The U.S. insurance industry is a $149 billion behemoth that employs over 2.3 million people. A substantial number of these employees are in the business of selling insurance products. There are two principal insurance sales channels; independent brokers and insurance agents.
An insurance broker is an independent sales person who works for the customer. Insurance brokers normally have a relationship with a number of insurance companies and match the customer's insurance needs with the most appropriate insurance carrier. Insurance brokers make a commission on each sale, paid to them by the insurance company.
An independent agent sells insurance products on behalf of one insurance carrier. An independent insurance agent normally works from a small or store-front office, and will include the insurance company brand on all marketing materials. Independent agents receive a commission from the insurance company on all policies sold.
Similar to an independent agent, a corporate agent sells insurance products for one insurance carrier. Corporate agents normally do not have public offices, relying instead on telemarketing and online sales efforts funded by the insurer. Corporate agents are employees of the insurance companies and draw a salary for their efforts.