Finding a Quality Agent

Finding a Quality Insurance Agent is a Top Priority for the Southeastern Homeowner

The Florida and South Carolina homeowners insurance marketplace is extremely competitive. With more homeowners carriers abandoning the Southeast local market, finding an insurance agent who is in your corner is critical to the southeast homeowner. What should you look for in an insurance agent?

A deep knowledge of the insurance industry

One catastrophe can change insurance availability and pricing. Catastrophes drive insurance prices and can change the insurance environment literally overnight. Your agent should have a number of years of experience and offer solutions to a constantly evolving underwriting and claims environment.

Professional designations mean your agent views insurance as not just a job but also a career

Does the agent you are considering have professional insurance designations that show specialized study? While many great agents do not have any designations, professional designations such as the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) or the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) show that an agent has worked hard to better assess your unique insurance needs. They understand more than just insurance coverage. They recognize the risks facing your family and know how to tailor your coverage to meet a shifting risk landscape.

Access to a number of quality insurance carriers

Many people make the mistake of buying their coverage online without consulting with an insurance professional first or obtaining only one quote before they purchase their coverage. Instead, working with an independent agent who represents a wide choice of insurance companies ensures that you find the broadest coverage at the most competitive price.

Quality agents do not sell on price alone

Quality agents rarely make their recommendations solely on price. Instead, they consider many different aspects when presenting you with insurance options. They will analyze the benefits of each potential insurance company and the exclusions listed on each particular policy. They also consider each company’s reputation and its ability to pay claims in a timely manner. They will also consider the strength of the customer service that company provides. They will also discuss deductible options with you so that you can determine how much risk you can afford to embrace.

The agent’s reputation and community involvement

How did you hear about your agent? A strong sign of a quality agent is a high volume of referral business; one happy customer tells another. Where is the agent’s office located? Is the office well maintained and in a professional building, or is the agent working out of his or her home or in temporary quarters? Is the staff friendly, professional and knowledgeable?

How long has the agency you are considering been in business? How long has the agent been licensed? Seasoned agents usually have strong ties with company underwriters. They have worked hard to develop a reputation for excellent customer service and offer a deep knowledge of the insurance industry.

Is the agent you are considering an active member of the community? Are you likely to see him or her at your son’s Little League game or at your neighborhood grocery store?

You want an agent who is accountable to the community in which you live. Our Frontline® agents all live in and serve the communities where they work.

Memberships in insurance associations is important

Memberships in trade associations like the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) can be extremely valuable to agents. The FAIA offers non-stop education to agency owners and their staff.

Professional insurance associations like the FAIA offer detailed financial information to their member agents about the carriers these agents represent. The benefits of membership in professional associations means your agent has a leg up in identifying strong, stable companies as well as an early warning when carriers experience financial or service problems.

Your agent—your partner

Your insurance agent should be your partner in protecting your home and family from life’s uncertainties. Just as you would not choose a family attorney or accountant based on visiting a few websites, you should investigate any agent you consider before you buy coverage.

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To locate an agent in your area, use our Agent Locator.

Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.