A brokerage general agent (BGA) is an independent firm or contractor working for an insurance company. The primary role of a BGA is to sell one or more insurance products to select insurance brokers, who then sell the policies to their clients. BGAs can specialize in one segment of the insurance industry or sell policies across a wide range of insurance companies. In addition to selling policies, many BGAs provide a wide variety of supportive services for individual brokers, such as taking online applications, tracking cases, providing immediate policy quotes, and answering underwriting-requirement questions. BGAs can also provide support for issues that come up over the course of doing business with a client. They often have contacts who are experts in specific types of insurance coverage who they can refer to an independent agent in order to fill any gaps in their knowledge.
BGAs also operate as insurance wholesalers with the authority to accept and place applications from, and possibly appoint, independent agents on behalf of an insurance carrier. They usually provide underwriting and administrative services on behalf of the insurers they represent. Typically, a BGA can market coverage and services that require specialized knowledge in order to underwrite. They benefit both agents and insurers because such expertise is difficult to find, and it would be more costly to develop the relevant aptitude in-house
Independent agents collaborate closely with brokerage general agents. A full-service brokerage general agency can basically function as the complete back office of an independent insurance agent, with their support limited only by an agent’s decision to use them to their potential.