Insurance agents, often referred to as “captive” agents, typically represent one insurance company. Insurance brokers, on the other hand, represent multiple insurance companies to ensure that you are connected with the right insurance for you. An agent acts as a conduit to provide information to insurance buyers. The insurance buyer then has the option to choose from available policies and contracts from the insurer offered through the agent. These policies and contracts are decided through contractual agreements that the insurance agents have with the insurers to meet certain guidelines.
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NerdWallet compared quotes from these insurers in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages, as well as any other coverage required in each state. Our “good driver” profile is a 40-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier.
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Brokers may be either retail or wholesale. A retail broker interacts directly with insurance buyers. If you visited a broker, who then obtained insurance coverages on your behalf, he or she is a retail broker. In some cases, your agent or broker may be unable to obtain insurance coverage on your behalf from a standard insurer. In that event, he or she may contact a wholesale broker. Wholesale brokers specialize in certain types of coverage. Many are surplus lines brokers, who arrange coverages for risks that are unusual or hazardous.
Competition exists between exclusive agents and independent agents. Exclusive agents, who are salaried employees of the insurance company, write a majority of the personal lines business. However, because of the complexities involved in commercial risks, independent agents capture approximately 80 percent of the commercial lines market. It is having access to multiple markets that gives independent agents a competitive advantage in commercial lines.
Agents and brokers both earn the bulk of their income through commissions earned on the sales they make. An agent working for one company can enjoy the stability that comes from having one compensation plan. A broker who works with a number of insurance companies can experience income variances, depending on which company's products she sells. However, brokers have the flexibility to write business through the companies that offer the highest commission rates, assuming they provide the products that meet their clients' needs.
As we kick off the new year, I think a great habit to develop is to be aware of our energy. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “The world belongs to the energetic.” We all have been there I think, or at least I have, where we are down in the dumps, moping around, and just getting through the day. I call that default mode. Become aware of that, choose your energy, fake it if you have too, shoulders up high, smile, say hello, give compliments to your co-workers, increase your action, get focused on your goals and level up!
If you’re looking to get started on the process of buying life insurance, a life insurance agent may be able to help answer your questions. The agent is going to try to sell you a policy, but he or she should also have a good grasp of what kinds of policies are available and which would be a good fit for your financial situation and coverage needs.
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