Shopping For Insurance – Insurance Broker, Agent or Sales Person?

As a consumer you need to be aware of who you are talking to when shopping for insurance. It is important to know this information as it will help you talk to your agent to get the best deal for you. Insurance sales efforts use similar marketing methods including Internet websites, direct mail, radio and television advertising, telephone, word of mouth, and storefront office locations.
There are basically three different types of sales people selling insurance – an insurance broker, an independent insurance agent and a direct company agent or employee.

What Are The Different Types Of Insurance Agents?
Insurance brokers essentially represent you in getting a policy from an insurance company that fits your needs. They do not represent any one insurance company. This is an advantage as they can go out and shop for a policy for you. Brokers cannot write insurance policies, they can only help you get one direct from an insurance company. You will pay the insurance broker like you are paying the insurance company, but this money is passed through the insurance broker to the insurance company issuing your policy.
Insurance agents on the other hand can write policy on your behalf and they can represent numerous insurance companies. In a sense, insurance agents can shop around too, although they generally stick to only a few companies if not just one so that they can be proficient in knowing and representing an insurance company’s products.
Direct insurance company employees or agents sell on behalf of their company. They do not go outside of their company’s insurance product lines. However, many insurance companies have side companies or wholly owned subsidiaries that they can outsource insurance policies to if they feel that a particular policy better fits their product. Don’t be surprised if you work with a direct employee and they end up placing your policy with another insurance company. Tyipcally this isn’t done out of shopping for the best deal, it is usually done out of necessity.
Hopefully this brief description of the types of insurance sales agents that you’ll be dealing with will help you better select your new insurance policy.