Most people are familiar with or have worked with an insurance agent at some point in their lives. However, a broker has an entirely different role from an insurance agent. Unlike insurance agents, insurance brokers do not work for an insurance company. They work for their clients, providing advice on the best insurance options for their clients’ needs. Their goal is to support their clients’ interests — not to sell a particular policy on behalf of an insurance company.

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To stay up to date with changing regulations and ensure they are continuing to meet their duties, brokers are licensed by the state insurance regulatory agencies. This license must be renewed on a biannual basis in most states. The insurance brokers' job only begins after the policy is sold. They must regularly meet with their clients and determine that their current policies are meeting the clients' needs.
You’re typically asked about your current and past health conditions, and your family health history. The insurer may ask for your consent to get your medical records and may ask you to take a life insurance medical exam. Insurers will also check other data sources to determine term life insurance quotes. More: What you need to apply for term life insurance
Rules of ethics. (You might say this is a simple case of “buyer beware,” but as government investigations have indicated, it’s the misrepresentation that’s the problem. Such investigations have found that brokers do not always consider their clients’ best interests, instead acting primarily in their own interests and those of their favored insurance companies.) 

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Nationwide has a reputation for expensive policies. On the Better Business Bureau website, customer reviews reveal that quotes from Nationwide tend to be more expensive than the competition. We always recommend shopping around for quotes, but if price is your main consideration, Nationwide may not be your best bet. For homeowners more interested in full and specific coverage endorsements than price, it’s worth screening a policy.
Securities and investment advisory services offered solely through Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC). Member FINRA/SIPC. AIC and The Business Benefits Group / IFG are not affiliated. Additional products and services may be available through The Business Benefits Group / IFG that are not offered through AIC. Securities products are limited to residents of Virginia. This is not an offer of securities in any jurisdiction, nor is it specifically directed to a resident of any jurisdiction. As with any security, request a prospectus from your Registered Representative. Read it carefully before you invest or send money. A Representative from The Business Benefits Group / IFG will contact you to provide requested information. Representatives of AIC do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation.
5The monthly rate shown is for Preferred Elite based on a Male, age 37. Whole Life Advantage® is a whole life insurance policy issued by Allstate Life Insurance Company, 3075 Sanders Rd, Northbrook IL 60062. Whole Life Advantage is available in most states with series LU11040 or form ICC12A1. In New York, issued by Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, Hauppauge, NY, and is available with contract NYLU796.
A homeowners insurance policy usually covers four incidents on the insured property – interior damage, exterior damage, loss or damage of personal assets/belongings, and injury that arises while on the property. When a claim is made on any of these incidents, the homeowner will be required to pay a deductible, which in effect is the out-of-pocket costs for the insured. For example, a claim is made to an insurer on an interior water damage that occurred in a home. The cost to bring the property back to livable conditions is estimated by a claims adjuster to be $10,000. If the claim is approved, the homeowner is informed of the amount of his or her deductible, say $4,000, according to the policy agreement entered into. The insurance company will issue a payment of the excess cost, in this case $6,000. The higher the deductible on an insurance contract, the lower the monthly or annual premium on a homeowners insurance policy.
An agent or broker is a person or business who can help you apply for help paying for coverage and enroll in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) through the Marketplace. They can make specific recommendations about which plan you should enroll in. They’re also licensed and regulated by states and typically get payments, or commissions, from health insurers for enrolling a consumer into an issuer's plans. Some brokers may only be able to sell plans from specific health insurers.
As with most good insurance companies, you can get a quote from State Farm online. But State Farm’s process involves extra-detailed questions about the construction of your home, down to the percentage of carpet-covered floors and the number of corners in your home’s framing. We recommend arming yourself with floor plans, your insurance history, a home inventory, and specific details of your home’s construction so there won’t be any surprises when it's time to sign a policy contract. The upside is that all of these details provide you with an accurate quote and an exceptionally well-fitted policy.
Alongside State Farm and Allstate, Progressive earned a 3/5 from J.D. Power. One of the most popular praises for Progressive comes down to reasonable prices, and this is bolstered by the company’s unique quote process. The attentive online quote tool pairs you with several of Progressive’s underwriting partners and their policy options, meaning that while most insurance companies generate a single quote, Progressive offers multiple, and allows you to shop for the coverage and price that works best for you.
A broker can also give you the satisfaction knowing that you are adequately insured against all potential liabilities. Whether you are concerned about your company being sued for selling a defective product or about what would happen if you had a fire at your house, an insurance broker can address each of these issues and can build a comprehensive insurance plan to make sure that each and every one of your liabilities concerns is addressed.
A homeowners insurance policy usually covers four incidents on the insured property – interior damage, exterior damage, loss or damage of personal assets/belongings, and injury that arises while on the property. When a claim is made on any of these incidents, the homeowner will be required to pay a deductible, which in effect is the out-of-pocket costs for the insured. For example, a claim is made to an insurer on an interior water damage that occurred in a home. The cost to bring the property back to livable conditions is estimated by a claims adjuster to be $10,000. If the claim is approved, the homeowner is informed of the amount of his or her deductible, say $4,000, according to the policy agreement entered into. The insurance company will issue a payment of the excess cost, in this case $6,000. The higher the deductible on an insurance contract, the lower the monthly or annual premium on a homeowners insurance policy.
Andrew van den Born, executive director, Willis Financial Solutions, said, 'As a recognised industry leader of political and trade credit insurance, we are delighted to be recognized and voted by the broad readership of Euromoney's Trade Finance Magazine as the Best Trade Insurance Broker EMEA and the Best Trade Insurance Broker North America for 2014.

