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     One of the hardest concepts for an insurance agent to convey to a client is how insurance companies arrive at the rates they offer to their customers. What is sometimes referred to as multivariable rating can confuse and confound even intelligent people, more intelligent than I.

     One of the more weighty components of the aforementioned rating system is what is commonly referred to as "credit", which is the tell tale story for the good, the bad and the ugly in our financial lives. Credit histories have become the financial genetic markers that determine the course of many of our lives; whether it be the place we live or the car we drive, and sometimes even the jobs we are offered.

    Many an agent have valiantly argued to most insurance carriers that credit has no bearing on the insurance risk an individual presents. But, as technology has improved and data has been studied, companies have been able to successfully draw direct correlations between credit trends and risk factors. Fast forward to 2018 and all major property and casualty insurance companies use your credit history as a rating factor in determining the cost of your car and home insurance.

     We often hear a scenario that goes something like this: " Joe said he only pays $50 a month for the same insurance that I do and mine is $100 a month. What's the deal?" There are hundreds of variables in these situations  and each company uses different combinations, and when credit history is added to the mix it is virtually impossible to ever compare two situations to each other. It will always be an apples to oranges comparison.

     How we buy goods and services has been forever and irrevocably changed by the incorporation of credit history as a determining factor for cost. The good news is that each insurance company has a unique appetite for "risks" or what retail stores would call customers.

     The best deal for any person in their quest for competitive rates will come through a local independent agent. We represent multiple companies and can shop for not only the best rate today, but 6 months or a year from now. And, we offer local service and advice with your best interest in mind, because we know we'll see you at the ball field, the grocery store, or at the school our kids attend.

     Our customers are our neighbors and our friends. Something to consider asking yourself when shopping for insurance is, "am I looking for the insurance itself or the best agent to guide me?" When's the last time you price shopped your dentist, your accountant, or your hairstylist? We don't just sell something, we provide value. And we appreciate our customers, all of them.

Zachary Brady