You do not need to limit yourself to a broker in a specific ZIP code. Any broker in New York State will suffice. I've linked my webpage for you to get a hold of me should you need a good risk management professional at your side.
I'm not sure what your definition of "complicated" is. Can you elaborate on this because from my chair, I've got a lot of happy clients who are PROPERLY insured. As for the example you gave about cancelled policies after inspections were made, sure...a dilapidated home will get denied coverage by a carrier upon inspection. In fact, every property insurance company will perform an inspection of a dwelling when coverage is first placed on it...including State Farm. Would YOU insure a home that has roof shingles peeling off by the dozens? :)
As Johnny has eluded to, direct insurance carriers aren't always the most competitive. The fact is, there are over 700 property insurer's in New York State alone competing for our business. 99% of them operate in the independent broker channel. Prices and underwriting guidelines change with every company ever year. Meaning, someone can get a competitive price with your State Farm buddy one year but in a subsequent renewal, their premium can suddenly spike. Even worse, they can be non-renewed for no reason (State Farm does this all the time on Long Island).
Finally, purchasing insurance purely from a price perspective can get you into a lot of trouble. Each risk type (be it homeowners, auto, commercial liability, etc.) is truly unique and must be carefully underwritten. With that said, a particular insurance company may not be setup to properly cover a specific risk type. That's where the power of a broker comes in: carrier placement for insured's via a balance of:
-Needed coverage's written based on exposure specifics and risk classifications
-An insurer's financial strength
No captive insurance agent can provide this, as they can only sell one product from the company they are employed by. Agents represent insurer's, brokers represent insured's. There's a big difference between the two.
This is not to say that captive/direct carriers are bad. There are times where I tell my prospects to check them out for comparisons. Sometimes I don't hear back from them...sometimes I do. :) Whatever works best for the insured's is my philosophy.
Rewriting to another company is where the direct writers lack in ability. If State Farm declines, for example, then the agent can't go any further, then loses that clients entire insurance portfolio.
It's always good to keep brokers in check, keep them honest and ethical and make sure they are doing good work for reciprocal referrals.
Get quotes and coverages from both sources and see which one is best. The best agent isn't always the cheapest, it's the coverage that counts.