Although people often use the terms "broker" and "agent" interchangeably, it's actually quite beneficial for you to know the difference, not to mention that retention of this valuable information will certainly make you the most-intelligent, most-revered speaker at the dinner table during the next upcoming holiday.
So what's the scoop?
Let's address AGENTS first. While the name sounds clandestine and borderline controversial, it's kind of just the opposite. In reality, there are two (2) types of agents. There's INDEPENDENT agents that work for multiple "carriers," that is the big guys in the insurance industry, and there's the CAPTIVE agents, that are literally controlled or "captive" by just one single provider.
Agents have 'administrative' liability, and therefore they're only responsible for accurate paper-processing. They have no obligation to you other than securing a transaction, and are generally apathetic should you need to file a claim; many don't mind if you become "trapped" in the system.
Well that's frightening...So what's a broker?
Brokers are essentially independent agents on steroids (not actually, but figuratively). While agents may represent perhaps three (3) to six (6) companies, brokerages instead have relationships with upwards of ten (10) to as many as thirty (30) large-scale carriers. The greatest distinguishment, however, perhaps lies within the allegiance of the brokerage firm itself. Many brokers faithfully scan the market and utilize various carriers depending on the client's circumstances. However, many choose to transact business with the same carrier over-and-over, thereby essentially acting as an Agency, rather than as a brokerage. Our title, "Cardinal Alliance" addresses just this. Cardinal refers to paramount, and most superior, while Alliance implicates the word "allegiance;" in essence, one of our many slogans is "our greatest alliance is with you."
Agents DON'T require licensing in most states, while brokers do, so brokers are arguably more likely to have a greater degree of specialized knowledge in any given area. Though agents may receive in-house training by one or two companies, the education standards are specifically tiered and targeted to the benefit of the company, rather than to expanding the knowledge base of the agent him or herself.
Brokers have significantly higher liability, and therefore must analyze your business or required coverage to meet given standards, or risk losing their licenses...
How are they paid?
Similar to other fields in market-capitalist economies, both brokers and agents are compensated through a commission, often based upon the premium. BEWARE as many companies (both agencies and brokerages) may try to up-sell a package or policy that you might not actually need to create a higher profit for the agent. Cardinal Alliance Group does not engage in this process. In fact, if we offer you a package that may have increased premiums over previously-mentioned packages, it's most likely because our underwriters have justified a reasonable need for more coverage, and thus, sometimes a slightly higher premium.
What is C.A.G.?
Cardinal Alliance Group is an extremely-Independent Brokerage, and through our vast network, we've established relationships with literally dozens of large carriers, as well as other brokerages, to ensure the best-suited, most-fitting policy for you, your family, and your business.
Brokerages, like C.A.G., allow for a one-to-one client-centric relationship, rather than a one-time "deal" through an agency. Brokerages are in theory supposed to advocate for their clients with numerous carriers to ensure the most coverage for their clients, as well as the best price, and while we can't promise you that other brokerages will act on your behalf, we do. Every-single-day.
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