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Owning a home is an accomplishment and an asset, one that deserves safeguarding. The best homeowners insurance providers offer financial strength, coverage options, and great customer service. It also comes at a great price for your unique circumstances. Use our quote tool to compare rates from several providers and find which offers you the best coverage for the best price.

Unlike insurance agents, brokers typically have access to many different policies offered by various companies — not just a few policies offered by a single company. They may also have access to policies that are not available to most consumers. Having a wide selection of policies to choose from can ensure that clients have the best possible coverage and the best rates. It may also make the process more complicated, as more choices can lead to confusion over which policies will provide the best coverage. A broker can assist clients in choosing the right policies for their home, business, family or automobile to make sure that they are adequately protected. This includes more than simply looking at the premium rates or policy limits; it involves a thorough analysis of what exactly each policy covers and excludes to ensure that it is the right policy for the client.
Today we still answer to our members, but we protect more than just cars and Ohio farmers. We’re a Fortune 100 company that offers a full range of insurance and financial services across the country. Including car, motorcycle, homeowners, pet, farm, life and commercial insurance. As well as annuities, mutual funds, retirement plans and specialty health services.

The Hartford is the only home insurance provider officially endorsed by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). If you’re an AARP member, you’ll qualify for more benefits thanks to its AARP Home and Auto Insurance Program. But even if you aren’t retired yet, you will be someday, and The Hartford has a special discount for retirees and individuals who work less than 24 hours per week.

Through these educational requirements and experience in the field, brokers gain a significant level of knowledge in insurance. They are well informed about specific types of insurance and how claims of a particular type are covered. For example, a broker can explain to an individual exactly what types of risks a homeowner’s insurance policy will cover and what it will exclude (such as acts of god, intentional acts, negligent acts, slip and falls, loss of theft of valuable items, etc.). With this knowledge, clients can make better informed choices about what type of insurance they need, along with how much coverage is necessary. This is a broker’s job: to help clients understand the liabilities that they have and how those risks can be adequately managed through insurance. Brokers can then help clients review a number of insurance options to pick the policy and premium that best fits their needs and budget.


