Insurance coverage exists because Murphy had a law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Insurance is a promise of financial protection when things go awry. Who do you turn to for this financial assurance and peace of mind? Do you entrust a direct writer or an independent insurance agent? According to the Big I 2020 Market Share Report, independent agents are writing increasingly more premiums for both personal lines and commercial lines, while captive carriers lost 4 percent.
Direct Writer vs. Independent Insurance Agent
A direct writer is an agent that represents one company while an independent agent represents multiple insurance companies. Elaine Presley, Account Executive with Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group (KWIG) has worked in both capacities — as a direct writing agent previously and now as an independent insurance agent. “As a direct writing agent, my hands were tied, and I had no leverage to negotiate the pricing or coverages offered to my clients,” Elaine said. “It was a one-way street.”
Elaine thrives on building and maintaining long-term, service-oriented relationships with her clients, and being an independent insurance agent affords this opportunity. A client is no longer forced to leave the agent they know and trust when changes in product offerings of one company no longer meet their needs.
“Now, as an independent agent, the relationships I maintain with both my clients and insurance company partners allow me to marry the two of them together,” Elaine explained. “The ability to pivot has never been more valuable to my clients as the insurance landscape has changed drastically due to the pandemic.”
6 Reasons to Choose an Independent Insurance Agent
KWIG Commercial Account Executive Richard Healy shared 6 benefits insureds reap when they choose to work with an independent insurance agent:
- Freedom of choice: As Elaine referenced, different carriers have different appetites for different customers. Independent insurance agents offer you the advantage of choosing coverage from the many different insurance carriers the agent represents. Independent agents will conduct market research to find the right carrier and coverage for your unique needs.
- Flexibility to evolve: An independent insurance agent has the tools, carriers and resources to assess and adjust to changes in your family’s lifestyle and/or your business’s operations. “Risk changes as operations and lifestyles evolve, so it is important to have a personal advisor looking out for you every step of the way,” Richard emphasized.
- Expert risk management: Independent insurance agents act as risk managers, rather than just an insurance provider. “We have experience with a wider range of risks, which gives us specialized knowledge and insight into the risks clients face as a family and business,” Richard said. On the other hand, direct writers are often in a box and only familiar with the coverages they write. They often lack real-world experience with harder-to-place and hazardous risks.
- Comprehensive consultation: Carrier options, flexibility and risk management expertise enables independent insurance agents to talk to customers as consultants rather than salespeople. “We don’t sell you a policy, and ‘say see ya next year.’” We have the propensity to assess risk on a consistent basis,” Richard said. “I try to talk to my customers quarterly to reassess their operations to make sure the coverage is commensurate with the risks they face.”
- Personalized communication: Independent insurance agents are more involved and hands-on when it comes to claim handling and day-to-day operations. Direct writing is typically more automated and black-and-white. “In a world of advanced technology and automation, we offer personal interaction and communication. No robots or 1-800 numbers here,” Richard said. “Without personalized communication, things get missed.”
- Specialized coverages: Some specialized coverages, like employee practices liability, professional liability, and cyber liability insurance, are not readily available with a direct writer. “For example, a direct writer may be able to insure your bakery. But, if you own a large bakery with several locations and have a high turnover rate, you may also need employee practices liability coverage, in which case a direct writer may not be able to help you,” Richard explained. “Every aspect of your risk can be addressed and covered by an independent agent. We are your one-stop-shop.”
Ready to reap the benefits of working with an independent insurance agent? Contact an independent insurance agent at Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group.
We are Experts in the Unexpected
Since 1952, Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group (KWIG) has covered our family of clients as an independent agent from all that can happen – and does. We are not your average independent insurance agents — we are specialists in the industries we serve, particularly the hospitality industry. As specialists, we have strong relationships within our clients’ worlds and are aware of the newest threats to their businesses and the latest sales trends. Plus, we have a network of introductions to help our clients thrive.
Commercial Producer Kathleen Weatherford explained, “Because our founding company, Kemmons Wilson Companies, are owners themselves, we are able to see through different lenses. Our owners and our team have a personal investment with our clients. Kemmons Wilson himself was known for investing time with people, and our company embodies that.”
Our hospitable culture stems from the belief that strength is built in relationships. It’s the close relationships we have with our insureds that motivates us to work hard on their behalf to insure they are not only properly covered, but also getting the best rates.
“Our clients aren’t just another ‘number’ to add to our list of clients,” Kathleen said. “We know our clients and their stories of why they do what they do. Once KWIG adds on a client, you aren’t lost in the sea of clients. You deal with the agent and service team that brought you into our company.”
Whether we’re protecting your business, your employees or your loved ones, we provide you with personalized solutions to the problems you don’t see coming. Contact us today.