Eight out of ten businesses stay with their same insurance agent whether it’s in their best interest or not. One of the biggest reasons businesses stay put is that they don’t know their options or what they are missing out on. Also, for many people, insurance is confusing for them – like speaking a foreign language. Because people don’t know what to look for and what questions to ask, they remain with their current agent and often settle for subpar service and mediocre resources.
As an independent agent with Baily Insurance for the last 20 years, I have spoken with many business owners who aren’t fully satisfied with their current insurance agent, but they also don’t know where to start when considering a change.
And, being in insurance for such a long time, I know that not all insurance agents are the right fit for every business. When an insurance agent is not a good fit for your business, they will not be as effective at getting you the right coverage at the best price.
To help you narrow your options, I’ve compiled a list of other top-rated independent insurance agencies that serve the Southwestern Pennsylvania area, along with some questions to help you find an agent that will be a good fit for your business.
In the list below, you will get a sense of how long these agencies have been serving this area, where they are located, the types of services and products they offer, and the general size of their agency.
While founded in the Pittsburgh area in 1929, this agency is now headquartered near Philadelphia in Wayne, PA. They also have offices in Malvern, PA, and Fort Myers, FL. Babb specializes in employee benefits, commercial insurance, retirement, and personal insurance. Babb Inc. is a larger-sized agency.
One of the larger independent insurance agencies in Southwestern PA, Duncan Financial Group, offers financial services, personal and commercial insurance, risk management and workers’ compensation insurance, and employee benefits products. They are a member of Keystone Insurers Group. Duncan Financial Group has three locations with its main office in Irwin, PA, and two satellite offices in Pittsburgh, PA.
Henderson Brothers was founded in 1893 and is located in Pittsburgh, PA. Henderson Brothers serves the Pittsburgh area with over 100 employees. This agency offers all areas of insurance; risk management, employee benefits, commercial, personal property, and casualty insurance. They also serve customers in the construction, oil and gas, and cyber fields.
Established in 1950, Liberty Insurance is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, with additional offices in Greensburg, PA, and Allison Park, PA. This is a larger insurance firm that serves businesses in the restaurant, real estate, engineering, construction, wholesale, and health care industries. Liberty serves over 7,000 clients regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Marthinsen and Salvitti Insurance Group
Marthinsen and Salvitti Insurance Group, a mid-sized agency, is located in Washington, PA. This team of agents works with over 30 insurance and writes Business Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, Home and Auto, Health, Life and Employee Benefits. Working with colleges, schools, and restaurants are some of their specialties. This privately-held agency has been doing business since 1994.
Rodgers Insurance Group was founded in 1957 by Andrew Rodgers. This insurance group is a mid-sized agency that provides both commercial and personal insurance solutions for their clientele. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Rodgers Insurance Group specializes in coverage for contractors, manufacturers, transportation, wholesale/retail, and service industries.
With over 90 local employees, Seubert & Associates is a larger Pittsburgh area commercial insurance agency. This agency also has a branch office in Washington, PA. Seubert & Associates provide insurance for several industries but specialize in risk management and have a large amount of contractor and construction clients. Founded in 1973, this agency has been serving the Pittsburgh area for almost 50 years.
Simpson McCrady, LLC.
With offices in Pittsburgh, PA, and Ligonier, PA, Simpson McCrady, LLC., has been serving the greater Pittsburgh area since 1985. This agency offers commercial insurance, employee benefits, personal insurance, and alternative risk products. In terms of personal insurance, this agency is a well-known representative of Chubb Insurance.
Sprowls Insurance Group is an independent agency that serves clients in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. Their headquarters are located in Uniontown, PA, and they have an additional office in Belle Vernon, PA, and an office in Friendsville, MD.
One unique facet of this agency is that they have access to Erie Insurance along with other non-Erie companies. This agency has been in business since 1971 and is also a member of the Keystone Insurers Group. Sprowls Insurance Agency specializes in personal insurance, commercial insurance, and employee benefits.
