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BY ABRAHAM ASFAW
When it comes to insuring your business you are investing in your businesses future.  Likely you see your only financial benefits as the financial payout when you have a covered claim.  However, when you have the right combination of insurance carrier and insurance agent, you can see financial and operational benefits long before you ever have a claim.  For that reason, if you are considering switching agents based solely on price, you should also consider the following possibilities regarding your potential new agent and their proposed carrier:

·         What is the financial strength of the agent and carrier?  Your coverage can be in jeopardy if the new agent has financial problems and does not pay the insurance company on your behalf.  Also.  You can pull the carriers AM Best Ratings.  Also you can look your new agent up with the BBB or D&B to find out about their standing.  An unpaid claim or cancelled account will mean money out of your pocket for repairs and fees

·         What is their customer service policy?  The new agent can get the account but then turns it over to either an inexperienced customer service representative in the agency or send it to an insurance company controlled service center, which assumes the service responsibilities, bypassing the agency and using ever-changing customer service reps who represent only one point of view- the insurance carrier that employs them. Your time is money and if your current agent is efficiently servicing your account they are giving you more time to grow your business.

·         What risk management tools are offered? By providing you with safety knowledge and safety tools, the agent is decreasing your losses and providing you a return on your investment.

·         Will they be able to remarket my account in the same way as my current agent?  Carriers are constantly adjusting their business models in response to overall nation financial conditions, loss history, and industry changes.  As such, they change both appetite and pricing.  If the new agent only has access to smaller or a limited number of carriers, they won’t have the ability to move your policy to the more competitive carrier when the time arises.  This could mean that you are stuck with reductions in coverages or price hikes.

If after asking these questions you determine that not only does your new agent offer better pricing but also offers a sufficient array of insurance carriers, decent or improved customer service and risk management, then it may be time for a change. This guide is a good compass to help you determine if you want to switch insurance carriers or agents.  Be sure to check back to our blog for an update on how to make a smooth transition to a new carrier. 

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