Back “in the day” families had an insurance agent. It really didn’t matter what type of insurance they needed. If they wanted auto, homeowners, health, life, disability income or anything else, they went to the family agent.
In most cases the agent was not independent, but rather a captive agent for a company whose primary focus was auto and homeowners, their bread and butter. While they were licensed for just about anything you might possibly need, the truth was that then and even more so now, being licensed and being professionally competent to do the best job for their client outside of their primary focus weren’t necessarily synonymous.
This has become abundantly clear over the past few years as we have worked to help people with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder. Like many, their first attempt at acquiring life insurance is through their State Farm, Farmers, Farm Bureau or Allstate agent. It seems reasonable. There is already a relationship. They got the policies for auto or homeowners without any problems. So, logically, there shouldn’t be any problem with life insurance, right?
Wrong! While also licensed to sell life insurance these companies are called property/casualty companies. They sell other things because they really do want to be all things to their clients. The problem is that they all have ultra conservative and often downright incompetent underwriting when it comes to life insurance. You are simply not going to get the same professional consideration when presenting a challenging life insurance application as you would from companies who hang their hats on life insurance only. Their underwriters have the knowledge, experience and expertise to give fair understanding and consideration to your application.
So, no longer being “back in the day”, let’s be honest. There is good reason not to put all your eggs in one basket. Put your loyalty with an agent who specializes in what you need. If you need car insurance, don’t come to me. If you need life insurance don’t go to State Farm. If you have challenging issues, health or mental, don’t pick a life insurance agent who doesn’t have experience and success and those areas.
Bottom line. Now, more than at any time in the past, we need to get the most bang for our buck. That always comes from prudent and selective shopping, not from jumping on the wagon with someone who wants to be everything you will ever need.