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What is the difference between an insurance agent and insurance broker?

Maria Ferrante-Schepis
Financial Health
These days there is very little difference between an insurance agent and an insurance broker. Technically, an agent represents a particular insurance company and a broker can offer products from many companies. However, most agents also have the ability to quote and offer products from multiple insurance carriers, even if their business card says they represent one particular company. Therefore both agents and brokers typically will look to provide you with options.

It’s less important to worry about whether the professional you work with is an agent or a broker, and more important that you are getting the advice that’s right for you. Think of it like finding a good doctor. First ask friends or even your accountant for recommendations, or do research online (reviews can sometimes help). Be sure you’re dealing with a well-known, reputable institution. There are generally five things to look for to ensure you are getting good advice. A good agent or broker will:
  1. Ask you questions and listen to your needs
  2. Provide you with several options, and the pros and cons of each
  3. Explain the process to you, and state what you should expect
  4. Answer your questions thoroughly and promptly
  5. Treat you with respect
You may also decide that you would rather purchase life insurance online without going to a professional agent or broker. The price of life insurance online is generally the same. You can also benefit from the services of brokers and agents through online sites. The difference is that they work with you only over the phone, Skype or online chat versus meeting with you in person. Whether you work with someone in person or not is usually a matter of personal preference and convenience.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.