San Diego’s Leading Auto, Home and Commercial Insurance Broker

“It’s better to have an Insurance Broker than an 800#”

With more than 29 years of experience and tens of thousands of policies sold and serviced, McCormick Insurance Solutions, owned by Wayne McCormick, CIC, stands out as San Diego’s leading insurance broker for auto, home, commercial and many other lines of insurance and surety bonds. We have access to many carriers including: Mercury, Travelers, Safeco, Kemper, CNA, CSE, Stillwater, and many others.

Our specialties include:

What is an insurance broker?

What is the main difference between an “insurance broker” vs. a “captive” agent or “direct writer” insurance company?

The main difference is that an insurance broker (also known as an independent agent) represents more than just one insurer, whereas, a captive agent typically only has one insurer that they can represent, like State Farm for example.

Captive agents are usually employees or independent contractors of direct writing insurers. Examples of direct writers are Liberty Mutual, Allstate, and Wawanesa.

The freedom and flexibility of brokers to represent more than one insurance carrier usually means they will get better pricing and coverage options simply because they aren’t restricted to just one carrier’s offerings. And if company “A” suddenly has poor rates or coverages, or is slow to pay claims, they can also replace the client’s policy with companies “B through Z”.

Oftentimes when a direct writing insurer makes a decision at the corporate level to change policies, coverages or rates in different states, their captive agents are stuck with that decision and don’t have a second option for their clients if it becomes necessary and they could lose clients as a result.

Over the years we have seen many major changes to insurance carrier’s rates and policy offerings, both with our own carriers and with direct writers. The beauty of our business model is that if one of our carriers decides to stop offering coverage for homeowners insurance in the state of California for example, we have other companies we can transition our clients too without losing our valued client.

This happened years ago with a major insurer in California and their agents for a time were left with no alternative for their clients which had a disastrous effect on their agents and their ability to place homeowner’s coverage. Many of their loyal clients had to leave their company which had a huge impact on their clients and agency force. The carrier later agreed to allow their agents to represent a specific handful of smaller homeowner carriers to help offset the loss of that business.

Do I pay an extra premium when using an insurance broker?

No! Insurance brokers are paid a commission percentage of the premium on the policy just like with direct writing insurers.

HOWEVER! There are instances when insurance brokers can charge a “broker’s fee” on top of the cost of the policy and it must be fully disclosed by law. See more about that below.

Why do insurance brokers sometimes charge a broker’s fee?

Charging broker fees is common and typically done on accounts where the client has a situation which may make finding them insurance a little more difficult or take more time to underwrite. That could be many things, but typically is has to do with prior claims, driving records issues, more “niche” type policies.

In some cases, these policies may cancel before going full term and this cancellation results in a commission “charge-back” to the broker where they have to give back a prorated percentage of their commission to the carrier. The additional broker’s fee, which is usually non-refundable, helps offset that cost.

Brokers have different relationships with their carriers too. Sometimes they are strictly a broker for that product and sometimes they act as agents. When a broker acts as an agent for certain insurance companies they don’t charge broker fees. An example of companies that we represent as agents are Mercury Insurance, Travelers Insurance, Safeco Insurance and many others.

Do insurance brokers have the choice of whether to charge a broker fee in situations where they are allowed to by law? Yes.

Do we charge broker fees? Not that often and when we do we disclose it in advance. And in all cases, whether there is a broker fee involved or not, our carriers rates are usually very competitive.

Are all insurance brokers the same?

Definitely not!!! Insurance brokers can vary dramatically, in size, specialties and reputation!

The beauty of insurance brokers is that their agency principal (owner) gets to decide what types of insurance products they want to offer and specialize in for their clients. Some brokers specialize in auto insurance. Some business insurance. Some life insurance. Some insure just high risk drivers.

Then, depending on the amount of experience they have and their reputation within the industry, they contract with the insurance companies that will best suit the needs of their potential clients. Their reputation is very important for many reasons. A good insurance broker has a much better chance of getting large, high quality insurance carriers to agree to let them represent them if they can trust that they will do a good job of underwriting and servicing their mutual policy holders.

Brokers who concentrate too much on making a sale then don’t provide good service to their existing clients will cause complaints and the large carriers don’t want that for their customers. It can be a poor reflection on them too and usually when a client complains to the department of insurance, it’s the carrier that gets the most scrutiny.

Brokers with great reputations and products do their clients and prospects a tremendous service while brokers who are all about making a quick buck will eventually only have smaller companies to represent; who like their broker counterparts, can be poorer quality and only care about getting policies at any cost.