MONEY MATTERS: Let's face it — shopping for insurance is generally a dreaded and time consuming task. It is not exactly fun, and although it only takes about 15 minutes to get a preliminary rate – that's only the rate from one company. How many agents do you want to call, and how many blocks of 15-30 minutes do you want to take out of your life?
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to call one agent and have them shop your insurance policies around for you without it costing you any money or time away from your family?
That's the difference between a Captive Insurance AGENT and a Multi-Carrier Insurance BROKER (sometimes known as a multi-carrier independent agent or agency). A captive agent can only write for ONE carrier such as John Hancock and New York Life Career Agents, Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide to name a few, which means you have to call each and every one of those carriers if you want a rate from each and every one!
Now an Insurance Broker on the other hand writes for MULTIPLE carriers saving you time and maybe money! When you work with an Insurance Broker, you give them your information once time, they in turn, enter it into their system just like a captive, one carrier agent does, but the difference is the broker will then receive rates from multiple carriers!
If you are working with a single company captive agent, you are stuck to only using that company's products which may or may not be the best fit for you. When working with a broker, you are less restricted because they are able to offer many more carriers, many more products, many more types of insurance and of course, many more price points. So an insurance brokers job is to seek out and find the best product for your needs.
When it comes time to shop your policies around in the future to be sure you are receiving the best value, all you have to do is call your broker and tell them to do so. If you're with a captive agent, there isn't anything to shop around because they only have one product to offer.
(Charles Sims, Jr., is president/CEO of The Sims Financial Group. Contact him at 901-682-2410 or visit www.SimsFinancialGroup.com.)