Do you need an insurance agent or broker?

Do you work with an insurance agent or broker? This article explains the differences between the two.

Several times a week, people ask us about the difference between an insurance agent and an insurance broker. Here’s the short answer:

  • An insurance agent represents a specific insurance carrier and has the power to bind a policy on behalf of the insurance company.
  • An insurance broker represents the insured (customer) and can shop policies from any number of insurance carriers but doesn’t have binding authority.

An independent insurance agent can represent multiple insurance carriers, which offers customers additional options.

When you call a specific insurance company—say, in response to a clever ad or a neighbor’s recommendation—you’ll receive information about that carrier’s policies. You’ll speak to a captive agent, someone who is limited to that one market. You can accept their policy and pricing, or you can call other companies and shop around. (If you’re shopping for a commercial property, this free planner will make your job easier.)

Alternately, you can call an insurance broker, who will do the legwork for you.

Best of Both Worlds

Here at the City Building Owners Insurance program, founder Stu Cohen is both an independent agent and an insurance broker. This dual role offers clients maximum flexibility. When someone calls to request an insurance quote, our team finds out about their property and their needs. Then, we research available options to recommend the right program, one that combines the best coverage and the best price. This latitude in comparing insurance programs comes from our role as a broker.

However, sometimes building owners (or their attorneys) come to us with an immediate need. They may close on a building sale the next day and need immediate coverage. As an independent agent for certain companies, we can instantly bind policies that meet underwriting guidelines. No waiting for carrier approval.

Bottom Line for Clients

We partner with clients year-round as their insurance advisor and advocate. Regardless of which carrier their policy is with, we watch the market to make sure they have the best available coverage. For instance, here in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, we’ve seen new players introduce programs with new opportunities for savings and other benefits. We tell clients about these new options during our annual review process.

Other carriers have discontinued programs or raised their rates. Even before clients receive the letter from the insurance carrier, our staff has already researched their options. As a result, our customers don’t face deadline pressures from terminating policies or premium increases without seeing available alternatives.

As an independent agent and broker, our office is committed to meeting your insurance needs, while saving you money.

Do you have the right protection at the best price? Call our office at 877-576-5200 for a no-obligation insurance review.