An Agent vs Do-It-Yourself : Dear Insurance Agent...
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An Agent vs Do-It-Yourself

by A. Montalbano on 05/16/18

In recent years, the headlines spark wonder if the insurance outlook for consumers will shake many small insurance agencies.  Buying auto insurance direct for instance,  has worked out well online for a number of years.  However, when it comes to homeowners and commercial coverage, the agent is still the best beat.  Why you might wonder?  Online is the craze for purchasing everything and anything.  Well, almost.  

1.  At any level, homeowners insurance and commercial insurance still require technical assistance. It is a question of financially protecting larger assets. Details are left to the agent and so is the relationship.  Rarely do phone operators at large insurance call centers  spend much needed time with the phone caller.  This job scope is to process your credit card and move on.  Corporations believe customer service is wasted money, its the reason why so many large companies "outsource" to other countries and so many agents, like myself, look forward to hearing from customers. 
2.  Another reason why an agent works better in the insurance equation is we speak the insurance lingo.  Underwriters don't have the time to hang around on the phone to answer all concerns and usually don't have the ability to give the customer service most of us desire when we have an issue.  It is not that they are unkind or could care less about your matter, but they are trained to focus only on accepting or declining coverage to help keep the loss ratio low and make the company money at the same time.  they represent the company.
3.  Agents can advocate when an issue arise.  In 14 years of insurance, I've seen good agents advocate with great skill. (ask me how I have gone to bat). I take care and concern to heart when my customer is not given choices. 
4.  Variety of companies is what an agent can offer.  If you ever bought direct online, its one choice, and basic; why auto insurance works well in this manner.

My recommendation to the universe: don't sell yourself short! In the long stretch, agents, like myself, are interested in getting the word out about the do's and the don't shared with you on a one-on-one basis.  We get to see the reality of insurance and balance the satisfaction between the insurance company and the customer.  Trust is a two-way street.  Our efforts are based on commission and if you purchased a policy of $1000/yr, remember 10% is usually what we make on most policies.  So when you cancel, we got to pay back the commission.  
Connection is important to us because that is how we build business.  However, it is the agent who cannot accept the forward motion of technology who will get left behind. Our agency offers tech-enabled services to cut alot of the insurance hassle.  And while most agents are bound to making a direct appointment(carrier) required volume, our agency runs on a consumer-choice method, not the insurance company-choice method.  And we never stop scouting for better markets offering great rates.

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