Why Use an Insurance Agent?

Dramatic changes in the insurance marketplace make the professional insurance agent's role increasingly important to individuals and businesses in finding cost-saving measures and coverage options.

Agents provide and service insurance products while educating and advising you on how to manage risk and make informed insurance choices. Agents are highly trained insurance professionals who will guide you through the complex task of choosing appropriate coverage at an affordable cost and are dedicated to serving the long-term interests of consumers.

1 How is an agent compensated?

Insurance agents have strong financial and professional incentives to give their clients a lifetime of quality products and service. Agents seldom are salaried employees of the insurance companies they represent. Usually they are independent agents who represent many companies. Most agents are compensated on a commission basis - a percentage of the premiums you pay your insurance company. Others are compensated on a fee basis directly from employers. Typically, you will not pay a higher insurance premium if you utilize the service of an agent. Regardless of the method of compensation, agents have strong incentives to place consumers with strong, financially stable carriers and provide superior service on an ongoing basis.

2 What should I expect from a professional insurance agent?

An agent will guide you through the complex task of choosing appropriate coverage at an affordable cost. The following is what you should expect from a professional insurance agent. Use this checklist to evaluate your current agent. Your professional insurance agent should:

  • Work with you to evaluate your needs for insurance coverage.
  • Explain the details of different insurance plans.
  • Make specific recommendations and tailor plans to suit your special needs and budgets.
  • Review your plans periodically to update coverage and limit costs.
  • Serve as your advocate and advisor in dealing with insurance companies, doctors and hospitals, and government agencies involving claims, services and regulations.
  • Help you as a business owner communicate benefits packages to employees and demonstrate how various provisions can complement personal and government financial plans.
  • You can typically receive a local agent's service and support at no additional cost to you.

3 Should I buy insurance online?

Benefits are complex and they are critically important. Health care coverage protects both a family's health and its finances. If you purchase the wrong health care coverage, the consequences are significant. Remember, if you buy health insurance online, there may be no advisor to explain benefits, no advocate if problems arise and no counselor to help you make the right coverage choices. You can typically receive a local agent's service and support at no additional cost to you.

4 How does a professional insurance advisor stay current in today's marketplace?

Insurance agents are licensed and regulated by state insurance departments. Prospective agents receive training regarding insurance and applicable laws before taking a qualifying exam for licensing. The majority of states now require continuing education to maintain license status. Many career insurance agents belong to the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), which offers seminars, courses, workshops, and other educational forums to ensure members meet the highest standards of client service. NAHU also requires members to subscribe to a strict professional code of ethics.

5 Agents often support Small Employers' Human Resource Departments.

Quite often, small employers cannot afford human resource staffing, so agents assist them in many of those functions. Small employers rely on agents to assist them in a multitude of ways in the day-to-day handling of their insurance.

6 Agents make complex benefit issues understandable to their clients.

Often, state and federal governments pass laws that affect employee benefits; health insurance agents understand these laws and explain them to their clients in a clear and concise manner. There are countless plan options available to employers and consumers; good agents guide their clients through myriad options to the plan that best suits their particular needs.

7 Agents solve clients' problems.

Typically, agents are the first to be called when a client's claim is not paid or when premiums are raised. Because of their expertise, experience, and relationships with insurance carriers, agents can often get problems solved quickly and efficiently. Many agents have customer service representatives in their office for the specific purpose of assisting clients with their benefit problems.

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent five organizations which offer fifty-three products in your area. Plan availability is based on the county in which you reside. Please contact Medicare.gov, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to get information on all of your options.