An insurance broker is an independent insurance agent who works with many insurance companies to find the best available policies for his or her clients. A typical insurance agent works for one specific company, and chooses from within that company's policies for clients. While a broker is different from the typical agent in this regard, the two are otherwise similar. Both structure policies, settle claims, and usually work on a commission basis.
In most states, both the insurance agent and broker must be licensed, after having passed an insurance exam. While formal schooling or degrees are not necessarily required to do this job, they are helpful. Even if further education is not required for advancement, it definitely creates an advantage for the person who hopes to rise to the administrative level. Advancement and management experience are also beneficial for the agent who hopes to become an independent broker. Someone in this job may also attend seminars and conferences to keep up to date on the latest insurance trends and legislation.
An insurance broker may specialize in one specific type of insurance or deal in many different types, including health, life, auto, home, and other specialized varieties of insurance, including policies for pets. Those who choose to deal in insurance of an investment nature require special training and must also obtain special licenses from the Securities and Exchange Commission or other associations that deal with investments.
Since all types of insurance are in high demand, good agents and brokers are also needed. This fact leads some insurance agencies to offer tuition reimbursement for employees to continue their education. Reimbursement may require an agreement to work for that agency for a specific period of time after completing the course of study or obtaining a degree, but after the agreed upon time frame, the agent is free to work for other companies or to work for himself or herself.