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The difference between an agent and a broker

I received a phone call today from a frustrated business owner who was in the process of selling his business to one of his subcontractors.

"He can't find insurance and has been trying for a month"

After a brief phone call with the client, I knew right away the problem was that he was only talking to agents and not a broker. The difference between an agent and a broker is that an agent works with one carrier (sometimes they represent multiple carriers) to find clients for their company's policy. A broker on the other hand starts with a desired policy and finds a carrier that will write that coverage.

Since most people are more familiar with agents, they assume all insurance is the same and go to the same folks that insure their home, auto, and maybe life insurance. Those companies sometimes have commercial policies but 9 times out of 10 you are better served by an insurance professional that represents both insurance carriers and can also act as a broker when those carriers don't have the right product for their client.

Sometimes I act as an agent, matching products from Allstate, Progressive, Safeco, and Auto-Owners to my clients. Other times I act as a broker and call underwriters to find solutions for new business ventures who can't find insurance solutions elsewhere.

If you are a new business owner and can't seem to find what you are looking for, click here to let us know.