Q. How do I build an insurance agency?
A. The first step in building an agency is licensing your agency. I would recommend contacting your Secretary of State’s Office and getting a good handle on the requirements of starting a corporation, and the different kinds of corporate entities. Typically a C-Corp is put in place to protect owner assets from creditors, an S-Corp tends to have some additional tax advantages, or an LLC, which is similar to an S-Corp, but different types of accounting methods can be used to calculate earnings. An LLC offers more flexible structures in how management can be set up. Of course, it would be up to you to determine your business model and which license will align with your model.
Once you have your agency named, and licensed, my next recommendation would be to get a logo. If you are really savvy and artistic by nature, you may be able to design your own. However, if you are not artistically inclined like me, you would want to have someone design one for you that reflects the identity in which you want your new company to take on. There are many freelance websites that have hundreds, even thousands, of graphics designers who will help design your logo for as low as $5 — some of those websites include Fivver.com and Upwork.com.
Now that you have your agency licensed, logo made, now it’s time to get a good, functional website. There are two types of websites that come to mind when I’m asked this question, the first being consumer-facing. Consumer-facing websites have many compliance restrictions and review processes before using carrier logos and certain verbiage based on the products you are marketing. I highly recommend you get with our Agent Pipeline Marketing & Compliance Departments for further assistance on the development and approval processes of your consumer-facing website.
The other type of website you would create would be an agent-facing website. These websites are what you would primarily look at for recruiting agents. Your agent-facing website should incorporate many of the same things that your consumer-facing website would have (i.e., logo and color scheme), but would be significantly different in content. Agents want to know why they should work with you rather than your competition. How you are a better choice for helping them become more successful insurance agents and ultimately help them make more sales and money?
This brings to mind, you need to determine what your value proposition will be. What are you willing to do to help an agent that is working with you become more successful? You may want to structure a lead program, provide a CRM system to help them better manage their business, show them how to community market and the benefits of practicing this effective method. There are many different philosophies around this and we would be happy to discuss these in more depth.
Other smaller pieces of the agency building puzzle include getting a professional headshot. You will need these for your social media marketing as well as the biography section of your website. You will need to create a well-written biography about yourself, your history in the business, and any staff you may have. You should also include your vision on the service you provide to your clients.
Now that you have your agency licensed, consumer-facing and agent-facing websites online, your vision and value propositions completed, it’s time to recruit your agents.
There are several ways to recruit agents. One effective method is a mailing to licensed agents in your area announcing your arrival as an agency. Remember to include your value proposition and the benefits they will receive when they choose to work with you. A good idea would be to include a website URL, or a “landing page” to either collect their information or provide them with the next steps to join your agency. Another recruiting method commonly used is an email marketing campaigns.
Some other really effective recruiting methods include:
- Agent recruiting meetings
- Cold-calling DOI lists
- Posting jobs on Indeed.com or other recruitment websites
- Posting jobs on LinkedIn
- Posting jobs on Facebook
For more information on agent recruiting, building websites, or staying in compliance give us a call. We are here to help our partnered agents and agencies in any way possible. Agent Pipeline continues to meet our agent’s standards, exceed their expectations and provide value the way no other FMO partner can!
-Answered by Matt Goheen, Regional Vice President
Matt Goheen is Regional Vice President of Region 6, covering the Utah, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New England markets. Matt is also a licensed Life and health agent and has been working at Agent Pipeline for 7 years, specializing in Medicare Health Plans. If you are an agent and would like to speak with Matt to learn more about the opportunities available in your market, you can contact Matt at 800-962-4693 ext. 6462.