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How is a life insurance agency different from a company?

A life insurance agency sells the product. A company makes the product. And understanding the capabilities of both can help you make an informed decision when buying a life insurance policy.

Have you ever asked yourself what exactly is a life insurance agency and what makes it different from a life insurance company? All the time, right?

Simply put, a life insurance agency is like a store. The agency sells the policy. The agency provides the service. The agency provides policyholders and customers with life insurance agents who can assist when you have questions about coverage options, need help, or want to discuss your policy or coverage.

A life insurance company is what makes the product—the insurance policy—that you buy in the store. Another term would be the insurer. Brass tacks, the insurance company is where your money goes when you buy the policy or insurance product, and where your money will come from when the policy pays out a death benefit. Your life insurance policy is written on that company’s paper (which is why it’s always important to familiarize yourself with the third-party ratings of any insurer you are considering applying for a policy with).

Now, some agencies (sometimes called brokerages) work with multiple companies, similar to how a boutique or department store might carry clothes from a range of brands. But other agencies are considered captive agencies, which means they exclusively work with one insurance company to sell a selection of insurance product options. If you are looking for a term life insurance policy, these agencies will be able to help.

For example, Haven Life is a captive agency that sells life insurance coverage (including term life insurance and short term disability insurance) issued by MassMutual or one of their subsidiaries. This is different from some other startups in the world of online life insurance, and it’s an important distinction. MassMutual has over 170 years of experience in the life insurance industry, an A++ rating from A.M. Best, and a long history of financial strength. One way to think of it: Haven Life has your back and MassMutual has theirs. Also, because they are smaller, agencies are often able to work with companies to help create innovation in the life insurance buying experience. We’re looking at you, Haven Life Plus…

An online agency like Haven Life can give you the best of both worlds. A self-directed option where you can apply anywhere, anytime and from any device? Check. The dependability that comes from purchasing a dependable policy? Check. Finding the right mix of agency and company can help you get coverage and financial protection in an easy, confident and reliable manner.

So that explains that. Now, if only someone would explain for once and for all whether a hot dog is considered a sandwich…

It’s not just easier life insurance, it’s an easier life.

Learn about the perks that come with being a Haven Term policyholder.

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About Louis Wilson

Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children.

Read more by Louis Wilson

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit:

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