When evaluating an agency network as a partner for the independent agent, there are many factors to consider. One of them is the range of services, plus the flexibility of how they are offered.
The agents surveyed have been with the agency network from 1 to 16 years. As expressed by these agents, they experienced the following benefits as a result of the relationship:
- Negotiation with carriers on behalf of the agency. This allows smaller agencies an opportunity to work with larger carriers. Agents responded resoundingly that their Network’s support team were able to get them interviews and contacts with carriers that previously wouldn’t speak to them.
- Higher commissions than they would have received direct from these big carriers. Many of them mentioned that the Network team negotiated higher commission points.
- Low to no production requirements. Agents agreed that the higher commissions, partnered with lower production requirements, enabled them to consistently do the right thing for their customers (place the business with the right carrier fit). This in turn gave them higher customer retention rates, which makes it easier to keep a solid book of business that steadily grows.
Agents also noted that the network’s staff act as business advisors, counselors, and negotiators on behalf of the agent, which frees the agent to focus on the things at which they excel.
“Partnering with the right network can give you the freedom to pursue your agency wants and growth needs whether it’s personal or commercial focused. It gives you a library of resources to pull whatever you need from."
Considerations when Evaluating an Insurance Agency Network
Each agent’s business model is unique, so solutions need to be flexible and scalable to the individual. Having access to a variety of services that accommodate where the agent is in their career, their client base, and their interests are areas of consideration before choosing whether to work with an agency network. In addition, areas of concern and interest when evaluating an agency network for surveyed agents included:
- Ownership of book of business
- Commission split
- Bonus and contingency sharing
- Low production requirements
- Access to a variety of top-rated carriers and products
- Support for expanding product offerings to meet client needs
- Potential to qualify for leadership status and additional benefits
"I wanted to do right by my clients. I couldn’t do that working for just one company. I want to change the landscape of insurance because I think it’s so important. Everyone thinks it’s about price, but it’s not — it’s about value — and my network gets that. So they get me."
When specifically addressing the reasons they decided to partner with a network, agents noted the following:
- Relationships. All said their relationship and the support they receive from their network representatives are invaluable.
- Experience. Agents noted that employees and field reps have been with their network company for a very long time. This experience and resulting skill streamline encounters and create efficiency.
- Unique culture. Agents felt that they remain independent, only accessing the partnership when they need something. They do not feel required or pressured to use anything they don’t want.
- Commissions. Agents value the ability to earn 100% commissions after a certain amount of time, while still having the support of the partnership.
A portion of agents also noted that Network Field Reps working on their behalf helped them run their business by assisting in carrier relationships.
"Once I met my partner’s field rep I never really looked at another network seriously. Because I know that if a person has stuck by a company that long, they must really stand behind what they do. People don’t stay with a company they don’t believe in."
Finding Balance in an Insurance Agency Network
In general, agents felt positive about selecting their network, noting that they retained freedom to make their own decisions and their entire book of business. They also appreciated that there were no requirements to use any part of the program — they simply gained a partner that provides resources.
The right insurance agency network can help agents overcome hurdles, achieve financial growth, and better serve customers. Download Beyond Survival: Key Strategies to Thrive as an Independent Agent to see how your agency might benefit.