Hi, I’m Leland Hart. I’m an insurance agent with Judd Insurance, your local insurance agency in Birch Run area. This is the exciting first post in the Judd Insurance blog. I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve been waiting for this for my whole life; I have so many questions about insurance that I need answers to! When will he talk about my particularly specific insurance need?” Wow, random enthusiastic reader, I really appreciate that thought and your appropriate use of a semi-colon! Hopefully we’ll be able to start answering questions you’ve always had about insurance, but were afraid (or just didn’t know) to ask.
Let’s talk about one thing Judd Insurance Agency is: Independent. One of the biggest things that you should know about Judd Insurance is that we are an independent agency, not a captive agency. These are pretty common terms in the insurance industry, but lots of non-insurance folks don’t necessarily know what that means. I bet if we asked 100 people what it means to be an independent agency, they’ stare blankly and might picture our agents in Philadelphia signing something like this:
Luckily, we didn’t have to write this to gain independence
It’s probably useful to define these terms.
Captive Agents and Independent Agents
Many other agencies use captive agents. Captive agents generally only have one insurance company they are allowed to work for. As an example, let’s imagine that a new Captor Insurance Agency goes in across the street from you. If you walk in for an insurance quote, a Captor agent will only have one company for which to get you a quote. Need auto insurance? Here’s a Captor quote. Need a Business Owner’s Policy? Here’s a Captor quote. Have a specialized business that Captor won’t insure? Sorry, you’re out of luck. Don’t like the Captor quote you get, or are your Captor Insurance rates increasing? Well, that’s really all they have to offer, so they can’t really help you.
Please don’t take this as a hit piece against captive agencies. Personally, I was a captive agent before I worked at Judd Insurance, and I think I was a pretty good agent for my clients and company. The issue isn’t with the people who work for captive agencies, or even with the products captive agents offer.
Often, captive agents are great people who provide their clients with good service with a strong line of products. People who need flexibility, though, often don’t do as well with captive agencies.
Independent agents like we at Judd Insurance represent multiple insurance companies. That means we give our clients a gigantic advantage: choice. Instead of just relying on one company to insure everything that walks through the door, we represent lots and lots of companies. We can write Personal Auto Insurance with six different companies, and we can write Homeowner’s Insurance with six companies as well. Commercial Insurance is even more varied; we have over a dozen companies we use to get your business covered. Many of our insurers are even local companies based right here in Michigan like Frankenmuth Insurance or Hasting’s Mutual. Flexibility is the name of the game at an independent agency.
Here’s a handy graphic:
Let’s call this guy on the left Questy
Independent = Choice
Our independence gives you (and Questy, for that matter) some great options as we work on your insurance. As part of our normal procedures, we compare prices for you with the many companies we represent. Before we recommend a company to prospective clients, we assess several things:
- What company does best insuring someone in this particular situation?
- Who is the least expensive company?
- Who has the best claims experience?
- Whose rates tend to be the most stable?
- Is having a locally based insurance company important for this client?
These questions allow us to make a personalized and reasoned recommendation based on your specific situation. We don’t make cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all recommendations. If we tell you a quote, you can know that our company has spent some time crafting it to you. We spend time asking questions to make sure we can find out not only what you need in an insurance company, but what you value in your insurance provider.
Questy knows the value of shopping local
People who have existing business with us also benefit from our independence. The sad fact is that insurance rates often go up when we are renewing for a variety of reasons – ranging from you filing a claim to the company adjusting their pricing. Our ability to work with different companies is a way for us to periodically make sure you are covered in the most sensible and affordable way. Often, by comparing an existing client’s policy to new policies, we are able to get them good coverage for a more affordable price.
Yet another handy graphic:
Questy is a bad luck case; 3 claims is a lot in a few years
My final thoughts for you today is to ask you to do a little assessment of your situation. Do you have your insurance through a captive agency or an independent agency? Is your insurance company giving you the best coverage for the cost you are paying? Have you reviewed your insurance coverage recently? Do you want to work with a local insurance company if you can? Do you look as confused as Questy?
If you find yourself unsure of or dissatisfied with your current insurance, or you just want an opportunity to look at your options, please email, call, or come on by Judd Insurance Agency. We’d also love to hear if you have some topics you want to hear more about in the insurance world.
Thanks for reading, and tune in for our next blog post: Why You Need a Local Insurance Agent!