Curious about independent agency management? Although it is similar in some ways to what a captive agent would do to manage an agency, there are some differences that you should know...especially if you are a captive agent considering a change. In this blog, you will learn what captive agents transitioning to independent agent status should consider, the benefits of using an insurance agency management system, and hiring tips for independent agency managers.
What Captive Agents Transitioning to Independent Agents Should Consider
Insurance production is still the goal whether you are a captive agent or an independent agent. However, when you cross sell, there is a difference. As a captive agent, regardless of whether you're involved in commercial lines or personal lines, you can only sell insurance from the insurance company that you are associated with. So, whether you, your clients, or prospective clients like it or not, the price of the insurance product is the price of the insurance product. They either accept it, or they go somewhere else. You don't have the ability to shop around for them. If your client or prospective client doesn't want to shop around, maybe they buy the life insurance policy or other policy just because it is convenient or they like your service even if they don't like the price.
If you're an independent insurance agent, you can cross sell and offer insurance products from multiple insurance companies. You can provide multiple quotes to your clients and prospective clients so that they can choose the policy that fits their needs and their budget. They don't have to shop around. They feel like you've gone out of your way to help them. It's a win-win.
It will also be essential to consider that you will no longer have a household name behind you when it comes to marketing if you switch from being a captive agent to growing your own goodwill and reputation. Yet, you'll also have more decision-making power.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Insurance Agency Management System?
Around 90% of independent insurance agencies use an agency management system, according to independentagent.com. You can experience many benefits as an independent insurance agent who chooses to use an agency management system. Some of the benefits include:
- Acting as a central location for all of your client information and prospective client information. You can create and track emails, track policy information, and more. There's no need to keep physical copies of documentation. Because you can better track client and prospective client information, you're better prepared to sell insurance to prospective insurance and cross sell.
- It improves the workflow of your independent insurance agency. With all of your documentation, clients, prospective clients, vendor information, accounting information in one place, it's easier to access what you need and get more done. It's also easier to keep everything on track.
- The system automatically loads the policy information from insurance companies you work with. Whether you work with commercial lines or personal lines, you can download policy information and automate invoicing.
- Specific insurance agency management systems enable you to track claims. If you're looking to improve client satisfaction, choosing an insurance agency management system that provides claims tracking is the way to go. You can download information regarding your clients' claims status automatically.
- Improved ability to cross sell your insurance products. Although we briefly touched on this, insurance agency management systems can help you better cross sell to your clients. You're able to make better use of your book of business.
- Your independent insurance agency is more productive. Because you have a central tool, your agency has the ability to be more productive when it is properly implemented and used.
Hiring Tips for Independent Agency Managers
At some point, it may be time to hire. Hiring is crucial since, within the next 15 years, half of the insurance workforce will retire. This will open up over 400,000 positions, according to insurancejournal.com. Who will you hire for your independent insurance agency? You'll need to ask yourself:
- What do you need?
- What does your insurance license cover?
Do you need office help that qualifies as support-based help? Is this someone who acts as client support? Is this someone who will act as office support or as an office manager? Is this someone who isn't responsible for insurance production? If this is the case, then you likely are secured by your license, although you should ensure that you know the requirements in the states where you are licensed.
Then, of course, you must ensure that the person (or persons!) you want to hire for your independent insurance agency are a good fit. Do they have the experience you need from them? If they don't, are they able to learn and, more importantly, are they excited to learn and work with you?
Learning More About Independent Insurance Agency Management
There's a lot to learn about independent insurance agency management. Although captive agents have some support from their parent company, independent insurance agencies are on their own. The good news is that they don't have to be. SIAA is an alliance of independent insurance agencies that offers training, mentoring, and so much more!
For captive agents or anyone starting a new independent insurance agency, we offer a network of support for becoming the best independent insurance agent they are capable of becoming. Learn more about SIAA Resources or join now!