Loads of advertising dollars have left consumers with the impression that auto insurance is ALWAYS less expensive online.
In most cases, the quotes and policies a consumer receives from their local agent will not be any different than the ones they receive online. In fact, according to a recent study commissioned by The Hanover Insurance Group, nearly 60 percent of consumers who had purchased insurance through a direct channel 10 or more years ago reported switching back to an independent agent because they wanted more value.
What’s the key to a successful independent insurance agent when it comes to selling auto insurance? Educate. Educate your consumers and prospects on the perks of going directly to you, rather than hitting submit on their online order. With an independent insurance agent, consumers will find the following benefits:
- Personal relationships. Every time the consumer needs to file a claim, or change their policy, they will find comfort knowing they speak with the same person every time. When it comes to insurance, consumers want that personalized service and a single point of contact.
- Competitive Rates. As an independent agent, you have the added perk of having access to multiple carriers, so as you shop around for your consumer, you will receive more competitive rates.
- Expertise. When a consumer goes through a direct model to place their insurance quote, they may rate themselves inadequately. They may rate themselves online but it may not be suitable for their assets and in turn, it may leave them exposed. As an agent, you can take an organic approach and view each consumer’s situation independently and offer them coverage that is neither too much nor too little.
- Knowing the area. A local agent can relate to the area in which the consumer lives. If the consumer has a claim, you can recommend a good body shop.
- Payments. It’s rare these days for people to still want to pay cash, but those that do have the added bonus of dropping cash (or check) off directly with their agent.
- Multi-policy discounts. Probably the largest perk of going through a local agent is that “one stop shop.” You have the added benefit of recognizing other opportunities for discounts that may not be obvious to the consumer. Offering bundling adds value and remains a very powerful bonus to the consumer.
With an increased comfort in online shopping, the direct model may be beating out some independent agents in auto insurance. But when it comes to big decisions regarding the safety of your customer and where the wrong coverages could put them at risk, tapping the expertise of an independent agent remains the best choice for most consumers. And remember, one benefit an independent insurance agent will always have over the direct model is a customer relationship.