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How to become an insurance broker

Health Benefits • April 8, 2024 at 10:45 AM • Written by: Elizabeth Walker

There’s no doubt that the insurance industry is tricky to navigate. That’s why insurance brokers are crucial in helping consumers pick and choose plans that are right for them.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor projects the employment of insurance brokers to grow 8% between 2022 and 20321. A Research and Market report also speculates that the global insurance brokers market will reach $113.99 billion by 20252.

Insurance brokers offer expert advice on insurance policies, help their clients manage common risks, compare rates and prices, and provide peace of mind to their clients, making them valuable assets in the insurance field.

If you’re interested in becoming an insurance broker, our blog post will explain more about the role of an insurance broker, their responsibilities and qualifications, why they’re important, and how they differ from an insurance agent.

Takeaways from this blog post:

  • Insurance brokers serve as intermediaries between consumers and insurance companies to help find a specific type of policy. They provide personalized support and advisory services to ensure clients have the best coverage at the best price.
  • Brokers have relationships with multiple insurance companies, allowing them to negotiate competitive rates and provide access to discounts for their clients.
  • Qualifications for insurance brokers include a college degree in a related field and obtaining an insurance license through the National Insurance Producer Registry. They must have their clients’ best interests in mind and adhere to strict ethical standards.
Explore different scenarios to determine what health benefit is best for your client with our guide.

What is an insurance broker?

An insurance broker is an intermediary between a consumer—be they an individual or an employer— and an insurance company to help the consumer find and purchase the best insurance policy that suits their needs.

Brokers can specialize in one insurance type, like life insurance or group health insurance plans, but they often offer advice on several forms of insurance. A broker can work independently or within an insurance brokerage firm.

Brokers sell insurance, but they don’t work for insurance companies. They work directly for their client so their client can receive the best advice when considering insurance options.

Simply put, think of an insurance broker as a middleman. They aim to be the glue between individuals or business owners wanting an insurance plan and the companies providing the insurance product.

Brokers are well-informed in many types of insurance, including:

  • Auto insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Homeowner and commercial insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Commercial inventory and contents insurance
  • Business loss of income and workers' compensation

Brokers start by identifying their client’s personal and business needs as well as any risks. Then, they make informed recommendations about the insurance needed and how much to buy, and they provide the client with several quotes to compare.

Since brokers don’t represent insurance companies, they can’t complete insurance sales or bind coverage on behalf of an insurer. Once the client decides, they hand over the account to an insurer or insurance agent to complete the transaction.

Contrary to popular belief, using a broker has no added cost. Brokers make money through commissions from insurance companies by selling insurance to their clients. Commissions typically range between 4% and 15% of the premium on average3, depending on their state’s regulations and industry.

What are the responsibilities of an insurance broker?

An insurance broker has many roles and responsibilities, ranging from risk management to providing industry knowledge. Because an insurance broker can be independent or work within a firm, an individual broker's range of roles and responsibilities can vary.

Here are nine different roles and responsibilities of an insurance broker:

  1. Act as a liaison between the insurance carrier and the client
  2. Compare, negotiate, and sell insurance policies
  3. Hold client meetings to help them understand and manage risks
  4. Advise and consult their clients to provide the best policies and annual premiums
  5. Handle administrative duties for their clients
  6. Schedule and attend meetings with their clients, the insurers, or both
  7. Keep accurate records
  8. Stay compliant in the insurance field by keeping their insurance broker license current, learning new developments, and sharpening their sales skills
  9. Comply with all legal and insurance licensing requirements in their jurisdiction

What qualifications does an insurance broker need?

To pursue a career path as an insurance broker, it’s best to start by earning a college degree in insurance, business, economics, or finance. A college degree can give you a strong background and skills to help you excel in your role. According to Zippia, 64% of brokers have a Bachelor’s degree4. However, a college degree isn’t required.

In addition to potential education requirements, brokers must have an insurance license via the National Insurance Producer Registry to sell insurance products5.

If you manage other brokers or agents in different states, you may also need a separate type of license in those states. Similarly, if you choose to sell multiple types of insurance, you may need more than one license.

