When you need to purchase insurance, knowing whether you should work with an agent or a broker can be confusing. One thing that both agents and brokers agree on is that seeking professional guidance is the right course of action. In a widely cited study, The Hartford reported that 40% of small businesses would file an insurance claim within the first ten years. Insurance is something we all need. Whether you choose to work with a broker or an independent insurance agent, professionals can ensure you’re getting the coverage you need at the right price.
However, the type of insurance professional you are consulting with could make a difference in the service and products you get. Let’s start by breaking down the differences between them both.
What Does An Agent Do?
An independent agent is a person who acts on behalf of a person or group. For example, in the insurance industry, an agent can represent one or more insurers and is responsible for distributing the insurer’s products and policies.
When you work with an agent, they act as an intermediary, providing potential buyers with information from the company or companies they represent. In addition, they have contracts with insurers that specify what policies they can bind into the policy contracts, usually done inside the insurers underwriting systems. This is one of the key aspects of what makes an agent an agent. You can read more here about the benefits of working with an independent agent.
What Does A Broker Do?
A broker is another insurance professional who legally represents people or businesses looking into buying insurance. In some states, brokers have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of their clients. Brokers can work with clients to identify and put together insurance plans for specific coverage needs. They do not typically have obligations to sell policies from one insurance company over another. This means they can shop around to find the best policies at the best prices according to their client’s needs.
The downside of hiring a broker is that although they can shop around various companies and policies, they might not be as familiar with each policy from each company. As a result, brokers tend to meet with company representatives to become familiar with the company’s risks and attempt to create an insurance program that will best meet their needs.
What Is The Right Choice For Me?
Both agents and brokers can be equally helpful in getting your family or your company the necessary coverage. Whether you should go with an agent or broker depends on your business and its needs.
A few key benefits of working with an independent agent are worth considering, like the ability to provide better customer service. For example, captive insurance agents must follow specific requirements when selling you a policy. This can limit the customization they provide to meet your particular needs; an independent agent has more freedom in this area and can typically offer more customer service.
Independent agents also tend to be local, meaning you can count on working with the same person for years; having a personal relationship with your agent will help them understand your needs in a way that large corporations cannot. Additionally, they are acutely aware of specific risks that could be possible in your particular area. When seeking the right insurance agent for you or your business, we want you to get the quality you deserve; you can read more here about the advantages of working with an independent agent.
Where Can I Go To Get The Coverage I Need?
The independent insurance agents at Cole Harrison have been serving community members in Maine since 1882. Our agents prioritize you, our main concern is your satisfaction, and we will work with your best interests in mind.
As independent agents, we want you to get the coverage you desire for the best price. We are committed to our customers, which means you will get the insurance and the customer service you deserve. The professionals at Cole Harrison are full-service, locally owned, and independent, with locations to serve you in Kennebunk, Kittery, and Carrabassett Valley. We are here to meet your needs. Contact us today to get started.