I was watching the TV a while back and it seemed like every other commercial was selling car
insurance for $781 less than you are paying now. Then I started to pay attention to what
insurance companies were making these claims. Not only did I see who was making these
claims but it became apparent that the general public probably did not know what type of
insurance company was making this claim. Allow me to explain the different types of insurance
companies out there and how you interact with each.
The first group of insurance companies are referred to as direct writers or captive agents. You
all have heard their names: State Farm, Farmers and All State to name a few. There are a
bunch of these agents in every town in America (or so it seems.) The parent company spends
heavily on advertising, that’s why we know their names so well. You might have been insured
with them at one time. But the downfall of the captive agent is just that. He is captive to that
one company. If you run into a problem, say a dramatic premium increase, he (or she) does not
have any other insurance company to offer a lower priced alternative. Or worse, if junior has a
speeding problem and gets a few tickets, you will be looking for new insurance on your own
since they do not have any other insurance companies to offer a replacement policy. Nice name
recognition, but only one company to do business with.
The next group of insurance companies out there are the online and 1-800 companies. Again
they are really good at advertising their name and big savings. Who hasn’t seen an ad for
GEICO or Liberty Mutual. And like the captive agent, they only have one company to offer to
you. But unlike the captive agent, they do not have a local office or a local agent. They are in
some nameless city and your call is getting answered by an agent you have never met nor will
ever get to meet. In my opinion they are there to sell you an insurance policy, not to try and
understand your unique needs and wants. One other cautionary tale, if you call them to help
you decide if you should submit a minor claim or not, you have just filed that claim.
By calling your insurance company you have submitted a claim whether you wanted to or not.
And that will likely cause your rates to increase. One final note I have come across in dealing
with former clients of these companies is if you tell them you want lower cost
insurance, they might lower your coverage to achieve your goal of lower premiums. Be careful
what you ask for.
Then there are the best of the best (not bragging here) type of insurance agents, the
independent agents like The Jemez Insurance Agency. An independent insurance agent is
usually locally owned and operated. Commonly referred to as a broker, they offer insurance
from many different insurance carriers. And because they offer many companies, they
represent (and work on behalf of) you the customer. Many independent agents have achieved
professional designations. We are required to attend annual continuing educational classes to
keep our licenses valid. We support (and insure) local businesses and nonprofits. For many
independent agencies, our employees live in the communities where we conduct business and
our children go to local schools.
In summary, we are proud to have been serving Los Alamos, Santa Fe and northern New
Mexico for 60 years. We are thankful for you for allowing us to protect what matters most,
your family, your business, your community.