Updated: Feb 19
Let's address the elephant in the room before we go any further. When you are employed with a captive agency you are - captive, held captive, and discouraged from growing outside of their system.
You may have non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and overly complicated or undervalued commission structures. All of these issues are addressed in our "Opening An Agency" webinar and you can find a link for it HERE.
The Entrepreneurs Insurance Agency is founded on the belief that the traditional agency model must be disrupted in order for the industry to grow and maintain value with the upcoming generations who are quick to switch to technology based options.
If you are working as a producer within the State Farm system then this blog is for you. This blog will walk you through how to use EIA + State Farm to create your own book of business and break free from captivity.
HOW TO OPEN AN INSURANCE AGENCY
There are more blogs, websites, and YouTube videos that cover this topic than we could ever dream of producing. However, we have taken all of that information and combined it with our real world experiences to create a basic breakdown of what you need to know to get started.
STEP 1: BE THE EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD
It will do you no good to open an agency if you are only a few months into a career in insurance. Underwriting guidelines, billing issues, service work, solicitation calls, employee management, etc. are all things that you need to know on top of having the ability to bind insurance policies. You have to become a stand out in your community and unfortunately it is all too often that captive agencies hold their employees back from greatness.
Ask yourself; when was the last time your agency owner encouraged you to get out from behind the desk and go eat lunch somewhere local? When was the last time your agency owner encouraged you to go live on Facebook and give away a gift card to a local small business? When was the last time your agency owner encouraged you to do anything that would expose your face to the public and not the agency owner's face or the carrier brand logo?
Captive agency owners' job is to make themselves money at the expense of opportunity for the producers they employ.
STEP 2: SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY
If you have the opportunity to open your own business - insurance agency - then you have to take it. You cannot wait for the right time. There is never going to be the perfect time to open an agency. You are never going to have enough warm leads. You are never going to have enough community exposure (see step 1). You are also never going to know how to run a small business; even if you are an expert in insurance.
When the opportunity presents itself, understand that it will look like hard work but you have to seize the moment, capture it, and do not let it get away. Your agency owner will likely be upset that you are taking the opportunity to grow outside of their system. Often times, producers have more practical experience than the owners themselves so it makes sense for a producer to seize the opportunity to open their own insurance agency while they are young, eager, and passionate about making a career.
Be aware, your non-compete agreements, captive agreements, non-disclosure agreements, etc. can impact how and when you decide to become independent. HERE are 4 tips from Nationwide Insurance about transitioning careers under a non-compete agreement. As you can see from those tips it is very possible to transition. Typically you are not allowed to solicit clients, work for a different agent under the same brand, or advertise in a specific geographical location. Keep in mind, in general, non-compete agreements cannot hinder your ability to earn a living in your career field.
EIA strongly suggest seeking the advice of legal council if you feel your non-compete will stop you from growing beyond a basic producer. However, THIS is an article about common mistakes in non-competes that make them generally unenforceable.
Seize the opportunity and work around your non-compete agreement at your own risk; but, without risk there can be no reward.
STEP 3: PLAN A CLEAR PATH TO SUCCESS
When you look at the State Farm business model it is simple to identify where there is room for a producer such as yourself to create a path to success and work towards opening their own agency.
Correct me if I am wrong (and I am sure you will); two strong points of working as a State Farm producer are the ability to write homeowner insurance policies without the traditional use of protection class numbering system and the benefit of a strong discount for combining home and auto insurance coverage.
However, mono-line auto policies tend to have issues being competitive with companies like Safeco, Progressive, or Sate Auto. Add to that, traditional protection class 4 (or lower) homes are competitive with other carriers and there seems to be a lot of premium left on the table. Many customers cannot afford the State Farm price if they do not fall perfectly into the appetite of this specific carrier.
So, here comes EIA to the rescue.
With the EIA platform you can leverage your existing license to quote and facilitate the sale of brokered policies in your state that are outside of the State Farm appetite guide. But, your contract does not allow you to have other carrier appointments?! We understand; at EIA we have created a platform that is intended to help producers transition to become true independent agency owners while clearing the traditional hurdles that have plagued the insurance industry for years.
EIA has a Silver package that is designed for the captive agents. This package does not issue any carrier appointments and the binding of policies is handled by EIA representatives in the United States or by our partner company Answer Financial and their servicing centers located in the United States. Combined, EIA + AF have 400+ licensed agents that will facilitate the binding of policies after you have completed the quote and counseled your clients through the process of finding affordable polices that meet their insurance needs.
STEP 4: USE THE PLATFORM
The plan is simple; identify the clients that do not fit your standard appetite guide for your carrier. Once your carrier declines the risk or is priced too high to be competitive, then you use our comparative rater software to check rates on all available carriers in your state. Find the best prices, work through the best coverages, and decide on a policy for your client. Then, simply conference call one of our servicing agents who will bind the policy instantly. You receive a portion of new business commission and renewal commissions each term. It really is that simple to begin to create your own book of business with leads that would walk out the door otherwise.
After the sale, EIA + AF will handle all servicing, endorsements, and yearly touch-points for the client. It becomes hands off for you at that point. EIA will implement the re-broker™ technology every term to ensure that each client maintains the lowest premium prices available for the policy limits you presented them; thus increasing retention.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE SILVER+ PLAN
The Silver+ plan with EIA gets you access to:
Carriers Quoting In Your State