Life insurance broker: Do I need one?

A life insurance broker can be a big help as we're talking about a product that isn't one-size-fits-all. However, you'll need to pay at least one fee for their services.

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What you need to know

  • Insurance brokers are qualified professionals who can source multiple life cover quotes and relevant information on your behalf.
  • Life insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product and some people opt for a broker if they are seeking more personalised cover. Examples can include those with more complex medical histories, often with pre-existing conditions.
  • One drawback of using a broker is that they will charge a commission or broker fee for their service, or sometimes both.

Knowing how much life insurance to take out or which policy will best suit you and your family's needs can be tricky. Having someone with expertise to help you rather than finding a policy on your own could save you time and money. That's where a life insurance broker can help.

What is a life insurance broker?

A life insurance broker is essentially an intermediary between you and an insurer. Their job is to source a policy that's matched to your needs and personal circumstances, for a competitive price.

Insurance brokers are often confused with insurance agents; however, they are different. An insurance agent is someone who works for a certain insurance company, or for a number of insurance companies. So, an agent is a representative of an insurance company with a purpose of selling policies to those who need them.

How do life insurance brokers work?

An insurance broker gathers different quotes from various companies and presents them to you. They can help you gather the necessary information you need for the application process, and submit them to different insurance providers.

When the provider agrees, they will then give a binder to the broker who will then present it to you. The binder includes all the terms and conditions of the insurance contract you will enter into.

Pros and cons of life insurance brokers

Pros

  • You'll have more chance of finding tailored cover, and you could avoid the disappointment of being denied cover.
  • An experienced broker could help you with various other insurance needs.
  • Brokers can offer ongoing care, helping you to make sure you stay on the right deal for your needs.

Cons

  • You'll need to pay a fee for their service.
  • Using a broker on a one-off basis can be a less financially viable option.
  • The products they help you pick might be influenced by any deals or agreements they have with their providers or contacts.

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Life insurance brokers vs going direct

Here are some things that you may want to consider when deciding whether or not you require a life insurance broker:

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Cost. Finding a policy on your own, without the help of a broker, could be more cost-effective as you do not need to pay a professional fee for a service. You can save money by going online and using the services of a comparison site such as Life Insurance Finder, where you get to compare multiple policies from Australian providers. On the other hand, given the way a broker will know the ins and outs of the market, they could stop you from buying more cover than you really need.
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Time. Looking around for different policies on the market can be a significant investment of your time, if you're not sure what you are looking for. This may be particularly true for first-time buyers who may not have a wealth of knowledge of life insurance at hand. With the help of an insurance broker, you can get access to information and recommendations to life insurance policies that are tailored to your situation, without costing too much of your time.
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Effort. Finding a policy on your own gives you the advantage of making a decision at your own pace. On the other hand, getting some assistance from an expert can save you from being overwhelmed by a wealth of information from multiple sources, some of which might be unfamiliar. An insurance broker's expertise can be very valuable, finding various solutions that could put you at an advantage in your search for cover.

What are the key responsibilities of a broker?

Insurance brokers have a duty of care to you as the customer and their actions should therefore be focused on helping you to get suitable coverage at a competitive price.

Other key duties and responsibilities include:

  • Acting with integrity and honesty at all times when it comes to dealing with clients and insurers.
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest, and disclosing any partnerships.
  • Ensuring that any fees, commissions or other benefits they will receive are disclosed to the customer.
  • Adhering to client confidentiality regulations and data protection rules.
  • Complying with the Insurance (Agents & Brokers) Act 1984, the Insurance Contracts Act 1984, the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the State Fair Trading Acts.
  • Ensuring that the accuracy of the insurance documentation is checked.
  • Making sure that no non-disclosure or misrepresentation takes place.

Fees and costs explained

Given that life insurance premiums can vary a lot, it's hard to give a specific range of the fees you might expect to pay to a broker. Broadly, you might pay them 10–25% of a base premium amount. That's assuming they are charging a one-off fee for one service. You might reduce this if you use the same broker for a number of other insurances, including if you agree to an ongoing fee instead.

How to look for an experienced life insurance broker

Being able to find a good insurance broker is like finding a gem, and in order to do that you have to know where to look for it and the standards you can use in spotting a good insurance broker. There are several places and methods where you can find an insurance broker, some of which we've listed below.

  • Through word of mouth. You may have family and friends who have used or are using the services of an insurance broker. One of the advantages of finding an insurance broker through your circle of friends is that you can get first-hand information and an honest review about a certain broker. However, you should also try to do a little homework when checking out the broker being referred to you, as rapport between a client and a broker is very important.
  • At online review sites. Another easy way to find an insurance broker is by clicking your mouse and browsing through different review sites dedicated to insurance brokers. Exercise caution and discernment when using this method though, in order to sort out which review is real and which is not. You can do this by checking out the brokers within your area and set up an appointment with them in order to assess them. Examine their credentials, track record and credible customer reviews.
  • At the NIBA. The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) is another good place. Looking for a broker through the NIBA gives you the assurance that you are getting someone who is licensed and certified.

5 key tips for sourcing a quality insurance broker

It might be fairly straightforward to work out where to find an insurance broker, but it can still be quite a feat to find a good one. Keep in mind the following:

  • An insurance broker should disclose their commission. Also bear in mind that an insurance broker should not charge you a separate fee when helping you secure an insurance policy.
  • An insurance broker should help you in every step of the process. This includes reminding you of the necessary actions you need to take while processing your insurance application, such as getting a physical or medical examination.
  • An insurance broker should not force a policy on you. A good insurance broker should consider your needs and give you ample time to sort through various policies and think through your decision. They should never impose a policy on you nor hasten you to make a decision.
  • An insurance broker should have a wide range of insurers in their portfolio. A good insurance broker is someone who has a wide portfolio of various insurance providers. The reason for this is so they can give you more options and expose you to better policies.
  • An insurance broker should be licensed. Looking into the broker's credentials can help you confirm that you're dealing with someone who is accredited by the state. You should also search out past reviews with previous clients.

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  • Save time and effort

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Or, compare direct life insurance policies yourself

Name Product Maximum cover Maximum Entry Age Fully Underwritten? Terminal Illness Benefit Optional Extras
NobleOak Life Insurance
$15,000,000
69
$3,000,000
TPD cover, Trauma cover
Cover up to $15,000,000 with NobleOak Life Insurance.
Real Family Life Cover
$1,000,000
64
$1,000,000
TPD cover, Trauma cover
Get a refund of 10% of the premiums you've paid (in the first 12 months) with The Real Reward™ .
Medibank Life Insurance
$2,500,000
70
$2,500,000
TPD cover, Trauma cover
Medibank health members save 10% on premiums every year. T&Cs apply.
Zurich Ezicover Life Insurance
$1,500,000
69
$1,500,000
No optional
Get your first month free and a 10% discount by taking out a second life insurance policy (discount applies to the second policy). T&C’s apply.
ahm Life Insurance
$1,500,000
65
$1,500,000
TPD cover, Trauma cover
ahm Health members can save 10% off premiums.
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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    KarunagariOctober 11, 2021

    Hi, I am 76 years old, fit and healthy and I need to find Life Insurance that will be available to me .

    Thanks and Regards,

    Lawrence ARMUGAM

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JamesOctober 21, 2021Staff

      Hi Lawrence,

      You may check out options for life insurance for seniors on this link. You can also have a broker call you and get tailored advice by filling out a short form available on the lower portion of the page.

      Regards,
      James

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