Tips for independent insurance agents
The two most important relationships that an independent agent needs to foster are with the clients, as well as with the insurance carriers you represent. The carrier-agent relationship is often neglected or overlooked when agents go from captive to independent.
Agent-carrier relationship based on trust and respect
Building a client base is important, but if you don’t have good relationships with the different insurance carriers and companies, then you might soon be out of a product to sell to your clients. You are the middleman between a person and the insurance company. And, whereas, your loyalties tend to lean towards the client, helping them find the best insurance possible, you still need to build a relationship with people who are working for the insurance company.
Your relationship should be based on mutual respect and trust. The carrier company needs to trust you to sell their insurance, and in turn, they will provide you with competitive pricing and products. You also need to be in line with each carrier’s philosophy, making sure that they trust you to make decisions about a person’s insurance that is consistent with their product. Each contract that you have with each carrier is different, so be sure that you understand the different nuances of each company. Don’t take on more than you can handle. If you misrepresent or don’t conform to their requirements, then they may not want you to sell their product.
The more insight you have into the underwriting practices of each carrier – how they determine the risk of a person and what their premiums will be – the easier it will be to sell to your clients and build a loyal following. If you don’t have enough information to sell insurance to a client and you have to keep calling your contact and asking questions, then both the carrier and your client is going to be frustrated by your lack of knowledge about their policy options and their risk assessment, and you clients may lose faith and think you don’t know your business.
Get the right training from each insurance carrier
On the other hand, you need to encourage each carrier to give you proper training – they will, it’s in their best interest, too – so that you can better serve as the middleman between the carrier and your client.
So, don’t neglect your carrier-client professional relationship when you are working to grow your independent agency.