Build Your Insurance Agency On Your Schedule By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director
Building an insurance agency is challenging, whether you’re a new insurance agent just starting out on your own or a seasoned agent adding a new line to your agency’s offerings. Developing relationships with carriers takes time and effort. Joining a cluster group is an effective way to fast-track those relationships and gain access to markets that you could not on your own.
But becoming a member of a cluster group can present its own set of issues. Some charge fees for starting and maintaining your membership. Others require agents to share a large portion of their commission, bonuses, and other supplemental compensation.
Often, cluster groups require agents to make a minimum monthly commission with carriers. But savvy agents know that not all months are created equal in the insurance business. Sales can fluctuate month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter. Requiring agents to meet monthly commission requirements can be unfair and unrealistic.
Smart Choice® Agents understands that not all agents have the same sales goals. Some are go-getters trying to maximize monthly sales, while other choose to grow more slowly. That’s why we do not require our agents to meet or exceed monthly commission goals. Our agents have the opportunity to make 100-percent commissions and keep all the supplemental compensation, bonuses, and trips they earn.
Whether you’re hoping to build a million-dollar agency in less than a year or slowly build your commercial insurance offerings in 2016, choose your cluster group wisely.
How You Can Bank Roll Your Book Roll By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director
Whether you’re brand new to the insurance business or a seasoned agent, at some point, you’ll likely have the opportunity to roll your book of business over to new carriers. Perhaps you purchased another agent’s book of business and want to move your new clients to your preferred carriers. Or, maybe you’ve become a member of a cluster group and can now get better commissions and bonuses by working with the group’s carriers.
Navigating a Book Roll Can Be Tricky
Either way, a book roll can be a tedious and stressful event. It can take a long time for carriers to agree to and perform the rollover of your clients. Some require you to move clients one by one. Once your clients are moved, their policies with their new carrier are not likely to be identical to their old ones. It’s important to be up front about the changes and explain the benefits of making the move to a new carrier. It is possible to lose clients if you mishandle your book roll.
Instead, Get Help … and Get Paid
Fortunately, Smart Choice® and other insurance cluster groups help their members roll their books over. As part of a group, you have more sway with carriers, which will make the process go more smoothly. Carriers may even assign an underwriter to help facilitate the book roll. You may also find you earn more with the cluster group’s carriers, or earn more with your current carriers as a member of a cluster group.
Smart Choice® offers roll-over assistance to our agents, plus a bonus if you want to roll from one company to another. We can help you take the stress and tedium out of a book roll and pay you in the process.
You Don’t Have to Use Our A+ Insurance Carriers, but Why Wouldn’t You? By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director
As an insurance agent, you know that not all insurance carriers are created equal. The experience your clients have as policyholders and you have as an agent can vary significantly between companies. That’s why it pays to be choosy when pursuing appointments with insurance carriers.
Excellent Carriers for Policyholders
The experience policyholders have with your carriers can be a significant factor in whether or not they renew with you. To satisfy your policyholders, your carriers should have a reputation for excellent customer service and offer competitive rates.
Here are JD Power’s rankings of the nation’s top carriers based on a consumer survey:
Where do your current carriers rank? Are they carriers of excellence or just barely making the grade? Many of Smart Choice®’s top-rated carriers perform well on the JD Power surveys.
Excellent Carriers for Insurance Agents
When you’re deciding what appointments to pursue, you also need to consider whether or not the carrier is a good fit for you professionally. Does the commission rate and other compensation make it worth writing the policies? Will carrier representatives respond to your needs efficiently and effectively? Does the carrier have the resources to write the policies your clients demand?