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Selecting the right insurance agency should never be an “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” kind of decision. After all, buying insurance is not a one-time purchase; it is a long-term investment. Hence, when buying insurance, you have to ensure that you do so through a trusted agent or agency. After all, they will be there to help you when you need them the most. 

Please call us at 407-344-1228, or email us at [email protected] for any insurance needs you may have. Free Consultation.

You will not want to buy a house or a vehicle without shopping around, and you should also employ the same process when opting for an insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida.  There are certain things you should know and do when making this all-important decision.

  • Be Well Aware of The Key Differences Between Insurance Agencies and Independent Agents

An agent who represents a particularly large and national level insurance company would be an employee of that specific company ONLY. In other words, the agent of the insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida, will only sell insurance products from that specific insurance carrier alone. On the other hand, an independent agent might be any small-business owner, who will represent any number of different insurance agencies.

  • Pull Vs. Push strategies

An insurance agency that is operating its own sales force will sell directly to you, sometimes even without sending an agent over to your place. They advertise heavily, both online and offline, and typically employ a ‘pull strategy.’ That is, individuals desirous of insurance solutions approach them on their own, after looking at their highly attractive adverts.

An independent agent, on the other hand, will be working with multiple agencies and will ‘push’ the many products of the agencies in his portfolio to best match the coverage and price for all your needs. However, an independent agent is not related to any particular insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida. This means that they can change agencies whenever they like, often working for those that give them the best commissions. Hence, these independent agents might ‘push’ products by agencies that you would not want to work with at all. This is why it is always better to only work with a recognized company that employs its own workforce rather than relying on ‘fly by night’ operators who are not liable or answerable to any company.

  • Always Ask for Referrals

Referrals from friends, family, and colleagues at the workplace can be very helpful when selecting an insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida.  When you ask around, you should aim to understand exactly why other people like an insurance company enough to choose it over the many competitors in the field. You should ask them the following important questions:

  • What information do they have regarding the company’s customer care and service?
  • Does the agency follow through on its commitments?
  • Are their agents friendly?
  • Do they have in-depth knowledge about their company’s insurance products?
  • Are their policies reviewed annually?
  • Keep the Location in Mind when Making the Decision

It is very important for your insurance agency to have offices in your local community. This way, you will enjoy the convenience of stopping by to ask any questions that you may have in mind or even file a claim. You can even visit them in order to develop a trust-based relationship. This last can turn out to be critically important in case you have suffered a catastrophic loss and need your claims processed as soon as possible in order to rebuild your life.

  • Always Visit Their Websites and Social Media Accounts

Websites are always full of information. You should actively read up on the services as well as the history of an
insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida. Apart from that, you should also check their staff’s bios, and most important of all, their customer testimonials.

You should also try and ascertain important insurance related information, such as easy access to price and premium quotes, via telephone or online. If you were to go through their site as well as social media accounts, you will be in a better position to understand what they think about their own services and product. Additionally, their customer interactions will be able to give you an idea about the type of customer service they provide to those who avail their services.

  • Look for Credentials

If you really want to know more about the agency, you should try and check out their credentials. If they employ an actual insurance actuary, then this will be a great boost. An actuary will help them design products that may be customized to your individual needs and requirements. An insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida, with a knowledgeable workforce should always provide the critical advice you need, when you make any decision regarding insurance coverage. They should also inform you about the limitations of the policy and what it ‘cannot’ protect. This last part is as important as the actual coverage of the policy.

Some of the more important professional designations of insurance agents include the following:

  • Associate in Risk Management (ARM)
  • Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)
  • Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)

A good insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida, will always continue to impart the relevant education to their sales force so that they will be able to guide you to the best of their abilities.

