What Is an Insurance Carrier?

Definition & Examples of Insurance Carriers

Insurance agent going over paperwork with a couple

An insurance carrier is the company that provides your insurance coverage. It also employs your insurance agent, who handles all of your claims and may help set up your payments on behalf of your carrier.

Besides agents, an insurance carrier employs underwriters, customer service reps, claims adjusters, and more. You should know the name of your carrier and how to get in touch with them when you need to.

What Is an Insurance Carrier?

"Insurance carrier" is just another word for your insurance company. Although you most often speak with your agent, it's your carrier that underwrites your policy and issues payments for your claims. You may love your agent, but what if you need to file a claim? In that case, your carrier's customer service and financial resources will matter most.

  • Alternate name: Insurance company or insurance provider

Important

If your carrier goes under, your policy is worth nothing. Be sure you choose a company with a strong history and reputation.

How an Insurance Carrier Works

An insurance carrier may have one or more central offices for handling claims. Agents will often work in smaller offices in places where the carrier offers coverage.

After you choose your coverage options with your agent, they will send your policy to your carrier for underwriting. Then, they will help set up your premium payments. When the time comes to file a claim, in most cases, you'll contact your agent. Then, they will coordinate any follow-up that you need to make with claims adjusters.

Where to Find Information

If you bought your policy yourself, or it's through a large national company, you might know the name of the company from catchy jingles and TV commercials. But even if you bought a policy from a smaller company, it’s vital to know the name of your carrier.

For instance, let's say you set up insurance through an independent agent and you don’t have their direct contact info handy. Tou can speed up a claim if you know your carrier off the top of your head. It is also helpful when you need to contact your carrier’s customer service center.

You can find your carrier's info in a few places:

  • Dec page: The papers you receive from the company that gives all the details of your coverage, limits, and everything else about your policy.
  • Proof of insurance: The cards your carrier mails to you that you show to confirm you're covered.
  • Call your agent: Your agent will, of course, be able to provide any info you need about your carrier.

Insurance Carrier vs. Provider

You may also hear the term "insurance provider" used. "Insurance carrier" and "insurance provider" are interchangeable; there is no difference between them. Both terms describe the company that's behind your policy.

How Can You Learn About Your Carrier?

You should certainly know the name of the company you bought an insurance policy from. But you should also know more about it than just its name. Do your research about its reputation; look into its financial backing as well.

Read through both the good and bad reviews. What comments occur the most? Recurring issues are more noteworthy than random rants from a single user.

Tip

Each insurance carrier should issue annual reports that provide detailed information about its financial situation. Look up these reports to make sure the company is financially healthy and able to handle claims.

Financial backing may not be something that's top of mind for you. But this is very important. A poor rating might mean your claim doesn't get paid. That's clearly not a good situation with an insurance policy.

There are five independent rating agencies; each has its own rating system. These rating agencies are:

1. AM Best
2. Fitch
3. Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA)
4. Moody's
5. Standard & Poor's

Compare the ratings from multiple agencies in order to get a good idea of a carrier's financial status.

Check your carrier's rating to ensure you are properly protected.

Key Takeaways

  • An insurance carrier is the company that provides your insurance coverage.
  • You can find your insurance carrier's information on your dec page, insurance cards, or by calling your agent.
  • You should research carrier's reputation and financial health before you sign up for a policy.