Are they the right agent for your unique exposures and insurance/risk management needs?
Is your agents an “independent agent” or a “captive agent” and why would this matter in selecting your insurance agent?
Do they specialize in the apartment and/or real estate industry and does this really matter?
Does your insurance agent have a part in the total premiums you pay and the necessary coverage you need?
Finding, evaluating and purchasing insurance policies can be an overwhelming and daunting task. This is one of the many reasons why we advise spending the effort and time in finding the right insurance partner to advise and guide you through this painful process. The right insurance partner will review with you your insurance options and customize coverage and/or policy forms to fit your insurance and risk management needs. All policies are not a one-size fits all solution so having the right agent partner is essential for every property owner.
So how do you find the “right” insurance professional for your specific insurance and risk management needs? Here are some helpful tips that will set you up for success with this search:
- Answer the above questions – Answering the above questions with the key factors below in mind will ensure you have the information to make an informed decision in selecting the right agent for you.
- Contact your industry trade association – Your trade association is a great resource for this since they typically have firsthand experience with your industry experts have experience in dealing with their members insurance brokers.
- Ask other peers (real-estate owners) in the apartment/real estate industry – Sometimes other apartment owners/property managers in your industry can be a great resource to find a good agent. Just be sure they possess all the key factors below.
Key Factors in Evaluating Your Insurance Agent:
- Experience – Does your agent specialize in the real estate industry and what other similar type clients do they currently handle? How long have the worked in the insurance industry? This is probably the most important factor in selecting your insurance agent. They personally need to be experts in your specific industry so that you are delivered the best pricing, placed with the right carrier, best policy form and risk services specific to your needs. Your agent absolutely plays a major role in marketing your risk which directly affects the premiums that you pay. Having an agent that has appointments and has established strong relationships with key markets that specialize in your industry makes the world of difference in obtaining the best insurance options.
- Industry Endorsements or Affiliations – Are they endorsed by a trade association or are they actively involved with your industries trade association? This is key to illustrating credibility in understanding the apartment and property management industry. The right agent will understand key exposures and specific coverages that are necessary for your risk.
- Captive or Independent Agent – Captive agents are typically employed by their respective insurance company and represent only one insurance company. Farmers and State Farm are examples of who a captive agent is. Independent agents offer products and services from different companies and can advise accordingly. Independent agents have the advantage of offer more carrier options, coverages and policy types that generally result in lower premium amounts. Captive agents will likely not be able offer all the policies and/or coverages you need for all your insurance and risk management needs and if they can they are limited by their agreement with their respective company. We recommend you partner with an independent agent to ensure you are getting the best options for all your insurance and risk management exposures.
- Integrity – Selecting an insurance agent that you trust and believe is delivering the best products is very important. You need to feel that your agent will find you the best solution regardless of how much they are going to get paid.
Once you have found and selected your insurance professional you will likely have the option to transfer the servicing of your insurance policies to your new agent without making a change of insurance companies. Conclusion: Choose your insurance agent first… then work with your insurance agent to select the best insurance company(s) for you and your companies insurance and risk management needs.
GS Insurance Solutions, Inc. is the exclusive endorsed broker for the Apartment Owners Association of California. To request a free quote visit GSI or please call their team at (800) 827-4262 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The above article was written by Anthony Miller, of GS Insurance Solutions.