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Insurance agent vs. broker

Insurance agents are licensed professionals who help small business owners protect their companies with insurance. When you file a claim or need to increase your coverage, your insurance agent may be your first point of contact.

What is an insurance agent?

An insurance agent’s job is to sell and negotiate various types of insurance. An agent acts as an intermediary between the insurer and the buyer, offering information on the available plans and providing guidance for the right coverage.

Insurance agents represent the insurer and typically rely on a commission for income. There are two types of insurance agents:

  • Captive agents are insurance agents who represent one insurer
  • Independent agents are insurance agents who represent multiple insurers

What is an insurance broker?

Insurance brokers help individuals and businesses secure insurance to protect themselves and their companies. They research various policies from multiple insurers and recommend the best plan to meet the needs of their client.

Unlike independent or captive agents, insurance brokers work for their clients, not the insurer. They are licensed and regulated by the states in which they operate.

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The difference between agent and broker

While insurance agents and insurance brokers perform similar tasks, there are some differences between their roles. The main distinction between an insurance broker vs. agent is who they represent. Insurance brokers represent the buyer, while insurance agents represent one or more insurers.

Both have a duty to help customers obtain adequate and affordable coverage. But a broker is working specifically for the client and is not looking to sell a certain policy on behalf of an insurer. However, when a client is ready to buy, a broker must hand over the account to an agent or the insurer to initiate the policy.

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