What is a Wholesale Agent or Wholesale Broker?
A wholesale Broker is a type of insurance broker who acts as an intermediary between a retail broker and an insurer, while having no contact with the insured. Wholesale agents place business brought to them by retail agents. Unlike a retail broker, wholesale brokers have direct contact with the insurer, whereas the retail agent who produced the business does not. The same broker can function as a retailer or wholesaler, depending on the specific situation.
Wholesale brokers often possess specialized expertise in a particular line of coverage or in a line of coverage that is unusual and/or have greater access to or influence with certain insurance markets, which is especially valuable when dealing with a difficult-to-place risk.
There are two types of wholesale brokers: managing general agents and surplus lines brokers. The latter work with the retail agent and the insurer to obtain coverage for the insured; but unlike a managing general agent, a surplus lines broker does not have binding authority from the insurer.