Definition - What does Independent Agent mean?
An independent agent is an insurance professional who can sell insurance products from different insurance companies, unlike a captive agent who can only represent one company alone. The distinction ends there though, as both are state-licensed to sell insurance products, and most earn money from commissions from the insurers they work with.
Insuranceopedia explains Independent Agent
Instead of going directly to a company and buying an insurance product, a lot of people get an agent instead. For one, it is rare that the client gets to pay the agent a fee for services because the former earns an income from commissions from products or policies sold. Also, the law requires agents to offer client the best policy and thoroughly inform them about a policy's coverage before the client starts paying for it. Failure to do so can lead to the loss of the agent's license.
The benefit of choosing an independent agent over a captive agent is the number of options the independent agent can show a client as said agent is not exclusively selling products from one company. They can, for instance, let a person choose from various home insurance policies offered by different insurers. The captive agent, on the other hand, can only present products from one company that best suits a client's needs or specifications.