelham, Derry, Londonderry and other NH cities and towns).
Ask lots of questions. While price is important, there are other ways an independent agent or a commercial insurance agent can help you get a good deal. Experienced agents are able to combine products and services from a variety of insurance providers, creating an insurance package that can be specially designed to meet your individual needs. How many insurance companies do they represent?
Find someone you trust. Your agent will be helping you making decisions that are crucial to the survival of your family and/or business. For this reason, you'll want to select an agent that you personally trust and feel comfortable with.
Check with the Better Business Bureau website for more information on how to insure your vehicles (see Resources below). A local BBB office can be a great place to find tips and warnings specific to your city.
The Compensation Issue
Like everyone else, agents and brokers get paid for their services, which are enriched by their education and experience. Most agents and brokers are paid by commission directly from the insurance carrier. As with any professional service, you should understand how your agent or broker will be compensated and how that might affect a purchase recommendation, but at Sullivan Insurance & Financial our first obligation is to our clients.
Why An Independent Insurance Agent For Insurance?
Some people think it doesn't really matter where they buy their insurance. But this misconception could be costing them money, service and protection. For Massachusetts residents 2008 has brought a whole new ball game to the insurance industry – a competitive market place.
There Is A Difference between Independent Insurance Agents and Captive Agents, don’t let a slick ad, tv commercial or marketing campaign fool you. Would you really buy insurance from a cave man? How about a Gecko? Or even a cartoon figure? Many people in other states, like NH have been exposed to these carriers for years and after the first claim many of these customers end up switching their coverage back to an Independent Agent – there is no service like the service you receive from a neighbor, who knows the risk you and your family are facing and can help custom design an insurance portfolio to best suit your unique needs.
There is a DIFFERENCE - Give us 10 minutes and you will see the difference!
What does Sullivan Insurance & Financial bring to the table?
- Value - We are value hunters who look after your pocketbook in finding the best combination of price, coverage and service.
- Variety - We provide one-stop shopping for a full range of products- home, renters, auto, umbrella, business, and life, as well as
- Choice - We offer a choice of more than one insurance solution or most agents by having access to well over 40 Insurance carriers
- Availability - We make time to answer your insurance questions and assist when you have a claim.
- Attention to Detail - We are your consultant, listening to you and determining your unique coverage needs.
- Analysis - We can periodically review your coverage to be sure it keeps up with your life changes.
- Relationship - Unlike other agents, we are not beholden to any one company; thus, you don't need to change agencies as your insurance and service needs change.
The bottom line? Not all 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.
Why Choose Sullivan Insurance & Financial as YOUR Independent Agent
Kevin P. Sullivan