What is the Difference between an Insurance Agent and an Insurance Broker?

Feb 27, 2017
Categories: Staebler Insurance
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Some of you may be wondering, “what is the difference between an insurance agent and an insurance broker?” It’s a fair question. They both work in the insurance industry. They both sell policies directly to clients. They can’t be all that different, right?
Well, not quite.
At Staebler Insurance, we’re proud to be insurance brokers because we know we offer our clients a better value for their insurance dollar than any agent. Why? It’s a matter of independence.
Insurance agents work for an insurance company. They are representatives the same way salespeople in a car dealership represent their manufacturer. This has its positive qualities and its negative ones. On one hand, agents tend to be deeply knowledgeable about the company they represent. They understand their policies and can explain them to you easily and quickly. On the other, it also means they have a vested interest in selling you one of those policies. After all, when you go into a Honda dealership and tell them about the kind of car you need, they never recommend you head over to Ford or Toyota, somehow they’ll always have the perfect car for you.
Insurance brokers are independent. We don’t represent any particular insurance company. Instead, we represent our clients to the insurance companies. We work with a variety of companies and use our numbers to spur competition between them. Clients of an insurance brokerage depend on the expert knowledge and superior bargaining position of their broker to secure them a greater deal than they could get on their own.
When you come to an insurance broker, they’re able to find the absolute best deal possible for you because they are free to explore every possible option for you, not just the one given to them by their boss.
And while this could be seen as a little self-flattering, it also means that brokers need to be a little more knowledgeable and agile than their agent counterparts. Think about it, if an agent only needs to sell for one company, that means they only need to know the rates and polices that their particular company offers. In simple terms, they know what’s on their menu.
Brokers on the other hand need to know the menu of every company in the business. They need to know the ins and outs of each company they do business with, what they’re rates are like for different policies, what they specialize in, who is able to put together the best bundles, and so on. A good broker always has to have their ear to the ground, staying up to date with the market and knowledgeable about trends and upcoming changes in the industry.
Brokers work harder, and they work for you – not some massive insurance company.
Check out one of our earlier blog posts, 7 Really Good Reasons to Use an Insurance Broker, for more about the advantages of using a broker.

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