My customers don’t see it as important at all. So, let’s look at the pros and cons of a local versus, say a multi state or even nationally licensed agent.
With a home town agent you can shake their hand or beat them with a baseball bat, whatever the occasion might call for, with no driving or flying expense. Right there is where the pros end for the local agent.
As for the cons! A home town agent serves a comparatively small population and therefore does not do the volume it takes to know the products and the underwriters that will approve the products. Because they don’t know the underwriters and very often don’t have the computer software or staff needed, they tend to be slower at providing life insurance quotes and getting insurance approved.
A home town agent is less likely to be there when you call with a question, less likely to return a call in a timely manner and (this is very important), less likely to stay in business as the majority of life insurance sales is increasingly done on the internet and with nationally licensed agents.
A home town agent cannot service your needs if you should happen to move. And lastly, in order to survive, most home town agents either have to become captive agents or diversify to a large number of products. If they are captive they can only represent one company and therefore cannot be objective in providing a product for your situation. If they diversify, they simply cannot be expected to know all the nuances of each particular industry or product .
In short, it is highly unlikely that you will get a better product, price or service with a home town agent. So, unless you want to shake their hand or beat on them, compare before you buy.