is a broker better?

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 3:51 am   Post subject: is a broker better?  

Hi. I was told that a broker can provide a consumer with a cheap health insurance rate, where as direct you may pay more. So are we better off with health insurance brokers like or is it more efficient to just call?

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 10:06 am   Post subject:   

Brokers surely have an advantage over the captive insurance agents since they can actually shop for the coverage that is suitable for you, thus save your time. But there are agents too who can do the same for you. Honestly, as long as you are sure that the agent or the broker is working for your interest, choosing one over the other won't matter.



Moreover, some may prefer to buy the policy directly from the company to avoid paying the commissions to the middlemen. So, if you have already decided about the coverage you can then buy it directly from the insurance company as well.


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 10:20 am   Post subject:   

Hi OP



Quote:
Hi. I was told that a broker can provide a consumer with a cheap health insurance rate, where as direct you may pay more. So are we better off with health insurance brokers like or is it more efficient to just call?




Cheap isn't always a good idea. You must have insurance that is enough to provide coverage for you. Say you have insurance and when you need to make a claim, you realize that most of the medical bills are being paid by you out of pocket because you thought you wouldn't need certain coverage and hence didn't buy them.



If you know of any insurance agent, then talk to them and find out what would be the best policy for you. The internet is a very friendly option. Seek out health insurance sites that are ready to offer you insurance quotes for conditions you mention. Compare what your agent says and what you have found on the net and then conclude what insurance you can afford.



IMO, get insurance quotations from at least 4-5 companies. You can then zero down to one.


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 12:59 pm   Post subject:   

If the policy is the same, the price will be the same. It doesn't matter who sells it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:18 pm   Post subject:   

Price is always the same no matter who you purchase it from. The advantage of using a broker is simply his expertise and service. Brokers can help you with several related health insurance inquiries and also advise you should you need to switch plans.



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:23 pm   Post subject: Go with an Independent agent!  

I would recommend that anyone use an independent insurance agent for any line of insurance. Independent agents are able to shop around between different companies for the best plan and price for their clients. If you write direct with an insurance company or a captive agent, they will only reprice you within their company. Plus, there are no fees for having an insurance agent and you get insurance professional that you know personally that will service your account and look out for your best interest!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:56 pm   Post subject:   

Not to mention that you may need help with other lines of insurance like life, vision, dental, long term care, annuity accounts or any property and casualty line. A good broker can help with all of these.



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:01 am   Post subject:   

I think you guys have a point but Unitedinsurance I couldn't clearly understand you following comment.



Quote:
If you write direct with an insurance company or a captive agent, they will only reprice you within their company.




What do you mean by 'reprice you'?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:04 pm   Post subject:   

JeremyHolter,



Usually, if you write with a company directly or if you use a captive agent who only writes for only one company, they will not be able to shop other companies for you. All they can do is to look at your policy on renewal to see what they can do within that company to be competitve, either by applying credits or making coverage changes to keep the premium reasonable. Each kind of insurance is rated differently though. For instance, with personal or small group health or personal auto insurance the rates with any given company are cut and dry. The only way to keep your premium down in those instances is to make coverage changes. But, if you are quoting business insurance withing a certain company, not only can coverage changes be made, but also credits may be applied to reduce the premium.



Using an independent agent allows you to get quotes for multiple companies, who have different rates and policies to offer.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:30 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
All they can do is to look at your policy on renewal to see what they can do within that company to be competitve, either by applying credits or making coverage changes to keep the premium reasonable.




Does that mean that the captive agents may curtail your coverage to make the premium rates more reasonable for you?



So then, there is a fair chance that the agent might underestimate your insurance requirement to retain you as customer, right?





Further, how business insurance would differ than personal line of insurance?



Quote:
But, if you are quoting business insurance withing a certain company, not only can coverage changes be made, but also credits may be applied to reduce the premium.




Does it imply that it wouldn't matter much whether you choose a broker over captive for business insurance since you would be able to shop even within an insurance company for business coverage?



~Jeremy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:38 pm   Post subject:   

Let me give you an example of making a coverage change that would result in a lower premium: increasing a deductible. The premium for a policy with a high deductible is cheaper than that of a lower deductible.



Capitive agents and direct writing companys only have the rating structures and policy coverages of that particular company. Look at it this way...let's say you wanted ice cream, and you went into an ice cream shop but, the only flavor they had was vanilla, with three different types of toppings.

On the other hand, there was another ice cream shop down the road and in this shop they not only had vanilla flavored ice cream, but cherry, chocolate, peanut butter and so on... for you to choose from. That would be like an indepdent agent. He has the ability to offer you any kind that would fit you best.



Independent agents are supposed to work on behalf of the insured to find the policy/coverage and price that fit the needs of that insured. They have more markets and sometimes more resources available to them than a captive agent or a direct company would.



Keep in mind that each company whether direct writing companys or not all have different rates based upon each company's overall claims experience and financials. That's why it's worth shopping around for any kind of insurance. An independent has the ability to do that work for you since most independents have contracts set up with multiple companies.



You are definitely better off dealing with an independent agent. He or she would have way more opportunities to service your account better.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:46 pm   Post subject:   

Price is always the same no matter who you purchase it from. Now plans can be slightly different which would alter the price somewhat. A broker can help you navigate all the different plans and place you in one that will work best for your individual situation. Since they don't work for a specific company they can give you more options.



Link removed as per forum rules, thanks.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:36 pm   Post subject:   

You are always better working with a broker, but the price is the same either way.



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:13 am   Post subject:   

A good broker will give you objective advice and help you find the right policy. You don't pay any more than if you went direct.



If the agent is honest and competent, there is no downside.



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:16 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
They have more markets and sometimes more resources available to them than a captive agent or a direct company would.


Don't you think it becomes real tough for you to choose between an independent agent and a captive agency that's operating successfully in your locality!

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