1. 37376 POINTS
    David G. Pipes, CLU®, RICP®
    Business Development Officer, T.D. McNeil Insurance Services, Fresno, California
    It is my opinion that the agent plays a more important role than the company. The agent is the one who will advise you on setting limits. When you have a claim those limits will determine how much of the claim will be paid by the insurance company. The advice of an agent is very important.
    Answered on February 3, 2015
  2. 63333 POINTS
    Peggy Mace
    Most of the U.S.
    With many companies, an agent is required before they will take your application. And many people get declined, get a policy they did not understand, or pay more than they need to pay when they decide to apply on their own. It does not cost any more premium to use an agent, and the services an agent provides can be very valuable.

    There is one more reason to use an agent to apply for a policy. When an agent points you to the most affordable life insurance for your health and age, your agent will not make any income from that advice unless you apply through him/her. Obviously, agents cannot make a living just giving out free advice. And again, it costs no more for you to apply through the agent - in fact, it could save you a lot of time, money, and frustration to let your agent guide you through the application process.

    Thank you for asking - that was a great question.
    Answered on February 4, 2015
  3. 1976 POINTS
    Ronald Hinch
    Regional Marketing Director, Capital Choice Financial Group,
    First of all, an experienced agent will be able to ask the right questions to make sure the client is getting the right face amount of insurance instead of just guessing the right amount. Secondly, by having a trusted agent will make any future changes or additions to a financial plan to keep the client on track. The career agent is interested in the client's needs and does not look at the client as just a sale. Ronald G Hinch, www.hinchfinancialgroup.com, 843450-9879.
    Answered on February 4, 2015
  4. 14231 POINTS
    Tom Sheehan
    Agency Owner, The Thomas G Sheehan Agency, 27 Glen Road Sandy Hook, CT 06482
    If a particular product that you need is offered by both direct and agency channels, you certainly are free to choose. However, and of course I am a bit biased because I am a Lisenced Insurance Professional who has served his clients and community for 30 years, it is my opinion that taking advantage of the professional services, advice and counsel offered by a local agent adds value and better protects you and your famil from dangerous gaps in coverage.
    Answered on February 4, 2015
  5. 11498 POINTS
    Jason Goldenzweig
    Co-Founder, TermInsuranceBrokers.com, Goldenzweig Financial Group, Las Vegas, Nevada
    I always recommend using an independent insurance agent who can compare multiple insurance companies instead of just one carrier.

    Agents who work for a specific carrier are known as "captive agents" and must apply through that carrier before they can look at other companies (and usually they can only look at other carriers if they were declined by the first company).

    There's no extra cost to using an independent agent versus calling the carrier directly and you get all of the added services at no charge (instead of getting a random customer service representative to try to answer your questions. Through an agent, you can speak with the same person for all your questions and get any input that you need.

    Applying through an agent can save you tons of time, aggravation, and frustration through the application process - and of course, they can save you a lot of money by determining for you which insurance company may offer the coverage at the lowest possible cost.

    Often times when you try to ask 10 different people for help, you can have too much information thrown at you and the process can become confusing. When you're looking for coverage, stick with an agent who you feel is knowledgeable, experienced, and will help you determine how much coverage is suitable to your needs and which carrier will offer it at the lowest possible cost based on your medical history.

    I hope the information is helpful - please feel free to contact me for help with your coverage and if you have any other questions. Thanks very much.
    Answered on February 4, 2015
  6. 10968 POINTS
    Tim Wilhoit
    Owner, Your Friend 4 Life, Brentwood TN
    The simply answer is that an experienced independent insurance broker works for you and your interests for free. We have access to multiple carriers and can shop unbiased for your best option to meet your unique needs. If you purchase direct from an insurance company, you get one best option and chances are not your best option. The companies you are familiar with advertise and market heavily. That cost is passed on to you as a consumer. Brokers have access to companies you are not familiar with who do not have large marketing budgets and ultimately have more affordable premiums for the same coverage.
    Answered on February 5, 2015
  7. 21750 POINTS
    Jim Winkler
    CEO/Owner, Winkler Financial Group, Houston, Texas
    This is an outstanding question! It goes to the heart of how best to protect your family, and sort through all of the choices out there. It can be scary trying to figure out who has the 'best deal' and since most people don't understand a lot about insurance, how not to get taken.
    I think it is fair to say also that people don't have a high opinion of insurance to begin with, so agents aren't seemingly much better. So why not just choose a policy from an on-line company or name brand company?
    Here's what I'd say to you. I have always done business as much by my feel for the person as by their product. If my server doesn't care about me or my meal, I don't go back to the restaurant, or I only order carryout from them. If a bagger at the grocery store just throws my groceries haphazardly into the bags, I'll look for a different line every time. I want to know that the person I'm dealing with cares about me, and my business. I also want to know that I have some flexibility - if they're the only bagger or server, I won't go back to those places.
    An independent agent can offer more options than a name brand office agent would. The name brand can only offer that companies policies, and prices. If their policy is the best one, and I feel the agent truly cares about me and my needs, I'll buy from them. Chances are though, I've met with at least one other independent agent (one not tied to a single brand name - I myself work with several) to shop prices and coverage before deciding. Again, how they presented themselves to me as they worked for my business was as much a consideration for me as the policy details. If I didn't feel like they cared about anything but the sale, I'd leave, and thank them for their time. When the time comes that I need help (and it inevitably does) I want someone who cares and jumps to help, not someone who has to hunt to figure out who I am.
    i guess for me, I want a relationship with my business people, (and my clients) not just a transaction. I hope that helps you, and I thank you for asking!
    Answered on February 7, 2015
  8. 2777 POINTS
    Terry A. McCarthy, CLU, ChFC
    President, Insurance Associates Agency Inc., West Chester, OH
    When you buy from a company you'll get acceptable advice, I have little doubt. What you won't likely get is advice from someone who knows where you live on a personal basis. You'll also probably never get to speak to the same person twice because service by the company isn't assigned to one person but a phone boiler room full of inbound call clerks. You're not likely to get advice that is based upon actual experience but is learned from the sterile depictions in a text book. In a nutshell, it is hard to make a call center accountable when something goes wrong with your coverage. On the other hand, I learn to help you avoid problems when I also get to experience the problems our customers encounter. In effect you get the collective experience of 1000's of my customers. Plus, no phone clerk has the incentive I have to help you get insurance right! We're certainly not perfect but an agent might be the best thing that comes with a policy. By the way, the Ohio Dept of Insurance has just come out publicly with a recommendation to buy insurance from an agent. I happen to agree.
    Answered on February 9, 2015
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