Serious about starting indepedent agency ASAP

Jul 15, 2019

  1. Strategy101

    Strategy101 New Member

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    North Carolina
    Hello All,
    While I am not new to browsing these forums, I am new to creating a profile and posting. I am looking for some very specific information as it is my goal to start an agency as soon as possible. I have been licensed for over 8 years, mainly working as an account manager but I have not really enjoyed my work because I have more of an entrepreneurial spirit and have always wanted to work for myself. The time has come where I have decided the time is NOW. From my understanding, the easiest way for me to get this off the ground is to join a general agent, aggregator or something like that to have the appointments I need to write business through some of the top rated carriers? Once I join said general agent, what should be my next step? I plan to be the owner and producer initially and as business grows, I will possibly looking for some account management assistance. I plan to start off in commercial lines p&c as this is what I have been working in for the duration of my time as an account manager. Are there any Niche markets you think might be beneficial in my situation? Do you think it's possible to work my business from my home office where everything is handled virtually? And do you know of any well seasoned agency owners who might be interested in doing some consulting work to assist me with my endeavors.
    Thank you
  2. shawnmwalker

    shawnmwalker Guru

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    Fun line of questioning. Where are you? Tell me more. Find my threads and posts. dm me.
  3. shawnmwalker

    shawnmwalker Guru

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    Well you have a decision tree here. I'll lead you down one path, but it is biased.

    "Begin with the end in mind"- 7 habits of Highly effective people.

    Decision #1:

    What end of the Ins Spectrum do you want? if you answered P&C keep reading. If ''Other" wait for the others to respond

    Decision #2: Captive or Independent.


    Pro: They will teach you a lot but inevitably you will go Indy at some point in your career. Another Pro, they will subsidize your life for a time.

    Con: The District Manager will push too hard or force life on you or cut your commissions or change your contract, or, ext, ext. Your Captive will take rate increases and kill your production and you will have one price point while others dissect your book one policy at a time.

    Independent: :

    Pro: Control expenses. Get higher commission. Higher conversion. Higher retention. All of those factors equal more money.

    Con: Starting out. Getting knowledge. Your personality type could sink yourself.

    Decision #3:

    Once you decide Indy is for you, in the next week or 22 yrs from now. The question will be how to do it. Your options include:

    Buy an agency.

    Join a group.

    Become a producer for an agency.

    Get direct appointments.

    Get an agency that provides the back end service so you can hunt full time.

    You decide which one is best for you.

    Decision #4: What group should I join?

    There are a lot. Consider the following. NOT ALL GROUPS ARE CREATED EQUAL! They range from good, better and best.

    Any group claiming to be best of class should provide the following:

    1. Transparency
    2. Training and support
    3. Carrier Alignment
    4. and a great Contract
    Give me a call, shoot me am IM. Good luck and have fun with your choices.

    I have been in Insurance for 15+ years and the great thing in this industry is you can choose to never stop learning. Your learning curve is never ending. Meaning you will never get bored.
  4. shawnmwalker

    shawnmwalker Guru

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    There are so many things I want to say:

    The PGI Executive Team was on the carrier side in every role you can imagine. Interacting with IA all over the US. I managed TX, OK, NM, UT, CO and interacted with CA IA often.

    Product Management, UW, Claims, you name it we have been involved in it. We know the carrier side and now the agency side very well. Imagine the huge dividends this industry knowledge gives both our agents and our carriers as they engage in our relationship with both.

    Because we come from the carrier side, we know our Agency competition and Carriers very well. I call many of them on both sides close, honest, good, friends.

    We have One client: Our Agents.

    We have One Stake holder: Our Carriers.

    We don't tell you what you want to hear, we consult with you and help you hear what needs to be heard. And then let you make the business decisions.

    Important Note: Paying someone 50-55% of your renewals for service work. WHAT? I know it exists but WHAT? WHY? when you can pay a national carrier to do it for.....1%, 1.5%, 2%. Hell there are other companies that you can out source it for a fraction of the price.

    The idea of paying someone 50% of your RESIDUAL INCOME, (The reason we got into this business) hurts my soul.

    Every contract is unique, slow down and enjoy the process of reading them all. Highlight them. Ask questions. I think ours is 13 pages long. Easy read, nothing is slipped into the latter half of an 89 page contract, after you are tired of the legal language.

    Call me if you have questions. I am busy but if I have time I love spending time with agents asking great questions. If I don't have time (and I often don't),I'll put you in touch with David Colvin our National Director of Business Development- He is great. (Been a captive, Been an indy, Been on the carrier side with all the big boys- I want to say 30 plus years) He knows his stuff. He has met 1000's of agencies.

    Last note: I too have met and managed 1000's of Independent Agencies. Many of which belong to groups, clusters and Aggregators. Many are insanely happy with their relationship with their groups. Others, loath their Cluster and want out. It is so important that you find the right group so your next choice, is your last.

    My Mom always told me: Choose your Love, and Love your Choice. (But that was marriage advice)