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There have been a lot of changes in the insurance industry lately – especially in health insurance and Medicare coverage. Here are some reasons for you to choose an independent agent and not try to navigate the murky waters alone.
Choices, Choices, Choices
There are two kinds of insurance agents – independent and captive. A captive agent represents only one company and is a representative for that company. When I first began in the insurance business back in 1996 with my dad, we worked for a captive company called Bankers Life and Casualty Co. We could only represent Bankers Life in all that we did. If we ran across a client who needed Medicare supplements, they were offered one from Bankers. If they needed life insurance, they were offered a plan from Bankers. We could not provide choices for the client.
An independent agent is not tied down to one company. An independent agent contracts with numerous companies and can shop your coverage for the best deals possible while weighing price and company strength for you. Most importantly, an independent agent works for you. They will not be in business long if they do not do a good job for the client. They have a vested interest in protecting your interests.
You Won’t Save By Cutting Out The Agent
There are a large number of people who sign up directly with insurance companies instead of utilizing an independent agent. Many companies have dozens of representatives that handle calls to enroll people every day.
However, you get the same price whether you go directly to the company or if you use an independent agent. When you need a question answered and call back to the company, the chances of you talking to the same person twice are slim, and to them, you are simply a policy number.
When you call a company to enroll directly with them, they will not tell you of their upcoming rate increases. They will also never give you a rate for their competitors. An independent agent can help you to see all the prices for all the companies. We can warn you of any rate increases that we know are coming.
Just this week I spoke with a lady who was interested in going with a certain company. I asked if she was aware of their upcoming rate increase two months away. She told me the rep she talked to at the insurance company had not mentioned it. When she saw just that one benefit of working with an independent agent, she immediately asked if she could enroll with us right now (with a different company at a much better rate, as well!).
Benefits of Using an Independent Agent:
- Customer service – An independent agent will not treat you like a number. A good agent is going to take care of you. Their livelihood depends on it.
- Value – An independent agent will find the best deals possible for you. If an independent agent doesn’t get you the best possible deal for what you are looking for, they face the possibility of you leaving them to get coverage elsewhere. And with rates ranging widely from company to company, an independent agent can search to find more options than you can on your own.
- Knowledge – Insurance is a complicated subject and having someone that deals with it day in and day out can benefit you. Every day, independent agents help people avoid pitfalls that they may not even know exist. For example, the Medicare Supplement Plan F is the number one selling plan because on paper it looks like it pays for all the gaps in Medicare. Yet, when comparing coverage and costs between the Plan F and Plan G, the Plan G is already a much better value today. But without seeing the advantages of one plan over another every day, many people who have no insurance knowledge go with what they think is best without realizing there is something better available. Using an independent agent can save you money.
- Trust – You can have someone who can consult you now and into the future.
- Claims – An independent agent can keep you from sitting on the phone for an hour trying to handle a missed claim payment to a medical facility or getting a death benefit taken care of. One call to your independent agent and he or she can take care of it from there. An independent agent deals directly with the insurance company for you. After all, the independent agent works for you. We have a dedicated claims department to help you deal with any claims that may slip through.
- Unbiased advice – Working with an independent agent can also provide you with much needed, unbiased advice. When you work with only one insurance company through a captive agent, they will want you to believe that they are the best option for you. In reality, they may not even be one of the top three choices that you should be looking at. An independent agent can help you choose among all the best insurance companies in the market.
- Education – There is a lot of information on Medicare.gov, but it can be confusing. You should understand at least in basic terms what your insurance will do for you. Your agent should make sure you understand the differences between different kinds of coverage.
Contact us today a 1-888-228-6119 or fill out the form with your questions to take advantage of our free plan comparison service.
Keith Murray is an independent agent and the founder of Integrity Senior Solutions Inc. He has over 20 years of experience working with Seniors to meet their insurance and financial needs.