Most states also require a background check, fingerprints, and a specific number of training hours to take a licensing exam to begin the application process of receiving an insurance license. After obtaining a license and paying a licensing fee, you typically must renew it regularly by completing required continuing education courses to stay compliant.

Why are insurance brokers important for consumers?

Brokers have a deep knowledge of the insurance marketplace. They’re experts in the complexities of insurance policies and effectively analyze the many different companies available. Brokers consider their client’s needs before recommending the purchase of any insurance policy.

But those are only a few reasons that an insurance broker is essential. Below, we go into detail on a few more.

Consumers save on insurance rates and receive faster claim payouts

A broker works with several insurance companies to find the best deal for their client. They make carefully considered suggestions to serve their client’s interests to ensure they have the right policy for a budget-friendly price.

Additionally, since an independent broker has relationships with several insurance partners, they can negotiate competitive rates and add any available discounts.

In the event of a claim, a broker will help their client through the claim process. They can answer and serve as an advocate to make sure the payout is fair and delivered to the client in a reasonable time frame.

Get expert advice from an experienced industry professional

It’s an insurance broker’s job to provide their clients with personalized support so consumers can understand the insurance coverage options. A broker has extensive knowledge of insurance options and years of experience to draw from when consulting with a client, which comes in handy when navigating the tricky waters of insurance.

By providing expert advice, brokers help their clients obtain the best policy price and instill confidence and peace of mind. Shopping for and managing insurance coverage is usually less stressful and more comprehensive, with an insurance broker to help clear the way.

Clients are protected from dishonest conduct

As mentioned earlier, all brokers must have an insurance license. This involves staying up to date in continued education, professional competence, ethical conduct, and insurance-related financial services. Working with a broker allows clients to confidently feel you will treat them fairly while representing their best interests.

It’s also essential that brokers remain impartial. Brokers can inform clients about loopholes and other potential policy pitfalls. Essentially, a broker works as an extension of their client’s business, so clients should receive an honest opinion they can trust.

What is the difference between an insurance agent and a broker?

Insurance agents and insurance brokers often get confused with one another. They have similarities, such as they both need a license to operate. While both work in the same industry, agents and brokers differ.

An insurance company employs an insurance agent to sell their products to consumers for a commission. A successful agent helps consumers select the right insurance to buy, but ultimately, they represent the insurance company in the transaction.

The following are the two types of insurance agents:

  • A captive agent represents a single insurance company
  • An independent insurance agent typically represents more than one insurer

If you’re unsure if you want to be an insurance sales agent or a broker, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

An insurance agent and an insurance broker compare in the following ways:

Insurance agents

Insurance brokers

Represent the insurer

Represent the consumer

Can bind coverage

Can’t bind coverage

Receive a contract from the insurer outlining the products they can sell and for what commission rates, such as life insurance or annuities only

They’re under no contract, so they can solicit price quotes from multiple insurers


An insurance broker’s primary goal is to serve their client’s insurance needs. This includes recommending the best coverage at the best possible rate, answering questions, being an advocate, and putting their client’s interests first.

When considering becoming an insurance broker, it’s critical to fulfill education requirements, learn essential job duties, and follow all state licensing requirements before starting. By following the guidelines in this article, you’ll have a solid foundation to begin a rewarding career in the insurance industry.

This article was originally published on September 3, 2010. It was last updated on April 8, 2024.

1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/insurance-sales-agents.htm#tab-1

2. https://www.infosys.com/industries/insurance/insights/document/global-trends-brokerage-industry2022.pdf

3. https://www.talktomira.com/post/average-insurance-broker-comission

4. https://www.zippia.com/insurance-broker-jobs/education/

5. https://nipr.com/

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Elizabeth Walker

Elizabeth Walker is a content marketing specialist at PeopleKeep. She has worked for the company since April 2021. Elizabeth has been a writer for more than 20 years and has written several poems and short stories, in addition to publishing two children’s books in 2019 and 2021. Her background as a musician and love of the arts continues to inspire her writing and strengthens her ability to be creative.