Insurance Q&A: Benefits of an Independent Agent


Mark DeBlauw, Senior Sales Executive, Property & Casualty

With our 2022 addition of the Ancora Insurance Solutions vertical, we have entered the property and casualty and employee benefits space to further assist Ancora clients. Mark DeBlauw, a Senior Sales Executive on the Ancora Insurance Solutions Team, joins us to explore the independent insurance agency model and the potential benefits of a comprehensive coverage approach. 

What are some of the main advantages of utilizing an insurance agency for property and casualty coverage rather than shopping direct?

The holistic approach of an insurance agency model offers several advantages such as comprehensive coverage and a single point of contact as well as independent and objective advice. An insurance agency can provide a wide range of coverage options to meet the diverse needs of individuals and businesses. Whether it’s auto, home, liability or commercial insurance, an agency can offer comprehensive coverage tailored to the specific requirements of their clients.  

With an agency like Ancora, clients have a dedicated agent who serves as their single point of contact for all insurance needs. This eliminates the hassle of dealing with multiple insurers or policies, making policy changes or claims processing more streamlined and efficient for the client. When purchasing directly, you may have to rely on self-service tools and a general customer support line from the insurance company.  

And, because insurance agencies are not tied to a single insurance company, we are independent and can therefore offer objective advice and access multiple insurers to find the best coverage options and prices for our clients. This can help clients make more informed decisions without any bias towards a particular insurer. 

A common misconception is that it is more expensive to obtain property and casualty coverage through an insurance agency versus direct. What are the facts on that front? 

Insurance agencies work with multiple insurance carriers and have the ability to compare rates and coverage options from different providers. This allows us to potentially find policies that offer better value for our clients. On the other hand, when purchasing insurance directly from an insurance company, you are limited to the rates and options offered by that specific company.

Agencies also have more flexibility to explore options for combining different policies (e.g., home and auto) to potentially obtain discounted rates. Direct purchasers may miss out on these potential savings as well as the personalized advice and guidance that agencies can provide. They can help you understand the nuances of different policies, assess your risks and recommend appropriate coverage levels, which can be invaluable in making informed decisions and ensuring that you have adequate coverage. 

What role does the agency play with the client and carrier when there is a claim filed?  

When a claim is filed, an insurance agency firm acts as an intermediary between the client (the policyholder) and the carrier (the insurance company). The agency’s role is to facilitate the claims process and ensure a smooth and fair resolution for all parties involved.

Ancora serves as an advocate for the client, providing guidance and support throughout the claims process. We help the client understand their policy coverage, rights and responsibilities. We also assist in completing claim forms, gathering necessary documentation and submitting the claim to the insurance carrier

In some cases, the agency may negotiate with the insurance carrier to ensure a fair settlement for the client. We use our experience and knowledge of insurance policies to advocate for the client’s best interests. This can involve discussions on coverage, valuation of losses and any potential disputes that may arise during the claims process.

If any issues or disputes arise during the claims process, the agency helps facilitate their resolution. We work with the carrier and the client to address any concerns, clarify policy terms and find a satisfactory solution. The agency may escalate the matter if necessary. 

Ancora places many forms of coverage across both personal and commercial lines, but we’ve been finding that umbrella insurance is often an afterthought for clients. How does umbrella insurance work, where does it fit in and what are some examples of risks that umbrella insurance covers that people might not consider in assessing their risk exposure? 

Umbrella insurance is a type of liability insurance that provides an additional layer of coverage beyond the limits of your existing policies, such as auto, homeowners or renters insurance. It is designed to protect you from large and unexpected financial losses that could result from a lawsuit or liability claim.

Umbrella insurance covers a wide range of liability risks, including bodily injury, property damage, personal injury (such as defamation or invasion of privacy) and landlord liability. It may also extend coverage for certain liabilities not covered by your underlying policies, such as libel, slander or false arrest. This type of coverage can be very affordable, especially considering the small premium you pay for the broad protection you receive. We recommend that anyone whose exceeds their liability limits consider adding protection to fill in those gaps. 

Is there an example of how our team has optimized a comprehensive coverage solution utilizing Umbrella Coverage and how it benefited the customer over what they currently had in place?  

Legal disputes can arise from various situations, such as accidental injuries on your property, defamation claims or incidents involving your pets. As another example, in today’s digital age, a simple post or comment on social media could result in a defamation claim. Umbrella insurance can help protect your assets if you are sued and face significant legal expenses. Similarly, if you engage in volunteer work or serve on the board of a nonprofit organization, umbrella insurance can offer liability coverage beyond what the organization’s insurance policy may provide.  

There are many ways to obtain insurance these days. Why should somebody consider Ancora for their personal or commercial coverage needs? How should they get in touch with our Insurance Solutions team if they’re interested in a review of their current coverages?

Above all, we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service to our clients. We are dedicated to assisting clients throughout the entire process, from policy selection to claims handling and everything in between. Additionally, our agency structure allows us to offer comprehensive and customized coverage options with competitive rates like we discussed.  

We’re more than happy to schedule a time to review coverages and showcase how we can add value. Simply contact your Ancora relationship team to start the process. We’ll ask for specific details about your existing coverage, such as policy numbers, effective dates and any associated documents or contracts. Don’t hesitate to express your concerns, ask questions and provide us with any specific requirements you may have. Our team will assess your current coverage, identify any gaps or areas for improvement and provide recommendations accordingly. We look forward to hearing from you. 

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