27 Jun Direct Writers Vs. Independent Agents
Direct Writers Vs. Independent Agents
Every day we are faced with numerous insurance ads. A talking lizard says buy directly from him; another commercial tells you you’re in good hands if you buy directly from them; and then there is the lady who shows up in commercials set in the past, present and future! While these ads may be entertaining, how can you tell if their coverage, price, and service will meet your needs?
At ICNE, we want you to understand what the difference is between buying insurance directly from one of the national companies and using an independent agent for your personal or business insurance needs.
The difference between a “Direct” Writer and an Independent Agent
A direct insurance writer is a company that allows you to buy insurance directly from them, which means that they can only sell you a policy from their particular company. Direct writers are not able to shop around to find you the optimal coverage at the best premium. They have a commitment to the business first and then to the consumer.
At first glance, you may think that buying direct will offer you all the coverage you need at a desirable rate. However, make sure you are checking all the fine print before making a final decision; many of these policies last only six months. Upon renewal, you may be shocked to see your rates drastically increase, and if you ever need to file an insurance claim, you may find yourself underinsured. To make matters worse, they may have you talking to a claim representative who works and lives in another part of the country, someone who is not familiar with your area, and whose number one interest is what is best for the company, not you.
An independent agent is someone who works on your behalf. Their number one priority is you, the customer. Independent agents offer personalization, and they will take the time to get to know you and your family. Then, they will evaluate your specific needs in order to provide you with a variety of quotes from several companies, which ultimately provides you with the best coverage at the fairest rates. The majority of independent agents in Massachusetts focus on building life-long relationships with their customers so they can assess your evolving needs and make certain they protect you at every stage of your life.
As an added benefit to you, the consumer, some insurance agents, like ICNE, have full-time claims departments that work on behalf of the insured to navigate tricky claims. A claims specialist at the agency level acts as a intermediary between the customer and the insurance carrier. They always keep your best interest top-of-mind, and, as your advocate, encourage swift action by your carrier to expedite the claim process, so you can get back to normal quickly.
Why people choose Independent Agents
In 2008, you may remember the auto insurance market in Massachusetts drastically changed. At this point, direct writers went on a massive publicity campaign massive and significantly ramped up their advertising. However, something else was happening too; the independent insurance agents did not back down. They worked closely with their partners, the insurance carriers, to develop new products and services to better serve the needs of residents and drivers across the Commonwealth.
According to InsightExpress, a study conducted for The Hanover Insurance Companies, which surveyed 1,000 consumers who purchased insurance through direct channels 10+ years ago, nearly 60% of these customers ended up switching back to an independent agent because they wanted more value and more of a relationship.
Three of the top reasons most consumers switched back to Independent Agents are:
- Expertise – trusted advice and guidance from an experienced personal insurance professional
- Convenience – someone local they can depend on
- Personal relationship with one point of contact – instead of working with multiple people, consumers value an independent agent who will get to know them individually and understand their needs
If you are ready for a more personal relationship with a trusted, independent insurance advisor who will help protect your home, auto, or business, call ICNE today at (800)243-8134, or stop in to any of our five convenient Massachusetts offices.