The Role of an Independent Insurance Agent Insurance Agents With Options

Auto insurance is sold by independent insurance agents, captive agents, and direct through the Internet. Independent agents have more to offer than other agents making them a strong competitor in the insurance industry.

Independent agents have been around since 1896. Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America or the Big “I” is the association that helps build the structure of independent agencies. More than 7100 independent agencies are selling on behalf of 43 different insurance carriers across the U.S.

The ability to obtain quotes from multiple insurance carriers are one of the major benefits of independent agents. If you are shopping for insurance, independent agents are a great place to start.  They can check several different companies’ rates all at once.  The more choices you are given means a greater chance of finding the best rate for you and your family.  Saving time is also a huge factor because you only have to provide your information one time.

The ability to retain the same agent even if you switch carriers is another benefit of using an independent agent. A strong relationship can be built with your independent agent, and if your rates start to increase, your agent can find you lower rates without ever switching agents. Many people pay higher rates because they don’t want to find a new agent. Independent agents give their clients more options.

An independent agent is not an employee of an insurance company. Technically, an independent agent’s boss is the client. Independent agents broker insurance companies and get paid commission.  They do not receive a salary as an employee. Working with an agent not solely employed by one carrier is nice because you can get unbiased advice.

A good independent agent can be proactive when it comes to your insurance rates. They can keep the client updated about rate changes. For instance, if an agent knows one of its companies’ rates is increasing, they can start looking for a better deal before the increase takes place. Captive agents are helpless and have to work with the carrier they represent.

Since an independent agent works for the client, often they will file your claim with the parent company. Personalized customer service is a high priority for independent agencies.  The agent works directly with the client, so you don't have to deal with the automated phone systems quite as often. Plus, an agent can give you advice before filing a claim.

Independent agents can be great time and money savers for their clients. The client still needs to be an informed consumer and look for good independent agents that are available, knowledgeable, and proactive.

LOOKING TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE?

Your home may be the biggest purchase you will ever make and is your most valuable asset!

If you own a home or rental property in Louisiana, you need a local insurance agent who will ensure you are fully covered and be there for you when you have damage and need to file a claim. 

At Apron Agencies, LLC, we will help you find the right fit for your needs while providing you with quality service and affordable pricing. At Apron Agencies, LLC, we have access to many top rated companies and we can find you the best fit at a fair price. 

 We will quickly compare your coverage to ensure that you have the best policy for the most competitive rate. At the same time, we will review your coverage to ensure you won't have any gaps in coverage down the road.

Call Apron Agencies, today and we will show you how we can save you money! (504) 416-0237. 

"Like momma in the kitchen, we got you covered."

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2019 HURRICANE SEASON

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1. The forecast is for 13 "Named" Tropical Storms, 5 Hurricanes (of which 2 are Cat 3+)

2. The peak of Hurricane season is August through October

3. Even a tropical storm (with max. sustained wind of 39-73 mph) can due much damage.

4. The eastern Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, southern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico are most prone to hurricanes.

5. Key supplies for a hurricane include non-perishable food, first aid kit, medicine, extra cash, and blankets.

6. Having a home inventory checklist will help you recover the full replacement value of lost valuables

7. There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance policies take effect

8. Make sure you have up to date contact information for your insurance agent

9. It is good to have a Handy Hurricane Check List (see next post for your free list)

10. Apron Agencies offers HOME, AUTO, FLOOD, COMMERCIAL, AND HEALTH INSURANCE. Call us and set up an appointment for your FREE HOUSEHOLD INSURANCE CHECKLIST.

For your comprehensive Hurricane Preparation Guide and Checklist visit www.apronagencies.com

THE BENEFITS OF CYBER LIABILITY INSURANCE

When cyber attacks occur, they can result in devastating damages. Businesses have to deal with business disruptions, lost revenue and litigation costs. It is important to remember that no organization is immune to the impact of cyber crime. As a result, cyber liability insurance has become an essential component to any risk management program.

Cyber liability insurance policies are tailored to meet your company’s specific needs and can offer a number of important benefits, including the following:

  1. Data breach coverage: In the event of a breach, organizations are required by law to notify affected parties. This can add to overall data breach costs, particularly as they relate to security fixes, identity theft protection for those impacted by the breach and protection from possible legal action. Cyber liability policies include coverage for these exposures, thus safeguarding your data from cyber crimes;

  2. Business interruption loss reimbursement: A cyber attack can lead to an IT failure that disrupts business operations, costing your organization both time and money. Cyber liability policies may cover your loss of income during these interruptions. In addition, increased costs to your business operations in the aftermath of a cyber attack may also be covered;

  3. Cyber extortion defense: Ransomware and similar malicious software are designed to steal and withhold key data from organizations until a steep fee is paid. As these types of attacks increase in frequency and severity, it’s critical that organizations seek cyber liability insurance, which can help recoup losses related to cyber extortion;

  4. Forensic support: Following a cyber attack, your organization will have to investigate to determine the extent of the breach and what caused the system to be vulnerable. The right policy can reimburse the insured for costs related to forensics and seeking out expert advice. Additionally, some policies can provide 24/7 support from cyber specialists, which is especially useful following a hack or data breach;

  5. Legal Support. In the wake of a cyber incident, businesses often seek legal counsel. Cyber liability insurance can help your business afford the proper legal representation following a cyber attack;

  6. Coverage beyond a general liability policy. General liability policies do not always protect organizations from losses related to data breaches. Supplementing your insurance with cyber insurance can provide you with peace of mind that, in the event of an attack, your business’ financial status and reputation will be protected.

