5 Advantages of Independent Agents
Choosing between being an independent agent and captive is a decision that many struggle with when first entering the industry. While there are some distinct advantages that captive agents enjoy — a powerful corporate backbone and name recognition to name two — you may still see yourself gravitating toward independence for the following reasons.
1. You offer more selection
As an independent insurance agent, you have the advantage of selling from 100 or more companies at once. The size of your selection helps you stand out to cost-conscious customers. While captive agents can offer discounts for stacking coverages to combat some of this advantage, there is still nothing more consumer-friendly than a competitive marketplace. Since that’s what you’re dealing in, you have built-in appeal that you don’t have to work as hard to establish.
2. You have an easier time selling the ‘fight for the little guy’ image
Many savvy shoppers appreciate the very nature of your independence because they know that, since you are not beholden to one company, you make them your top priority. And here’s the thing about the insurance shopper of today. They are more involved and knowledgeable than in years past because of how readily available comparison shopping info is. They know — at least many of them do — that national brands are going to have the company’s best interests at heart first and foremost. Independent agents are distinctly advantaged in this regard.
3. You can help shoppers deal with two of their biggest issues at the same time
The two biggest issues that most insurance shoppers face are finding the lowest cost and locating the best coverage, then determining the best balance between the two. This is hard enough to do on your own one time, let alone again and again, year after year. As an independent agent, you can distinguish your annual policy reviews by dipping back into the pool and reaching for the deepest discounts and the best terms. You are constantly looking to offer your clients the best of both worlds instead of working in the best interests of a single company. That’s a pretty big selling point for your services.
4. You often have more freedom over your day
While the advantages you bring to your clients are important, let’s briefly discuss how being an independent insurance agent helps you as well. When you work for customers instead of companies, you are essentially working for yourself. It’s not that you no longer have obligations. You are just not constantly being told how to structure and manage your day. Careful, though. This can be both a blessing and a curse. If you aren’t the type of person who works well independently, this could just as easily be a disaster.
5. You have more support than you think
Companies like State Farm and Allstate are really good at what they do, providing agents with the necessary support systems to serve their customers’ needs, but independent agents are no worse off than captive agents in this regard. That’s because of all the companies you do represent, you have systems at each that are designed to answer questions and provide resources for helping you create a better customer experience. In other words, you aren’t as alone as you think you are; in fact, you’re not alone at all.
So what’s it going to be: independent agent or captive agent? The article above makes the case for independents, but it’s ultimately up to you as to which path is the most advantageous. Do your homework before committing and choose your path based on how well you thrive in each situation. One thing is for sure, though. There’s room enough for everyone.