What’s the difference between a health insurance broker and an agent?

It’s a question which we often get asked by clients and rightly so “what’s the difference between a health insurance broker and an agent?”

We’re always happy to answer this query – especially in China where unfortunately the lines between the role of an agent and a broker are blurred, sometimes deliberately so, to the detriment of the customer.

Health insurance brokers

Firstly, let’s define what a broker is. A health insurance broker is a professional expert who works on your behalf to secure you the most suitable coverage out on there on the market, which suits your needs.

Brokers also provide after-sales support and can assist with claims handling and dispute resolution with insurers if the insured persons have any reason to be dissatisfied. Brokers DO NOT represent insurance companies – we have good relations with insurers and we are valued by them, because we bring them business which they may not otherwise have gotten by themselves.

Health insurance brokers like ourselves perform the complex job of sifting through the endless policies on the market and working out which is most suitable for you.

It’s no secret that insurance policies can be wordy, long and not easy to understand even for those familiar with the subject matter.

We look at covers from different insurers to get as broad a range as possible in terms of price and service provided so we can go back to the client in confidence that we are giving you the best deal out there for you. And there are an awful lot of deals out there and they do not all come from one insurer.

What does all come from one insurer are offers from insurance agents. Insurance agents take numerous forms and guises but they all essentially perform the same function – they work for a specific insurer to sell their products on the market.

In some cases an agent may represent more than one insurer, but the crucial point to note here is that the agent is not working in your interests – they are working in their own best financial interest, which tends to be aligned with that of the insurer since that is now agents earn their money.

It is not uncommon for agents to pose as brokers, or to allow clients to think they are by not explicitly stating their relationship with them. In many instances, the average consumer on the street who is interested to buy insurance, will have a poor understanding of the market and may not even know the difference between a broker and an insurer.

In our experience, since the Chinese market is a fairly young and immature one, this situation is common – even when dealing with corporate clients who may be happy to deal with an agent as long as the price is competitive.

In all cases, your interests are best represented by an independent broker such as China Expat Health – so contact us today and let us show you how we can work for you to find you the best health insurance package out there.