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What Do Insurance Brokers Do?
Insurance brokers routinely claim that their products provide security, since their product is financial protection in the event of emergency. Because of the great demand, the insurance industry is thus one of the nation’s largest employers, and most of them work in sales. There’s very little difference between insurance agents and insurance brokers – agents work for one insurance agency, while brokers work independently and sell policies through many agencies. Really, though, agents and brokers do many of the same things. Each meets with potential clients and advises them on coverage. When a client files a claim, the insurance brokers and agents have to settle the claim equitably for both the client and the agency. Agents and brokers can be salaried employees of an agency or work on commission based on what they sell.
Because most agents work on commission, they have to spend a lot of time finding new customers. Some large agencies cover all sorts of insurance, while smaller agencies sometimes specialize in just one area, like car insurance. Besides handling customers and finding new ones, insurance agents and brokers also have to keep records of sales and do a mountain of paperwork. Successful agents have a staff that do these things for them.
A wider range of products
More and more, insurance brokers offer comprehensive financial planning services in addition to to insurance products, like retirement planning, estate planning, or assistance in setting up pension plans for businesses. Besides offering insurance, brokers can be licensed to sell mutual funds, variable annuities, and other securities. This made easier, in part, by technological advances that make it for an insurance broker to take on more clients. Brokers’ computers are now linked directly to the insurance carriers, making it easier to obtain price quotes and process applications. Internet technology also allow agents to keep up to date on new products that insurance carriers offer.
The Internet is also changing the relationship between insurance brokers and their clients. Brokers used to have to spend a lot of time marketing and selling products to new clients, but now clients can get insurance quotes from an insurance broker’s web site, giving the client a more active role in selecting a policy at the best price – and reducing the amount of time agents spend fishing for new clients. Because insurance brokers get a lot of new accounts through referrals, keeping in touch with existing clients via the Internet helps their business in the long-term – satisfied clients will recommend an agent’s services to other potential customers.
New ways of doing business
As more insurance brokers enter the field and offer service on the Internet, increasing competition has forced carriers and agents to find new ways to get clients – and to keep the cleients happy once they get them. Call centers allow customers to get personal help from insurance professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Insurance brokers also are hiring customer service specialists to handle small jobs that clutter up the brokers’ days like answering clients’ questions, making changes in policies and processing claims. The opportunity to sell new products helps insurance brokers to expand their businesses, while the use of call centers lets brokers focus their efforts on finding new clients and improving relationships with the clients they already have.