Insurers have an important role in peoples’ lives. They protect what’s important, what’s valuable and keep you financially viable. Whether you want to protection for your house, your vehicles, your business, your income or a life insurance policy, insurance is about preparing for unknown risks.
The process of finding the right protection with no dangerous loopholes can be overwhelming. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to an insurance policy. Insurers can differ in the coverage they offer. Large impersonal insurance companies with only one set of options may not really meet your needs. Different insurance companies do offer different options but finding those companies and doing those comparisons is time consuming and confusing. What about cost? Is the same coverage the same price everywhere?
Buying your insurance through an insurance brokerage offers an entirely different experience. It’s easier, more personal, more time efficient, and often provides you with better price and broader coverage options. Brokerages are staffed by licenced experts who understand complex insurance products, which companies provide the best coverage solutions for your unique needs, and how to get the most value for your insurance dollar.
Agent vs. Broker: What’s the Difference?
An insurance broker is not the same as an insurance agent. An insurance agent works for a single insurance company – their job is to sell the insurance products that their company offers, regardless of whether these products are the best fit for your needs or the best value.
A broker works for you. They are independent and not bound to any one company, so can shop the marketplace for you. Brokers have the knowledge of the insurance marketplace and coverage options that are available from many providers. A Broker will comparison shop from a variety of reputable insurance companies to find policy options that offer you the right type of coverage at competitive rates, regardless of which company offers it.
What Does an Insurance Broker Do?
Insurance Brokers have many responsibilities:
- Speak with new clients to discern their risk exposures and get a sense of their insurance needs
- Evaluate clients’ assets and determine a cost valuation for property assets
- Create customized insurance packages for clients aligning Insurer offerings & client’s needs
- Comparison shop insurance providers for suitable options
- Present and explain the options, policy details of a package & decode any confusing terminology
- Provide unbiased analysis and evaluation of options to help client’s choice of insurer
- Advise clients if they have a claim, and be their advocate throughout the claim process
- Be available, on a name basis, to answer any questions the client may have at any point
- Continually review insurance needs with existing clients as their lives evolve and needs change
Why Choose Brokerages?
Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy when you work with an insurance brokerage instead of an agency or an online insurer:
Insurance brokerages have access to a vast network of insurance companies within the industry. These networks enable brokers to offer you a wide selection of policy options. No matter what type of insurance you need or how extensive you want the coverage to be, they can help you find the policy you’re looking for at the best value.
In Ontario, insurance brokerages are a regulated industry with strict requirements for licencing. RIBO (or Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario) requires that any individual in this line of work pass an initial exam to become licenced and continue to take insurance education courses each year to ensure their knowledge is up to date.
- Independent Advice
Independent brokerages work for you, NOT the insurance company. Your broker can answer any questions you might have and provide useful perspective about your coverage from an impartial standpoint. They can advise you on special coverage options that may be available in the marketplace and provide you with tips to better protect you. They can also use their connections and expertise to negotiate better rates or terms on your behalf.
- Claims Support & Advocacy
Have you ever wondered how you would navigate the insurance claims process if you needed to? When you buy your insurance through an independent brokerage, you don’t have to worry about that. Again, your Broker is independent – so your broker will be your advocate. They can guide you along the claims process, represent your interests and use their expert knowledge to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
- The Human Touch
Insurance is a complicated field full of clauses, caveats, and other challenges. With large, direct insurers, you are just a number. As a result, it can be extremely intimidating for a layperson. Your Broker is there to connect with you, get to know you and your needs and be that intermediary to personalize the insurance process. In their expert hands, you’ll be guided through the steps you need to protect the things that matter to you, using language you understand and numbers you can fit into your budget. In addition to everything else they do, they provide peace of mind.
Do Brokers Cost More?
There are many advantages to using an insurance brokerage for your insurance needs, but you may be wondering if there are additional costs to consider for these added advantages.
The good news is that in most cases, choosing to use a brokerage’s services could save you money. A Broker’s commission is paid by the insurance companies. Their licencing standard ensures that brokers are bound by fiduciary duty, meaning they are legally obligated to act for their client’s best interest.
Some brokerages do use a fee-for-service model and charge their clients a modest additional sum. However, those who do this must disclose this information up-front before any agreements are made, so there is no concern about hidden fees.
What to Ask Your Insurance Broker
Are you thinking about contacting a brokerage the next time you need to purchase insurance? Here are some questions to ask to make sure that the one you’ve chosen is a good fit for you.
- How long have they been in business?
- What types of insurance services do they provide?
- Can you purchase all of your insurance needs at their brokerage?
- What qualifications do their staff have?
- Will they provide a dedicated broker to handle your insurance, or is it a call queue?
- Who do you call in case of a claim?
- Can you meet face to face with your broker?
- What is their renewal review process?
- What insurance companies do they typically represent?
For the Best Brokerage Experience, Trust Blair Insurance
If you’re ready to see the difference that an insurance broker’s expertise can make to your life and your peace of mind, call Blair Insurance. As a top-rated insurance brokerage in Markham and the GTA, Blair has decades of experience protecting clients and their interests. As a one stop shop, we can handle all of your insurance needs. We work hard to source options and customize insurance packages to protect our clients, their assets, their companies, their lifestyle.
Contact Blair Insurance today to learn more about our services or set up an initial consultation. We would consider it our privilege to show you what we can do for you.