Insurance Broker v. Captive Carrier: What is the difference? 

Blake RobbinsUnderstanding Insurance

A captive carrier is an insurance team that is fully owned and controlled by the insurer—think State Farm, Allstate, USAA, etc. A brokerage is independently owned, finding coverage for their clients by weighing several different companies—such as our friends at Progressive, Travelers Insurance, or Liberty Mutual. 

Robbins Insurance Group is a brokerage, and many of our clients wonder what that is like. Are there hidden fees? Do you pay more when using a broker? Are brokers more or less effective? 

 Read on to discover some key differences between brokers and captive carriers! 

Product options 

Captive- have one product option. If your insurance needs are not met by their type of coverage, you will have to find another company. 

Brokers- research different options between their providers and choose the insurance products that best fit you. 


Captive- Primarily serves the insurers, finding policies through the agency they are under contract with at a fixed commission rate. 

Brokers- primarily serve the client by finding policies through insurers, comparing the terms and conditions, and presenting their recommendation to the client. 


Captive- understands the policies they sell and can only offer those select policies from their insurer. 

Broker- completes more research between insurers on the client’s behalf to find the policy that best suits their needs. 

Price Increases 

Captive- can only lower your cost by lowering your coverage or raising your deductibles. 

Broker- can find different insurance companies whose cost may be lower at the time. 

Broker FAQs 

Is it more expensive to use an insurance broker? 

Both captive carriers and brokers receive a commission for providing an insurer with a client—on average, that rate is the same for both! 

Do insurance brokers have hidden fees? 

It takes time and effort to research policies and complete paperwork, so, on rare occasions, brokers do have service fees. We cannot speak for other agencies, but Robbins Insurance Group discloses 100% of your cost when we discuss your quote. We always seek to let you, the buyer, make an informed decision! 

Whether you are just starting your insurance journey or searching for a different insurance experience, Robbins Insurance Group takes pride in researching quotes from our stellar carriers. Tell us your needs,  and we will take care of getting you the quotes that offer the best coverage for you!