How to start your own independent insurance agency

In this article, we’ve laid out resources you can use to set your business up the right way from the beginning to protect yourself and save time and money.

Starting an independent agency

Starting an Independent Agency 101

Non-compete agreements

Most producer agreements have some type of non-compete clause in them. These typically are in effect for one year from your date of termination or separation. The carrier or agency wants to keep you from taking your customers and policies away from them. The agreement may also impose restrictions on competing in the same business within a specific geographical area.

Independent insurance carriers and agency networks do not want to be brought into a legal situation, and often have language in their agreements that allow them to separate from you if you violate a prior non-compete agreement. Find an attorney knowledgeable in contract law to advise you about anything you don’t fully understand.

First, it is important to fully understand your current contractual agreement so you don’t end up violating any of its terms. Breaking your prior agreement is a sure-fire way of derailing the exciting and memorable experience of starting your own business. While many agents have been told that non- compete agreements are not enforceable, in truth, carefully prepared and constructed non-compete agreements are enforceable in most jurisdictions.

Leaving on Good Terms

It is always best to leave your current employment on good terms. Remember, you may be writing for many of the same carriers with your new agency. You don’t want the owner of the agency at your prior employment saying bad things about you to the carriers. They will be reluctant to appoint you if they think it may damage their relationship with the current agency owner. The same holds true with the carriers you represented at your previous agency. If you were a problem at your current agency, the carriers certainly will not be interested in working with you again.

Release Letter from Current Agency

If your agreement allows you to take your business with you when you leave, be sure to get a release letter from your current agency authorizing you to move your business. It should either state you can move specified sub-codes or include a list of your policies. If you have your own sub-codes, be sure to obtain production and experience reports for your business. Carriers and networks will not allow you to move this business to them without these reports.

Production and Experience Reports

Captive agents often make the mistake of leaving their carrier without production and experience reports. These reports show how much premium you have written by line of insurance, and more importantly, they show your loss ratio. Remember, carriers and networks can’t evaluate your past performance without these reports and leaving without them can cause delays.

Establishing a Legal Business for your Agency

You may be able to establish a business entity yourself without much difficulty, but we recommend you seek the advice of your attorney and accountant about which business entity is right for you. LegalZoom and Swyft Filings are two great legal resources for small businesses.

Step 1: Establish a legal entity

Many agents start out as “sole-proprietors” because it’s the low-cost option and it saves time. They may operate the agency under a DBA name (doing business as), but this type of entity has no legal status apart from the individual. The agency owner will be personally responsible and liable for all that goes on within the business, regardless of the name they are operating as.

If you plan to form a “partnership” with another agent, be certain there is a written agreement between the partners. A partnership does not remove the liability from each partner personally.

Fortunately, there are two much better options that are easy to set up and will establish a legal entity separating the liability from its owners.

“S” corporation An S Corporation keeps liability away from its individual owners and passes profit and losses through to its stockholders. There can be one or multiple stockholders.
LLC (Limited Liability Company) An LLC can have one or multiple owners. This is more popular among accountants because it offers the flexibility to pass profit and losses to its owners. It also keeps the liability away from its owners.

Your Secretary of State’s business website can provide some valuable information and allow you to check the availability of business names you want to use.

Once formed, it becomes the legal entity, and everything related to the business should be in its name, including your E&O, office lease, utilities, credit cards, company cars, etc.

Step 2: Obtain a separate insurance license for the agency

This can be done online in fifteen minutes with the National Insurance Producer Registry.

Step 3: Get an E&O Insurance

Every independent agency owner must purchase E&O insurance to protect themselves from claims made by clients or insurance carriers for inadequate work or negligent actions. It is important to remember that you don’t have to do anything wrong to get sued, therefore, you want a policy that offers first dollar protection for legal defense.

TIP for Agencies:

All E&O policies are not built the same. Cheap policies typically do not include first dollar legal defense. That means you must meet your deductible before the insurer will pick up this expense. The most common deductible for an E&O policy is $5,000. That’s a lot of money to have to put out if a suit is brought against your agency, especially when you haven’t even done anything wrong. In addition, these online policies are often pre-packaged “one size fits all”, and do not allow for any changes or offer an option to buy-back certain coverages. Sometimes they don’t even offer a refund if you want to cancel.

Step 4: Establish an Agency office

There are typically three types of business locations agencies consider for their office; a retail storefront, an office building or park, and a virtual office space.

