The Value of An Agent
The commission or other compensation earned by insurance agents not only compensates them for the sale of a product but, in addition, for performing these other basic services.
- They work with clients to evaluate their needs for insurance protection. This may involve substantial research and fact finding about the client's needs. This is an ongoing process since needs continuously change as a person's family and employment situations change.
- They educate by explaining the various plans available and provide appropriate cost indexes.
- They make specific recommendations that suit the client's objectives and budget. Often an insurance plan is designed by the agent to fit a client's special needs.
- They encourage the client to act in a timely manner to assure that the proper coverage are in place when they are needed. They also see to it that accurate and complete information is provided to the insurer to make sure that the client gets the very best premium available.
- They keep in touch with the client and review or update coverage on a periodic basis. They suggest changes when appropriate and counsel clients on ways to reduce costs. Often they must assist their client in reviewing the need for legal and tax compliance, recommending other professional assistance when necessary.
- They assist with claims, answer questions and serve as ombudsmen in helping their clients deal with insurance companies. Agents often spend a great deal of time helping clients assemble the proper documentation needed to file or follow up on a claim. This is especially true with seniors who receive Medicare benefits.
- They assist business owners in communicating their benefit package to their employees, often directly assisting the employee in seeing how the benefits coordinate with their personal financial programs, as well as those provided by government entities.
All agents are licensed and regulated by their state insurance departments. Prospective agents receive extensive training about insurance and applicable insurance law prior to taking a written exam leading to licensing. In addition, a mjaority of states now require continuing education in order for agents to maintain their licenses.