Apron Agencies wants you to be informed and for your business to be prepared in the event that a cyber attack occurs. Call us today at (504) 416-0237 to get more information on how to protect your livelihood.

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WHAT IS AN UMBRELLA INSURANCE POLICY?

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 As an insurance professional, our clients may ask if they need any other insurance policies.  Most often, the answer is yes.  Not because we necessarily want to sell the client more insurance but because we see a possible “hole” in the coverage that may exist. Most people who consider themselves middle-class citizens need an umbrella policy.  This is because the cost of housing has inflated and the cost of replacing automobiles has risen dramatically.

So, what is an Umbrella policy?  An Umbrella policy is one that covers losses over and above your basic policies, such as your homeowners, auto insurance, etc.  We can describe this best by giving you an example.

Mr. Smith is married and has three children.  He has a homeowner’s policy for his home that is worth $450,000 and has liability insurance for $500,000 in coverage.  His automobile insurance policy has coverage of $250,000/$500,000 for liability and $250,000 for property damage.  The limits on these two policies are higher than the average person carries, but because of the value of Mr. Smith’s home and the fact that he has three teenage children driving, his agent and he have discussed that his limits should be higher than the average individual.

One night during Mardi Gras season, Johnny, his 17-year-old son, goes out and drives while under the influence and hits another vehicle and seriously injures four people in the adverse vehicle.  All the passengers in the adverse vehicle end up in the hospital and remain there for a week to ten days.  Johnny has been deemed at fault and was arrested for DUI.  The hospital bills for the adverse passengers totaled 1 million dollars.  Mr. Smith’s auto policy will only pay up to $500,000 for all medical bills.  The remaining $500,000 will be charged directly to Mr. Smith as he is responsible for the overage not paid for by the auto carrier. 

However, Mr. Smith’s insurance agent recognized that he was vulnerable to this kind of issue.  So, he made Mr. Smith take out an Umbrella policy that will pay over and above his auto policy and homeowners liability coverage in the event of a situation like that described above.  When the accident occurred, and the agent realized the extent of the injuries, she contacted the Umbrella carrier and notified them there might be a claim filed on their policy.  After the Umbrella carrier is provided with a Notice of Potential Loss, Mr. Smith can begin to send copies of all the invoices and reports related to the accident. Since the bills amounted to $1,000,000 and the auto carrier spent $500,000 and the Umbrella carrier spent $500,000, there is still $500,000 left to cover any additional costs for this accident.  There may be lawsuits filed and legal costs may incur as a result.  In this instance, Mr. Smith will have left the additional $500,000 left to cover these expenses.  However, it must be noted that anything over that $500,000 will have to be paid for by Mr. Smith.

So, what occurred here?  Without the Umbrella policy, Mr. Smith would have been responsible for the $500,000 in medical bills and anything over that amount would bedecided in the courts.  His assets could be at risk and possibly seized to cover  the remainder of the accident costs.  Without the Umbrella policy, Mr. Smith could have been looking at a significant decrease to his net worth. 

An Umbrella policy will cost anywhere between $350 to approximately $2000 depending on the worth of your assets.  The premium is calculated based on the number of assets you have, the type of assets, and the value of those assets.  The more “toys” a family has, the more expensive the policy becomes.  Also, swimming pools, Four Wheelers, ski jets, boats, etc. will make the price inflate because there is more likelihood of someone getting injured on these types of assets. 

One other important aspect of an Umbrella policy is that you must have an underlying policy in order for an Umbrella policy to be effective for that asset.  For example, if you have a ski jet that has no individual policy, it will not be covered by the Umbrella policy.  Upon completing applications for an Umbrella policy, the agent must show proof of coverage for every asset listed on the application.  If there is no primary coverage, then there can be no Umbrella coverage.  Any good agent should recognize and advise their client when they feel that a client has assets that should be protected over and above their primary policies.  If your agent has not suggested this, you may want to inquire about it or call another agent that should take an interest in this coverage. 

Above all, independent insurance agents provide their clients with peace of mind. You can know that your agent will do the work to find you the best policies that not only fit your needs but also save you money. Mel Leveque, with Apron Agencies, will put your interests first and help you feel confident in the protection you choose for your home, business, and family. “Like momma in the kitchen, we got you covered.” Call (504) 416-0237 or visit us online at apronagencies.com to learn more!