An insurance agency, often referred to as an insurance brokerage or commercial agency, brokers, collects, writes and terminates policies through a variety of insurance providers. They are never directly employed by any single insurance company. Instead, they are independent agents who are hired by the insurance provider for a fee. They represent the interests of the insurance provider in the exchange for a fee. Insurance agents help sell policies and create a market for them and therefore their advice can be valuable to a buyer or agent. Have a look at Wilkinson Insurance.
Insurance agents receive their commission from the insurer or provider whose policies they broker. A good insurance agent will be able to find a suitable combination of coverage for the buyer and keep the buyer on a tight budget. Insurance agents work on commission only, so it is always in the best interest of the buyer to choose one with a low commission rate. Since agents get paid primarily from one insurer, they can charge any insurer they like as long as they know they can get a discount from that insurer if the buyer cancels the policy before the expiry date. This means that an agent may have to recommend two policies to a buyer and still be paid the same amount from two different insurers.
The insurance agency also has the responsibility to find the best possible coverage for their customers, which can often mean they are drawn into promoting the coverage of a particular carrier over another. In this case, even though an agent receives a fee for selling a policy, they are also recommending the carrier over another. Therefore, it is always wise to choose an insurance agency that you will want to work with, especially if you are considering buying a large amount of coverage. If the agency you use tries to pressure you into buying a cheap policy, it is probably best to keep looking.