Physical Location

RETAIL STOREFRONT Many captive agents operate their agency from a retail storefront. It’s much more prevalent on the captive side than the independent side, probably due to the captive carrier’s name recognition and its ability to drive traffic to their store. The cost of retail space is often higher than other locations, so as a business owner you want to be certain that the increased cost will generate enough new business to justify it.

There are many ways to help the public recognize your storefront as an independent insurance agency. Carriers offer outdoor signs, indoor electric window signs, and window decals, to give your agency name recognition from nationally recognized insurance company brands. Some carriers will offer to co-op the outdoor sign. In addition, carriers offer wall plaques, posters, and marketing brochures for the interior of the location.

OFFICE BUILDING An office building is usually less expensive than a storefront location and offers other advantages such as a smaller efficient space, professional appearance, and ample parking. Agents that operate from an office building focus on direct marketing and building a referral network to drive new business.
VIRTUAL OFFICE A virtual office offers a lot of optional amenities, such as a fully furnished office, multiple locations, phone reception, conference room, mail handling, administrative support, communal kitchen, office cleaning, and building security. An important thing to know is that many insurance carriers will not appoint an agency operating from a virtual office if the agent is not working from the location full-time.

Commercial Lease

There are two types of commercial leases that you are likely to encounter.

Gross Lease The first is a “gross lease”, meaning you pay rent and the landlord pays for repairs, common area maintenance, and taxes.
Triple-Net Lease You pay rent, as well as an estimated portion of taxes and common area maintenance or CAM (Common Area Maintenance). Taxes and CAM can vary from year to year and an adjustment is made to your rent each year based on the actual expenses incurred.

Step 5: Figure out the Agency Economics

Premium Fund Trust Account

Many states require insurance agency owners to maintain a separate bank account for premiums and return premiums to keep clients’ premiums completely separated from the agency’s business operating funds. Make sure to check your state department of insurance regulations regarding the specific requirements for your state.

It is critical to maintain detailed record keeping of each transaction in the event you are ever audited. Some states require that you save those records for 7 years or more – so make sure to read your state’s guidelines. Be sure to also look for your state’s requirements regarding service fees as many states require you to keep proper documentation and signatures for service fees collected as well.

Tip:

The ideal way to set up the account is to have the words “Premium Fund Trust Account” listed on the bank account so that it is clearly identified on the account itself and on your physical checks. In most cases, the account cannot be an interest-bearing account so be careful not to set it up as a money market or savings account which earns interest. You’ll want to look for an interest-free checking account with “no monthly maintenance fee” and “no transaction fees”. Keep in mind that if your bank ever does deduct any type of fees from the account, you will need to immediately reimburse the account to keep the account “in trust”. If your agency grows to the point where you are depositing several premium checks each week, you may want to see if your bank offers a remote deposit option to save you time driving to the bank.

Agency Loans

Whether you’re in need of working capital for your agency or to purchase a book of business, there are a handful of financial institutions that specialize in working with insurance agencies. Here are some organizations that can help with an Acquisition Loan, Refinancing Existing Debt or Working Capital:

Types of Loan
Capital Resources Insurance Agency Acquisition Loan

Refinance Existing Insurance Agency Debt

Working Capital

Crestmark
Merger & Acquisition Services Mergers & Acquisitions

Agency Transactions

Agency Financing

Insurance Transactions

Capital Raise

Strategic Advisory

Valuation Services

Program Business

Renewal Rights

Fronting

Oak Street Funding
Springtree Group, LLC Mergers & Acquisitions
Midwest Business Capital
Live Oak Bank Mergers & Acquisition Funding

Perpetuation Funding

Consolidation & Refinancing of Existing Loans

Working Capital

Real Estate & Construction

Commission Processing Vendors

If you are planning on running an agency with multiple producers there are quite a few vendors with software that can help automate a lot of the process and save you many hours, if not days, each month doing manual calculations. Q Commission, Core Commissions

AGENCY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

When utilized properly, the agency management system is the engine that runs your agency. It will maintain a database of your customers and policies, manage your leads and marketing campaigns, track X-dates, integrate with fillable ACORD forms, integrate with your comparative rater and much more. Choosing the right management system for your agency is a big decision and there are several things that you should consider.

It’s important that you find a system that is intuitive and that is going to be easy to use for you and your staff. It’s also wise to choose a system that’s been proven and has been around for several years. There are always newer systems coming out that have all the bells and whistles but may not have some of the basics nailed down like policy downloads and comparative rater integration.

