Insurance Broker Vs. Insurance Agent (With Salaries)
Updated 26 December 2022
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Working in the insurance industry allows you to safeguard and ensure the well-being of the public by providing them with life, health, house, vehicle and travel insurance. Being an insurance agent or insurance broker can help you pursue this career path. Knowing the roles and responsibilities, work environment and salaries can help you decide if this career is the right fit for you. In this article, we discuss insurance broker vs. insurance agent along with their definitions, outline their duties and review their average salaries.
Insurance Broker Vs. Insurance Agent
Before highlighting insurance broker vs. insurance agent, it is vital that you understand their respective meanings and their duties. Insurance agents work for insurance companies to sell different insurance policies and annuities to customers. An insurance broker is an intermediary who acts on behalf of a client and negotiates with multiple insurers to find an effective plan that meets the client's needs.
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What Do Insurance Brokers Do?
An insurance broker assists prospective buyers in selecting and negotiating insurance policies. These professionals meet their clients to discuss policy requirements and budgets to help them get a policy that matches their needs. They gather quotes from several insurance providers and recommend various options to their clients. Brokers receive commissions from insurers, along with consulting fees from buyers. Since they do not represent any specific insurance agency, they can offer their clients a wider range of policy plans to choose from.
They may also work on modifying these policies based on the client's request, keep the client informed of any changes and advise them on other policies that they can avail. Some of their responsibilities include:
Providing clients with the best insurance contract that meets their needs
Maintaining records of clients along with the details of their insurance policies, the dates of renewal and the total sum insured
Interacting with clients to understand their health conditions, financial situations, assets and other factors before recommending policies
Calculating premiums and determining methods of payment for their clients
Staying current on the trends and changes in the industry to provide better recommendations to clients
Understanding the contract terms and guidelines to make sure that the contracts are not fraudulent
Maintaining records of insurance providers and interacting with them to understand their various policies and plans
Staying current on tax laws and suggesting plans that can help clients save taxes
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What Do Insurance Agents Do?
An insurance agent represents one or more insurance companies and helps sell their policies and plans to clients based on their needs. They meet the clients to present the companies' policies, explain the benefits and help answer questions that the client may have pertaining to the insurance programs. This requires them to have in-depth knowledge about the various services that the companies offer so that they can provide the right solution to the clients.
Some professionals also offer financial planning services for clients planning for retirement or creating investment or pension plans for them to diversify their income. The following are some responsibilities these professionals have:
Generating leads, scheduling appointments, gauging clients and promoting effective products
Reaching sales targets set by the company
Providing customer support and addressing concerns
Assisting clients to file claims
Having a thorough understanding of the company's services
Providing insurance programmes tailored to the needs of individual customers
Ensuring that bookkeeping systems, databases and records are up-to-date
Establishing payment methods and calculating premiums
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Many insurance sales agents work in offices, although some often travel to meet with clients. While most have normal business hours, they work on paperwork in the evenings and prepare presentations for prospective clients. They may also spend extra hours to reach the sales quota. Brokers in the insurance industry may work independently or in brokerage firms and perform similar duties to those of an agent. Since these professionals strive to earn more commissions, the work environment is generally competitive.
Other Differences Between Insurance Agents And Insurance Brokers
These are the differences between the two professionals:
Scope of services
Brokers typically do not have exclusive agreements with specific insurers, which allows them to present their clients with a more diverse range of companies, policies and packages. While they have a wider range of options, the commission rates may influence their choice of insurer.
Each insurance provider has a detailed contract with their agent that outlines the type of policies they sell on behalf of the company and the commissions they may receive per sale. While an insurance agent may have a limited range of insurance products and packages they can offer, they have a deep understanding of the company's services and features.
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In the insurance industry, brokers and agents fall into two major categories. Insurance brokers may specialise in wholesale or retail insurance policy sales. While retail brokers provide clients with house, car and life insurance policies, wholesale brokers sell the policies to retail brokers or insurance agents.
An insurance agent may work as a captive agent, where they work solely for one insurance company. Independent agents serve with several insurance firms, so they can offer their clients a selection of different policies.
When a client accepts the company's quote and purchases the policy, brokers receive commissions from the insurance company. They also receive consulting fees from the client. Establishing a larger client base and having a strong network in the insurance industry increases their earning potential. In addition to this, long-term clients may also avail more policies as part of their tax-saving plan and refer the broker to their friends and family. Sometimes, insurers may require their brokers to refund their commissions if the policyholder cancels the policy.
Captive agents receive a salary and a small commission for every sale. Independent agents who work for multiple insurance companies receive only commissions for their sales.
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Providing clients with effective insurance deals and packages requires an insurance broker to have extensive industry knowledge. A broker may conduct frequent research on new plans launched by insurance firms to obtain accurate quotes. Insurers may also make frequent changes to policies and packages, so brokers require keeping their information up-to-date and informing their clients of any changes.
Agents have a thorough understanding of the products of the companies they represent, enabling them to provide clients with more detailed information about policies and terms. It is important for agents to have comprehensive information concerning the companies they represent, as some clients choose agents based on the company they represent.
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Brokers gather quotes from different insurance companies and tailor insurance plans to fit the needs of their clients. There are clients who may need complex packages, including multiple insurance coverages, such as housing, education or life. The brokers are skilled at customising a variety of insurance policies, so they can assist their clients in meeting diverse needs.
Insurance agents provide predetermined coverage packages to their clients. Professionals can assist customers throughout the full insurance process, including research and policy purchases for things like home, car and life insurance. After completing the transaction, they also provide support for the client's queries and concerns.
Ease of selection
A licensed insurance agent has access to exclusive packages or offers from the insurance companies they work with. When clients are familiar with the insurance company they wish to purchase the policy from, either through prior experiences, positive reviews or referrals, they can purchase the policy directly from the agent. Since insurance agents work for the insurer, they can expedite the process of buying the policy and completing the paperwork.
Brokers have knowledge about a wide range of services offered by different insurers which help the client choose one based on their needs. Since brokers do not work for a particular agency, there might be a delay in the paperwork and purchase of the contract.
The national average salary of an insurance broker is ₹2,24,879 per year. As they gain more experience and build a larger client base, they can earn a greater commission. The national average salary of an insurance agent is ₹3,25,524 per year. These professionals can receive more commission based on their sales numbers. These salaries can depend on factors such as the employer, location, experience and skills.
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Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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