Most of the time, agents are independent contractors, and they can be either captive agents or noncaptive agents (also known as independent agents). The former means that they work directly for a single insurance company, and the latter means they work for multiple insurance companies. Brokers, like Policygenius, are more independent, and work with a large number of insurance companies. They may also sell more insurance products, like disability insurance. Captive agents have fewer options to offer you because they only have their parent company’s policies to choose from.
While State Farm's shopping experience is well-reviewed, customers did not feel as strongly about it's claims handling process. The company scored about the same as the other four large companies, but was still mediocre. A large national company may be expected to not be very efficient because of the various departments involved in handling individual claims. If you want the assurances guaranteed to you by a large, "legacy" carrier, then State Farm is the best to go with.
If you find yourself away from the wheel more times than not, a pay-per mile auto insurance company like Metromile may be the best company to go with. Metromile is one of the first companies in the U.S. where a bulk of a driver's premium is determined by how much they drive. How much is too much? We found that generally for Metromile to be a good deal, drivers should only drive 7,500 miles or less per year. The biggest downsides to Metromile is a mediocre record of claims handling, in addition to the company only being available in seven states: CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA.
Within Australia there are also a number of industry bodies that issue professional accreditations to members that comply with best standards of professional practice and integrity and maintain up to date skills and knowledge. The two main accreditations are the ANZIIF CIP (certified insurance professional) and NIBA QPIB (qualified practicing insurance broker) qualifications.
Beyond simply understanding life insurance, an agent can also guide you through the process of buying it. While you can apply for life insurance entirely on your own, sometimes that means a lot of waiting for a response from a carrier before you know where you stand in the application process. But an agent can update you as move through the funnel.