I buy insurance from an independent broker. Recently, however, I have seen colleagues buy insurance directly from insurers on an app. Which do you recommend?
Direct-buy insurance, which is purchased without using a broker, can be quick, convenient, and competitively priced. However, there are significant advantages to buying insurance through an independent broker.
First, buying the right policy is difficult unless you understand all of your risks, coverages, limits, gaps, and exclusions. To illustrate the point, consider the people encountered who have a water back-up endorsement vs those who do not. An app and a broker can both offer a chance to buy it—but only a broker can attempt to overcome the objections of the buyer through dialog.
Good independent brokers understand an assortment of policy limitations and are more likely to identify unnecessary or insufficient coverages. Moreover, since independent brokers work with multiple insurance companies, they can offer a variety of coverage options that fit their customer’s budgets and specific needs. Buying insurance from an app gives a false impression that price between products is the method of evaluation. Price and promise are not directly correlated. Insurance is not a fungible commodity.
Another benefit of working with an independent broker is ongoing policy management. Ongoing policy management includes (1) Policy advice, like adding or removing coverage, (2) Claim advice, like whether to file a claim and (3) Client advocacy.
Client advocacy is important because coverage and valuation disputes with insurers are common. Unfortunately, an unrepresented policyholder is at a severe disadvantage because the policyholder likely doesn’t understand how to interpret insurance policy language, insurance regulations, or claim-handling best practices. However, when a knowledgeable and licensed broker, leveraging their business relationships with the insurer, intervenes to advocate on the client’s behalf, a dispute is more likely to resolve in the client’s favor.
In sum, although direct-buy insurance may be more convenient, independent brokers offer clients benefits they may not even know they need until it is too late. Online self-service options simply cannot replace an independent broker’s expertise and personalized service. Thus, when protection and peace of mind are most important, we recommend working with an independent broker.
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