Choosing an Agent

Determining how much and what kind of insurance to buy is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll make, but because it can also be complicated, many people choose to work with a professional. A qualified insurance professional will conduct a comprehensive financial needs analysis, and walk you through the multitude of questions you need to consider to determine how much and what kind of insurance is right for you, given your budget. And what many people don’t realize is that when you sit down with an agent to discuss life insurance, the consultation is free. Of course, the quality of advice you get is dependent on how good your agent is.

Here are five tips to help you choose the right agent:

Get referrals.

The easiest way to start your search is to get referrals from the people you trust such as friends, family members and other professional advisors you already work with, like lawyers or accountants. You can also try Life Happens’ online agent locator below.

Find out about their specialties.

Make sure that the agent you select has the expertise to meet your needs. One insurance agent may specialize in life insurance, another in long-term care insurance. Whatever their specialty, good agents will take the time to listen and ask questions about your objectives, help construct a basic game plan, and work with you to find the right insurance solutions for your needs and budget.

Ask if they hold any professional membership.

An agent who is a member of professional associations, such as the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) or the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), means they adhere to a stringent code of ethics and are committed to enhancing their skills and knowledge.

Schedule a meeting.

Interview at least two agents to establish a basis for comparison in terms of qualifications and character, not just fees. Ask for customer references and check that the agent works with financially sound insurance companies.

Inquire about their education and training.

If you are not familiar with the letters listed after an agent’s name, ask about them. Professional designations, such as Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Financial Services Specialist (FSS) and Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) indicate that the agent has completed advanced training, passed rigorous exams and is serious about professional development.

Find an Agent

Get started with our agent locator to find an insurance professional in your area.

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