As a new insurance agent, getting a direct appointment with a quality carrier is quite difficult. But it’s also critical to your success.
Most insurance carriers want to work with agents who have—
- A track record of successful sales and marketing.
- A desirable marketing territory for their products.
- A solid business model.
In return for the appointment, insurance agents will request…
- A long-term commitment
- A guarantee of production.
Looks pretty simple, right? Why would a preferred insurance company invest in a place with low demand for its products in a poorly run agency? Moreover, why would you want to peddle policies that weren’t right for the businesses in your area?
This first requirement shows the problem. Some carriers want years of successful sales before an appointment is granted. Moreover, nearly all providers have minimum requirements for production, which is why new or small agencies are struggling to get direct appointments.
Even established independent agents struggle to achieve the large volume required by carriers. Quotas aside, the process of getting an appointment can take a month to complete. That’s a month you could have been selling insurance rather than waiting for access.
Getting Direct Appointment with Carriers as an Independent agent
Formulate a business plan
If you haven’t already, your first step should be to write out a detailed business plan. An agency with an up-to-date business plan including specific, measurable, and attainable goals is more likely to succeed. Carriers only want to work with successful businesses.
Start as a captive agent
Being a captive agent or an insurance agent who sells only the products of one insurer probably sounds like a terrible idea to someone whose main objective is to be independent. However, it can be a good way to:
- Make business connections.
- Learn the insurance industry.
- Build your book.
Most carriers allow their captive agents to buy their book of business after a certain amount of time. To make a real go at owning your own agency, you can combine this with your industry expertise and relationships.
Target Niche Market
Niche marketing can lead to higher that average profit margins, which can make your agency look more desirable to direct carriers. Look into other local agencies to see where there are gaps in your niche and be the best.
Join a Cluster
Insurance agency cluster is a coalition of multiple agents and brokers who have banded together to form an official association or a joint venture to support each other in terms of carrier access, benefits, and marketing opportunities. They are also known as Agency Network, Agency Group, or Agency Alliance. A cluster typically provides agents with access to otherwise inaccessible markets, niche programs, and even direct appointments.
Make sure you carefully review the contractual relationship with any cluster, especially when it comes to book ownership, commissions, revenue sharing, and fees. Agency Equity has a comprehensive list of IAC operating in each city.
-As a new insurance agent, getting a direct appointment with a quality carrier is quite difficult but also critical to your success
-Some carriers want years and years of successful sales before an appointment is granted
-Joining an agency cluster is your most lucrative bet if you’re a new agent and don’t want to remain as a captive to a single carrier.