New agent need advice

Jan 14, 2008

  1. dder04
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    dder04 New Member

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    Hi, I'm new to the insurance world and learning more as I go on day by day. I have read many of your posts and they have helped a lot. I have posted 2 threads, but hardly get any responses if any. So I thought maybe, if I write more about my self I can get more help.

    I am in the process of opening an insurance agency in El Paso, TX, I have worked in my fathers business which is a used car dealership for 5 yrs. Before that I worked at the gas utility company here in customer service for 3 yrs. I have wanted to open an insurance agency for a while now and I'm finally doing it, my sister is a notary public and registers vehicles for people buying cars from my dad or her own personal customers. Everybody need insurance to register a vehicle and she sends all of her business to an insurance company that is quite far from where were at, and she has a lot of business, and so does my father. My dad is behind me all the way and has lent me the money to start up and he also owns apartments in the back of his dealership and we remodeled one into an office.

    I have my p&c and life, health and accident license. I was going to go with Allstate, but at the end it didn't work out they said I was approved and the next day they said they had to think about it. I think being independent would be better for me, because I can help the customers we deal with more, by giving them better prices. I have my e&o insurance as well, and I'm just waiting for my insurance agency license, before I can get appointments. I have read posts where they say that you need a book of business to get appointments, has no one ever started out without a book of business? I know it will be work and I'm aware that I'm not not going to get rich quick. I hope you guys can help me by giving advice and sharing your comments.

    Thanks any help is greatly appreciated!
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    dder04, Jan 14, 2008
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  2. JRoot
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    JRoot Guru

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    Typically getting P/C appointments is tough. If you want to offer multiple companies and you're brand new, you're better off hooking up with a GA to start until you can get the direct appointments. i.e.
    Smart Choice Agents Program:: Independent Insurance Group Resources
    NLink Suite

    My advice is keep it simple and find a niche. No need to offer every product right off the bat. If you have referral sources for auto, go after that market. I would recommend offering health insurance to start also. You get direct appointments and it's something most people will want to talk about.

    Since you don't have any experience...Go to seminars, learn your products and ask questions....Use this forum as a tool also...good luck.
     
    JRoot, Jan 14, 2008
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  3. magent1
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    magent1 New Member

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    If your office is in the car dealership make sure you'll be able to write auto for both standard and sub-standard risks ( if that's what you want to focus on). Going with one of the big companies will limit you in what you can write.
     
    magent1, Jan 14, 2008
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  4. Soaringagent
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    Soaringagent Guru

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    Keep us updated with what you do :)
     
  5. Insurance Phoenix
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    Insurance Phoenix Super Genius

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    Sounds like a great opportunity having a built in referral market. Don't neglect to find other markets to sell to though. You'll get a balanced customer base that way. Give it a go and don't take failure as an option.
    arizona auto insurance
     
  6. Renoak
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    Renoak New Member

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    DDER04 : I tried sending a PM and couldn't - something about having to have posted 20 times before I can send a message.

    Hi,

    I saw your post about you becoming a new agent and I'm just a little bit behind you. So even at this point you know more than I do.

    I'm in a similar situation as you are in. ( I even live near Dallas)Though the slight difference is that my brothers own a mortgage brokerage and they want me to cross sell insurance to their customer base. So they wanted for me to get my P&C license and my Life and Health License. I have completed my exam and finished the paper work. Also we have an LLC that we are going to have to be approved to be a Brokerage. And we still need Errors and Omissions Insurance. We have all the paperwork and its a fun process.

    The biggest problem that i'm finding is how hard it is going to be to get appointments with the different carriers. 1) Getting ahold of the right people. 2) Getting the right paperwork. 3) Them appointing us.

    I'm sending you this email, since we're in a similar situation and can maybe help each other out with what we learn. I've been all over different forums, but its such a complex business to jump into if you didn't start as an agent for someone else. I've been in real estate and marketing, and the Insurance Industry is brand new to me.

    Thanks,

    Best Regards,
    Sam

    Feel free to email me at: [email protected]
     
    Renoak, Feb 21, 2008
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  7. Renoak
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    Renoak New Member

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    I'm new too. In a very similar situation. I hope to be in the industry until i retire.
     
    Renoak, Feb 21, 2008
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  8. 1manshow
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    1manshow Guru

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    One word of advice with SmartChoice contracts. Make sure you attempt to license with all their carriers on your own before signing up with them or you're stuck giving up 30% of the commission until you buy the book from them. I think companies like Progressive, AIG agency, and others are hungry enough right now to take on scratch agents. Present them with a well defined marketing plan, agency blueprint, etc. and they will consider licensing you.
     
    1manshow, Feb 22, 2008
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  9. brownphillips
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    brownphillips New Member

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    I would not go with smart choice. I bought an existing agency when I started and they were a nightmare to deal with. The agency I bought was with them and smart choice had lost almost all of there standard companies and would not let you get your own companies.

    The only thing they are good for is taking your money. I finally got out of my contract after paying them.

    I could go on and on about the bad experience with them.

    I would take 1manshow's advice. You could probably get an appointment with Progressive or AIG or some local carrier to start with. I assume most of the business will be non standard at first.

    Best of luck.
     
  10. StinsonAssurance
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    StinsonAssurance Expert

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    I started my agency just about two years ago and ran into similar frustrations. I have been licensed since 2001 but always worked for other agencies. Like JRoot said, I had to keep it simple in the beginning and just offered my bread and butter product (homeowner's) through Foremost because they were the only carrier I could find that was willing to appoint a brand new agency. I am just now getting into auto insurance and Progressive was willing to appoint me. I do believe that you have a greater flexibility as an independent agent and would recommend keeping it that way.
     
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