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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: independent agent

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Trusted ChoiceTrusted Choice ® agencies are insurance and financial services firms whose access to multiple companies and commitment to quality service enable us to offer our clients competitive pricing, a broad choice of products and unparalleled advocacy.

As a Trusted Choice ® agency, we are dedicated to you and are committed to treating you as a person - not a policy.  This commitment means we shall:

  1. Work with you to identify the insurance and financial services that are right for you, your family or your business and use our access to multiple companies to deliver those products. 
  2. Guide you through the claims process for a prompt and fair resolution of your claim.
  3. Help you solve problems related to your coverage or account.
  4. Explain the coverages and options available to you through our agency, at your request.
  5. Return your phone calls and e-mails promptly and respond to your requests in a timely manner.
  6. Provide 24/7 services for our customers, offering any or all of the following: emergency phone numbers, Internet account access, e-mail and call center services.
  7. Use our experience and multiple company relationships to customize your coverage as needed.
  8. Commit our staff to continuing education so they may be more knowledgeable in serving you.
  9. Treat you with respect and courtesy.
  10. Conduct our business in an ethical manner.

We pledge this to you, our clients, and ask that you let us know if we fail to meet our commitment, so we may take corrective action.  Call us at 1-800-220-5582 or contact us online today!

If you have insurance, chances are that your insurance company has an online social media presence.  Maybe you are even Facebook "friends" with your insurance company.  Insurance companies use social media to stay in touch with customers, present new product ideas directly, and create dialog between groups.  Some companies, such as Geico, Progressive, and Esurance, have very rich and engaging social media campaigns that utilize Facebook, Twitter, and to develop closer relationships with the people who are using their products.

Even though insurers pump out ten tweets and four status updates a day to stay up to date with their plugged-in consumers, a new study says that the very same companies may not be using these social media outlets to stay in touch with their independent agents.  Insurance Networking News reports:

"More than 70 percent of insurers that distribute through independent agents also use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn as a part of their communications strategies, according to a new report from Novarica.... Many insurers with independent distribution now use social media for one-to-one contact with their agents, which suggests social media is beginning to replace telephone or email usage. Not surprisingly, the adoption of social media is still dictated by age. A quarter of agents under 40 use LinkedIn to communicate with specific underwriters at their insurers, which is twice as many as those over 40. "

So what does this mean for you?  Basically, if insurers are using social media to communicate with their independent agents, and are supporting their efforts on the web, you get better, more unified service that is supported by both the insurer and your independent agent.

For example, let's say that you have a question about your insurance policy, and you post your question onto your agent's Facebook page.  If your insurer is keyed into your agent's social media outlets, you may get two responses: one from your agent, and one from your insurer.  Even if both responses aren't technical or an in-depth answer to your question, that communication is key to making sure that you, as a customer, feel like these people care about you and that you are happy with the services being provided.  

What do you think? Do you look for more interaction with your insurance company and your independent agent?  Leave us a comment or response below to let us know how we can better communicate with you.

Hook up with Insurance Planning Service on Facebook and Twitter  or call us at 800-220-5582.  You can even use our online contact form to ask questions or get free quotes!

By Dave Bernard

In the insurance world, you truly get what you pay for.

Companies that specialize in providing low-cost insurance policies have grown in number and popularity in the last few years. Online services and build-your-own-policy features have convinced millions of customers they're getting a good deal.

But it doesn't take long for some customers to find out the deal might not have been as great as they thought.

You Do Get What You Pay For

"My husband and I switched to [a popular online insurance company] because of their apparent low rates," an anonymous customer posted on "On our first renewal, they raised our premiums over 10%. When I called to ask why, I was told you get a discount the first time you sign up, but then every renewal is increased."

It's true that every insurance company gets complaints, and you have to take anonymous, online posts with a grain of salt. But you can't expect to get superior coverage and full service at a discounted rate. In fact, that's the biggest danger of doing business with low-cost insurance providers. Most customers aren't aware of the gaps in their coverage until they file a claim and are denied coverage.

Is It Better To Pay More?

But doing business with a large insurance company isn't always the answer either.

"I had [a major insurance provider's] auto insurance for 25 years with a perfect driving record," David Martin posted on a corporate complaint site. "Yet they kept raising my rates, and when asked, refused to lower them. Also had a homeowner's policy with the same company until recently. Found that they had been charging me 40% more than other comparable major carriers, and my agent never caught the mistake after six years."

David probably had great coverage, but as he pointed out, he was paying too much. And his agent was no help since his loyalties were with the insurance company rather than the customer.

So What's The Answer?

Independent insurance brokers work with many insurance providers and can shop for the best coverage at the best prices to find a real deal for their customers. And, instead of being loyal to the insurance company, a broker looks out for his customers and lets them know when a better policy or a better price is available.

Insurance Planning Service is an independent insurance agency offering a full range of insurance products – auto – home – business – life – health – to individuals, families and businesses throughout Michigan.  Contact us today for a quote on your insurance!


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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake