Top 20 Questions for Starting an Independent Insurance Agency
We regularly hear from people who are interested in starting an independent insurance agency. These calls frequently come from other insurance agents who are just starting the process of investigating ‘how to go independent.’ We hear things like “Where can I buy an independent agency?”, “What carriers do you have?”, and “Who owns my Agency?” We are always glad to answer these questions by phone, from our website, or in person. While these questions are a great starting point, they barely scratch the surface when it comes to ‘what’s important for starting an independent agency.
When it comes to ‘what’s important,’ many people get misled by fast-talking sales reps who promise them the world only to find out the agent is left holding the bag when the rubber meets the road. So, rather than try to convince people why Affordable American Insurance is the right way to go independent, we thought we’d offer a list of questions to ask when considering options for opening an independent insurance agency.
In no particular order, here’s the top 20 questions you should ask before going independent:
1. After I sign the contract, how do you ensure I remain successful?
2. Outside of carrier provided training, what sort of training do you provide for your agents?
3. What companies can you write through?
4. If How do you help me with website and internet marketing?
5. I want to leave your group, how much does it cost me?
6. What other insurance products can I write with you?
7. Do you provide E&O coverage? If so what are my cost, limits, and deductible?
8. How do you guarantee commissions accounting is accurate and what do you do to manage?
9. How do you account for and pay profitability bonuses?
10. How do you account for and pay commissions overrides?
11. What rating software do you provide? How much does it cost?
12. What management system do you provide? How much does it cost?
13. What kind of technical support do you provide?
14. How long does it take for me to get ‘my own’ carrier codes?
15. What companies have you lost access to?
16. What percent of your agents ‘don’t make it?’ and what happens to their book?
17. What are my territory restrictions and costs for opening a second office?
18. How can I get direct access to ‘commercial lines companies?’
19. What do you offer in the way of travel, incentives, etc?
20. What have other agents negotiated that I don’t get with ‘my’ contract?
If you haven’t asked these questions yourself and are considering joining an independent agency group (cluster group or insurance aggregator), be sure to ask them. Don’t let the sales rep off the hook until you have a satisfactory answer.
We’d love the opportunity to answer these questions for you…. and more importantly, you don’t have to talk to a fast-talking sales rep. Please feel free to call ANY of our agents and ask THEM these questions.
If you think Affordable American Insurance might be the right place for you to start your independent insurance agency, feel free to call our Agency Development Coordinator, Stephanie Collins: 303-451-8100.