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Suggestions For Finding An Agent

After conducting comparison research in the areas of price, service and a company's financial strength, you may wish to speak with a company representative. Here are a few tips to help you locate an agent in your area.

Try calling the company directly. A phone number for each company is provided in the yellow pages of your local telephone directory under the heading of "Insurance."

Check the company website for agent information. Many companies have an interactive agent locator which provides the address and phone number of your local agent.

Contact an agent association:

Utah Association of Independent Agents 801-269-1200, www.iiau.org.

Before making a decision . . .

Once you find an individual in your area, it is important to check their license status by going to Company & Agent Search to verify they have a license for the product they are selling.

The following are descriptions of the four basic distribution methods used by insurance companies to sell insurance.

Captive Agent

A broker-agent acting as a captive agent represents a single insurer, or single fleet of insurers, and is obligated to submit business only to that company or, at the very minimum, give that company first refusal rights on a sale.

Independent Agent

An agent acting as an independent agent is a contractor who represents different insurance companies and who searches the market for the best coverage based on a client's insurance needs. Independent agents, or the agency they work for, must be appointed by the insurance company they represent before placing coverage with that company. Agent appointments can be verified by contacting the Producer Licensing Division by e-mail at licensing.uid@utah.gov.

Insurance Broker

A broker acting in the capacity of an insurance broker is an independent insurance sales person who searches the marketplace in the interests of clients, not insurance companies, and may place coverage with any admitted insurance company.

Direct Writer

Direct writing is a method of selling insurance directly to customers through a company's own employees, usually via mail or telephone solicitations, or at airport booths. Agents and brokers are not used in this method of product distribution.