An insurance broker can be a big help to you when you are looking for insurance products. A broker acts on your behalf and works as an intermediary between you and the insurers, with the goal of finding you what you need at the best possible rate.
A broker service takes some of the legwork and guesswork out of your insurance shopping experience, but you have got to find the right broker for you to reap the full rewards. Here are some questions you have to ask any prospective broker to confirm you’ve found the person who will get you the coverage you need at a great rate.
May I Have Your References?
Past client experiences speak volumes when it comes to brokers. Ask the broker for a list of clients you can contact to find out about their experiences with them. If, for some reason, you don’t feel comfortable asking directly, take to social media to read reviews of the broker you are considering.
Check the broker’s license and any records of disciplinary actions taken against the Insurance Brokers by your state’s regulator. You don’t need to ask the broker for their license or records, as your state regulatory body should have both on file and available for public view.
How Long Have You Been in the Industry?
Ideally, your broker should have considerable experience in the local insurance industry, and it should be in the sector you’re looking for. Brokers make contacts with and build relationships with insurers over time, and these connections can benefit you.
If you have special needs, bring this up as well, as you’ll want a broker who has the knowledge to handle your situation. For example, if you need insurance for your high risk business, ask the broker specifically about their experience with businesses that are viewed as high risk.
How Are Your Claims Processed?
You need to know how the broker will handle your claim and how long their typical claim processing and turnaround times are. Insurance at a bargain rate isn’t so helpful when you have a loss and are waiting months for compensation or can’t get your broker to take your call.
What Do You Earn and How?
An insurance broker can earn a fee, commission, or both, according to United Policyholders. The commission is part of the premium, usually set by the insurer and is non-negotiable, while the fee is a charge set by the broker and may be negotiable. Get any and all charges from your broker in writing. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recommends you ask any questions you may have about how those fees are calculated and what you will be paying.
If you are having trouble getting clear answers from the broker on any of the above questions, shop around some more. The right broker for you will be honest, upfront and willing to answer any of your concerns.