If you’re looking for independent insurance agents in your area, you’ve come to the right place. Finding independent insurance agents does not seem to be a daunting task. Independent insurance agents can save you money whether you’re looking for a better deal or have recently moved to a new area.
Don’t know where to begin? Start your search with these tips on finding the right insurance agent for you.
1) Consult with Your Friends and Relatives
Asking for a personal recommendation from family members, trusted friends, and coworkers is an excellent way to begin your search. People familiar with you and your situation can provide helpful advice regarding insurance agents to consider. You can also gain knowledge from other people’s experiences.
Word-of-mouth is always one of the best and practical recommendations you can get. If the individuals you trust are willing to give you advice, you can rest be assured that the agents they recommend are reliable and trustworthy.
2) Undertake an Online Search
It’s a good idea to use internet resources to find websites, reviews, social media pages, and other information before hiring independent insurance agents in your area. A quick online search can provide additional information about the insurance agents you’re considering working with.
For example, if the independent insurance agents in your area consistently receive positive online ratings. In that case, you can be reasonably convinced that working with such agents will be a positive experience.
3) Survey Your friends
Use social media to your advantage! Inform your connections that you are looking for independent insurance agents and ask for referrals. It’s a great way to improve your search and it can even be entertaining as you reconnect with old acquaintances and friends.
4) Hire Experienced and Professional Agents
You should hire an insurance agent with at least three to five years of experience. If they don’t have enough experience, they should work with a skilled professional who will help them through the process.
Local independent insurance agents should maintain core product knowledge, expertise, and continuing education relevant to insurance policies. If an insurance agent sells you a life insurance policy that they don’t understand, you may end up with a completely inappropriate policy.
5) Agent’s Licensing and Certification
Licensing is a term that refers to the process of obtaining certification. Check with your regional insurance department to ensure that the agent is legally licensed and in good standing. You can also check your agents’ license status online, such as on California’s license lookup page. Therefore, anyone selling insurance must be approved by the insurance department in the state where the policy is purchased.
6) Interview all Prospective Independent Insurance Agents
According to Hungelmann, it’s best to interview two or three independent insurance agents in your area. Ask them about specifics and other details, as you would with an attorney or accountant.
“Tell them your situation and see who gives you the best advice,” Hungelmann advises. He acknowledges that conducting so many interviews can be exhausting. “However, once you have the expert on your team, you are going to have someone who truly understands what they’re doing,” he says. “Your assets and investments will be better protected as a result. There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering that a claim is not covered properly at the time of the submission.”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about an agent’s background. You can also request a resume if you think it’s necessary.
According to Bitterlich, customers should request references from agents and brokers. “A good independent insurance agent should have several satisfied clients who can recommend him or her enthusiastically.” Furthermore, the nature of the agent-client relationship necessitates policyholders disclosing “all sorts of personal information” to their insurance agent, Bitterlich says. So, professionalism and trust are crucial. “If you feel your insurance agent is only interested in selling you a health plan, you should look elsewhere,” he advises.
7) Keep Your Ears and Eyes Open for New Information
Which independent insurance agents appear to be the most engaged in your neighborhood? Check out radio commercials, television, and newspapers to find who is advertising. Which agents are participating in or attending regional events? How accessible are the local independent insurance agents you’re considering? Thus, the agents who are actively involved in the regional community make it a priority to stay in touch with their clients.
How to Evaluate the Local Independent Insurance Agent’s Credentials?
There are numerous credentials and designations in the life insurance industry. The requirements for obtaining and maintaining specific accreditations will differ significantly. Also, professional designations represent a dedication to the profession and good business practices.
You can begin by asking about the advisor’s designation and how it is valuable and relevant to you.
There are two basic types of insurance designations:
i) Professional Designations or Titles
Agents can earn these titles through formal training and testing. These professional designations show that the officials are committed to their professional growth:
- The standard professional credentials for health insurance agents is the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).
- Insurance agents who are financial advisors may carry such designations as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), or Personal Financial Specialist (CPA–PFS).
There are a variety of other professional titles, but these are the most common.
ii) Rogue Designations
These are credentials that are available to anyone who pays for them. You can obtain this designation by attending a brief seminar or taking a quick online course. Insurance regulators have outlawed several designations, particularly those that target senior citizens.
In California state, these certifications include Certified Senior Specialist (CSS), Certified Retirement Financial Advisor (CRFA), and Elder Planning Counselor (EPC). You can check with accredited organizations to see if the agent’s license is still valid.
Questions to Ponder when Interviewing Independent Insurance Agents in Your Area
The best way to find any consultant is to ask them questions. This will help you learn more about them and give you an idea of whether you will be able to communicate effectively with them. Here are a few questions to ask:
- Do you represent multiple businesses? If the agent only represents one company, they will not provide you with a wide range of life insurance quotes.
- How do you deal with medical problems? An independent insurance agent should have a procedure for life insurance customers with medical conditions. They should discuss medical issues with an insurance company underwriter informally before you even submit an enrollment application.
- How do you stay up to date? Your insurance agent must have a formal program review process. This would entail determining whether you need to make any changes to your health insurance plans, such as changes in beneficiary designations or coverage amounts.
- How do you choose a product to endorse? While it’s helpful to have an insurance product with the lowest premium, it’s not always the best option.
- Do you adhere to a strict code of ethics? A code of ethics governs life insurance agents who have earned professional designations or are members of an agent association. The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) is the largest organization that regulates these insurance agents.
Red Flags with Independent Insurance Agents
Most insurance agents are professional experts who want to help their customers. As with any other profession, there are some insurance representatives to avoid. So, before you hire an independent insurance agent in your area, keep the following red flags in mind:
- Dodging questions: The insurance agent does not respond to questions directly. They only give you partial answers or change the topic.
- Lack of written documentation: Responses and proposals are mostly made orally rather than in writing. It’s critical to insist on receiving any offers or recommendations in writing.
- Time Constraints: The agents will not give you enough time to think about a proposal.
- Isolation: They will discourage you from discussing a proposal with a third party or having a third party present.
- Limited Options: There are only one or two options available to you. The insurance agent begins by pitching a specific product before assessing your needs.
A qualified insurance agent will listen to your needs, assess them, and help find the best product for you. They’ll also work hard to ensure that your insurance policy remains affordable and meets your needs.
As insurance policies are for the long term thus, it’s crucial to have a good working relationship with your agent.
How to find Local Insurance Agents?
If you’re looking for local independent insurance agents, you will find knowledgeable and experienced agents at Insurance Shopping. Our licensed agents will assist you in analyzing your policy needs before providing you with a no-obligation-free quote. Also, our independent agents serve businesses and individuals in different regions and states. Call +1 855-913-1570 to reach out to our team.