Insurance agents typically represent only one insurance company. As a result, they are often referred to as "captive" agents. Insurance brokers represent multiple insurance companies. Thus, brokers are free to offer a wider range of products to their clients. They can search the market and obtain multiple price quotes to fit their clients' budgets. You might say that agents work for the insurance company while brokers work for their clients.
*Quotes based on a composite of participating carriers which have at least an "A-" rating by A.M. Best. Rates current as of 12/19/2017 for a Guaranteed 10-year term life policy, $250,000 in coverage issued at each company's best-published rates. Sample rate is for a preferred plus, non-tobacco user, male and female age 18-34. Rates and the products available may vary by state. All policies are subject to underwriting approval.
Analysis: In what other circumstance do customers sign contracts without seeing them? The full policy language is not presented as part of the proposal. And don’t count on the broker to know, or be able to negotiate, the terms. A broker proposal typically contains language like “Your review of these documents and any review you may seek from legal counsel or insurance consultants is expected and essential.”
Insurance brokerage is largely associated with general insurance (car, house etc.) rather than life insurance, although some brokers continued to provide investment and life insurance brokerage until the onset of new regulation in 2001. This drove a more transparent regime, based predominantly on upfront negotiation of a fee for the provision of advice and/or services. This saw the splitting of intermediaries into two groups: general insurance intermediaries/brokers and independent financial advisers (IFAs) for life insurance, investments and pensions.
For those of us who work in or around insurance, the difference between an insurance broker and an insurance carrier is quite clear. However, for many nonprofits tasked with finding and maintaining insurance coverage, the process can seem quite daunting. Let’s face it — you may not have even been aware until this exact moment that there’s a difference between an insurance broker and a carrier. If this rings true and you need some assistance making sense of all of this information, look no further! Below is an explanation of both a broker and a carrier, as well as the relationship between the two in regards to your nonprofit’s insurance coverage.
Because an insurance broker is third-party, they receive a commission for their services. The broker’s compensation is typically provided by the insurance carrier as a percentage of the policy premium. The broker may also charge a flat fee for their services, but the nonprofit should be informed of what additional services they will receive before agreeing to such a fee. Most nonprofit brokers do not charge additional service fees.
After insurance has been selected and purchased, most insurance brokers will continue to provide service to their clients. This includes advising clients on technical issues that may be helpful in the event that a client has to file a claim, helping clients decide if they should change their insurance policies or coverage, and even making sure that clients comply with their policy’s requirements.
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