How do you buy insurance for your car, health, home or business? There are three ways you can buy insurance in Kenya, namely;
- Buy direct from the insurance company – you can call or walk into any insurance company in Kenya and buy insurance.
- Buy from a tied agent or salesperson – you can buy insurance through a tied insurance agent. As the name implies, a tied insurance agent usually works exclusively for one insurance company in exchange for a subsidy/retainer that’s over and above the usual commission. They typically also receive additional benefits such as medical insurance and office space usually offered to employees.
- Buy from an independent insurance agent or broker – you can also buy insurance through an independent insurance agent or broker. Independent insurance agents and brokers have no affiliation with the insurance company and work to serve their customers’ interests.
We recommend purchasing your insurance through an independent insurance agent for a number of reasons outlined below.
Using an independent agent doesn’t cost more, it often costs less because independent agents know the market so well and can negotiate on premiums on your behalf. Furthermore, experienced independent insurance agents are usually able to access better deals from insurance companies due to the volume of business they offer as well as leveraging their industry connections. In fact, an agent with many years of experience will have negotiated volume discounts and valued-added policy features that they offer to their clients. These discounts and additional features are not offered to direct clients and those who deal with tied agents (salespeople).
Who doesn’t love choices? As opposed to dealing with tied agents (salespeople) and going directly to the insurance company, independent insurance agents and brokers are able to provide a wide choice of coverage options based on your budget. You don’t need to ask for many different quotations and perform quote comparisons. With their knowledge of the market and connections, independent agents can provide you with the best value for your money. They shop and you save.
Unlike tied agents (salespeople) who may be recent hires straight from college, independent insurance agents and brokers usually have many years of experience in the industry. They have built a career assessing customer needs and matching them with underwriters able to meet those needs at a customer’s budget. Independent agents are licensed professionals who ensure you are getting the right coverage for yourself, assets or business. If you own a business, an independent insurance agent can be your insurance department and provide you with risk management expertise that would be costly to retain on a salary.
This is so much more important in business insurance especially because the risks for business are vastly complex. Someone could slip and fall while at your premises and sue you. Hackers could disable your computer system, shutting down your ability to do business. You could give someone incorrect advice and face legal action, and employees could steal from you. You might need multiple insurance policies to cover the different risks your business faces for each risk. Each insurer in the marketplace will likely have different policy wordings, featuring different inclusions and exclusions and different ways of determining loss. It gets very complicated very quickly, and if you get it wrong, you can easily be left with no protection when you suffer a loss.
This is where an independent insurance agent can save the day. Independent agents are trained to know exactly what risks a given business faces, how to minimize those risks, and exactly which insurance policies will offer the best protection.
Claims Assistance and Advice
In addition to providing you with professional advice and expertise, independent insurance agents help you with claims by ensuring you do not do anything that would put your claim in jeopardy. This includes ensuring your claims are reported in time, using the correct channels and that all your claims documentation is free of errors and omissions. Furthermore, an independent agent with a sizable portfolio can negotiate with the insurance company to have your claim paid on an ex gratia (by favour) basis where your claim is inadmissible.
A One-Stop Shop
Most Independent agents are able to provide you with all classes of insurance. For example, at Insurance Guru, we are able to quote for even the rarest classes of insurance which are only offered by a few insurance companies in Kenya.
An insurance agency is a life long consultant. They should be able to offer insurance solutions that cater to all of your life’s stages, that is, childhood, school/college, employment, renting your first house, married life, taking care of children, building or buying a home and retirement.