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How to Choose a Life Insurance Agent

When you decide to buy a home, most people will often get a real estate agent. And when you want to buy life insurance, you can use a life insurance agent.

If you decide to get an agent, there are two main types: a captive or career agent who only sells products for the company they work for, and independent agents or brokers who sell products from a variety of insurance companies.

What an agent does

Life insurance agents will often play an important role in the financial planning process. They’ll assess your life insurance needs using a financial needs analysis, determine what type of insurance (term life or whole life) is best for you, help you fill out the application, arrange for the purchase of a policy, review and update policies, and assist your beneficiary in making the claim.

Agents may also sell other products, such as disability insurance, car insurance, home insurance, mutual funds, and other investment products. And Some agents or brokers may provide you with additional financial planning needs, such as retirement or estate planning. However, not all agents offer every product or service.

Finding and choosing an agent

If you’re looking for an agent, ask close friends or family to recommend someone. If they don’t know anyone, you can always check the Yellow Pages or visit the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada website to find a professional.

When you meet with each agent or broker, you should find out a few things, such as:

  • How long they’ve been in business
  • What insurance company or companies they represent
  • If they belong to a professional association, such as Advocis, the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada, or the Autorité des marchés financiers
  • What professional designations they have (Chartered Life Underwriter, Certified Financial Planner, and Chartered Financial Consultant are some common designations)
  • Whether they can provide client references

You should be prepared to discuss personal financial information as well as your financial situation and needs. If you’re worried about privacy, don’t worry because your conversation will remain confidential.

There are various types of insurance and policies to choose from and an independent agent can shop around for different rates. They should also educate you on the options available and not try to sell one particular policy without providing or suggesting alternatives.

The last word

Buying life insurance is an important step but don’t rush or feel pressured to make a decision. If you do choose to go with an agent, meet with a few before you choose someone who you’re comfortable with and who has your best interests in mind.

Flickr: Got Credit