What Is a Brokerage General Agent?
The main role of a brokerage general agent is to sell insurance products to brokers and provide advice to individual, independent brokers. These agents may specialize in a particular segment of the insurance industry or sell policies across a wide range of insurance providers. They can also be affiliated with associations such as the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the National Brokerage Agencies, or the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.
A brokerage general agent is an autonomous entity or contractor engaged by an insurance company tasked with marketing one or multiple insurance products exclusively to chosen insurance brokers. These brokers, in turn, act as intermediaries in delivering the policies to their clientele. Specializing in either a specific sector of the insurance industry or offering policies from a diverse array of insurance providers, brokerage general agents play a pivotal role in the insurance sales landscape. Beyond the core responsibility of policy sales, brokerage general agents extend comprehensive support services to individual brokers, encompassing online application processing, case monitoring, instantaneous policy quotations, and addressing queries related to underwriting requirements.
Moreover, brokerage general agents are equipped to assist with challenges arising during client engagements. They leverage a network of specialized insurance coverage experts, facilitating referrals to independent agents to address any knowledge gaps. The collaboration between independent agents and brokerage general agents is typically characterized by close cooperation in navigating the complexities of the insurance business.
How Does a Brokerage General Agent Work?
When it comes to insurance operations, a brokerage general agent acts as an insurance wholesaler who has the power to process applications from independent agents on behalf of an insurance carrier. This includes potential agent appointments. Predominantly, these entities undertake underwriting and administrative tasks, acting as intermediaries for the insurers they represent.
Typically specializing in marketing coverage and services that demand specialized underwriting knowledge, brokerage general agents prove invaluable to both agents and insurers. The acquisition of such expertise is often challenging and cost-prohibitive in-house, making the services of brokerage general agents a practical solution.
Operating as a comprehensive back office for independent insurance agents, a full-service brokerage general agency offers support limited only by the agent's utilization choices. Their central objective is to provide an effective, economical, and profitable means of addressing insurance challenges that agents may prefer not to handle independently.
How Do Brokerage General Agents Assist Independent Agents?
- Customer Service and Communication: Brokerage general agents (BGAs) play a pivotal role in frontline customer service, addressing inquiries through calls and emails. They efficiently manage pending status requests and process changes in cases, ensuring responsive and effective communication.
- New Business Facilitation: When it comes to new business, BGAs are responsible for managing the application processing. This involves meticulous verification of proper forms, scrutiny for missing information and signatures, and the systematic ordering of required exams and physician statements.
- Requirement Processing Expertise: BGAs maintain an organized approach to requirement processing, diligently entering all application data. This includes handling missing and additional requirements that may arise after the initial application submission.
- Agent Licensing Administration: Taking charge of agent and agency carrier-contracting matters, BGAs streamline the complex licensing process for agents intending to conduct business through the brokerage general agent.
Trade Associations for Brokerage General Agents
Brokerage general agents are affiliated with various industry associations and interest groups, including the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, National Brokerage Agencies, and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. These organizations actively advocate for members' interests, offer professional training opportunities, and endorse industry best practices.
Additionally, brokerage general agents align with specialized trade groups focusing on their specific industry niches. Examples include the Society of Underwriting Brokers (SUB) for life insurance and the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) for health insurance. Many of these national associations extend their reach through regional, state, or local chapters.
Brokerage general agents play a crucial role in the insurance industry, serving as intermediaries between insurance companies and brokers. Their multifaceted responsibilities encompass not only selling insurance products but also providing essential support services to independent brokers. Affiliated with prominent associations such as NAIFA and National Brokerage Agencies, these agents actively engage in advocacy, professional training, and the promotion of industry best practices. The collaborative efforts between brokerage general agents and independent agents, facilitated by streamlined processes and comprehensive support, contribute to the effective functioning of the insurance ecosystem.