My agency, Hanby Insurance is an independent agency that represents over 80 different insurance companies. When a customer purchases their insurance policy from me, Hanby Insurance is the agency and Progressive, for example, would be in the insurance company.
Captive insurance agencies, such as State Farm agencies, only sell insurance for the company they represent. If you have a policy with one of these agencies and your rates should change, normally there is not anything the agent can do. Many times they will offer to lower coverage amounts or increase deductibles just to retain your business.
Should you have the same situation with an independent agent, he or she is able to re-quote your policy with other companies in search of a lower rate with the SAME coverage that your carry on your existing policy. More often than not they are able to place your coverage with another carrier and save you money!
Often people think that because they have not heard of the agency or the company the coverage is substandard. This is absolutely false! Independent agencies and captive agencies typically sell the EXACT same insurance policies. Some of the companies represented by Ramey King are the oldest insurance companies in the nation and have the best ratings.
Customer satisfaction is extremely important to most independent agents. Since they do not have multi-million dollar advertising budgets new clients are often referrals from current customers. Chances are you will receive stellar service from your independent agent.
The bottom line is independent agencies offer choices. This means better coverage and lower premiums for their clients.
Originally written July 6, 2011.