Make sure to schedule a demo of any management system that you are considering to get a feel for what it’s going to be like to actually use it. It’s good to have a list of questions prepared for each demo and we’ve compiled a list to help you get started:

  • How can I import my existing prospects/leads/data?
  • What kind of marketing features do you offer? Do you have pre-existing templates that I can use for emails/letters, etc.?
  • What type of reporting capabilities are available?
  • Do you offer any accounting features or do you integrate with QuickBooks or any other accounting software?
  • Do you download policies with all of my carriers? How do policy downloads work? Do you provide assistance in helping me get my downloads set up? What information do you need from me to help facilitate that process?
  • Does the system have ACORD forms built in to it?
  • What type of customer support do you offer? What type of initial and ongoing training is available? Do you have a video library on different training topics if I get lost?
  • Which comparative raters do you integrate with? How does that work? If I have a consumer quoting portal on my website with my comparative rater, will it pull the data into the management system automatically?
  • How can I export my data in the future if I ever decide to change systems? What is the cost for that and what type of data can be exported? (When you are moving from one system to another, most will prefer the data be in a .CSV format – is that available?)
  • What is the initial setup fee? How much is it to add additional users in the future? How much does it cost for policy downloads? Are there any other costs?
  • What is the term of the contract? Does it renew on an annual basis or month to month?
  • Do you offer a trial period so I can test it out?

TIP FOR SCRATCH AGENCIES:

AMS can be a significant monthly expense for a startup agency. While the sales rep for any system will tell you that it’s important to get the system now so that you can learn how to use it before you open your agency, we would recommend that you start writing some business and get some cash flow coming in before committing to this monthly expense. As a bootstrap agency, you can manage a handful of customers without a management system until you really need it. There are a few systems that we recommend you look at:

  1. TechCanary has one main advantage over its competitors – it is completely built on the Salesforce platform which makes it highly customizable. It can also integrate seamlessly with a large library of applications built on Salesforce.
  2. Vertafore has two AMS system: QQ Catalyst and AMS360.
    1. QQ Catalyst is a lower cost option which is very simple to use and has all the basics that you need. It has an open-API, so is customizable for specific roles within your organization.
    2. AMS360 is built for bigger business and has fully integrated accounting and general ledger system integrated into it. It also has better integration of applications built on the Vertafore system.

EZLynx is at the higher end of the pricing spectrum which has the latest technology and all the features that an agency could ask for.

Agency Operations

Accounting Software

If you’re still in the planning stages of your agency, one of the first decisions you’re going to have to make is how you’re going to keep track of your agency’s financials. One of the most popular and affordable online solutions is QuickBooks. It’s very easy to use and certainly a software that your accountant will be familiar with when it comes time for tax preparation.

When you start shopping for an agency management system, some of them offer an accounting feature which is very helpful to keep everything in one place. But keep in mind that some agency management systems also integrate with QuickBooks or other accounting apps – so make sure to ask about that when you’re going through the demos of the management systems.

HR Software

There are many tools that will allow you to outsource HR services as a small business. Companies like JustWorks, Zenefits, and TriNet has made this process much easier and.

Justworks has a handy comparison tool that allows you to compare services across multiple HR outsourcing services.

Password Manager

If you haven’t already run into this, you’ll quickly learn that managing of all your passwords as an independent agency can get out of control. Everything involved in the business has a login and password – from all the carrier websites and management systems and raters to your vendor providers for internet, phones, utilities, payroll, licensing, taxes, you name it – there’s a login to keep track of!

The Importance of Proper Grammar

Having excellent writing skills is becoming more and more important in the way we communicate with our customers and is a key component to being a top producer. As an insurance agent, the way you write can leave a good or bad first impression with a customer or even an insurance carrier representative. The good news is that it’s very easy to improve your writing skills in today’s world. There are some great books and even software that can help you with your grammar.

If you struggle at all with grammar, we recommend installing a program called Grammarly on your computer. It integrates with Microsoft Word and Outlook to help you double-check your writing before you send anything out – such as emails or social media posts.

Agency Branding

Agency Website

Creating a website doesn’t need to be complicated. You can easily hire a web developer online to build one for you. If you are technically inclined, then you can try building a website yourself using sites like Leadpages, Lander App, and InstaPage.

Logo Design

If you’re in need of a logo for your agency, you can use sites like 99Designs and Dribble to find freelance logo designers who can cater to your need. You can decide on how much you want to spend and look for a designer who fits your budget.

