Research shows that many consumers who use direct insurance return to using independent agents for the value they offer. In many cases, they are initially enticed to leave their independent agents by the prospect of lower prices direct companies claim to offer. Researchers found that almost 60 percent of the participants in the survey who had bought insurance through a direct channel had reported going back to using independent agents, and the majority replied that their reasoning was for better overall value.
Some of the most prevalent benefits of working with an independent agent/agency;
• Choice – Independent Agents represent multiple companies and that adds value and gives options.
• Safety – Peace of mind is a great asset. That is typically lost when buying direct as a simple mistake with a coverage selection can have catastrophic results in a claim. When there is a problem, there is no one to advocate on your behalf. Independent Agents go through a lot of training and continuing education and have the expertise to be your advocate.
• Price – It is not necessarily true that buying direct means lower premium. Actually, in most cases, an independent agency will be able to cover you properly at a lower cost. Agencies and Brokers typically have strong relationships with insurance companies and get better pricing due to; volume and the lower risk the insurance company faces by having an experienced agent provide risk assessment.
Most of the survey participants who went back to using independent agents said that these professionals offered more convenience and expertise. In addition to this, many participants said that independent agents offered a central point of contact for answering questions or dealing with other insurance needs, which was much less of a hassle than using automated phone menus or confusing online forms. Overall, consumers seem to prefer having the guidance of an experienced agent available to them.
Researchers said that their findings not only show how important person-to-person advice is but also the importance of building a professional relationship with customers. Another finding researchers pointed out was that trust is highly valued, and this is something that an independent agent is able to build with each client by providing advice and help. While online purchase options are being offered more often these days, more than 60 percent of respondents said they bought coverage through independent agents.
With a complex product like insurance, cutting out the ‘middle-man’ is too great a risk and the perceived benefits, like a lower price, often turns out to not be true. An independent agent that offers trust, value and expertise can keep you properly protected. Contact us to see how we can help.