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.