This tool kit is designed to educate and assist in the process of starting an independent agency, but it is up to you to make it happen. Building an agency from scratch is possible. If you're successful, the rewards are considerable, including the ability to call your own shots, a healthy return on investment in the form of owner's equity and the satisfaction of being in a business that protects people and their valuables. On the other hand, starting an agency from scratch is challenging.
Following is a short list of critical success factors necessary to make it:
- Capital - While an independent agency is not capital intensive relative to other industries, you can expect to need approximately $40,000 to $50,000 in start-up capital to pay for things such as office space, equipment and furniture, E&O insurance and marketing; and that doesn't count resources necessary to live on while you build your customer base.
- Access to insurance companies - You can get licensed but you can't sell insurance without access to insurance companies and/or managing general agents. For property and casualty insurance, most companies are looking for a long-term relationship. Getting an appointment usually requires, among other things, experience in the business, a track record of successful marketing and selling, a marketing territory geographically desirable to the companies and a solid proposed business model.
- Good sales and administrative skills - Some people have great selling skills and can make great insurance producers. Other people are great at administration and service. Starting an agency from scratch will require both sets of skills until you get large enough to hire others.
- Thorough technical expertise - Customers are placing their risk management needs in your hands, therefore you need to understand the products you're selling. Depending on the lines of business you intend to offer, there are scores of different policy forms and coverage implications. Add to that the importance of understanding the risk management process itself, and you have a very knowledge-intensive profession.
If you're still interested, this tool kit will walk you through the steps necessary to get started and provide resources to help you implement the steps where possible.
Before you proceed, please take a minute to read this informative article about "Starting an Agency in the New Millennium" by Tobe Gerard.
How To Get Started - The Groundwork
The Business Plan - Five Things Every Business Plan Should Address
E&O and Legal Criteria
Access to Insurance Markets
Agency Management System
How the Association Can Help