Business Card & Email Signature Design

If you’re looking for a beautiful email signature that includes your photo, logo and clickable social links, Fiverr is a great option which offers a wide variety of graphics and design solutions for as low as $5. There are tons of other services available including business card design if that’s something you’re in need of.

How to influence a carrier’s decision to do business with you?

There are a lot of things to be aware of as you prepare to go through this process and there is definitely a right way to go about it and many pitfalls that you’ll need to avoid along the way.

In this section, we’ve outlined 7 factors that play a key role in the carrier’s decision to appoint or decline your agency. Just by being aware of the process and what it entails ahead of time will be of benefit to you but if you truly follow the advice provided here you will stand out from the crowd and give yourself the very best opportunity to get approved with each carrier that you apply for.

  1. Experience Reports
  2. Resume
  3. Business Plan
  4. Background Check
  5. E&O Insurance
  6. Insurance License
  7. Fully completed paperwork

ONE: EXPERIENCE REPORTS

Experience reports provide a summary of your history with each carrier. Carrier representatives want to see your track record for growth, retention and profitability across all lines of business. Some experience reports will reveal things such as the quality and total of your submissions and carrier decision makers will evaluate how that would potentially align with their appetite. Even details like the specific discounts you’ve applied and the percentage of your use of discounts appear on some reports and will be reviewed by each carrier you are applying to so they can check for abuse or missed opportunities.

Many carriers make these experience reports available online and post updated reports on a monthly basis. Typically, you’ll find them on the carrier’s website under the Administration or Management section of the site. If the carrier doesn’t provide them online, you can request your experience report from the carrier’s local marketing rep. It’s extremely important that you obtain your experience report before you leave the carrier to change careers.

Some insights into what the carriers are looking for:

Growth Profitability Retention
Carriers are always looking for growth and they expect it when an agency receives a direct appointment. Carriers know that an agency that consistently writes business within its target appetite will almost certainly have a history of profitability. Carriers are constantly working to improve their retention rate by improving customer service, incentivizing agents and trying to stabilize their rate increases.
Their expectation is that you continue to write business with them to make up for lost business (retention) and grow at least 5% above that each year. Your carriers will be very happy with your agency if you are growing at a rate of more than 20% year over year. Most carriers consider a loss ratio of less than 55% to be profitable and many independent carriers will offer profit sharing bonuses to incentivize agents to write business that is within their target appetite. The average retention rate between carriers can range anywhere from 80% – 90%. Carriers will be happy if you maintain a retention rate above 80%.

Tip

It is a good idea to get in the habit of reviewing and saving your monthly experience reports in a folder on your computer or in a binder organized alphabetically by carrier. If you are constantly monitoring your growth, retention and profitability, you can be quick to make necessary adjustments when needed to maintain a good relationship with your carriers. You can be sure that the carriers will reach out to you when there are areas of concern so it’s always good to be on top of it ahead of time so they know you’re working on it.

Make sure to have a copy of your most recent experience report readily available to submit with your direct appointment paperwork. If you’re an existing independent agent, you’ll want reports for your top 3 carriers.

TWO: RESUME

A resume is very important when a carrier is first getting to know you. The key is to keep it simple and limit it to 1 page.

Incorporate these details in your resume:

  • Cover Letter
  • Heading with your full contact information – Contact number, Work email, Work address
  • Work History
    • Insurance Work History
    • Business Ownership History
    • Management History
  • Education
  • Certifications
  • Skills
  • Awards: Sales-related Awards

THREE: BUSINESS PLAN

Most carriers are going to require that you submit a business plan with your application for a direct appointment – so it’s a good idea to start putting it together ahead of time. Okay, so we’ve all heard of business plans and you may be thinking, “Oh no, this is going to take me forever to prepare!” – and if you’re like most agents we talk to, you’re thinking “All I want to do is to start writing business!” Does that sound about right?

Don’t worry – we recommend keeping it as simple as possible and limiting your business plan to just 1 page. Carriers don’t want to see what your town’s population is and what all the demographics are – they already know that information. Most carriers also know how competitive they are in your area and they have more statistics than you’ll ever be able to pull up and find online. Keep in mind that carriers don’t want to know what you plan to do 10 years from now either. Instead, we recommend that you keep the focus on the next 60 days in detail and your general plans for the first year.

Be mindful that most carriers aren’t asking for you to give them an unrealistic production commitment either – so you want to keep it honest. They realize that you are an independent agent and you have other mouths to feed.

