The Difference Between an Insurance Agent and an Insurance Broker
There are a variety of roles within the Insurance industry, all of which are referred to by different titles. It isn’t uncommon for these to also vary between countries, which makes things even more confusing. In this article we are looking at the Australian Insurance Market and two common terms we are familiar with – an Insurance Agent and an Insurance Broker. In this article we will highlight some of the common differences and where clarity may be required when you are engaging in an insurance discussion. 

Who are Insurance Agents?

In Australia, an Insurance Agent is typically an Insurance Advisor that acts on behalf of an Insurance company. This might entail working for an Insurance Company directly, or working for another brand that markets / sells insurance on behalf of one or a variety of Insurance companies. An Insurance Agent is required by law to disclose that they are acting on behalf of an Insurance company and that they can only provide general advice that does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. This effectively means that the Insurance Agent may not highlight exclusions or gaps in coverage, differences between their product and other insurance products, or ask the right questions to understand the full extent of the risk. When purchasing from an Insurance Agent, you need to ensure you are familiar with the product, have read the policy wording and are comfortable that that product suits your needs. Once an insurance product has been purchased, the client will often be required to manage their policy and any insurance claims themselves.

 

Who are Insurance Brokers?

In Australia, an Insurance Broker is a Qualified Insurance Advisor that acts on behalf of their client, the customer. An Insurance Brokers role is to source the most appropriate insurance solution for their client, which can take into account their personal situation, requirements and needs. An Insurance Broker will ask detailed questions to understand their clients insurable risk exposures and present this information to an array of Insurance companies and Underwriting Agencies. Once quotations are received, an Insurance Broker will review the terms and conditions, present the most suitable option to the client and highlight important information that the client should consider. Once a policy has been placed, the Insurance Broker will be a direct point of contact for advice, policy changes and end to end claims management. Having your insurance managed by a Broker is like having your own direct representative.

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What is the difference between a Corporate Agent and Insurance Broker?

We have talked about Insurance Agents, but what about a Corporate Agent and how does that differ to an Insurance Broker? Corporate Agents can be Insurance Agents, or they can be Agents that work within similar industries, such as Banking, Finance or Consulting. If you are having a discussion with a Corporate Agent, it is important that you understand their role and their area of expertise. They may not work in the Insurance industry and may not be able to represent you as an Insurance Broker would.

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