When it comes to picking an insurance agent, there are two main types to choose from – captive agents and independent agents. But what’s the difference between them? And which one is right for you?
In this article by the i.e. Insurance team, we will explore the differences between these two types of insurance agents so that you can decide which kind is best for you!
What is a Captive Insurance Agent?
A captive agent is employed by a specific insurance company and can only sell products from that insurer. Captive agents work for one specific insurance company, but they can sell any of the products offered by that carrier.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Captive Agent
There are both pros and cons to working with a captive agent. On the plus side, because these agents only sell products from one insurer, they typically have in-depth knowledge about those products. They also know how to get you the best deal with that one insurance company they represent.
However, captive agents can also be less flexible than independent agents when it comes to finding coverage that meets the needs of their clients. If a customer wants to buy insurance from a different company, the captive agent may not be able to help them find a plan that best suits their needs. Captive agents also typically tend to separate sales, service, and claims, so you may not get to talk to the person who set up your insurance policy when you need to make a change or file a claim.
What is an Independent Agent?
Independent agents are professionals who do not exclusively work with one insurance carrier. Instead, they have the freedom to shop around for different quotes from multiple insurance companies so that their clients can obtain the best coverage at an affordable price.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Independent Agents
The main advantage of working with an independent agent is flexibility. These agents are able to offer a wider range of products because they’re not limited by one insurer’s offerings – instead, they typically sell policies from several different carriers in order to find what works best for each client. Independent agents should have firm knowledge of all of the products they offer, and know which companies will work best for your individual situation.
On top of this, these professionals work on commission from the insurance company, so there is often no cost or fee to have a professional shop multiple companies for you! The only drawbacks here are that sometimes the companies an independent agent works with will be companies you’ve never heard of, and these independent agents cannot work with most of the companies that employ captive agents. Additionally, for service of your policy, you may have to work only with that office you signed up for insurance with. You want to make sure that you have a good communication plan with your agent so you know what to do if you need to file a claim or make changes to your policy.
Captive Agent Vs. Independent Agent – Which Option is Best for You?
Both captive agents and independent agents are capable of providing good customer service, so it ultimately comes down to what you’re looking for in an insurance agent.
If you want a policy from a ‘brand name’ company that you see advertised heavily and don’t mind having people you haven’t talked to previously help in the event of service or claims needs on your insurance, a captive agent may be best for you.
However, if you’d rather have someone to get to know and work closely with throughout your insurance transactions and an agent who can shop around until they find the plan that works best for you – regardless of which insurer offers it – then consider working with an independent agent.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that both captive agents and independent agents can provide quality service. It all comes down to what you’re looking for in an insurance agent and what type of coverage you need. So before making a decision, be sure to weigh your options and decide which option is best for you!
If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to our team at i.e. Insurance. Call us today at 724-719-2093 or contact us online. We would be glad to help you find an insurance agent that meets all your needs!