BECOMING INDEPENDENT

Discussion in 'General Insurance Agent Discussions' started by captiveagent, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. captiveagent
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    captiveagent Expert

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    Hi Guys,

    The past couple months I have been reading this forum and it has been very informative... THANKS!

    My current situation:
    I am a captive agent for one of the larger P&C mutual companies (top three: State Farm, Farmers and American Family).
    Been in the business for three years with about 1,500 policies on the books (owned by the insurance company).
    Currently have three staff members (two full-time, one part-time).
    Writing on average 100 policies every month (5-10 being life insurance).

    Can you guys help me put together a plan in this thread?

    What companies should I sign with? Process?
     
  2. Sam
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    Sam Founder Administrator

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    Start off very slowly. I think that the first step will be to try and identify the companies that you will need to have contracts with, in order to be competitive in every market that you work. You should probably have a decent view of the landscape, so that shouldn't be too hard. Collect the information about who you can speak to, when you are ready to move. The better organized you are when you start your research, the better chance you will have of succeeding.

    The research should focus on the lines that you are most successful with. Unless you are in NY, life insurance prices are pretty similar across state lines, and it is easy to get contracts with the best companies. Health is harder, and auto and home are even more so. Also, if you do any commercial prop and cas, you will need to do some research on who is competitive.

    Get strong clarity on what will happen to your existing clients. You may have to drop all of them. I assume from your numbers, that you are in an excellent walk-up location, and are also good at sales. That will be particularly helpful, if you can't bring any of your clients with you. You can be sure that the company will enforce the agreement they have with you.
    The good news is, if you can sell 100 policies a month as a captive, you can sell a lot as an independent. Of course, some people probably walk in just because of the company that you represent, but you will make up for that by getting the people who you couldn't be competitive for before.

    If you tell us where you are located, we may be able to give you some more specific advice.
     
  3. rpoul
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    rpoul New Member

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    thinking about the captive route myself

    Is it common for a company to ask you to list all family and friends as possible clients. I am not comfortable with this.
     
  4. James
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    James Guru

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    Re: thinking about the captive route myself

    Yes, it is common.
     
  5. captiveagent
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    captiveagent Expert

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    Me personally... I am out of Chicago.

    As far a CRM tool, salesforce.com seems to have the best one... What do you guys think?

    What quoting software are you guys using?

    Do you use a program that automatically follows up with prospects VIA email, 1 week out 3 weeks out 2 months out 6 months out etc...?

    What insurance companies do you recommend? Will I have to cancel my contract with my current company before applying with the others?

    I apologize if these are beginner questions... It is like I have blinders on with this captive organization...
     
  6. captiveagent
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    captiveagent Expert

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    Re: thinking about the captive route myself

    Extremely common for a captive company... If you want to be successful, do not rely on friends and family... They will also be your biggest pain in the ass because they think they deserve special treatment/rates.
     
  7. Crabcake Johnny
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    Crabcake Johnny Guru

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    A great way to lose your friends is put them in the very uncomfortable situation of having to buy something everytime you get a sales job. Just let your friends know what you're doing. If they're interested they'll approach you. I have my sister and brother on health plans, but they asked me for help after I knew what I was doing. I most definitely am NOT giving ANYONE my friend's or family's contact information.
     
  8. rpoul
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    rpoul New Member

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    Captive vs Non Captive

    Well then, I probably should be re-thinking my decision about who to go to work with.

    2007 will start my career in the insurance industry. I have read through many of the different forums and it seems to me that most agents within are not captive. Any suggestions out there on how to start in the industry as a newly licensed agent. I want to consider the independent route however, I know there is much to learn so how does someone get the training and knowledge they need during their first year in the business? Also I know I need continuing education each year as required by my state to maintain my license how do you get this education while being independent?
     
  9. MIBizInsurance
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    MIBizInsurance Guru

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    "Will I have to cancel my contract with my current company before applying with the others? "


    The other companies could care less but your captive company sure will. As you probaly already know.

    As Mel mentioned get all your ducks in a row as far as contacts and E&O and go from there.
     
  10. MIBizInsurance
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    MIBizInsurance Guru

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    rpoul, contact some local indy agents and find an experienced agent to take you on. Preferably someone who is part of your community and been in the biz for 5+ yrs.
    Make sure you understand how the cut will work, expenses and all that.

    It may take some footwork to find a good mentor but starting out straight indy is a tuff go.

    Good luck.
     
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