From a consumer’s perspective we all may appear alike but there are some MAJOR differences that you need to be aware of when choosing someone to assist with creating your insurance package.
Agents work directly for one specific insurance company, and they can only “sell” the policies of that one company. It doesn’t matter if there are better policies available, or the same policy at a lower rate somewhere else. An agent still has to sell the policies of the company they work for, period.
An insurance broker on the other hand works for the client to help find the best terms, and the lowest rates for their insurance. For the first few years of my career I worked as an agent. While I was able to help a lot of people, I was also limited on what I was able to offer my customers and when my insurance company could not help, I had to send them packing.
While I worked as an agent I didn’t do much market research, or pay particular attention to other products offered by other insurance companies, because I couldn’t offer them to my clients. Even if I did I never had the inside information on other companies products and pricing I have today. No agent does, nor can they because to fully gain this information you have to have be contracted with these companies to market for them. An agent is just a sales person for that one company, and you are just their customer. After a few years I got tired of treating people like that and decided to make the switch to being an independent broker. Since then there is no sales process, it is an advising process. We work hand and hand with our clients giving them the inside info to all the companies we work with so we can create a custom insurance package that fits their needs.