Insurance Broker or Insurance Agent: Making the Choice that Suits Your Needs
Are you unsure of the difference between an insurance broker and agent? Many people use the terms interchangeably.
In Singapore, there are 100 insurance brokers, and 10,000 insurance agents. While both act as middlemen to help you with your insurance needs, let us guide you through the differences in their roles and representation.
Regardless of which option you choose, agents and brokers are obligated to act in good faith in helping you find the best policy for your needs. Let’s look at the similarities and differences between the two, and how either option can help you find the best coverage
What is an insurance agent?
An insurance agent represents one or more (up to 3) insurance companies and sells their policies for a commission. They can either work full-time as insurance sales for an agency or be independent agents.
Their job is to represent the insurance company in the transaction while also helping customers find the right coverage. They have contracts with insurers that specify what policies they are allowed to sell and how much money they can expect to make from selling these policies. They also can bind the insurers into the policy contracts.
What is an insurance broker?
Brokers represent you, the consumer. They can sell policies from different insurance companies, and are skilled at comparison between these policies. They can help you decide what kind of coverage you need based on your budget. They make their money through broker fees, which are a percentage commission on the policies being sold.
Therefore, brokers are motivated to find a plan you'll be happy with long term. They typically work with many providers and are not required to sell you any particular policy, so you may feel more confident in their pick.
Here are some of the key differences between an insurance broker versus agent:
Represents you, the consumer, and have a duty to act in your best interest
Represents Insurance companies and their interests, with some having the ability to “bind” coverage
Number of Insurers
Can source multiple insurers for quotes, no limit
Represents from 1 to a maximum of 3 insurers
Registered with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
Registered with General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA)
Fixed brokerage without additional perks for any specific products
Has incentives for hitting target volumes and for selling specific products, on top of base commission
More robust infrastructure required as in-house Compliance, Internal audit, Technology, Data protection is required
Supported by the infrastructure of the insurance companies that they represent
Works with many different insurers, across many products, more effort is required to keep abreast of them all
Has expertise only on the insurer(s) that they represent and the policies they sell. Knowledgeable in their insurer’s products
Should you choose an insurance agent or broker?
When you are next shopping for insurance, you should decide based on your specific circumstances to figure out which would be more suitable for your needs. Here are some factors to consider.
- You are too busy to do research and shop for a plan. Use a broker. The broker’s job is to compare the policies in the market and find the best fit based on your needs.
- You know the exact policy that you want, and the specific provider. Use an agent. If you already know exactly which policy you want, pick an agent. They can easily sign you up with no need to compare policies. Agents can enroll you in binding coverage themselves.
- You want to compare plans across different providers. Use a broker. They will collect, compare and assess which policies may work best for your needs and budget, and are not required to work with any one provider. Their advise is also unbiased since they represent you, the consumer.
Get insured with the right help.
Having an expert on your side to help you pick the right insurance plan and find the best price can be a big help. If you need help finding the right insurance coverage, consider working with an experienced broker like eazy. Our team can advise you on various insurance plans, including motor, health, corporate, lifestyle, and marine coverage. Speak to us today to get your insurance needs covered.
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comparison and unbiased advice now!