Independent Agencies – Join an agency to reap maximum benefits

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2018, the count for independent agencies in US was an estimate of 36500. With this increase in independent agencies, insurance agents may want to ask some questions. Why switch to independent agencies? Unlike carriers, agents affiliated with agencies can offer the best policy to their clients by quoting from several carriers. This is because they have drawn contracts with several insurance companies to represent them. Do you need more reason for you to join an independent agency? Well, then here are 4 reasons for you. 

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Give bias-free quotes 

A captive agent is usually stuck selling insurance policies of the carrier they work for, whether the clients require it or not. However, independent agencies allow agents to use their discretion to provide their clients with quotes without any affiliation to the carriers. Agents in independent agencies analyze the need of their clients and then give them bias-free policy options. Therefore, agents can take up an actual advisory role in suggesting their clients choosing policies from various carriers. 

Establish long-term relationship 

Due to the choice for agents to quote with several carriers, agents in independent agencies can forge long-term and lasting relationships with clients. This is because they will be able to cater to the clients as their insurance needs change. A client who had bought a homeowner insurance may need auto insurance when they buy a car. Similarly, a client who has personal auto insurance may require commercial auto insurance for his company. The ability of agents of independent agencies to understand the clients can help foster long lasting relationships. Providing quotes according to their changing needs is a value proposition that captive agents cannot offer. 

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Compensation 

Independent agencies do not compensate agents with a monthly salary as carriers do. Agencies provide agents a commission split which could prove more profitable for high performing agents. While all agencies have different pricing models and split percentages, finding the perfect agency to work is difficult. Independent Agent Magazine states that the bottom line is inextricably tied to how the agency prioritizes new versus renewal business. You can weigh the different commission splits and terms and conditions of various agencies. Then you can pick which one of the insurance agencies you can derive the most. 

Conclusion 

By now you probably want to join an agency. However, there may be many independent agencies in your locality that are hiring capable agents. These agencies sometimes provide extra services and proprietary software to agents to ease their work. Search online and through other agents and make a list of insurance agencies in your area or state. This way you can find out the all the required information to make your final decision.  

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Finding a job in an insurance agency

Are you thinking of applying to an insurance agency? Do you want to be an insurance agent? Are you looking for tips to find the right job for you? If your answer is yes, then you’ve landed in the right place. Job hunting can be intimidating and exhausting. Especially in insurance, the competition is intense, and there are only a few ways you can set yourself apart. Here are some questions you must ask yourself before you start applying for jobs in an insurance agency

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Are you sure you want to be an insurance agent? 

Of course, this is the very first question you should ask yourself before looking for an insurance agency. Why do you want to become an insurance agent? Do you have the interpersonal skills? Are you good at time management? When looking for an insurance agency to apply to, you must be willing to answer such questions during your interview. Having a confident answer to these questions will not only connect with the interviewer. It will also give you the confidence you need to convince yourself that you deserve this job. The Guardian claims that to maximize confidence, you should focus on building a rapport with the interviewer rather than impressing them. 

Do you have the experience and certification? 

To apply to an insurance agency, you must have the necessary experience and certification. While companies don’t necessarily require applicants to submit their diplomas or undergraduate certificates, submitting these documents shows you have the credentials to become an agent. To build their confidence and trust in you and your abilities, some experience in sales or insurance could be impressive as well. If you don’t have any experience, you may want to apply to entry-level job titles and climb your way up the ladder. If you already have some experience and feel you can’t grow without applying to an insurance agency, then go ahead! However, make sure to take away everything you’ve learned and present it to them in the interview. 

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What are your interests and hobbies? 

Figuring out where your interests lie can help you in narrowing down your choices when choosing an insurance agency. Say you’re an animal lover, and while you had initially wanted to become a veterinarian, you decided to go into insurance. If you think about it, you could further pursue a career in pet insurance. This way, you can do some research on pet insurance and learn everything there is to know about it. Then look for carriers and agencies that sell pet insurance and apply to them.  

What are your core values? 

Just like people, businesses also have core values. During the recruitment process, HR usually tries to match the values of candidates to the company vales. This process is called value-based recruitment. According to Harver, a value-based recruitment strategy is one way to put culture/organizational fit at the forefront when hiring candidates. 

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The best insurance agency for an independent agent

Once you have your insurance license, you must choose the best insurance agency. Apply to different insurance agencies that hire eligible independent agents. There are several independent insurance agencies that not only employ independent agents but also provide other services. A simple google search can get you a list of insurance agencies in your area or state. Choosing the best insurance agency for you is very important for your career. Different agencies have different advantages and disadvantages so, it is advisable for you to do your research well and weigh many options before making your final decision. 

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Marketing and sales support 

Marketing and sales can take up a lot of your time. In between meetings with clients, you’ve got to be posting on your social media, responding to emails, sending forms to the carriers, requesting quotes and so on. Being an independent agent is not an easy task unless you have an agency that helps you manage all your work in a better way. 

The best insurance agency will provide you with additional service options with marketing and sales support. The marketing support may include social media marketing, email marketing, prospecting, lead generation etc. While the sales support may include filling up forms, sending requests to underwriters, insurance renewals, etc. You must choose an agency that allows the agents to focus on selling insurance and takes care of all the other tasks.  

