There are many business opportunities in the insurance industry and running an insurance agency is one of them. An insurance agency is a good alternative business especially for those interested in profiting from the insurance sector, but lack the funds for starting an insurance company.
Now it is important you know that insurance companies sell their products via three major channels-:
- Direct sales
- Independent Agents
- Captive agents
Captive agents are insurance agents that are tied to one specific insurance company and only sell the companies products. All his earnings would come directly from that company in form of salaries or commissions or sometimes both. They may work as full-time or part-time employees of the company.
Independent agents on the other hand are not tied to any specific insurance company but work on their own. They sell insurance products of several insurance companies. The independent agent is responsible for setting his business up. He provides the capital for his business and is also responsible for all business expenses.
Without wasting your time, below are the steps you should take when you want to start your own insurance agency-:
Starting an Insurance Agency – Sample Business Plan Template
1. Determine the kind of agency you want to start
The first step is to really decide if you want to become an independent insurance agent or would like to become a captive agent instead.
If you would prefer to become a captive agent, you would have to apply to the insurance company you are interested in and if your application is granted, you will undergo some form of training to learn about their products and all other necessary information that would help you perform your duties better.
If you would prefer to become an independent insurance agent instead, you should think of the products you would like to sell in terms of ease of sale and marketability. There are various categories you can choose from some of which include car insurance, health insurance, annuity products and house insurance to mention a few.
3. Register and incorporate your insurance business
The next step is to make your insurance agency a legal entity by registering your business and incorporate it as a limited liability company. When you register as a limited liability company, you will be able to protect your personal property and separate it from that of your business.
4. Obtain all necessary license and permits
You should now go ahead to find out what the requirements of running an insurance agency business are in your state. Some states may require you to write and pass some specific examinations before you can start your insurance agency. It is important that you find out what the requirements are for the state you want to operate in and comply with it.
5. Ensure you have a clean criminal record
Before you can be granted a license to start an insurance agency in some states, you will be expected to present a clean criminal record from the police department. Any serious criminal charges in the past might result to your application being disapproved by the state.
6. Ensure you are of the appropriate age
Only persons who are 18 years and above are allowed to start an insurance agency, so you must ensure that you are at least 18 years old before you apply for an insurance agency license.
7. Obtain professional liability insurance
As an insurance agent, you would be required to obtain an insurance policy known as the errors and omissions insurance.
The next step to take is to draft your business plan to include your marketing plan, an analysis of all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business. Your business plan should also include your expansion plan as well as your vision and mission statement.
9. Get companies to work with
Look for insurance companies whose products you would sell. You may need to register under more than one company as an independent agent.
10. Build your team
As an insurance agency, you can also build a team of other insurance agents who would work with you in your own insurance agency. This could be part-time or full time workers who would earn commission on any deal they are able to close.
11. Advertise and Market your business
You would also need to find ways to sell your insurance products. First, you have to create an official website for your business. Most clients would take you more serious if you have a business website that they can be referred to. Another option you should consider is social media networking.
Advertising through social media platforms like Facebook has been known to work in insurance marketing. You could also try telemarketing. Telemarketing is a form of advertising where you place cold calls to potential leads and inform them of your insurance products. Telemarketing gives great results when done the right way.
12. Ask for referrals
As an insurance agent, the more clients you get, the better for your business. Therefore, you should not hesitate to ask your clients for referrals. You could even introduce a referral reward program where clients who refer others would get paid a certain percentage of the commission you make from the referred customers.
In conclusion, i want you to know that starting an insurance agency is a very cool business that brings you a continuous flow of income. It is one of the businesses with low start up costs.
However, you may be required to write certain examinations and pass them before you would be given a license to operate an insurance agency business. You may also need to write licensure examinations in more than one state if you choose to operate in different states.