- Am I getting the best rate?
- Is the company financially stable?
- Does the company have a good reputation?
- Does the company pay claims quickly?
All of these are important, popular, and realistic questions, and would come to anyone’s mind because of the nature of the relationship. Entering into an insurance contract is very important, and each question should be resolved before rather than after your policy is issued. If you are like most people and find insurance policies difficult to read and understand, it makes very good sense to have an experienced independent agent in your corner that is going to look out for your best interests during your insurance transaction. The following are frequently asked questions that you should know the answer to so you can be comfortable with your purchase.
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Am I Getting the Best Rate?
The answer to this question is more about your independent agent’s ability to shop all major carriers on your behalf. When you are considering Final Expense Insurance or Burial Insurance, you are better served by using a reputable and experienced independent agent. Most independent agents represent all of the major players in the insurance industry, and you can verify this when you make the first contact. Using an independent agent works in your favor because these agents will always put your needs first during the shopping, underwriting, and purchasing process.
Currently, there are about 750 life insurance companies in the U.S., but only about 10 percent of them offer Final Expense Insurance and Burial Insurance, so your independent agent should represent the majority of those carriers or at least the top twenty in terms of rates and available products
When you do business with an independent agent, especially an agent who specializes in senior products, you can have all your shopping done with one call.
Is the Company Financially Stable?
You certainly want to be assured that your insurance company is prepared to pay your claim when the worst thing happens. It makes perfect sense to make certain that the insurer is financially stable before you commit to a purchase.
Fortunately, consumers have access to a well-known rating company called A. M. Best, and your online search will provide the financial data about any company you are considering. The A. M. Best web portal may require you to register, but there is no charge to access their data. In fact, there are many other consumer resource tools available on their website. To access this valuable tool, click here. Also, most reputable independent agents can email or fax you a list of the carriers they represent with each company’s Best rating listed next to the company name.
Does the Company Have a Good Reputation?
While most reputable independent agents refuse to represent carriers with a soiled reputation, you can confirm this by conducting an internet search. There are many sites available that post legitimate complaints against insurers. You can also visit the website of your state’s Department of Insurance and look for consumer complaints and whether they have been resolved.
Another resource for checking the reputation of an insurance carrier is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB typically lists complaints by type and will also include information if the complaint is resolved.
Please note, however, that not all complaints on the internet are legitimate. Many times a disgruntled terminated employee will file bogus complaints against their former employer in an attempt to make them look bad in the marketplace. Agents know whether an insurer is servicing their customers fairly because, in almost every case, the customer will complain to their agent first.D
Does the Company Pay Claims Quickly?
When it comes time for your insurer to pay a death benefit on your Final Expense Insurance or Burial Insurance, you certainly want to be assured that the benefit is paid quickly and appropriately. Funeral service expenses need to be handled in a matter of days, not weeks, and you have every right to be concerned for your beneficiary.
The better agents take the necessary steps to track claim payments for their clients. If they represent a carrier that is not getting claim checks out in a reasonable amount of time, they are typically the first to know. It is logical that a reputable independent agent would cut off an insurance company whose claims service is causing telephone calls from upset beneficiaries, surviving loved ones, and funeral directors.
The majority of complaints about insurance companies are claims related, so once again, take a few minutes to complete a search about the company you are considering before you complete the transaction with your agent.
The most efficient manner to have all of your insurance questions answered honestly and with authority, is to select an independent agent that is knowledgeable and reputable. This action alone will be your most important decision when purchasing Final Expense Insurance or Burial Insurance or any other type of life insurance.
Doug Mitchell, President of Ogletree Financial, holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA. Doug has spent over 20 years in the life insurance industry and has also held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, and home and auto insurance. For two years, Doug served as President of the Auburn Opelika Association of Financial Advisors and has been a member of the Million Dollar Round Table. He obtained Life Millionaire status at Horace Mann Insurance Company and was awarded the Life Agent of the Year Award. Later in his career with New York Life, he was an Executive Council Member. Doug currently serves as President of Ogletree Financial, a life insurance marketing organization with over 1000 life insurance agents. Today, Doug’s main focus is servicing 1000s of policyholders and growing his agency through the reach of several insurance-related websites.