When starting the search for insurance there are several ways to shop. Understanding your options not only saves you money, but also protects you and your assets. The three main paths to buying are 1) A Captive Agent selling only one carrier’s products 2) Internet based quoting 3) An Independent Agent who has a broad range of carriers to choose from. Let’s take one at a time and break them down.

Captive Agents

They became well known during the late 1960’s thru the 1990’s popping up on every street corner in local communities. Their claim to fame is bundling your coverages and giving multi-policy discounts. This mentality brain-washed the general public. The average person thinks “Wow! I can insure my home and auto, plus they give me a discount! I’ll save money, and that is good!”  The problem with this approach, though, is it is typically low cost upfront but it rarely offers you the best product available in the marketplace to suit you and your family’s needs.

I was a captive agent for 15 years prior to starting my independent insurance agency in Florida from scratch 10 years ago. I despise this mentality, and understand why ‘insurance guys’ have a poor reputation in the marketplace. How would a client really get the best benefit out of dealing with a Captive situation? Those agents are sales focused, not solutions focused. They have sales goals and quotas to hit, with guaranteed bonuses as their end goal. So too, does their boss and bosses boss. At the end of the day, who is that Captive agent really working for?

Internet Based Quoting

Yes, the world has changed. Technology and emerging generations of buyers are dramatically changing the landscape of insurance.

Some companies have done a great job of capturing the attention of a tech savvy market, and tout not only money savings, but time saving as well – by bringing the entire buying process completely online. What most people don’t realize is once you visit a site like this, get a quote without the company understanding your full story, and then purchase your own policy online, you have now become your own Insurance Agent. We have had a few situations where a client left us for less expensive premiums/discounts that only took them 15 minutes to get. In one situation we had four drivers with four vehicles in a household. The client told me their new rate was half the price of what they paid with us. My statement to the client was the new Internet based insurance company could not be running the necessary reports to underwrite the risk properly. I gave them some more caution, and then wished them luck and told them to touch base during their next renewal if something negative happened. Guess what? They called me at renewal due to some poor coverages and losses. We rewrote them and they have been clients since.

Another example is a client who chose the same path. They shopped online and left us for an Internet based company. They had high limits, went on to be their own agent, bought online, and ended up with minimum limits. They had an accident shortly thereafter and their new coverage was not sufficient. They had no comprehensive or collision coverage. I wonder how they felt now about being their own agent. It really was a shame, and something that could have been avoided.

Independent Agents

The bottom line is dealing with an Independent Agent has a variety of benefits. Independent Agents have the availability to research the best product that fits each individual and their insurance needs. We have several carriers to search and shop to make sure each and every client gets the most out of their experience.

It is like a buffet doing business with an Independent Agent. Your choices are much broader versus a Captive Agent who is simply ordering an item off a menu. Plus there is a lot less risk than going online and essentially becoming your own Agent.

I made the switch to become an Independent Insurance Agency Owner in Florida with Pablo Beach Insurance Group ten years ago. It has been the absolute best decision for my clients, family, staff and myself. I know, without a doubt, we are providing the right products, correct protection and great pricing to all of our clients – big or small. And that is rewarding.


About Pablo Beach Insurance Group

Pablo Beach Insurance Group is a family-owned and operated insurance brokerage firm founded by insurance industry veteran Shaun Murphy. After spending more than 20 years in the insurance business, working primarily with a direct writing company that offered just one company’s products, Murphy saw a real need in the Northeast Florida market for a more diversified insurance product offering.

“I felt handcuffed,” Murphy says.

That won’t be the case for agents and clients of Pablo Beach Insurance Group. We have worked hard to forge strong relationships with more than 50 of the nation’s most trusted insurance providers. We thoroughly screen our provider partners to make sure each is financially solvent and provides top-quality insurance products at competitive prices backed by superior service. Click below if you are interested in contacting us.

Start the Conversation

Image credit: Trusted Choice