What should you look for when choosing a professional insurance agent?
By Terri Powers
1. Insurance Industry & Product Knowledge:
Look for an agent that has knowledge of their industry and the products they offer. One way an agent demonstrates this is through the professional designations they have earned through extensive training. These include designations such as: CIC, CPCU, CPIA, CLU, and CRM
2. Knowledge of your industry:
An agent that is knowledgeable with respect to your industry works with multiple companies to improve their knowledge and experience with the issues facing those businesses.
3. Experience in day to day issues facing insurance consumers:
Professional agents work with their clients to develop solutions and reduce insurance costs – and they review client needs regularly. Does your agent offer to discuss your needs and concerns with you at least once a year to determine changes to your insurance program?
Professionalism is demonstrated in a number of ways. Look for things such as personally answered phone calls, prompt resolution of your requests, clear explanations of coverage, minimum standards within the agency designed to protect your most valuable assets - and be sure to check that all personnel within the agency are licensed agents!
5. Quality Products:
Not all insurance policies or companies are the same. Look for an agency that works only with companies that are financially stable as demonstrated by an A.M. Best rating of “A” or better. Does the agency provide a broad range of products or only the most “economy grade” policies?
6. Claims Service:
Look for an agency phone number providing 24/7 service, rather than a company provided “service center” phone number. An agent should provide the advice and attention you need at the time of a loss - this includes an explanation of the claims process and an agent that intercedes on your behalf when needed to assure that your claim is handled promptly and efficiently.
Terri Powers, CIC, CPIA, is President of Premier Choice Insurance Agency, Inc. in Oregon City and is licensed in Oregon, Washington and Tennessee.