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Commission splits 

These services do not come for free of course. Insurance agencies will take a commission split off your sales. A forum in the insurance journal discusses the compensation and commission split an insurance agent should get. There is no set rule for the commission split agencies offer but there some models of commissions that most agencies follow. You must be able to find out the different commission splits and terms and conditions of various agencies. This way you can weigh your options and pick the best insurance agency that gives you the best deal. 

Technology 

Insurtech has been a huge buzz word for all the right reasons. The best insurance agency for you would be one that has technological assets. Fortifier claims that according to the latest reports and statistics, the global insurtech market size will continue to grow. The growth of revenue will hit the point of $1,119.8 million by 2023. With the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things, smartphone applications, blockchain, big data, and many more, insurtechs will capture the full insurance market. Therefore, you should be looking out for insurtechs as the best insurance agency will be the one investing in its tech for greater returns. 

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Insurance Agency Marketing: 3 Simple Techniques

Insurance agency marketing has become more and more complicated as the days go by. Insurance is a product that is sold with trust and confidence. With the increase in competition, gaining the trust and confidence of clients is even more difficult. Insurance agency marketing strategies, therefore, have become crucial. Here are four simple strategies you can include in your insurance agency marketing plan that can easily set you apart from your competitors. 

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Networking

Networking is making contact and exchanging information with other people from different groups and institutions. It helps to develop mutually beneficial relationships or to access and share information between computers. Networking within the community is a vital part of your insurance agency marketing strategy. However, networking can be a little exhausting and can come off as fake. Therefore, it is always better to network in a space your agents are comfortable in.  

For example, if your insurance agency sells art insurance, then perhaps networking at art events, photography competitions, and museums would make sense. Similarly, if your specialty is auto insurance, then car launch events or car washes may be your scene. 

Website Promotion

According to elasticpath, if your brand isn’t well known, then consumers would still make a purchase decision judging by how clean and professional your website design looks. Therefore, your landing page and website design is crucial and must be there in your insurance agency marketing plan. 

With the widespread use of Google for any search query, SEO and website marketing is a must for any business. Since insurance is a complicated topic, your insurance agency marketing plan should include writing blogs about insurance for your website to earn authority and get your rank on google’s and other search engines’ search page.

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Leveraging Social Media

Almost 80% of US adults use social media, according to a research on pewresearch.org. Social media has made it easy for businesses to target their audience because of the huge available info. From LinkedIn to Twitter, your insurance agency marketing plan must include strategies for different social media platforms.

Insurance agencies can use social media in a myriad of ways. If you want to know what people are saying about your agency, you could monitor conversations to relevant mentions of your competitors. Reaching out a specific set of audiences you could run highly-targeted social media advertisements. Thus, to understand how your social media posts or ads are performing, you can analyze its reach, engagement, and sales through the analytics. This is how you can set up a social media marketing plan for marketing activities. 

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Why an Insurance Agency Should Utilize Technology

Insurance agency functioning on the independent model is becoming the clear choice of millennials.  As per the Insurance Journal 2019, Young Agent Survey shows that though 68.1% of young agents think that the industry has been slow to adapt to technology in 25 years from now, 57.1% believe that the independent agency system will be stronger.   

The insurance industry is not known for being innovative. It’s all for a reason though, with troves of confidential data, they have to be vigilant to introduce new ways of operating.   

But time is changing. Many businesses have changed their ways of providing a better product to their clients, which has made them demand more from other providers. In the current scenario, providing the same level of services as the businesses were before isn’t applicable. Instead, businesses need to remain on top of the competition.   

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Importance of customer identification

Moreover, there are endless opportunities as an independent insurance agency. But agencies must identify their customers. Only when an insurance agency knows its customers well, they can understand their preferences. Every customer might not like to communicate through the same channels. For example, While I might prefer a direct phone call, you may want to communicate via emails. Hence, an insurance agency should identify the different mediums of technology.   

The insurance agency, likewise, needs to utilize tools such as customer relationship management software. Such software’s help insurance agency builds a mutual relationship between the insurance agency and its clients. On the other hand, it helps agents focus on their core competency, which is selling insurance. With the process made more accessible and efficient, the agencies have better chances of growing their book of business.   

Benefits of using technology

While it might seem difficult for insurance to innovate, technology is truly a blessing for insurance agents, agencies, and customers. It puts all your information in one place. Insurance agents and agencies can save considerable time by digitalizing their processes and automating their cumbersome fact-checking, analytical tasks. Some insurance agencies have updated themselves to embrace digitalization and mitigate such issues. But most of the insurance agency is still  behind in terms of using updated technology.   

The first to grow up using technology and welcome the internet is the generation of millennials. According to Forbes, millennials are far more digital-focused than the average consumer. So, to cater to these age groups, we will discuss how an insurance agency can implement technology to create a level of satisfaction.  

Before deciding to purchase, millennials enjoy online analysis and comparison of goods and services. Getting the right presence online can be a big attraction for this generation of customers. So, if a service product like insurance is to be bought by your clients, they expect the insurance agency to make them accessible online. Also, for those customers, an insurance agency must ensure an easy process of getting their works done without involving paperwork. Likewise, the insureds expect that they get to view their insurance records and documents online.  Hence, modernizing the customer experience is a great way to make the utmost use of technology.   

Therefore, as per International Finance Corporation, the insurance industry has consequently reached the point where they have to accept the insurtech or be left behind. Similarly, the power of technology has a lot to do for agencies to perform the task efficiently and expand in the market.   

Well, what are your thoughts on the usage of technology by insurance agencies? Do let me know in the comments!  

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