On one hand, starting up an independent insurance agency from scratch is an exciting venture. On the other hand, it can be scary and overwhelming.
Much like starting any other business, being the owner of an independent insurance agency requires long hours in the beginning. You will have to be meticulous to endure the cycle of hard and soft market conditions.
When you serve your clients well, success and financial reward will ultimately follow.
How Hard Is It To Become a Successful Independent Insurance Agent?
While the independent insurance agent’s challenges are many, there are ways to overcome them, and the fruits of your labor will eventually pay off. Challenges also bring new opportunities for insurance agents.
One of the biggest perks of being an independent insurance agent is being your own boss. You can set your own hours, run your office as you deem fit, and you will not have the many restrictions that captive insurance agents face.
More importantly, being independent gives you the freedom to customize insurance plans and pricing for your customers which will help you close sales and retain your book of business. By giving customers more choices, they will reward you with their loyalty.
It is hard to rate how difficult it is to become a successful independent insurance agent on a scale of 1 to 10 or by giving a percentage because each agency and locale is different. Much of whether you succeed is directly related to your performance.
The Challenges of Being an Independent Insurance Agent
The independent insurance agent challenges are related to not having access to the guidance of a single parent company. As an independent, you will have to develop your own operational processes, come up with your own marketing strategies, form contracts with insurance companies, and hire staff. Moreover, you will need to find ways to balance your administrative duties with generating leads and closing sales.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is learning multiple products and underwriting guidelines from multiple insurance carriers.
These are a few more of the independent insurance agent challenges you are apt to face:
- Generating leads
- Finding good salespeople
- Dealing with the pressure to produce
- Implementing the right technology
- Leaving customers with a good customer experience with every interaction
While independent insurance agent challenges can be daunting, they can be overcome.
Conquering the Independent Insurance Agent Challenges With Confidence
The keys to conquering independent insurance agent challenges lie in using the right technology, partnering with the right carriers, going after the right market, and focusing on value for your customers.
What is the right technology? A customer relationship marketing system (CRM) specific to the insurance industry is a must-have. The right CRM gives you a central platform where you can track omissions, automate sales flows, manage claims, and pull up customer information within seconds. Insurance-specific CRMs will allow you to provide insurance quotes and process insurance applications online.
The right insurance carriers will give you regular training on their products, and their underwriters and marketing representatives will be interested in developing good relationships with you and your teams.
The carriers you contract with may be able to assist you in finding a niche market or providing marketing tips.
Finally, as an independent agent, you have greater availability of pricing than captive agents. However, it is always better to sell on value.
While the challenges may be steep, you do not have to face them alone. Do not be afraid to seek out tips from other independent agents or get legal advice as you need to. A supportive staff also goes a long way toward boosting your confidence when times are tough. They will be by your side to celebrate when the rewards become evident.