  • Thoroughly Check the Company’s Reviews

When deciding to settle for a service provider for your insurance protection needs, it is imperative that you check their reviews before making your selection. Some of the more reliable agencies include the following:

  • Moody’s
  • Standard & Poor’s
  • AM

You can even review these companies with the help of peer comparisons that will help you determine their ability to release funds when you make a claim. Of course, no insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida, will have 100% positive reviews, but going through customer feedback as well as independent reviews will give you a bird’s eye view of the agency. Furthermore, you will be able to check and see just where the agency lacks in terms of quality of service and responsiveness to your compensation claims. Here, dissatisfied customer reviews will be of great help since they will highlight where the insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida, lacks.

  • Example

If the customers of XYZ company have multiple complaints about the long delays in processing their claims, then that means the company is not serious about payments and is more interested in premiums, which you have to pay every year for a service that it does not want to provide. Insurance claims are filed only when the unthinkable has happened, such as your house burning down, the death of a breadwinner, a car accident, and so on. You pay the premium so that you are protected in such cases. If XYZ agency has reviews that it doesn’t help in such situations despite payments, then it is an axiomatic assumption that it must be avoided at all costs. 

  • See if they Have Legal Accreditation

Non-accredited agencies are a dime a dozen. They do not charge an overly high premium and offer a large number of services. There is only one hitch— since they are not recognized and accredited by the US government, they do not need to follow the government’s extensive rules, regulations and policy mandates. This means that they might slip under the radar when you file a claim.  This means that they will not outrightly refuse your claim request, but they will obfuscate the whole process to such an extent that you will just simply give up in the long run.  However, a government authorized insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida, will be bound by the law to pay all justified compensation claims, as soon as possible. What is the catch?  The prices of their products are a lot higher than the annual premiums that you have to pay to their non-accredited counterparts. But it’s worth it if you can get your claims processed quickly so that you can start rebuilding your life all over again.

  • Always Look for The Human Element

If a company makes you run from call center to call center or puts you on hold for long periods of time, then this is not the right insurance agency for you. Furthermore, using chatbots and voice mail for almost all communication is a red flag that clearly indicates that they do not appreciate any human interaction. A person filing a claim for the loss of his home (for instance) is already extremely upset and distraught. The last thing he needs is a disembodied voice going on and on with its sales spiel. This is a very subtle way to discourage the whole claims process. If you can’t talk to your insurance agent within a few seconds of contacting the insurance company, it is time to try out another insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida.  A personal agent or even a helpful call center operator can make a major difference in the whole claims and compensation procedure.  Conversely, a lack of such support is a sure-fire sign that the company wants to avoid making any payments, and therefore it is trying to create additional hurdles in the process.

  • Conduct Interviews to Determine Suitability 

Before signing on the dotted line, it is imperative that you conduct multiple interviews of different sales personnel. The personality, as well as the body language, of the agent is very important here. If he is overly anxious to sell and does not provide any proper answers with regard to the whole claim payment process, then it is likely that he does not know the answers himself. This means that the insurance agency has either not trained him adequately enough, or alternatively, they are circumspect about settling claims in favor of the policyholders. Both these cases can turn into major problems in the long run. Apart from that, you should also consider the fact that you might be working with the same agent for many years onwards.

If you are not comfortable with an agent, be polite yet firm, and inform the agency you need someone else. If they do not accept your request, then you really don’t want a long-term relationship with this insurance agency in St Cloud, Florida. The same also applies to other agencies as well. Since your first point of personal contact will be with an insurance agent, you should interview at least a few agents from different agencies till you find the best possible fit. You can start by asking the insurance agents to explain the products they want you to buy. If they convince you, the odds are you are satisfied with how the agent conducts his or her business.

  • Conclusion

Ultimately, any insurance agency that you decide to select has to be able to deliver on its commitments as soon as possible.  After all, you will only file a claim when some terrible calamity has befallen you. This is the part where your insurance carrier will be able to prove its worth and show that you are not alone in your hour of need.

Please call us at 407-344-1228, or email us at [email protected] for any insurance needs you may have. Free Consultation.

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Why Us? The Freedom Difference

Why Us? The Freedom Difference