Fidelity insurance products are issued by Fidelity Investments Life Insurance Company (FILI), 100 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917, and, in New York, by Empire Fidelity Investments Life Insurance Company®, New York, N.Y. FILI is licensed in all states except New York. Other insurance products available at Fidelity are issued by third party insurance companies, which are not affiliated with any Fidelity Investments company. Fidelity Insurance Agency, Inc. is the distributor. A contract's financial guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.
On top of traditional price cuts, Amica offers policyholders the chance to actually make money through their house insurance. Because it’s a mutual company, Amica is member-owned, not investor-owned, and pays dividends to policyholders, not stockholders. If you opt for a dividends policy, and the company does exceptionally well financially at the end of any given term, you stand to receive a payback between 5-20% of your annual premium.

Agents and brokers both earn the bulk of their income through commissions earned on the sales they make. An agent working for one company can enjoy the stability that comes from having one compensation plan. A broker who works with a number of insurance companies can experience income variances, depending on which company's products she sells. However, brokers have the flexibility to write business through the companies that offer the highest commission rates, assuming they provide the products that meet their clients' needs.
Independent Agents - Independent insurance agents function identically to insurance brokers in that they represent multiple insurance carriers. The primary difference between brokers and independent agents is that insurance brokerage companies are often larger than independent insurance agencies. However, independent agents and brokers approach the business in the same way, which is that they represent the customer.
Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance designed to provide lifetime coverage. Because of the lifetime coverage period, whole life usually has higher premium payments than term life. Policy premium payments are typically fixed, and, unlike term, whole life has a cash value, which functions as a savings component and may accumulate tax-deferred over time.
J.D. Power’s annual U.S. Household Insurance Study and Consumer Reports’ customer experience survey measure communication, price satisfaction, claims process, and timely reimbursement. From J.D. Power, we required companies to have a score of 3/5 or better, and at least an 80/100 Reader Score from Consumer Reports. High scores reflect a company’s ability to handle claims and communication kindly, effectively, and without frustration.
Liability – Helps protect you in two ways. First, it provides for your legal defense against a liability claim (lawsuit). Second, it will help pay any court judgments against you for covered losses, up to the policy limit. For example, your pet injures a neighbor or guest, or your long drive on the golf course injures someone on the fairway. This coverage can help pay for damages that you are held liable for.
Brokers - Because a broker is solely focused on your unique needs, he or she can help with comparison-shopping, honing in on the best prices for the coverage you need. They can even advise you on how to best bundle or customize your policies in ways that agents might not be able to do (either because they are restricted in their policy offerings, or simply because they lack the insight into your specific needs).
Between 7/1/15 and 9/30/15, the average estimated savings off MSRP presented by TrueCar Certified Dealers to users of TrueCar powered websites, based on users who configured virtual vehicles and who TrueCar identified as purchasing a new vehicle of the same make and model listed on the certificate from a Certified Dealer as of 10/31/2015, was $3,279. Your actual savings may vary based on multiple factors including the vehicle you select, region, dealer, and applicable vehicle specific manufacturer incentives which are subject to change.  The Farmers Car Shopping Service website is owned and operated by TrueCar, which is not affiliated with any of the companies comprising the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies.
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The AARP Auto Insurance Program is underwritten by Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates, One Hartford Plaza, Hartford, CT 06155. It is underwritten in CA by Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company; in WA, by Hartford Casualty Insurance Company; in MN, by Sentinel Insurance Company; and in MA, MI and PA, by Trumbull Insurance Company. The AARP Homeowners Insurance Program from The Hartford is underwritten by Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates, One Hartford Plaza, Hartford, CT 06155. In CA, it is underwritten by Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford; in WA, MI, MN, by Trumbull Insurance Company; in MA by Trumbull Insurance Company, Sentinel Insurance Company, Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company; and in PA by Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company. Not available in all states, including FL. Specific features, credits and discounts may vary and may not be available in all states in accordance with state filings and applicable law. Applicants are individually underwritten and some may not qualify. Auto and Home are currently unavailable in Canada and U.S. Territories or possessions.

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Umbrella policies offer extra liability coverage on top of what's already covered by your standard homeowners insurance or car insurance policy. Umbrella coverage starts at $1 million. Our agents generally recommend an umbrella policy to people who have more than $500,000 in assets since that's typically where your standard homeowners policy will cap coverage. But you should also consider umbrella coverage if you're at risk of multiple lawsuits, like if you have a few teen drivers in the house or you own multiple properties, especially rentals. You can learn more about umbrella insurance here.


