Insurance professionals come in many forms. They go by various names and have different strengths and weaknesses. Agents can be classified by their relationships with the insurance company, the customer or both.
The public uses the term insurance agent to describe anyone that sells insurance. ¬†While this is generally accepted consumers should have a basic understanding of the players.¬†
Individuals that sell insurance are generally classified into one of two categories. Agents and Brokers:¬†
Agents are employees of the insurance company.¬† They represent only one carrier.¬†
Insurance Brokers also called Independent Agents, are third-party providers.¬† They represent a number of insurance companies but are not an employee of any.¬† ¬†
Insurance agents are sometimes referred to as exclusive agents or captive agents. These terms stem from the fact that the agents are employees of the insurance company.¬† ¬†As a result, they can only sell the products of their employer.
With limited options, captive agents can find themselves at a disadvantage. While independent agents have access to multiple insurance markets, however, a positive to be captive. As employees of the insurance company, captive or exclusive agents have more authority.
If you are searching for the best insurance agent for your needs be sure to consider the benefits associated with each type.¬† Or even better, take a little extra time and try both a captive and an independent agent.