In full disclosure, this is an agency that we have partnered with on some accounts over the years.
Established in 1924, TJS Insurance Group is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. This agency specializes in employee benefits, property and casualty, financial services, and personal insurance products. In 2016, TJS Insurance Group was acquired by Assured Partners.
Choosing the best agent for your business
Switching agents can be incredibly time-consuming! A new agent needs all kinds of information about your business, and tracking all that information down can be overwhelming! When you begin the process of hiring a new insurance agent, you want to make sure you don’t end up wasting your time.
With so many insurance agencies in the Pittsburgh area, how do you decide who to work with?
The most effective way to decide which agency to hire is to start by interviewing agents you might want to work with (not asking for quotes – that will come later).
Here are some questions to help you settle on a good insurance agent that will suit your business.
#1 Which insurance companies do you use to write insurance policies for other businesses like mine?
In addition to this question, you will want to ask the agent to tell you about his relationship with those companies. If the agent does not frequently work with an insurance company or has little relationship with the company, the insurance company is not as likely to negotiate with the agent. This will prevent the agent from being a successful advocate for you.
If the agent does not have many other clients with the insurance company, their relationship with that company is not strong. The best agent will have a strong relationship with the insurance company.
#2 Which insurance company do you think will be the best option for my specific business needs?
A good insurance agent will be able to tell you exactly which companies like to work with businesses similar to your own. They will also be able to tell you about specific products that those companies offer to businesses in your industry.
If the agent can not tell you specifics about some of the companies they will use to write your insurance, you should consider that as a sign that they may not be the best fit to work with your company.
#3 How much premium do you write with these companies?
If an insurance agent is not writing at least $1,000,000 in premium with an insurance company, it is likely that he does not have a strong relationship with that company. A strong relationship with the insurance company is vital to helping a client negotiate the best terms for your policy.
If the agent is writing less than $1,000,000 in premium with the insurance company he will use to write your business, you should continue looking for another agent.
#4 What is your loss ratio with these companies?
A low loss ratio is an indicator that an insurance agent works with their clients to help them prevent claims. Keep in mind that while claims cost the insurance company, they often end up costing you as well. Claims almost always cause your premiums to go up.
If the agent you are interviewing has a “Pure Loss Ratio” of over 55%, you can be certain that the insurance company will consider that a high loss ratio. The insurance company will not likely offer preferred pricing for your business if you work with that agent.
Is My Current Agent the Best Fit For My Business?
The reality is that 80% of the time businesses stay with their current agent. The most common reasons for this are:
Most insurance agents are likeable, nice, well-meaning, and caring people.
Most businesses don’t know that better options are available.
They don’t know how to evaluate if their current agent is only mediocre in their performance.
They have met with countless prospective agents who have over-promised and under-delivered.
Is your agent mediocre, or is your agent top-notch?
Besides working with insurance companies to quote your insurance policy, a top-notch insurance agent will also have resources available to you to enhance your insurance and risk management program and help you lower your costs.
What resources and tools does your current agent offer to you?
At Baily Insurance Agency, we roll up our sleeves and partner with our clients to create a robust insurance and risk management program specifically for their business. We see insurance as much more than providing a quote!
We actively engage with our clients’ claims to help bring them to the most cost-effective resolution (because that is what drives their insurance premiums).
We help our clients develop HR protocols to lower their general liability and workers’ compensation costs.
We act as their trusted advisor to discover which health insurance options will work best for their company AND their employees.
We help our clients explore non-traditional group health insurance solutions.
We also provide education to our clients to help them manage their risk.
These are just a few examples of resources we offer our clients. Providing top-notch service for our clients is our priority!
If you would like some additional guidelines to evaluate your current agent, you can read about the Four Keys to Finding the Best Commercial Insurance Agent. This article gives specifics about the qualities and tools that top-notch agents bring to the table. It will help you assess your current insurance agent and make sure you aren’t settling for service that is less than the best!