You’ve just made an investment. You’re busy thinking about your new home/car/business venture/motorhome, and then… BAM! It hits you! You need insurance to protect your new investment.

Insurance itself is usually inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with a range of options. One of the first and most important decisions you need to make is where to source your insurance policy from. Before you start randomly Googling insurance providers in Edmonton, there’s one crucial distinction you should know: the difference between an insurer, a direct writer, and a broker.

Let’s start by outlining the roles and responsibilities of each body in the insurance world:

Insurer: The insurer is the company that actually provides the insurance behind your policy. Think of the insurer as the guardian overlooking the pot of money collected for insurance; the insurer takes money in, and pays out claims.

Direct Writers: These are agents who work directly for a single insurer. In other words, a direct writer is directly tied to the insurer, meaning the only products a direct writer can offer are those offered by the company he/she works for.  

Broker: A broker is not tied to any single insurer. Instead, brokers act like a “shopping service” for their clients, finding them the best policies and prices, negotiating on their behalf, and assisting in the settlement of claims.

For example, Cornerstone Insurance is a “brokerage”, meaning our brokers work directly for our clients, not the insurers. We can assess your needs, and provide different coverage and policy options with various insurers at various price points. We also act as liaisons between our clients and the insurer, whether that means negotiating rates and policy options, helping you submit paperwork for policies and claims, and troubleshooting during difficult claims.

So, who should you talk to for the coverage you need?

The answer is… it depends! What are you looking for in your insurance? There are pros and cons to using an Edmonton broker vs. a direct insurer. More and more, people are choosing to use brokers for their insurance needs, simply because there are so many benefits.

Some of the benefits of a broker include:

  • Less work and time saved! Instead of making 15 phone calls to get comparison quotes from direct writers, you can call a broker to submit your information. The broker will facilitate your comparison quotes, sort through them, and give you the best policy options and rates. 
  • Better pricing, for the same reason as above. 
  • More options for coverage, again, because of the links to multiple insurers. If a particular insurer doesn’t offer a coverage option or discount program, your broker can source it for you somewhere else! 
  • Less hassle when it comes to claims and renewals. Your broker handles all the paperwork. 
  • Personalized advice, support, and communications from a broker based in Edmonton. For example, when you contact Cornerstone to set up your policy, you’re given a direct line to your broker, so when you have a claim, you can contact that same trusted person.
  • Tailored policies. Your insurance should suit your needs and lifestyle – not the other way around. Peace of mind is knowing that you don’t have to change anything in your life to make sure your policy always has you covered. Local brokers in Edmonton will be able to help you apply the specifics of life in Alberta to your policy, like an increased need for windshield coverage in your car insurance thanks to our roads! 
  • Mobility. If your insurance rates increase, we can easily move you to any of our other insurers for a better price and better coverage.

Just one final note before you start sourcing your insurance: remember that the lowest price is not necessarily the best price. Unlike a static product, insurance works on the “you get what you pay for” adage. Your broker can help you source not only the most cost-effective policy, but the most cost-effective policy for the options you require (because there’s no point in paying for insurance if it isn’t effective when you need it!)

Have questions about your broker, insurer, policy, or coverage? We’d love to help you get to the bottom of your insurance policies, and we’re happy to provide comparison quotes so you can see what you’re getting. Give our Edmonton insurance brokers a call today!

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