Florida Health Insurance Terms:
"Insurance Broker"

Broker: A licensed representative who sells and services insurance policies. Brokers represent their customers and are usually contracted to offer insurance products from several different insurance companies.

The people involved in the insurance industry profess that they provide security for a living, since their product is financial protection in the event of a crisis or emergency. This protection is always in demand, and the insurance industry is thus one of the nationís largest employers, with over two million workers. Seventy percent of them are involved in administrative or sales posts in three main areas: Life, health, and property and liability.

The life insurance agent collects monthly or yearly payments from a policyholder; if the policyholder dies while covered by the policy, the designated members of his family receive a substantial sum of money. Sometimes life insurance agents arrange for more creative benefits, such as college tuition payments for children. Ensuring proper coverage for hospital and doctor visits is the domain of the health insurer, who most likely works for groups of employers rather than soliciting clients among the general public. Some health insurers are employed by the government to enforce Medicaid policies.

Finally, property and liability agents insure instances of damage done both to and by their policyholders. They must also be fluent in the world of health insurance since they cover workmenís compensation; an employee injured at work will deal with this agent rather than a health insurance agent. Agents work for one insurance agency, whereas brokers work independently and sell policies through many agencies. Beyond this distinction, however, agents and brokers fill many of the same functions. Each meets with potential clients and advises them on the most appropriate coverage.

When claims are made, they have to settle the claim equitably for both the client and the agency. Agents and brokers can be salaried employees of an agency or, more likely, work partly or fully on commission on the premiums they sell. Because most agents work on commission, they must spend quite a bit of time networking and finding new customers. Some large agencies cover all areas under one of the three divisions, while smaller ones specialize in one area, car insurance, for instance. Besides keeping up with customers and courting new ones, insurance agents and brokers have administrative tasks to do, such as keeping records of sales. Lucky and successful agents will have a staff to handle these matters.

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