Does the Internet Spell the End for Local Insurance Agencies?

With many insurers, large and small, making comparison shopping on the Internet easy, does it spell an end for your local insurance agency? Well, it might still be too early to tell. In fact, while online shopping for auto insurance appears to be the growing trend among consumers searching for coverage at lower rates, insurance agents everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. They won’t be going anywhere for a while – at least, not in the near future.

Truth is, many of those same consumers feel the insurance agent continues to play a vital role in the industry. The general consensus for this is that a live agent can often provide valuable information regarding your auto, home, renters, or health insurance should you require an explanation of some aspects of your existing or new policy. And, ironically, agencies are not being closed and agents eliminated, but more agents are actually being hired to keep up with the Internet demand.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook predictions show that, from 2012 through 2022, there is an expected employment growth for insurance agent jobs of 10.4 percent. That translates to an increase of 45,900 new agent positions that will need filling prior to the end of the stated period.

The implementation of health care reform with the Affordable Care Act, also referred to by some as Obamacare, proved that insurance agents were indispensable in clearing up the confusion that came along with the new law. People had questions and professionally-trained human agents provided the needed assistance to simplify the transition that the impersonal websites couldn’t.

With so many choices and options available, whether you’re shopping for auto insurance or health care insurance, the Internet can be a very useful tool for you to get the basics, but quite often consumers have additional questions only a knowledgeable agent can answer. Furthermore, with certain kinds of coverages, various discounts are available to save you money on your premiums. These are not always properly stated on websites… and, if you think you qualify for one or more, check directly with an insurance broker or agent for the company you’re considering. That way, you can feel confident that you’re getting the best possible rate.

Evidently, homeowners and business owners are also finding their insurance agencies to be quite relevant. They believe a personal relationship with an agent can aide them to better understand their coverage and assure they have the proper levels of protection should a catastrophic event occur, thereby, reducing the risks of not being properly insured.

So, use the Internet to shop and compare, just keep in mind that if you have questions that can’t be answered or explained to your satisfaction online…get on the phone and speak with a live agent. After all, no one can accurately predict the future but, for now, it’s safe to say that the auto insurance agent or any other insurance agent, for that matter, won’t be riding off into the sunset any time soon.

Don’t make the mistake of paying too much. Make sure you’re getting the best rate on your auto insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?

Do you prefer a live agent or a website to purchase insurance? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.