Breaking the broker business model

I’m not a broker. I’ve never personally sold a single dollar’s worth of insurance to anyone unless you want to count a condom I sold to a buddy for two beers back in grad school. The broker/agent side of the business is one where I’m curious about how it works as the insurance agent selling policies is usually the most public facing side of the insurance universe. The broker/agent model is broken on the individual market.

The fundamental problem is how brokers get paid and who pays them. Brokers who work the individual market and the very small group market are paid by the insurance carriers. Their commission can be a flat fee per covered life per month, it can be a percentage of commission, it can be a combination of a head fee and a percentage. The actual payment structure varies. At the same time, a good broker should be seeking to find the best situation possible for the person who is looking for insurance. And this is where the problem lies.

A good agent will place people into insurance products that are very appropriate for them. We looked at this in March:
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Make it rain

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Saturday Evening Cartoons Open Thread: Sen. Warren Versus the WF Banksters


(Mike Luckovich via

For the record: Those people now wishcasting about how wonderful a presidential candidate Senator Warren would’ve been are making an error on the scale of predicting Michael Jordan would be as dominant a professional baseball player as he was on the basketball court. My senior Senator (may she be in office for many years to come) knows her skill set, and while that skill set would not seem to include running for national office, it very much involves publicly banging around white-collar financial criminals as a teaching lesson for all of us.

I think the nation’s political cartoonists were just overjoyed to have a topic that was not Donald Trump. How many ways can one graphically express the concept HE’LL STEAL EVERYTHING HE CAN PRY LOOSE BEFORE HE KILLS US ALL YOU OBLIVIOUS IDIOTS before succumbing to despair? But a robber baron named Stumpf fronting a company with a stagecoach-full-of-bullion logo, now…

Speaking of Mr. Stumpf: Does anyone know why he was wearing a massive bandage on his right hand/forearm? Were we supposed to believe the ungrateful underlings responsible for the ‘phantom accounts’ scheme had bitten the hand that fed them?


(Matt Davies via

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Open Thread: Trump’s Other Putin-Sponsored Adviser

Another Friday news dump. Michael Isikoff, at Yahoo News, “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin”:

U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.

The activities of Trump adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. After one of those briefings, Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and “high ranking sanctioned individuals” in Moscow over the summer as evidence of “significant and disturbing ties” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau…

Page is a former Merrill Lynch investment banker in Moscow who now runs a New York consulting firm, Global Energy Capital, located around the corner from Trump Tower, that specializes in oil and gas deals in Russia and other Central Asian countries. He declined repeated requests to comment for this story…
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Open Thread: Trump’s ABGs — Always Be Grifting

Dana Houle is a Democratic campaign professional, sitting this cycle out while he’s primary caregiver for his two-year-old twins. His twitter feed has been a great resource and a comfort to me, because he’s got the professional’s eye for the seams in Trump’s Potemkin village campaign.

Apart from always keeping in mind that Trump’s a con artist, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

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The best things in life are free

The second best are very expensive, like political campaigns.

We’re raising money faster than ever before. Let’s see if we can hit 20 today.

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Do I have to come right flat out and tell you everything?

Gimme some money.

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We raised over 13K in the last 36 hours.