Smart Choice® Offers Special Commercial Opportunity for Nationwide Agents!

Smart Choice has a special opportunity for Nationwide Agents that provides access and support to a diverse group of competitive Commercial Lines markets. These markets are available immediately, and will enable Nationwide agencies to expand their access to quality, top-rated Commercial markets, receive higher commissions and bonuses, and gain training and support services from Smart Choice representatives. Nationwide Insurance Agents were recently given a letter of authority from Nationwide to begin working with independent Commercial Lines carriers and managing agent programs like Smart Choice in order to access additional commercial products and services.

Smart Choice is the fastest growing agency network in the country, with an agency base writing over $3 billion in premium, collectively. Through our program, Nationwide agents will receive the same great benefits including:

  • Access to top-rated, competitive Commercial Carriers
  • No startup or monthly fees
  • Ownership of 100% of your book of business
  • Ability to earn 100% commissions
  • No restrictions on adding non-Smart Choice carrier appointments
  • Direct access to carrier support and underwriting
  • Fast quoting through our Smart Start Commercial Program
  • Bonus and Contingency sharing opportunities

 How Does it Work?

Smart Choice shares a commission split with the agent, up to a certain level each year. When this level of commission has been reached, the agent receives 100% of commissions above that level. Smart Choice does not own an equity position in your agency—you own 100% of the agency and your book – nor does Smart Choice limit your ability to add direct appointments obtained through other carriers!

Two Ways to Access Commercial Markets through us

Smart Choice gives you two ways to access Commercial markets through their program.

  • Subcode appointments: To gain direct company sub-code access agents will need to commit to production and flow requirements and will have:
    • Lower production requirements through Smart Choice® (varies by carrier)
    • We provide Commercial Lines business plan assistance
    • Provide Commercial Lines marketing /business plan assistance
    • Dedicated Commercial Lines staff
    • Commercial Lines lead sources
    • Proven Commercial Lines track record
  • Smart Start is an online platform that allows agents access to commercial lines carriers in a user-friendly way, without needing an appointment. With Smart Start, agents simply use the easy-to-navigate carrier preference guide to determine the proper underwriting market, fill out and submit a prospect opportunity form to Smart Choice®, who processes and submits the form to our carriers’ in-house sales centers. The work is done for you!

Carrier access includes CNA, Grange, Liberty Mutual, Travelers, MetLife, Starr Companies, The Hartford, Foremost, Allied, The MainStreet America Group, and more!

Are you currently a Smart Choice agent taking advantage of our Commercial lines program? Let us know in the comment below!

Captive vs. Independent Agents: Which route should I go?

If you’ve recently looked into opening your own insurance agency, and you aren’t sure whether you should go the captive or independent route, look no further.

There are positives and negatives to both models of insurance businesses, but it really comes down to individual needs and wants. What are you looking to get out of the business? How experienced are you?

Captive Agents

Positives: Owning and operating a “captive” insurance agency means working for one company. You will only have to learn one company’s products, policies and guidelines. There’s usually ample training, assistance setting up your agency, and you won’t have to worry about doing any of your own advertising and marketing because you’ll have the added benefit of a nationally recognized brand. You will also likely have a more reliable form of compensation such as a salary and benefits, plus sales bonuses depending on how well you do.

Negatives: You will only have one product to sell your customers. Even if they are not the best priced or most suitable product, they are the company you represent, therefore the product you must convince your customer to go with. So if your parent company stops selling a certain line of insurance, you won’t be able to sell it either. You may also be obligated to push certain products you feel your client doesn’t need or want. Your main priority, as a captive agent, will be to build business for your parent company, and you will likely not have the freedom to perpetuate your agency to whomever you wish when you’re ready to retire.

Independent Agents:

Positives: Your main priority for your independent agency will be to build your own book of business and do the right thing by your customers. You can make your own hours, your own rules, and market your agency how and when you want. You’ll be able to specialize in any, and as many lines of business as you want. Best of all, you will be able to provide competitive quotes for your clients by shopping a multitude of different insurance carriers products! This means if you can’t find a suitable product with one carrier, you’re free to search out another carrier with a more suitable product line for your clients’ needs.

Negatives: As an independent agent you will be a small business owner and entrepreneur. This could be viewed on a positive OR negative depending on the person. You will need capital to start the business. You won’t have a steady income as you begin your agency and start your book of business from scratch, because you’ll earn money solely based off of commission. The money you do earn will have to be wisely put back into the agency in order to grow for the first couple years. You may also have trouble obtaining contracts, or “appointments,” with reliable and reputable insurance carriers in the beginning – a Managing Agent Group or “MGA” (company who helps you get carrier appointments) can help you with this part of the process.

Which type of agency is right for you? If you’re an established agent, comment below and tell us why you decided to go the route you did when you opened your agency!

With Smart Choice® do I own my book of business?

The answer to that question is YES!

Through the partnerships we have created with top market carriers, we can help our agencies get direct appointments and grow their own book of business. Smart Choice® does not take ownership of your business; we simply help you help your clients.

Smart Choice® enables you to:
Own your book of business
Have your own sub-producer code with each carrier
Have binding authority through Smart Choice®
Put your agency’s name on the policies you write

It’s that plain and simple!

What markets can Smart Choice give me?

This is a question we hear most often, and it varies!

We provide access to over 85 national and regional carriers-both standard and nonstandard markets. Access to these markets may vary, depending on state specific risks and policies.

We have the following markets available for you:
-Home
-Auto
-Commercial lines, including excess and surplus
-Life
-Health

Chances are, if you need access to a market, we can get it for you! If you want to know about access to a specific carrier, give our office a call at 888-264-3388!

When are you going to add additional standard carriers? Why is this so difficult to do?

Standard markets typically want to see a certain level of production and a plan from their partner agencies. Smart Choice works with the markets in our program to provide the best balance between production requirements and ease of doing business. Right now, we offer a large variety of carriers to our agents, but we are constantly working to add more standard carriers for personal, commercial, and life and health.  Most recently, we added Dovetail to our list of available carriers.

Our purpose is to serve you. We need your feedback to determine where our focus should be. If there is a carrier that you feel we should offer, let us know!