Insurance Matters: When selecting an insurance agent, evaluate more than company and coverage

By Ken Selzer, CPA, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance

TOPEKA, Kan. — If raw numbers are any indication, Kansans have a good selection of insurance agents to select from.

During the past two years, the ranks of agents licensed to do business in the state have grown by more than 37,000. Currently, Kansas Insurance Department (KID) records show that 130,422 agents are licensed to do business in the state; 23,335 of them live here and 107,087 live out of state.

While picking the right insurance coverage for you and your family is an important job, so is finding the right insurance agent. You need to have some basic information for evaluation. Below are some considerations, courtesy of KID and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

First, know the difference in agents

When you start your search for an agent, you will have a couple of different types to choose from. You can pick an independent agent or a captive (sometimes called direct) agent. An independent agent may write contracts (policies) with several different insurance companies. A captive agent writes exclusively with one company. More