Why I’ll Never be a Captive Insurance Agent

You’ve seen the commercials with the huge celebrity endorsements. Peyton Manning’s jingle sessions with Brad Paisley on behalf of Nationwide; Green Bay Packers’ stars Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews profiling as neighbors for State Farm; famous actor J.K. Simmons portraying University of Farmers professor Nathaniel Burke; even Farm Bureau good-guy – your favorite trustworthy friend – Farmer Charlie.

It’s not debatable; the ads are catchy, personal, funny, enticing and, most importantly – effective. State Farm has just over 10% of the United States market share for property-and-casualty insurance; in 2015, it wrote nearly $60 billion (that’s a “B”) in premium. Similar captive-driven carriers Alllstate, Nationwide, Farmers, and USAA all rank among the top 10 in U.S. market share.

Like your local State Farm or Farm Bureau agent, The American Insurance Group maintains a local presence in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. Unlike those captive agencies, however, our agency is independent. What does that mean? And, more importantly, why is that important?

Remember Henry Ford, the ingenious auto magnate who is credited with developing the assembly line technique of mass production? When he developed the original Model T, he was famous for saying the following: “People can have the Model T in any color – so long as it’s black.” One option for all buyers; no more, no less.

When you visit your local captive agent and ask for an auto or home insurance proposal, you’re that Model T – functional, adequate, maybe even affordable (though not always). In such an instance, you can have any insurance you want – so long as it’s issued by that captive carrier. You get one quote for one product, and that’s it. And when it’s time to renew the following year? If rates go up, a captive agent cannot remarket your insurance with another carrier. You’re stuck, and there’s nothing you (or your agent) can do about it.

Compare that with an independent agency like The American Insurance Group. When you call our office, we go to work for you. We’re looking out for your best interests, serving as your fiduciary, and we’re happy to spend the time necessary to find the best product that fits your needs. We’ve come to realize that insurance isn’t a fungible commodity. You’re not buying a pair of sweatpants; one size really doesn’t fit all.

While it sounds great that “Nationwide is on your side,” or that “you’re in good hands with Allstate,” those companies pay millions of dollars for those catchy advertising campaigns. Still, we appreciate the fact that many captive insurance agents do their jobs extremely well, serve their communities faithfully, and put forth a solid product. Nevertheless, those agents are, succinctly, captive to their captor.

At The American Insurance Group, we’ll never be held captive to one big carrier. We value our independence, mainly because we want you to value yours.


By Scott Simmons
The American Insurance Group


The American Insurance Group is a locally-owned, independent insurance agency in downtown Chattanooga. The Agency provides risk-management solutions both for businesses and individuals. You may find more information about us at www.theamericaninsurancegroup.com.  You may contact us via email at sales@insurancegroup.us or via telephone at (423) 362-4166.