Because brokers work with a variety of insurance companies, they tend to have a broader understanding of companies’ offerings and key benefits. They are commission-based, which is a double-edged sword: they may be more motivated to earn your business year after year by getting you the best deal possible; or they may try to sell you a policy with unnecessary bells and whistles since that would pay them a higher commission. Regarding the double-edged sword: the best way to nail down the best deal possible is the annual review and re-shopping of coverage. The best way to avoid unnecessary “bells and whistles” is to remember that your needs guide what you purchase. If you don’t need “bells and whistles”, don’t purchase them. Approaching insurance this way is always the best way forward. Consider this: having options placed in front of you and explained in detail allows you the opportunity to hear about the newest “bells and whistles,” some of which may be just what you need or were looking for, but simply never asked about. Policies change, and new options are added by carriers all the time.
Don't forget to ask about the optional protection of a personal umbrella liability policy. Umbrella Coverage from $1,000,000 for individuals wanting higher liability protection. Most home and auto insurance policies stop at $500,000 liability coverage. A personal umbrella policy provides coverage on top of basic auto and home insurance: $1,000,000 to $10,000,000 available.
3This feature is accessible through the accelerated death benefit rider on some life insurance policies. Please see riders for terms, conditions and restrictions. Additional costs may apply. Subject to state-specific terms and availability. A disclosure form must be completed prior to receiving benefits under these riders. An administrative expense may be charged if the benefit is used. Receipt of accelerated benefits may be taxable. Tax laws relating to accelerated benefits are complex. Please consult a tax advisor. Receipt of accelerated benefits may also impact eligibility for public assistance programs.
Of all our top picks, The Hartford has the fewest number of discounts: three of them, to be precise, for bundling policies, home security devices, and retirees. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay more for your home insurance. Just because a company offers 12 discounts doesn’t mean you’ll qualify for all (or any) of them, so it’s always worth comparing quotes instead of solely counting discounts.
Umbrella policies offer extra liability coverage on top of what's already covered by your standard homeowners insurance or car insurance policy. Umbrella coverage starts at $1 million. Our agents generally recommend an umbrella policy to people who have more than $500,000 in assets since that's typically where your standard homeowners policy will cap coverage. But you should also consider umbrella coverage if you're at risk of multiple lawsuits, like if you have a few teen drivers in the house or you own multiple properties, especially rentals. You can learn more about umbrella insurance here.

On top of traditional price cuts, Amica offers policyholders the chance to actually make money through their house insurance. Because it’s a mutual company, Amica is member-owned, not investor-owned, and pays dividends to policyholders, not stockholders. If you opt for a dividends policy, and the company does exceptionally well financially at the end of any given term, you stand to receive a payback between 5-20% of your annual premium.
When building your insurance policy, companies will offer discounts on your premium if you take measures that make you a lower-risk investment. For example, many companies give you a break for taking certain safety measures, like installing deadbolts or a security system. Most will knock their prices even lower if you don’t have a long claims history or if you sign up for auto-pay. We took into account the number and type of discounts offered to help maximize your chance at an affordable policy.

Boomer Benefits’ office is easy to find on Google places. We are staffed Monday – Friday and some Saturdays so that you can reach us by phone, email, or in person when you need help. Some agents who sell Medicare products work by themselves out of their homes. Unfortunately, that means that whenever the agent is in a meeting with another client, your call goes straight to voicemail. Who knows how long you will wait for a return call? It’s in your best interest to work with a bigger Medicare broker that has numerous representative standing by to take your call. Our agents will know you and care about you.


