Is There a Difference Between an Insurance Broker and an Agency?

Yes, there totally is!

The main difference between an insurance agency and a broker is that an agency represents the insurance company, while the broker represents the insurance buyer. An insurance buyer could be an individual or business.

So How are Insurance Brokers Unique?

Insurance Brokers don’t carry enforced loyalty to any one insurance company and so they can ask any number of insurance companies for quotes to find the best fit and cheapest policy for your unique situations.

The advantages of dealing with an Insurance Broker can include: a third party to contact in the event of a claim, a larger group of companies to contact if your insurance needs change, your broker will also get you the best price and coverage at renewal, even if it means switching insurers.

To enable Brokers to keep their licence all staff have to complete ongoing training every year. This means that the broker you deal with will have the most up to date knowledge of the insurance marketplace, this constant upgrading and diversity of markets ensures their insurance knowledge is broad.

Most brokers can get you up and running with your new insurance policy and documentation very quickly. This can vary based on the insurance company that provided the best quote as well as the type of insurance you are buying.

How does a Broker differ from an Insurance Agency?

As we mentioned, an insurance agency has a contractual obligation to a specific insurance company. Their loyalties lie with the insuring company first and with the insurance buyer (you), second. Agency’s are generally aligned with a single company and have extremely good product knowledge on the policy they sell based on their close ties and policy focus.

Agency’s have the luxury of a great deal of support from the parent company. Sometimes this comes in the form of financial assistance for office space, overhead expenses, employee benefits, etc. The product training is extensive including marketing materials, promos, campaign assistance and detailed seminars. However, they are still bound to a single group of policies that might not be the best fit for your unique situation. Sometimes a parent company may discontinue certain policies or raise rates. Without comparable companies to move laterally to, you may need to look elsewhere.