There are so many insurance providers in the marketplace today that searching for the right fit can become overwhelming to consumers. Not only is securing the right coverage for your home, car, or business an important process, but selecting who will assist you with obtaining that insurance coverage is just as critical. Many consumers are unaware of the difference between independent insurance agencies and captive agencies, but knowing what each can provide is very important.
Independent insurance agencies are just that – independent from any one specific insurance company. This means they can provide you access to a variety of insurance products from numerous insurance carriers. Independent agencies can shop the marketplace and choose to partner with the insurance carriers who offer the products their customers need. For example, an independent agency may have access to five different carriers for homeowners insurance. What does this mean for the consumer? Simply put, it means they can provide more choices. By shopping coverage through multiple carriers, independent agents can seek out the carrier that offers their customer the best coverage, premium, and payment schedules. An independent agent will often provide the customer with multiple options for their coverage.
The independent agent is often a one-stop-shop for multiple types of insurance – everything from homeowners to life insurance to auto coverage. And since insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all industry, having more choices allows the consumer to make the most of their time by having their agent search the best options for them. It’s like having a personal shopper!
Captive agencies typically sell for a single insurance provider – you often see their national advertisements on TV. These providers offer a variety of insurance products; however, these products are only those underwritten by their parent company. The downside to this arrangement is that captive agents don’t have multiple insurance carriers from which to seek coverage. Think of captive agencies like a big box store that only carries one specific brand. They offer great products, but only from their own brand so there isn’t as much variety.
Independent agencies serve an important role to property owners along the Gulf Coast. Many standard carriers cancelled all of their coastal policies and stopped writing any new business after hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, which made it difficult for consumers to find coverage. However, many independent agencies were still able to offer coverage as they had a much larger pool of carriers at their disposal. Many of the standard markets that are currently offering coverage in our area are doing so without coverage for wind, thus forcing the homeowner to seek out an additional Wind & Hail policy from another carrier.
As an independent agency, South Shore Insurance Agency prides itself on not only finding the correct coverage for our customer, but also educating the consumer on the policy details with words one can understand. An insurance policy is not all about the bottom line premium, but rather the coverage that you will or won’t receive when the unthinkable happens. Simply put, the loyalty of the independent agent lies with the consumer, not with a big box captive agency.