While there are a variety of avenues for insurance agents to pursue in their careers, there's something special about being a local, independent agent that those who work for national carriers don't have - a way in which to communicate with insurance customers one-on-one rather than through an intermediary like the internet or telephone. All too often, however, independent agents don't exploit this benefit to their advantage.
Insurance expert Alan Shulman recently explained the ways in which industry professionals can get the most out of being local.
One of the ways is by inviting clientele to in-office events. Shulman says that if the company that agents work for ever host company gatherings, it's a good idea to invite insureds and prospects to some of them now and then.
"These might include a simple meet and greet office tour, a jewelry appraisal day - with a hired professional - or a lively insurance education seminar for new teenage drivers," said Shulman. "You can even host a policy organization session where attendees bring in all of their insurance papers, regardless of who writes the policies."
Another benefit of being local is house calls, which are virtually impossible to do as a national insurance agent. Shulman says that being able to pop into clients homes enables agents to get a better idea of how they live and the way in which they use their plans. This, in turn, can give agents a better idea of how they can suggest their clients put their coverage to the best use.
Local agents are some of the best professionals the insurance industry has. And in the end, the customer is the one who benefits the most. As recent data from professional development firm LIMRA reveals, consumers who work with a financial or insurance advisor tend to do better financially than those who work without assistance. For example, they are more likely to save for retirement at a higher rate, contribute to a retirement savings plan and feel optimistic about their retirement prospects.