Spring time! Are you the type of person who starts thinking about new when spring arrives? If so, one thing you might be considering is your list of professional advisers. One of those advisers might be your insurance agent. Take your time and do your due diligence. Here are 6 items to take into consideration.
1. Captured or IndependentDeciding if you want coverage from a captured or independent agent before any other decision will make the remaining items a faster decision-making process.An independent is not affiliated with any one specific insurance company, and normally represents a variety of insurance companies. A captured agent is one who works for/represents one insurance company, such as Allstate, Nationwide or State Farm.
2. LocationDo you want an agent close to your home, or would it be more convenient to find an agent who has an office close to your place of business? Consider when you’d rather go to the office. Will it be on a lunch hour or after work? This is an issue that doesn’t always apply, because some insurance agents come to you. Talk about the best location!
3. Office HoursIf your agent is open from 9-5, Monday-Friday, these hours could cause issues if you don’t have a flexible schedule at work. Do they close during the lunch hour? Another inconvenience for you if they are closed the same time you are required to take your lunch. Find out if they are open on Saturdays. If so, going back to location, it would be best to find an agent close to home.
4. Customer ServiceWhen asking for referrals, ask why the person is referring this specific agent. Make sure that it’s customary for them to talk to you over the phone or meet with you in person each year to ensure you haven’t had any changes that would require adjusting your coverage. This type of customer service is imperative because you don’t want to find out you didn’t have proper coverage as a result of the agent not knowing you needed it. Customer service is huge, especially if you experience a disaster and need to file a claim. How quickly will they get back with you? Do they follow up? Are they helpful and assist you?
5. ReputationWhat type of person is this agent? It’s key to know the type of person he or she is. Honest? High integrity? Social media is a great way to learn about a person. Read their Facebook and LinkedIn pages and follow them on Twitter. You can learn a lot about people by reading their interactions with others.
6. PersonalityMeet with at least 3 agents who are still candidates after these first 5 steps in your search process. No matter how great they are, if your personalities don’t mesh, it won’t be a good business relationship.
This seems like a long, drawn-out process. However, it’ll go quicker than it sounds, and it is well worth your effort. When disasters occur, you’ll want an agent/agency that is right for you.