What’s the difference between a direct/captive agent and an independent agent? 

A direct/captive agent works for the insurance company, while an independent insurance agent works for the customer.  An independent agent represents many different insurance companies and offers the consumer choices. Direct/captive agents, in contrast, are limited almost exclusively to one company’s products, services, and coverages. The standard of care offered by a direct/captive agent can be less than that of an independent agent. 

What are the benefits of working with an independent agent? 


It’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition with an independent agent. Because they have no exclusive relationship with any one insurance company, independent agents are able to offer consumers unbiased guidance on a wide variety of products, coverages, and prices from multiple companies. 

Personal Relationship

You can develop a lifelong relationship with your independent agent. With a direct/captive agent, if something goes wrong and the agent’s company decides to non-renew your account, you have to find a new agent. Should that happen with an independent agent, your agent can find a new insurance company for you—and you still maintain your trusted relationship.

Equipped for Challenges

Independent agents also have the ability to write even the most challenging accounts—from basic home and auto package policies all the way up to major corporations with international exposures. It’s highly unlikely that an independent agent will have to turn away a potential customer with all the choices and options available to them. 

Custom Fit

Working with an independent agent is like having your own personal shopper—an expert on many different types of insurance and exposures—who will take the time to understand your unique situation, needs and goals, and recommend coverages and policies custom fitted to you. 


An independent agent can save time and money. A consumer doesn’t have to spend hours gathering quotes from multiple companies. You can accomplish this with a single phone call and application with an independent agent. And those better fit coverages—that suit your needs and not someone else’s agenda—provide better value in the long run. 

Key Advocate

Because independent agents represent the consumer (and not the insurance company), they can be key allies come claim time. Don’t underestimate the value of having a knowledgeable, experienced advocate to guide you through the claims process.

The true role of an independent agent is not just about providing information, it’s about guiding customers through choices that will best identify their needs and provide sound solutions.

We welcome your insurance-related questions. Contact the independent insurance agents at Forest Agency at 708-383-9000, email us at info@forestagency.com, or visit us at www.forestagency.com to learn more about the best fit coverage for your home, auto, life, and business.

Dan Browne is the President of Forest Agency Insurance, a proudly-independent insurance agency serving Oak Park and the surrounding communities since 1957.