Do You Pay Your Insurance Agent?

(How Your Independent Agent Gets Paid.)
Does the consumer pay the insurance agent

Have you ever wondered who pays for your insurance agent? Is there a responsible party or do they work for free?  At, you can find the answers to your questions, and connecting you with a local independent agent is their specialty. 

What Is an Independent Insurance Agent?

You'll want to know what an independent insurance agent is first. In the insurance world, there are captive agents and there are independent agents. Independent agents work on your behalf, quoting your insurance with dozens of carriers. This allows them to find you the best coverage for a competitive price. An independent agent is also an unbiased third party, since they work for you, not the insurance companies.

Captive agents, on the other hand, are biased towards the one insurance company they represent. They are technically employed by the carrier and have one option for all your insurance needs. This can cause a rift between what's best for the company and what's best for the consumer.

Where It All Began

It all began way back in 1896 when two independent fire insurance agents decided they wanted a better way. They forged a group with twenty more, and  the Independent Insurance Agents of America (IIAA) was born on September 30, 1896.

The IIAA created a network of better products with more options and pricing for consumers. It made independent agents more versatile and helped clients get the coverage they needed for a reasonable price. 

Since then, independent agents have been mediators between consumers and carriers, forming a bridge for communication and storytelling. A good agent will get you a policy that makes sense; an exceptional agent will get you more than you paid for.

Does the Consumer Pay for the Independent Agent?

The million-dollar question is always "Who's going to pay? " While having a trusted adviser that is knowledgeable is essential, most people don't want to pay extra even if it's critical. How many times have you seen someone do something that wasn't logical to save a few dollars? Although something may be sensible to have, if it costs money, you are more likely to sacrifice it altogether. 

Fortunately, you are not responsible for paying your independent insurance agent. The insurance carriers are the ones that cut the agents a commission on items sold. This changes the question from "Should I get an agent?" to "What agent should I choose?"

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How to Interview Your Next Insurance Agent

When it comes to picking an insurance agent, you need to make sure they are knowledegable and trustworthy. Below are some key questions that should be asked before making a final decision. 

Interview Questions for Your Insurance Agent:
1. How many years have you been an agent?  While this may seem a bit invasive, it's necessary to know. There are some things only time and experience can teach.  and insurance is one of them. Nothing beats true time spent in the field in different situations to educate someone on all the what-ifs. If your agent is newer to the industry, that isn't necessarily a red flag, but it is something to note as you continue the conversation.
2. What is your current claims process?  If your agent fumbles to give you an answer, don't walk - run. Filing an insurance claim is a big deal. After all, that's what insurance is for, so if your agent doesn't have a plan in place, you may have a hard time getting a claim paid.
3. How many carriers do you represent?  One of the areas an independent agent shines is carrier selection. If your agent only has one or just a few, that means you could be missing out. The more variety you have when it comes to coverage and pricing, the better decision you'll make. 
4. What's your response time?  An independent agent should have a fast response time, usually replying the same day. If your agent is hard to get hold of or never returns your correspondence, it may be time to do some shopping.
5. Do you specialize in personal or commercial insurance?  This is a bigger deal than you may think. Typically an agent specializes in one or the other. You'll get in trouble if you're working with an agent that writes only one line of insurance and dabbles in the other. This is fine if the line in which they specialize is what you need, but if you need the other, it can be lethal. It goes back to the old adage, "You don't know what you don't know."

Where Can I Find an Independent Agent? works with many independent agents and can connect you with one in your area. If you are looking for a star agent to handle your insurance needs, check out the find your agent tool and get to exploring. 

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