When buying insurance these days, there are a few options. You can go to a captive agent, an agent that represents one company, or you can buy from an independent insurance agent. And there is always the option to call an 800# and get it over the phone or over the internet.
Captive agents seem to spend the most on marketing and advertising, so I think that's why most people seem to gravitate towards them. Captive agents represent one company. Most, if not all, are probably "A Rated".
Independent insurance agents probably spend the least out of everyone advertising, so that is why some people are unfamiliar with them. These agents represent many companies, usually at least five. Some companies they represent- Travelers, The Hartford, Safeco, and Progressive Drive. Not familiar with these companies? It is said that Travelers actually wrote the first auto insurance policy in 1897. You can think of an independent as an agent/broker. They're not tied to one company, so if your insurance rate goes up, they can look at other options. When it comes to commercial/business insurance independents can also quote your insurance with various carriers, which is very important because different insurance companies have different appetites for different businesses.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3910874