There are many reasons that an agent would want to start their insurance agency. You might want a change of pace, you may have the entrepreneurial spirit, or it may be that your current position is being eliminated. No matter what brought you to this point – whether it’s a layoff or something else – starting your agency can be an extremely profitable and rewarding business decision.
You’ve decided to transition from insurance agent to independent agency owner. If this sounds like something you’d like to do as well, here are some things for you to consider before leaping:
The benefits of starting your insurance agency
When you start your insurance agency, you’ll have the freedom to run your business the way you see fit. You’ll be in complete control of your income, commissions, and the products that you offer. You’ll also have the ability to grow your agency at a pace that’s comfortable for you.
Working for yourself can be extremely rewarding both personally and financially. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re your boss and that you’re providing a valuable service to your community.
Things you’ll need to start your insurance agency
To start your insurance agency, you’ll need the following:
• A state insurance license
• A relationship with an insurance carrier
• Business and marketing skills
Obtaining a state insurance license
The first step in starting your insurance agency is to obtain a state insurance license. This can be a lengthy and complicated process, but fortunately, many resources are available to help you through it. You’ll need to complete an application, pass an exam, and meet certain financial requirements.
Also, you can’t sell life insurance unless you’re a licensed life insurance agent. You need to research and determine which license your business needs.
Finding an insurance carrier
Once you have your state license in hand, the next step is to find an insurance carrier. This can be a challenging task, as most carriers require a minimum amount of business volume before they’ll work with you.
Building a strong working relationship with your insurance carrier is key to your agency’s success. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
• Establish yourself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent. Be sure to learn as much as you can about your carrier’s products.
• Send regular sales reports and stay in touch with your carrier representative. Let them know about any new products or services that you’re offering.
• Cooperate with underwriting and claims departments. Work with them to ensure that all policies are written accurately, and claims are processed efficiently.
• Maintain good customer service standards. Respond quickly to inquiries, resolve complaints, and always put your clients’ needs first.
How to market your new business
There are many ways to market your new insurance agency. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Develop a marketing plan. This will help you to focus your marketing efforts and stay on track. If necessary, work with an agency that handles marketing ideas for insurance agents. They have professionals who can give you campaign plans.
- Utilize social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer a great way to reach potential clients.
- Advertise in local publications. Reach out to local newspapers, magazines, and websites to let people know about your new agency.
- Connect with potential clients offline. Attend community events, meetups, and networking events to talk with potential customers face-to-face.
Mistakes to avoid
You’ll want to avoid several mistakes when starting your insurance agency. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- Not having a marketing plan. If you don’t have a plan, you’ll lack focus and direction. This can lead to wasted time and money.
- If you don’t cooperate with underwriting and claims departments, it could lead to problems down the road.
- Not maintaining good customer service standards. This can cause customers to leave and may damage your reputation.
- Not staying up-to-date on industry changes. If you’re not aware of new products or services, you’ll be at a disadvantage when competing against other agents.
Qualities to look for in staff
If you’re hiring other agents, you’ll want to look for a few key qualities in them:
• People skills. They should build strong relationships with clients and handle all customer needs.
• Motivation. Your agents should drive to pursue new marketing ideas and improve their skills.
• Attention to detail. You’ll need your staff members to follow instructions precisely and be detail-oriented.
• Reliability. Every agent should be dependable, trustworthy, and reliable. Your clients will rely on them to provide service when needed.
Starting your insurance agency can be a daunting task, but you can make it a success with hard work and dedication. By obtaining the right license, finding an insurance carrier, and marketing your business effectively, you’ll be on your way to building a thriving agency.