Base commission is the “normal” commission earned on insurance policies. Base commission is expressed in terms of a percentage of premium and varies by type of coverage. For instance, an agent might earn say, a 10 percent commission on workers compensation policies and 15 percent on general liability policies. Suppose that you purchase a liability policy from the Elite Insurance Company through the Jones Agency, an independent agent. Jones earns a 15 percent commission on general liability policies.
When you start your search, you can pick an independent agent or a captive (or direct) agent. An independent agent may sell policies from many different companies. A captive agent sells insurance for only one company. Independent and captive agents represent insurance companies and receive a commission from the insurance company for the sale of its policies.
In the same vein of guaranteeing robust policies, we also wanted to see a range of endorsements (optional provisions that extend coverage in various ways). The more endorsements offered, the greater the possibility of filling in any gaps that your home and location demand. Earthquake coverage, for example, is a common endorsement for Los Angeles homes.
Analysis: That just means that your incumbent insurer’s underwriter won’t approve that coverage. The broker isn’t willing to do what’s needed to get the deal done, which is shopping the coverage to other insurers — exactly what brokers are supposed to do. It’s clear that this is the case, because on occasions when a second broker appears to bid on your business, you’ll find that suddenly the coverage you wanted becomes available after all.
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Liberty Mutual has a decent selection of endorsements, from scheduled personal property to coverage for your home business, but one add-on stood out to us in particular. Liberty Mutual is one of the few providers that offers inflation protection for homeowners. With this add-on, the company will automatically adjust your coverage limits each year to keep up with inflation. That means if your house ever needs repairs, you won’t have to worry about the higher cost of building materials and labor exceeding your previously sufficient coverage.
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We required a strong financial outlook for all our top picks, but State Farm stood out for receiving the highest possible ratings from A.M. Best (A++), as well as top scores from S&P (AA) and Moody’s (Aa1). These high scores are an indication and assurance that the company is able to pay out its claims, even in disaster circumstances where many customers are filing claims.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally. NAIC members, together with the central resources of the NAIC, form the national system of state-based insurance regulation in the U.S. For more information, visit www.naic.org.
Homeowners insurance policy is different from a home warranty. A home warranty is a contract taken out that provides for repairs or replacements of home systems and appliances such as ovens, water heaters, washers/dryers, and pools. These contracts usually expire after a certain time period, usually 12 months, and are not mandatory to have in order to be issued a mortgage. While homeowners insurance does not cover damages that result from poor maintenance or inevitable wear and tear, home warranty covers such issues.
You have likely come across brokerage firms when shopping for insurance. Many buyers prefer working with these firms as most have established track records with staff that offer the experiences and resources you need to make an informed decision. With a brokerage firm available to guide you and answer all of your questions, you can gain a solid understanding of what terms and rates are being offered by various insurers. Of course, not all insurance brokers offer the same level of quality. Just like shopping for insurance, it is important to shop around to find an insurance broker who you can trust.
1 In Texas, the Auto Program is underwritten by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company through Hartford Fire General Agency. Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates are not financially responsible for insurance products underwritten and issued by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company. The Home Program is underwritten by Trumbull Insurance Company.
Virtually every state mandates that insurance agents and brokers meet licensing requirements, which normally entails the successful completion of a written examination. Prelicensing educational requirements may also apply, which can vary depending on the state and license type. Separate licenses are necessary for each line of insurance, including Life and Health and Property and Casualty. In addition, agents and brokers may have to meet ongoing continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses.

Speaking at the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA) U40s Executive Panel in San Diego, she said: “Every broker has their own style of how to sell a product and communicate with customers, but what’s most important is integrity and doing things the right way. Your reputation is literally all you have as a broker. You’re not only selling a product – you’re also selling your service and yourself.

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Homeowners insurance is there to protect you in the event of a disaster, not to cover normal wear and tear. A home warranty, on the other hand, covers the mechanical breakdown of appliances and systems in the home, like the refrigerator, the washing machine, and the electricity and plumbing that make them run. If that sounds like something you want, check out our review of the best home warranty.

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This is so true, and even more so for personal insurance such as auto, home, and life. Everyone should be aware that unlike your financial advisor (who is heavily regulated) your insurance broker has NO fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interest. What I find amazing about this contradiction is that a large percentage of families in this county likely send more annually on insurance products than put into savings and retirement accounts.

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