How To Choose A Life Insurance Agent: A Beginner’s Guide
Navigating the world of life insurance can be daunting! That’s why many individuals seek out insurance agents for counsel and general assistance.
Life insurance agents are licensed professionals that work on behalf of a larger company or independently. They usually have the technical know-how necessary to help clients save more money on their plans and negotiate better coverage.
However, many potential clients find that searching for the right practitioner can be difficult. Thankfully, this guide has all the information you need to make the right decision.
Read on to find out what an agent does, how different practitioners differ, and how to find the right one for you.
What Does A Life Insurance Agent Do?
An insurance agent’s primary goal is to sell insurance to individuals, businesses, or families. They’re the first point of contact between you and insurance companies and are also responsible for providing you with quotes or estimates of how much everything will cost.
Here are a few key responsibilities of life insurance agents:
Obtain Customer Information
The first part of a life insurance agent’s job is collecting a client’s relevant information. That means age, occupation, salary, location, beneficiaries, and client needs. Collecting this data is standard in the life insurance industry because it functions as the foundation for the rest of your policy.
Assess Financial Situations
Once your information has been gathered, life insurance practitioners will assess your financial situation to see how feasible different types of policies are from within their company. Your agent usually factors in other financial obligations like mortgages, car loans, and credit cards. Similarly, life insurance agents will also consider investments and other financial assets to get a complete picture of your situation.
Find The Best Life Insurance Option For Customers
Central to a life insurance agent’s work is finding the right health insurance, life insurance, or other policy types to suit the people who need it. That means personalized insurance advice for every client to address their specific needs and answer any questions they may have. Many agents will do this within the scope of policies available at their life insurance companies, but some independent life insurance agents will also explore plans from other organizations.
Note that receiving advice from a life insurance agent doesn’t necessarily lock you into any agreements with a life insurance company. That means you still have the freedom to canvass policies at other insurance companies if the options aren’t what you’re looking for.
Keep In Touch
A successful life insurance agent establishes their career with the help of their communication skills. That means checking in with clients to develop a long-term working relationship and to see if their life insurance policies need any updates to their coverage. Whether it’s about the adjustment of your premiums or a desire for increased safety within your policies, your life insurance agent should be keeping in touch to help you achieve your goals.
Captive Agent vs Independent Life Insurance Agent
Clients may come into contact with two types of life insurance agents: the independent life insurance agent and the captive agent. Both work toward securing life insurance sales, but their methods and measures of success may be different.
Captive Life Insurance Agent
A captive life insurance agent refers to someone that works for one insurance company. That means the products they offer are from a list of policies belonging to their employer – which may result in a limited choice of plans to suit your needs.
The benefits of working with a captive agent boil down to the support they receive from their employers. That means they might receive incentives on top of money made from commissions or have staff help deal with administrative tasks. Either way, this usually results in better customer service and faster response times than some independent life insurance agents.
However, working with a captive agent can also mean that clients may end up paying more in the end because of service fees and other related expenses.
Independent Life Insurance Agent
On the other hand, independent life insurance agents partner up with more life insurance companies to sell individual policies and services to suit your family or business. In practice, this can mean that you get a better idea of the products available for the type of coverage you need because your agent isn’t limited to services from a single company. However, because an independent insurance agent is essentially managing their own business instead of working within companies, they may lack the expertise that captive insurance agents have.
Given this, clients may save a fair amount of money if they work with an independent life insurance agent because convenience and service fees are virtually nonexistent.
How To Choose An Insurance Professional: A Checklist
As a non-professional, your knowledge may not be sufficient. That’s why finding the right life insurance agent is essential. Here are some things to consider when evaluating an insurance practitioner:
When it comes down to it, the key to client satisfaction as an insurance agent is honesty and transparency. A skilled insurance agent isn’t just out to earn a commission on the job, but instead considers your needs when finding the right policy for your desired coverage. Whether you’re requesting quotes or information on a new health policy, a trustworthy life insurance agent ensures they’re always on the same page as you.
Industry And Product Knowledge
Your agent’s technical knowledge of life insurance policies has a lot to do with your overall experience. This is because knowledgeable insurance agents are usually well-acquainted with different products and services and can generally provide more options to suit your desired coverage.
Beyond just the sale and commission, however, your insurance agent should have developed a working knowledge of tax and legal implications over their career. With this, they can let you know if your beneficiaries should expect taxes or if any other legal arrangements have to be made when navigating products from different companies.
Professionalism And Reliability
Professionalism refers to the little things that contribute to your experience, like showing up on time and delivering accurate information on policies that interest you.
Reliability, on the other hand, is less apparent but equally important. For example, some agents may try to pitch health or general insurance policies without being completely forthcoming about hidden fees and special considerations – however, a reliable agent would make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Not just anyone can start a career in insurance. Given this, an incredibly important consideration when deciding on an agent is whether they have a license to operate in your state. Licensed agents generally have more in the way of by-the-book knowledge and experience to help you find the perfect life policy with the coverage you need.
How Will I Know If My Agent Has A License To Operate In My State?
Some discerning folks may want to verify their agent’s credentials before making any commitments. In this case, company and agent licensing information can be checked on the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s official website or through state insurance departments.
Choosing an insurance agent to help you navigate different plans doesn’t have to be complicated. After all, connecting with financial experts is a tried-and-tested way of getting the most out of every plan and policy.
If you’re ready to take the next step, Wesley LLC can provide advice and assistance when it comes to choosing the right agent. Get in touch today, and let us know how we can help!