Insurance agents are not all made the same. Some work for big companies that limit how they can help customers. Others are independent agents beholden to no insurance company.

The level of service and quality of insurance recommendations are significantly distinct depending on which type of agent you work with.

What is a Captive Insurance Agent?

The term “captive agent” is an employee of a specific insurance company, like the ones you see advertised on TV or during a sports game. They are obligated to force-fit their products to your needs, whether it’s in your best interest or not. 

A captive agent doesn’t work for you but instead works for the insurance company they represent. As a result, any benefits you receive are limited to what that particular company offers. 

Captive agents are limited to a single company’s products

Captive agents typically can’t access other companies’ products and can’t help you compare quotes. 

For example, a captive agent might offer you an expensive life insurance policy because it’s all they have available to them. By contrast, an independent agent can look at dozens of insurance companies and find the right one that fits your needs.

Captive agents can’t create custom insurance solutions

As a result of their tools and resources, they can’t make a custom insurance solution, such as stacking a final expense life insurance policy with a term life policy. Captive agents must convince you that their company’s products are the only option.

Captive agents don’t put customers’ needs first

Captive agents must meet their company’s sales quotas. As a result, these agents are more likely to push insurance products that are not suitable or over-insure their customers.

What is an Independent Insurance Agent?

Independent agents work with multiple insurers, are self-employed, and are not company employees. Therefore, they don’t have a corporate agenda and can give unbiased advice about what insurance plan will be best for you.

Independent agents encourage you to get quotes from multiple carriers

Independent agents can provide quotes from dozens of carriers to find the best product for your needs. For example, one company they work with might be more lenient in height and weight requirements than another. Independent agents know how to find the right fit.

Independent agents often act as fiduciaries

A fiduciary relationship is based on good faith, trust, and requires agents to act in the customer’s best interest. Captive agents are not held to the same fiduciary standard as independent agents.

By contrast, independent agents take their fiduciary responsibility more seriously than captive agents.

Independent agents can help you with multiple policies

Independent agents have access to several companies and types of insurance, so it’s like a one-stop shop to buy all of your insurance.

Independent agents work with you to save money

You’ll save money working with an independent agent because they can shop around several companies, compare quotes, and help you pick the best one. Captive agents have no incentive to help you save money.

Final Thoughts

An independent insurance agent is the best choice for you and your family. They cultivate a lasting relationship with you, get to know you and your family, and are prepared to help you adjust as your family grows and changes.