What Makes a Good Agent?
Selecting the right insurance agent to work with is a serious decision one that needs thoughtful effort and time. A good agent is not just in the business of selling insurance but is there to help you understand the often complicated language of insurance and financial services and guide you through the decisions you need to make to provide for your family’s security, both now and in the future.
When choosing an agent, what important things should you consider?
Start with Referrals
An excellent starting place is to ask your family members, friends, neighbors, business associates, and other professionals you count on (like your accountant or lawyer) if they have any personal recommendations.
Choose an Agent With Whom You Feel Comfortable
After you have several referral names, give them each a call to ask them more about the products they sell, what types of clients they work with, how long they have been agents, special services they may offer, and any other questions or concerns you might have.
Make Sure the Agent is Licensed
Each state requires its insurance agents to be licensed. Your agent should be willing to provide information about his/her license as well as answer any specific questions.
You can access your state insurance department’s Web site via links provided by The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Agents who sell variable life insurance products must also have a securities license and be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). You can check the background of your investment professional through the FINRA Web site.
Ask About Professional Designations
Some examples of designations that a life insurance agent may earn include Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) and Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF). Designations such as Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®), and Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) indicate that an agent has training in financial planning and can serve as a financial advisor.
Inquire About Membership in Professional Associations
Being a member of a professional association enables an agent to not only pursue his/her professional development but also stay informed about the latest news, changes, and trends in the industry. Inquire to see if your agent has membership in associations such as the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the Million Dollar Round Table® (MDRT), or the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU).
In the Final Analysis
Ultimately, when choosing an agent, you want someone you can trust who is professional, well-qualified, knowledgeable, and reliable. The right agent will take time to listen to your needs, help you develop the best financial strategy for your particular situation, explain your insurance and/or investment options clearly, and follow up with you regularly to make sure the insurance and/or investments you have are appropriate for your stage of life.
Request an Appointment
Are you interested in contacting a Western-Southern Life licensed insurance agent? Request an appointment today.