Insurance Producer vs. Agent: What’s the Difference?

Mike Miller | December 22, 2022

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One of the most difficult things about joining the insurance industry is learning all the insider jargon. Figuring out the difference between an insurance producer vs. agent or what exactly an insurance broker does can be tricky. And just what does CSR stand for, exactly?

If you’re confused by the agency jargon, here’s a run-down of the different insurance roles and how they fit into your agency.

What's an Insurance Agent?

Most people are familiar with what an insurance agent is. An agent is a professional who sells insurance products to customers. Agents have relationships with insurance carriers and receive commissions when they sell a carrier’s policy to a customer. Insurance is a regulated industry, and agents must be licensed to sell insurance. 

Insurance agents can be captive agents or independent agents. Captive insurance agents work exclusively with a single carrier, often on a franchise model. Farmers, American Family, and Allstate are examples of captive carriers. Independent insurance agents work with multiple insurance carriers and often offer a combination of personal and commercial policies. Working with multiple carriers allows them to shop policies for their customers to find the best value.  

What's an Insurance Broker?

Independent insurance agents are also known as insurance brokers. While captive agents represent their carriers, independent insurance brokers represent their customers. They take the time review a customer’s needs and quote their coverage with multiple carriers. Then, they work with their customer to choose the best fit and write the policy. Like agents, brokers are paid on a commission model. 

How About an Insurance Producer?

The term “insurance producer” is relatively new in the industry, first appearing in 2005. It is a catch-all term that includes both insurance agents and insurance brokers. If you have your insurance license and can sell insurance, you are an insurance producer. 

...And an Insurance CSR?

An insurance CSR, or customer service representative, is an essential member of your insurance agency team that handles any task related to customer service. Some focus primarily on office administration, including setting customer appointments and handling calls, and communication between the agency and its carriers. Others have their insurance licenses and can quote and write insurance business for their agencies. Adding CSRs to your team is a primary way you can grow your agency’s capacity. 

Got It?

Agent, broker, producer—no matter what you decide to call yourself, you help protect your customers and their assets from risk. And your CSRs support these efforts and help you stay on top of your agency’s growth goals. For even more support, consider joining an independent insurance agency network, like Smart Choice. We provide agents with access to top-rated carriers with no fees, low production requirements, and competitive commissions. We also have a team of dedicated professions to help you navigate the ins-and-outs and ups-and-downs of the insurance industry. Ready to become a Smart Choice partner?

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