Why You Should Use A Local Insurance Agent

By Kristin Ryan

As a local insurance agent ourselves, we are commonly asked why you should use a local insurance agent. There are many reasons why using a local insurance agent is a great way to go when considering buying or changing insurance providers. But, before answering your question, which this article will, let’s first start with defining the difference between an insurance company and an insurance agent. 

What’s The Difference Between an Insurance Company and an Insurance Agent? 

An insurance company is who the consumer has a contract with, which states that, in exchange for a certain premium, they will provide a certain coverage to the individual or company. Their (the insurance company) name is on the policy, they are the ones issuing claims checks and who you are paying your premium to. 

An insurance agency is the organization that works on your (the customer) behalf to secure the best insurance protection that fits your individual needs. The agency is who is negotiating and securing the contracts between different carriers for you to “shop your options” and make a guided, and educated decision.. 

Why Use an Insurance Agency Instead of Going Direct to the Insurance Company? 

If you are a business, the majority of the time you must use an agent to obtain coverage since most insurance companies do not deal directly with the insured. On the other hand, for your personal insurance,  you have the choice of using a trusted insurance agent or you can go direct to a variety of carriers at the click of a button. 

While surfing the web to secure a policy quickly can sound appealing, there are many benefits of working with an agent. :

  • Insurance Agent’s Work for You
  • Agents Have Access to Numerous Companies
  • Agents Are Experts in More Than One Company’s Coverage
  • Local Insurance Agents Are a One Stop Shop
  • Agents Negotiate and Monitor the Best Price
  • Agents Provide Unique Service

Insurance Agent’s Work for You!

Insurance Company

The agent you speak with at the insurance company is working for that specific company. Their loyalty is to the insurance company and to make sure they secure your business, even if that means sacrificing coverage and leaving you exposed. 

Insurance Agency

Your dedicated agent works for you! Every family and business are not the same and all will have different wants/needs. Our job is to get to know you personally, to understand what coverage you actually need, and tailor a policy for you. When selecting an agent, make sure they are established and trusted. Your agent should not only be there when they sell you the policy, but to hold your hand during a claim, assist with an audit, or be by your side during an inspection. At Hanson & Ryan, we are your biggest advocates and want to be there to protect what you work hard to build.  

Agents Have Access to Numerous Companies

Insurance Company

You only have access to that one company. Yes they may be able to adjust your policy but they can’t look at other markets to find the best fit for you.

Insurance Agency

You have access to a variety of different companies. Just like every person is not the same, no carrier is the same either. Your agent will compare not only price but coverage to offer only the best options that fits your needs. Being in business since 1876, Hanson & Ryan has worked hard through the centuries to build strong relationships with only the greatest insurance companies in business that will offer the best products and stand up to their end of the contract. 

Using a local insurance agency has the added benefit of knowing the best companies in your area. Some insurance carriers offer their products throughout the country or even worldwide. Some smaller companies are only available in a limited region. One is not better than the other, but it is important for the agent to find what works best for that client’s needs.

Agents Are Experts in More Than One Company’s Coverage

Insurance Company

Representatives are only required to know their company and products they offer. Some representatives may not even have an insurance license. 

Insurance Agency

With an agency, you are dealing with licensed professionals who must take annual courses to keep up with licenses. With licenses comes fiduciary responsibilities to follow certain guidelines and advise you correctly. At Hanson & Ryan we encourage advanced learning. The majority of staff obtained specialty designations; some specializing in construction, risk management, and more. 

Let’s be honest, no one wants to comb through a 300 page insurance policy in their spare time besides us insurance nerds. The forms in your policy can be so complicated they might as well be written in a different language.  This is where you can lean on your insurance agent to help you to learn exactly what is in that policy. A local insurance agent has the advanced knowledge to advise on coverage including flood plans, fault lines, and other elements outside of your control. 

Local Insurance Agents Are a One Stop Shop

Insurance Company

Most direct insurance companies only handle one area of coverage, home/auto. You then need to have another contact for your business, another for health insurance, and another for life insurance. Since these contacts don’t speak to one another you may have duplicate coverage or even worse gaps in coverage.

Insurance Agency

While all agencies are different, at Hanson & Ryan, we handle every type of insurance from your personal home/car to your business; including health, life, and everything in between. You are not calling a 1-800 number and getting routed to the next available representative. You will speak to a live receptionist and have a dedicated representative who is an expert in their field, all under one roof. When you need to make a change, our departments work together to make sure it goes seamless. 

Agents Negotiate and Monitor the Best Price

Insurance Company

You might be able to obtain free quotes online or over the phone. The price is  the price. They can cut coverages to leave you and your family exposed. Occasionally there will be a discount they can offer, but if you go direct there is very little room for negotiation.

Insurance Agency

At an agency, all quotes are also completely free. After you purchase from an agency, the savings do not stop there. Agencies are constantly monitoring your premium and are able to shop them with other companies if rates increase. You do not need to sacrifice coverage but may need to change to a carrier that better fits your needs. Agencies are authorized to give insurance discounts too. Remember, insurance agents represent you and work on your behalf, it is their job to negotiate the pricing with the company.  We also have the knowledge to assess your situation to advise you on measures you can take to earn even further credits, such as installing a security system or applying for a contractor credit for using union workers. 

Here is the kicker… it does not cost you anything extra to use an insurance agent! There are some insurance companies you can access directly or go through an agency and it costs the same! Each of your policies comes with a commission rate already built in. The only difference is, if you go with an agent, instead of 100% going to the company, your commission gets split between the company and agent. To be completely transparent, if an insurance agency hits a goal with certain companies, they may be eligible to get an extra bonus at the end of the year. However, all these rates are built into the premium, so it will not cost you anything additional. 

Agents Provide Unique Service

Here at Hanson & Ryan, we pride ourselves on our relationships. Not just with our insurance companies, vendors, partners, and clients but also with our employees. We have some of the most amazing, knowledgeable professionals who truly care about their clients and provide them with the best service. They get to know each client personally, so you are not a stranger and receive a unique experience. Hanson & Ryan along with our staff are strongly integrated in the community. They are constantly attending events and giving back to their community through their philanthropic endeavors. Shopping local doesn’t mean sacrificing quality service and protection. Have an insurance question? Give us a call!