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I was visiting with a person Friday about his experience applying for life insurance through a “mega agency”. He applied last August and ran into an issue with an elevated PSA on his labs. The company postponed the application until he had a urologist’s workup, including a biopsy to rule out prostate cancer.

This person complied and had the biopsy and provided the negative results to the company and has now not heard from the agent, agency or company in over two months. No approval or decline. Just nothing.

I know I’ve ragged on the big on line agencies before and suggested that a person is better served by an independent agent. The situation above is just another example about how bigger isn’t better. Not getting an approval, even with the new results is possible, but not informing your client as to the end result is not acceptable. Not shopping it and keeping your client informed as to how things are going is not acceptable. Being too busy or too big to provide personal service is, well, too big offering bad service.

Compare that experience with the standard protocol in our office. Once an application starts, the client hears from either the agent or the staff weekly until the policy is declined or in force. If it is declined and it is shoppable, I stay in touch with the client weekly until we either find an offer or we exhaust all attempts.

After a policy is in force, we stay in touch annually. With most of the on line giants you will never hear from them again. That is simply unacceptable service.

Bottom line. It won’t take more time or money to use an independent agent rather than an on line behemoth. You will be served rather than sold. The advice will be purer in that most on line superstores have special contracts and favor certain companies. This doesn’t lower your price, but rather increases their commission. They may say they represent all of the big companies, but amazingly their recommendations will almost always come back to the same spot.

We have not reached a point where personal service is no longer valuable.