Each carrier is a little different but most will be looking for 100k in premium for the first year. Most carriers’ profit sharing levels start at 250k and they expect that you will be at that level in 3 years. For comparison purposes, production expectations for a direct sub-code appointment for IPA affiliated agencies is typically only 30 – 50k per year and profit sharing begins at 50k in premium.

A common mistake that we see is that agents send out a generic business plan to every carrier that they apply for. From experience, we can tell you that the best way to do it is to always check the carrier’s website to see what their appetite is before applying to them. Your plan should be focused on the carrier’s target appetite. Nothing will turn off a carrier more than an agent that doesn’t even know what they write.

Incorporate these details in your 1-page business plan:

  1. How are you going to make the phone ring?
  2. What marketing strategies will you be implementing and how?
  3. Who is your target customer?
  4. How many quotes per day will you be doing?
  5. What is your monthly marketing budget?
  6. How will you be reaching out to your customers to provide valuable content?
  7. How much production can you commit to for that specific carrier?

FOUR: BACKGROUND CHECK

When you submit your application for a direct appointment, most carriers will run a background check on you as part of their standard process. We know that this can cause some anxiety for agents for a variety of reasons, so we’re going to give you some insight into what goes on behind the scenes so that you will be prepared for what to expect going into it:

Step 1: Credit Check

First, carriers will run a credit check. Any accounts past due, in a collection or written off will create a concern that may require a written explanation and could lead to a declination. A recent bankruptcy will result in a declination with many carriers. However, a bankruptcy that occurred three or more years ago with no current credit issues has a much higher chance of approval. Unpaid bills are a cause for concern, and every effort should be made to clear up any unpaid bills before applying to a carrier for a direct appointment.

Step 2: Criminal Background Check

Carriers also run a criminal background check and the most recent three-year period is what they are most concerned with. A DUI within the past three years could lead to a declination. If there is anything at all that could come up as a red flag, it is important to include a written explanation with your initial application paperwork. It should be an honest explanation of what caused the problem and what is being done to correct it. Incidents that occurred long ago rarely cause any issues unless they were very serious in nature. It is important to reiterate the importance of including a written explanation with the original application because, in most cases, it’s too late to send in an explanation after the carrier has declined you for something that was red-flagged.

Step 3: Producer Database Report

Finally, carriers will obtain a Producer Database Report which provides the status of your license and a history of which carriers you are currently appointed with or have been appointed within the past, and if there have been terminations for cause.

FIVE: ERRORS & OMISSIONS INSURANCE

Make sure to have a copy of your E&O declarations page readily available to be included with your direct appointment application paperwork. Most carriers require a minimum of $1,000,000 in coverage.

Coverage purchased while working for a “captive carrier” does not extend to your business as an independent agent. These policies are purchased as a member of a group, and the certificate of insurance states in the remarks section that the coverage ceases immediately upon termination of your contractual agreement with the captive carrier. You should notify the E&O carrier of your termination date and request a refund of the unused portion of the premium.

E&O policies are “claims made” policies, which means you need to have a policy in place when the claim is made. If you won’t be starting your independent agency until sometime after the termination of your E&O coverage, you should purchase Extended Reporting Coverage, often referred to as “Tail Coverage”. It allows you to cover E&O risks for claims that may arise down the road for professional services provided prior to the expiration date of the policy. This coverage should also be considered when you buy, sell, retire or cease your agency operations.

This brings up a very important point that is often overlooked regarding the “retroactive date”. This provision eliminates coverage for claims produced for wrongful acts that took place prior to a specified date, even if the claim is first made during the policy period. For example, if you purchase a policy with an effective date of January 1, wrongful acts that took place prior to that date would not be covered, unless you purchase coverage for “Full Prior Acts.” Agents often overlook this on the E&O application or simply don’t understand what it means. Be sure to request “Full Prior Acts.”

SIX: ACTIVE INSURANCE LICENSES

Every carrier is going to require that you include copies of all resident and non-resident producer licenses within the agency. If you are set up as a corporation, you will also be required to submit your resident and non-resident agency licenses. You can go to the National Insurance Producer Registry at www.nipr.com to apply for resident and non-resident producer and agency licenses, make changes and print copies of licenses.

You can apply for direct carrier appointments as long as you have a resident property and casualty license. You can add additional states or lines of authority at any time in the future. Once you are appointed with a carrier, they will check your license electronically and if they receive an indication that your license has lapsed or is no longer active, they may send out a termination notice or require that you send a copy of an active license by a certain deadline. Make sure that you are maintaining all of your agency’s active licenses to avoid causing delays, extra paperwork, and startling termination notices.

