I was first licensed as an insurance agent back in 1957 (wow! that's 59 years ago). Back then there were no computers and we looked up premium rates in manuals attempting to copy them correctly. As much as computers frustrate all of us, it really is better now.
I retired and moved permanently to Cripple Creek in the spring of 2005. It only took a year for Nancy (my wife) to declare that I was 'underfoot' and I needed a job to get me out of the house. I decided to open an insurance agency - the only agency within a 25 mile radius of Cripple Creek. Which I guess makes me the "best" agent in town!
Initially, I chose Farmer's Insurance as my exclusive company. While they are a fine company, forcing everyone's coverage into only what Farmer's offered was doing a disservice to my clients. In 2011, I decided to become an independent agent offering the coverage of many fine companies. I'd been a captive agent before back in the Chicago area; I'd also been independent before.
If you are not familiar with how insurance agents are 'divided up', you might want to read this:
There are different kinds of insurance agents and the type you choose can have an impact on your overall experience as a policyholder.
Captive Agents –
Captive insurance agents are restricted to offering only one company’s insurance products. In addition, captive agents may also be required to sell other products from that company, such as life insurance and investment plans - quotas placed on captive agents result in them attempting to sell you products you don't want. While these agents may be very knowledgeable about their policies and have good products, they are limited in terms of what they can offer you.
Independent Agents –
Unlike captive agents, local independent agents can offer you products from a variety of different insurance companies such as Progressive, Foremost, Dairyland and Metropolitan. Local independent agents can better serve your needs, because they can review different policies and pricing options, and recommend the best combination for you. That's the real value in choosing local independent agents – they offer knowledgeable advice and personalized service.
I currently have contracts with Progressive, Metropolitan Property & Casualty, American Modern, Amercian Strategic Insurance (part of Progressive), Foremost (part of Farmers), GMAC (now National General), Sentry, Encompass (part of Allstate), United Healthcare, Nationwide, Dairyland, Transamerica and I'm continually working on finding new companies willing to write the kind of business we have in the Gold Camp.
For Business insurance, I use Hartford, CNA, Century Surety,Travelers, United States Liability and the Navigators.