Independent insurance broker can help find the right plan |  Insurance
4 mins read

Independent insurance broker can help find the right plan | Insurance

Working with an independent insurance broker may be a good option for those who want to shop for different coverages and policies while not being restricted to just one insurance company. Using a broker may also provide for a more personalized experience.

Ronald Fleeter, president at The Benefit Source, Inc. in Beachwood, and Caryn Zwick, independent agent at KAZ Company in Independence, talked about what sets apart independent brokers.

“An agent represents the insurance company they sell and an independent broker represents their client, rather than an insurance company,” Fleeter explained.

Brokers can look out for the best interests of their clients regardless of which company they are insured by, or looking to be insured by, whereas an agent works in the best interests of the company they are employed by, he said.

The main benefits of using an insurance broker are that they help navigate the insurance maze and select the best plan for someone’s needs; provide unbiased advice about the different insurance options available; make the application process much easier and smoother; provide the client with an ongoing advocate that can help them resolve problems; and work at no extra cost to the client, Fleeter stated.

“There’s commission dollars baked into pretty much every insurance product,” he said. “It’s just basically built into the marketing expenses of the insurance company. So, whether they’re enrolling a policy directly through a website or through an employee of that insurance company, or an agent of a given insurance company, or through an independent broker, the price is always the same.”

To become an independent insurance broker, one must first get an insurance license, he said. Most independent insurance brokers, including Fleeter, started as agents working for insurance companies.

Independent insurance brokers provide a more personalized experience to their clients by making themselves available, Fleeter said. This eliminates a client having to deal with multiple staff members of an insurance company. They can also meet with clients through multiple mediums, such as in-person, on a video call or on the phone.

Something people may not know about independent insurance brokers is that the “good ones” are there to look out for their clients’ best interests, rather than caring only about how much money goes into their pockets, Fleeter said.

“Brokers are really there to help them navigate the system and make their buying decisions easier at no extra cost to them,” he said. “I think it’s important that a broker represents many different products from many different insurance companies so they have access to different products for clients because everyone’s needs are a little bit different.”

As an independent insurance broker, one is not bound to represent only one company when speaking to individuals about insurance plans, whereas a captive agent is captive to one company only and cannot be objective when speaking to clients about the many plans they may want to consider, Zwick explained.

There is no cost to meeting with an independent insurance agent because agents are paid by the insurance companies for which they sell, Zwick said.

“Should the person I am speaking with choose to enroll through me, the insurance company pays me a commission,” she stated. “In addition, ongoing customer service is very important.”

It is important for independent insurance brokers to undergo continuous education because this helps them stay up-to-date with changes to policies, Zwick added.

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