An insurance agent is similar to a broker. This may refer to an employee of an insurance company who can sell insurance (in the case of a direct writer), or it may refer an independant intermediary who has a contract with the insurance company to act as it's agent. The best example of the latter is Cooperators. The agents are independantly owned companies who have an exclusive (or nearly exclusive) contract with the Cooperators insurance company. In the case of Cooperators, the agents also operate under the name Cooperators, though technically they are a separate legal entity.