Do you often find yourself thinking about opening an insurance agency? Let us see what you need to consider beforehand to open an insurance agency in 2021.
Opening an insurance agency is an investment – how much time and effort can you put into this new startup? Most often, it takes a small business around two years to become profitable. This will mean committing too little to no actual income for an extended period while simultaneously dedicating most of your work hours to do the work required to raise a business from the ground up. Make sure to consider any outside obligations you will need to balance alongside this, such as family, children, or other ventures.
It is also important to take social and economic markers when considering the time, you choose to start your insurance agency. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a loss of premium volume and has been devastating overall, many insurance agents and agencies are thriving. Talk with agency owners in your local area to see their observations and concerns surrounding the pandemic and the market. Use any resources to help you make the best decision as to when to debut yourself as an agency principal.
Now, a crucial point – what markets do you need access to, and how will you gain access to them? It can be challenging for young agencies to get access to national carriers quickly because of volume requirements. Be creative. Read the fine print, but there are opportunities to partner with brokers, wholesalers, and general agents to get you this access (Agent Pipeline is an option as well – we are partnered with many name-brand national carriers).
There are tons of market resources designed to help independent agencies grow and get their appointments. Do not let the fear of rejection stop you from applying for a position; you might be surprised. Even if the immediate result is not a direct contract, you will be establishing relationships with your local sales reps with those carriers.
Do you practically have the money to spend on tools like an agency management system? If yes, think about what type of support roles would help you and what kind of manager you plan on being. Also, research the various kinds of software available to make sure you are choosing your best option. If not, do you think you will be comfortable being a one-person show and juggling all aspects of the business? This includes sales, marketing, processing, service, and accounting.
One of the most essential factors in keeping an agency alive is having a steady stream of prospects. It would be ideal to establish a book of business immediately. This has become increasingly difficult because many agencies now stray away from letting other producers venture into their book of business. If you are moving from another agency, can you purchase your book? Or is there an agreement that would restrict you from doing this?
Regardless, put together a plan as to how you will identify and approach new prospects. Think about the spheres of influence you have and how you can leverage those to get referrals. Also, consider if you want your agency to be a niche for a particular market or want to be a generalist and offer a broader array of product types.
For more help, advice, or tips on opening an agency or how to get started – contact Agent Pipeline. We can help with back-office support, top-level contacts with name brand carriers, marketing support, and more!