Independent agents should consider joining an agency alliance or network to survive the challenging market. Agency partnerships come in many shapes and sizes, from local and regional groups like clusters and aggregators to those working on a more national scale with access to various markets, like alliances or networks.
Why Join an Independent Insurance Agency Alliance?
Most agents join an agency alliance or network to receive help accessing carrier appointments, but not all of these alliances are created equal. Many agency alliance groups have very different membership fee structures, commission structures, and varying ways to access markets. Regardless of which agency alliance an agent chooses to partner with, these associations can offer independent agents a distinct set of advantages over their competitors.
Agency Alliances have Negotiating Power…
Besides access to markets, many agency alliances serve as a negotiator and relationship manager for their agency members. They work on the agents’ behalf to negotiate higher commission percentages, access to exclusive incentives and bonuses, and more. In the current hard market, many carriers are raising premiums, tightening risk guidelines, non-renewing customers, and cutting appointments — making the alliance relationship critical to enduring the industry’s current conditions.
…and Resources to Support Independent Agents
A good agency alliance or network will work one-on-one with the independent agency to help manage carrier expectations and volume requirements. They will assist with book management to ensure profitability — and therefore favorability — with the carrier. The ability for alliances to offer agencies access to excess & surplus and specialty markets helps agents fill the gaps left by the standard carriers, making agency partnerships crucial to survival and growth in this demanding marketplace.
The Bottom Line on Insurance Agency Alliances
There are approximately 150 agency alliances and agency networks in the country, according to a recent poll of agency associations published by INA. Over 22,000 independent agencies across the U.S. are partnered with an alliance or network, accounting for around $138 billion of the industry's premium volume. That's a lot of agents and a lot of dollars.
Smart Choice is a leading independent insurance agency network providing agents with access to top-rated carriers. Like alliances, we provide agencies with much-needed support like marketing resources, business expertise, and local territory managers. We’re the only program of our kind that offers 100% ownership of your book without startup, ongoing, or termination fees. Ready to become a Smart Choice partner?