Agent vs. Broker – What Is The Difference?

Agent vs. Broker 3

The terms Agent and Broker are sometimes used in the same context, but in reality, they are quite different.  Both do act as a liaison between the insured and the insurance company, but the main difference is who they represent.


An insurance agent works for the insurance company.  They can represent one or more insurance companies and acts as an extension of those companies. They are authorized to bind or initiate coverage on behalf of the insured.

There are two types agents: Captive and Independent. A Captive agent sells insurance for one specific insurance company.  An Independent agent sells insurance for multiple insurance companies.  In essence, they do the ‘shopping’ for you.


An insurance broker works for their clients.  They are an advocate and work in the best interest of their client, not the insurance company.

There are typically two types of brokers: Generalists and Specialists.  Generalists do not restrict themselves to certain industries or lines of business and sometimes consider themselves as a “one stop shop”.  They can insure gas stations, restaurants and even nonprofits.  With their book of business being so broad, it may be difficult for them to have the necessary knowledge and expertise into a particular industry or business, especially ones that are complex or have high risk factors.

A specialty broker does just that; they specialize or have a niche in a particular line of business or industry. They have access to a variety of markets, comparing multiple programs side by side. They generally have stronger relationships with underwriters and have a unique ability to negotiate for better terms and premiums. They will also have a better understanding of the exposures and various risks associated with a particular industry or business and can better recommend the specialized insurance solutions needed.

September is National Recovery Month


September is National Recovery Month and we would like to help create awareness and understanding of substance abuse issues in our country, as well as celebrating those in recovery and those who work in prevention and treatment.

According to reports, 20.2 million adults suffer from substance abuse.  Of these, 7.9 million suffer from a co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorder.  Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 death in 2016, more than any previous year.

There is no standard form of treatment and therefore difficult to measure the success rate of ‘rehab’.  The process of recovery is very personal and differs from person to person, but recovery IS possible.

As an specialized insurance broker, we are honored to work directly with organizations who dedicate themselves in serving those struggling from substance and mental health disorders.  Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your important mission in helping individuals reclaim and transform their lives.


World Association for Children & Parents Hope Luncheon 2016

Hawley & Associates attended the annual WACAP Hope Luncheon on April 21st, 2016, in Seattle, WA. The luncheon brought together individuals touched by adoption & supporters of the organization. It was wonderful afternoon filled with stories of hope and family!


The WACAP team with Executive Director, Greg Eubanks (Center)

Claims-Made vs. Occurrence Forms

A clear understanding of both types of coverage is crucial in making an informed decision on which type of coverage to buy.  When one coverage is recommended over the other, in certain situations, it is not a matter of what is recommend but what the markets will allow.  For certain types and kinds of coverage a claims-made form is the industry norm. It could include the following coverage’s:

  • Directors & Officer Liability
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Fiduciary Liability and Employee Benefits Liability

These are examples of some types of coverage’s that are predominately written on a claims-made form.  That being said, Professional Liability, Sexual Abuse Liability and to a lesser degree General Liability coverage may at times be written on a claims made form…

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How Does Your Insurance Broker Rate?

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) recently conducted a survey of small business owners on what was the most important service factor in working with an insurance broker.  The results were published in the February 2016 PIA Connections magazine.  So…how does your insurance broker rate?

PIA Survey Feb. 2016



Riskiest States for Employee Lawsuits – Are You At Risk?

Small to mid-sized businesses are faced with at least an 11.7% chance of an employee legal action in the US in 2014 according to Hiscox research.   Even if the charges don’t end up in court, they still carry costs to defend and can cause havoc with your everyday businesses.

That’s why it’s important to have Employment Practices Liability Insurance, which covers you when you’re sued even if you did not make a mistake.

Find out how much risk is in your state…

Learn More


Hawley & Associates Holiday Office Closure Annoucement

HAWLEY & ASSOCIATES will be closed on Monday, February 15th, 2016 in observance of the Presidents Day holiday.  Have a great holiday everyone!

President's Day Image

Hawley & Associates Attends Bay Area Adoption Fundraising Gala

Phil Hawley was honored to attend Bay Area Adoption’s Fundraising Gala in November.  It was held at the beautiful Carolands Chateau, just outside of San Francisco, Ca.  It was a magical evening, which included a silent auction and an incredible dinner.  The program was full of hope and amazing stories of family!  Thank you Bay Area Adoptions for the warm reception and for all you do in making the world a better place!



Local Broker vs. Specialty Broker? The Answer May Surprise You!

QuestionHawley & Associates strongly believes in giving back to the community. We encourage the support of local businesses and services operating in the areas that we all live and work. But, when it comes to your insurance broker, you need to think beyond your hometown borders.

Did you know that having a local broker could actually be a detriment to your organization, not a benefit? A local broker may not have the necessary knowledge of important state/federal statutes, coverage limitations, access to specialty markets or a strong relationship with key carriers.

Hawley & Associates specializes in working with social service, human service and child welfare agencies all across the country. Our expertise gives us a broader view and understanding of the insurance industry and how it effects your organization. It is our job to stay current on all changes in your industry and to keep your organization and mission protected.