Getting Started with Independent Insurance Carriers: 5 Tips
Your success as an independent insurance agency depends on your ability to secure business with independent insurance carriers. Whether you’re interested in providing insurance options for commercial lines or property and casualty needs, getting started with independent insurance carriers is crucial to your success.
In this blog post, we’re providing you with five tips. You’ll learn more about:
- How to know which insurance programs are best for you
- Know what property and casualty insurance companies want in independent insurance agencies
- Understand more about how a carrier agreement works
- Whether local independent agents can negotiate a carrier agreement
- What to do if you can’t get signed with the independent insurance carrier you want
Let’s get started!
Know Which Insurance Programs Are Best for You
First, consider the license or licenses you hold. That will impact your insurance options for your independent agency. Of course, if you’re interested in a specific insurance program that you’re not licensed for, you can always do what is required to receive that license.
Second, consider the needs of the community you serve. For example, do you live in a community that needs flood insurance as part of their property and casualty needs? Is there a more significant need for commercial lines?
Third, consider your interests. Which insurance groups interest you? It is undoubtedly important to sell the products that the market needs, but it is equally important to sell the insurance options that you are passionate about!
Know What Property and Casualty Insurance Companies Want in Independent Insurance Agencies
What do property and casualty insurance companies want in independent insurance agencies? Property and casualty insurance companies don’t choose just any independent insurance agency for their insurance products. They look for certain qualities that highlight whether a local independent agency is truly ready to do business. These qualities include:
- A marketing plan that explains how you plan to present their insurance options to your prospective and active clients
- A detailed business plan that includes how you know this particular property and casualty company and its insurance options can serve your prospective and actual clients and research regarding your target market
- Your sales background
- Your management and leadership background
Understand How a Carrier Agreement Works
When independent insurance agents work with an insurance company, such as Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, they enter into a carrier agreement. The carrier agreement explains the obligations and rights of the insurance company and the local independent insurance agent.
It is crucial to read and understand the carrier agreement before you sign it. Blog posts cannot and do not (and should not!) provide legal advice. Make sure that you understand how the commission schedule works. You should know whether there is a premium quota.
Understand the carrier agreement and know what it takes to remain in compliance with the insurance company. This is essential because if you’re appointed by the largest property and casualty insurance company in the nation, and that happens to be where most of your new business comes from, you certainly don’t want something to happen that causes you to lose your appointment.
Can Local Independent Agents Negotiate a Carrier Agreement?
Generally, no, local independent agents cannot negotiate a carrier agreement. However, the beauty of being an independent insurance agent is that you can sign multiple carrier agreements. You can provide several insurance options for your clients to choose from. Not only can you offer more options, but you also can improve your income!
What to Do If You Can’t Get Signed with the Independent Insurance Carrier You Want
If you can’t get signed with the independent insurance carrier you want, there are a couple of things that you should consider. First, review the reason why you were unable to be signed by the insurance carrier. If it is something that you can fix and get approved, consider doing so.
Second, keep in mind that not being signed by one insurance company isn’t the end of the world. As a local independent agent, you have more choices regardless of whether you plan to market commercial lines or personal lines. Find other insurance groups that fit the bill.
Get the Support You Need: Consider Join a Network of Independent Insurance Agencies
It’s not always easy being a local independent agent. You don’t have the support of a parent company for training. The good news is that there is a network of independent insurance agencies (and agents) out there for training, mentoring, and more! Learn more about SIAA and our great benefits, including carrier access, by clicking here.