SEVEN: CARRIER APPOINTMENT PAPERWORK

For whatever reason, many agents seem to struggle when it finally comes time to completing the application and putting it all together in an organized and professional presentation for the carrier representatives who will be making the decision on whether to appoint the agency or not. Even though it may seem like a lot of paperwork and that some sections aren’t as important as others, it is critical that you take your time and do it right and that you don’t miss any steps. We have seen many appointments be declined because the agent didn’t take the carrier paperwork seriously and made a bad first impression. We’re going to reveal many of the “do’s and don’ts” with the actual appointment paperwork so that you can give yourself the best opportunity for the outcome we all hope to hear at the end of this process – “APPROVED!”

Tip #1: When you are submitting all of the required documentation and paperwork, it is important that you send it all together at one time and ensure that it is very neat and organized. Sloppiness in appointment paperwork is a sign of sloppiness in field underwriting and agency procedures.

Tip #2: Carriers will not chase after you to get proper documentation. If a carrier asks for experience reports and you don’t include them, they automatically assume you’re trying to hide something. If they ask what your top 3 carriers are and what your profitability with them are, and you put that they are all under 30%, you better have the proof to back it up. They want details, not just assumptions or estimates. If you really don’t know or you can’t access them any longer, then let them know. They don’t want to be lied to – that usually isn’t a good start in a business relationship.

Tip #3: It is very common for agents to forget to attach their E&O, producer licenses and agency licenses when sending in their appointment paperwork. We recommend that you keep your experience reports, resume, business plan, background check explanation letter (if applicable), E&O, producer licenses and agency licenses all saved in 1 folder on your computer to avoid leaving anything out when you submit your paperwork to the carriers.

Tip #4: Make sure that your E&O and agency licenses actually reflect your legal entity if you are a corporation. Some agencies get their E&O in their personal name even though they are a corporation. Not only is that a major liability issue but it will also leave an impression with the carrier that you don’t know anything about insurance. Same goes for not having the proper licensing.

Tip #5: Please be aware that carriers don’t want to appoint your agency in every single state that you are licensed in. Carriers have costs associated with licensing – so if you are requesting non-resident appointments make sure you have a plan to write business in those states. Or even better, you already are writing business in those states.

Tip #6: All appointment paperwork should be sent back in as you received it, including all requested documentation. Meaning if the carrier sent you a 10-page document, fully complete the 10 pages and send them back in order. If the paperwork is a fillable PDF, you should fill it out in the PDF document on your computer and then print it out to sign and date it. After you complete the paperwork, be sure to review it again to ensure that there are no missing signatures or any other missing fields. The most common missing field is signatures. We’ve seen appointments get delayed for months because the licensing department was finally able to review the application only to find a missing signature. Carriers will not process an appointment without the proper documentation.

Tip #7: If you submit your documents to a carrier and everything is unorganized and not easily identifiable, they are not going to waste an hour trying to figure it all out. If you are emailing your paperwork in, make sure that you have all the required documents attached and properly labeled. You’ll want to write a friendly email explaining what is attached and then make sure to double check that everything is included before sending. If you have questions about the application, go through the entire application first. Then write a list of all the questions that you may have and send the marketing rep an email asking for clarification. This way they only need to respond once and it can save a lot of time going back and forth.

Tip #8: We recommend that you do not write “ASAP” in emails to carriers as it will not help your cause. Carriers will not respond to “ASAP” as your appointment paperwork is not an emergency. Carriers have a process that they follow and it takes time. An appointment can take anywhere from 5 days to 60 days. Sending a follow-up email every day doesn’t help the situation either. We recommend following up after 15 days just to make sure that the carrier received the paperwork and then again after 30 days have passed. We understand how frustrating it can be to wait but it’s important to have restraint before venting your frustration to the carrier reps.

Tip #9: One last thing is to make sure to clear your voicemail on your work phone and cell phone before you start applying to carriers. If a carrier rep can’t even leave a message for you, it gives the impression that you are out of business.

Final Thought

Starting an Independent agency can be a lot of work. From taking care of the legalities to managing all of the resources for your firm, which more often than not entails hefty investment. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the process of starting an independent agency but still want to go along with being an independent agent, fret not.

In recent times, there have been many tech-enabled insurance platforms that combine the efficacy of big insurance companies while still allowing you the freedom of being an independent agent.

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