Independent insurance agents offer you a choice, are licensed experts, become personal advisers, and are just around the corner from your business. But, how do you know you are choosing the right insurance agent for your business?
- Ask other business owners in your area for a personal recommendation for an independent agent that has provided good, fair, and prompt service. Pay particular attention to recommendations from owners of businesses similar to yours.
- Contact your local chamber of commerce and ask for a directory of business insurance professionals. Insurance agencies are typically listed in the financial section of the directory. Independent agencies recognize the importance of supporting and contributing to the local economy and are oftentimes members of the chamber of commerce for that reason—they care about growing their communities.
After you have located a few insurance professionals, you need to spend time evaluating their experience, knowledge of your industry, and personality fit. Contact the agencies and ask questions over the phone, or better yet, ask to schedule an introductory meeting so you can evaluate the agent first hand. Be sure to make note of the following:
- How long has the agent been licensed? This will help you determine the level of professional insurance experience the agent has.
- Has the agent passed industry exams and taken additional insurance education courses? Specifically ask if the agent is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) or an Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI).
- Does the agent serve a specialty or niche business population? Ask the agent to explain how he or she can help you determine your insurance needs based on your specific type of business.
- What types of insurance does the agency sell? Some business owners decide to use one insurance agency for all of their insurance needs (personal auto, homeowners, life, health, and business), but before doing so make sure the agency handles all the types of insurance you might need.
- Does the agent’s personality fit with yours? Your independent insurance agent can become much more than just someone you purchase insurance from. He or she is your trusted adviser when it comes to ensuring your business is protected. You will want to have a comfortable, professional relationship with your agent so you can ask questions and get the straightforward responses you deserve.