For insurance agents who have decided to start working independently rather than with a large firm, a new survey suggests that their decision to do so was likely a smart choice.
According to a recent poll conducted by The Hanover Insurance Group, a substantial number of insurance customers who shop with a direct provider often wind up going back to independent agents.
Survey researchers spoke with individuals who had purchased a health plan at some point within the past 10 years. They found that in six of 10 cases, these individuals went from a large insurer to an independent agent, and did so because they found they got more value.
Mark Desrochers, president of personal lines at the Worcester, Mass.-based property and casualty insurance firm, indicated that this is only the latest study that shows how much customers appreciate independent agents.
"The majority of respondents said their number one reason for switching from a direct insurance provider was to have someone to guide them through their insurance buying decisions," said Desrochers. "Clearly trust and expertise are important to consumers."
There are roughly 37,500 independent agencies in the U.S, according to the trade association Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. Of these, approximately one-third are small businesses, earning less than $150,000 per year in insurance revenue.