How to Find a Great Insurance Agent
Finding an insurance agent is not always as easy as simply looking online or in the Yellow Pages. Before you entrust your financial livelihood to a perfect stranger, there is a little background research you should do.
- Find a licensed agent: Insurance is a state-regulated product. For that reason, insurance agents must be properly licensed in order to sell it. You can find a licensed agent on your state’s department of insurance webpage or on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website.
- Check for complaints: While it is rare, there are sometimes agents out there who have a difficult time satisfying their customers. Check with your state’s department of insurance to find out if there are any complaints against the various agents you are considering working with. It is always important to remember that there are two sides to every story, but if an agent has many complaints against them then it’s possible that they are not a good choice for you.
- Get to know each prospective agent: Protecting yourself and your family with insurance helps preserve your financial standing and keeps you on target toward reaching your goals. That means that the agent you choose must be able to understand and satisfy your family’s needs, must respect your wishes and must be someone that you want to spend time with and rely on over the years. Before you make a final decision on the agent you want representing your needs with the insurance companies, take some time to speak with them and make sure that you feel confident about their abilities and their level of dedication and that they are someone with whom you want to develop a long-standing business relationship.
- Look for credentials and designations: Any agent can be a great agent—even if he or she has no accreditation beyond the license to sell insurance. But those agents who do have additional designations and credentials have taken the additional time to earn that credit. They also may be trained to deal with other aspects of your financial life, thereby creating a more comprehensive plan of financial management.
- Look for full disclosure: When you are shopping for insurance, you will be evaluating the offers of many different insurance companies. Your agent should be willing to share information about each insurer you consider—and that includes their rating with A.M. Best. Before you develop a relationship with an agent, ask them if they will be willing to do so.
Remember, finding an insurance agent isn’t just about finding someone who can sell you insurance. It’s about finding someone who is willing to listen to your concerns, understand your needs, and do what it takes to find insurance policies that fulfill them.