Perhaps you have also heard the terms solicitor, broker, excess or surplus lines agent, and producer used in conjunction with a person who sells insurance.
Although not every state recognizes these classifications, we’ll explain briefly how these positions differ from that of an agent.
A solicitor, like an agent, sells insurance and may even be authorized to collect premiums.
However, a solicitor cannot issue or countersign policies— this responsibility can only be handled by an agent.
So a solicitor, who often works with or for an agent, has more limited authority than the agent.
Both agents and solicitors represent the insurance company.
A broker, on the other hand, represents the insured.
A company that is seeking insurance could contact a broker, who in turn might contact several insurance companies to find the insurance that is best for the client.
Although a broker may sometimes act as an agent of the insurer in certain activities, such as policy delivery, a broker does not have the authority to bind an insurer to an insurance contract.
Excess or surplus lines are highly specialized insurance coverages, such as auto racing liability and tuition refund insurance, that are often not available from any company admitted to do business in a state.
An excess or surplus lines agent is an agent licensed by the state to handle the placement of such coverages with nonadmitted companies (ones that are not authorized to conduct business in the state under ordinary circumstances).
Producer is a general term used to describe someone who sells insurance, such as an agent, broker, or solicitor.
Another type of insurance professional you might encounter is an insur- ance consultant.
A consultant is someone who, for a fee, offers advice on the benefits, advantages, and disadvantages of various insurance policies. Consul- tants don’t actually sell insurance; they sell advice.