You are an independent agent. You are not stuck with any one carrier. So don't let any one entity affect the growth of your agency. Own your business. In insurance one of the ways you can own your business is to control your offering. You can do this through your selection of carriers.
True, you cannot offer a product without your partner carriers. Notice the word partner? That is because it is how the relationship should be. In a partnership, you don't just produce for them. They must also produce for you.
Don't just market for and get new business for your carriers on your own. Bring them into the mix. Ask for marketing help. Work with them to offer programs that meet the needs of your clients. After you ask for help, you'll find the carriers that are true partners of your agency.
You might find that while you have 20 plus companies, only eight of them are performing for you and even fewer are acting as partners.
You're a Consumer Too
Remember that carriers make money through your performance as an agent. The more quality policies you sell, the better they'll do. Without you, the independent agent business owner, they have two choices... close or go direct. (More on that in a moment.) So they need to perform just as much as you do. By performance I mean all factors, including commissions, service and marketing support. If your carriers are not performing, cut them loose, just as your clients would do to you if you do not perform.
The landscape of insurance is transforming. Many lead providers, aggregators and carriers are making a strong push online. No one entity will fully disrupt the landscape. Every agency has a chance to compete. Make sure you and your partners are working together to tackle the future. Ask them about their outlook for the future. Are they investing in new technologies to help you compete better? Are they helping you compete online by giving you the ability to bind policies through your website's online rater? If not, push them to do so.
The next question you need to ask... are they positioning themselves to go direct online and compete with you? Do their direct rates severely undercut the price you offer? If so, it might be time to find a carrier that has your future in mind as well.
At ITC we view our agents and carriers as partners. Without the carriers, we would not be able to provide rates to agents. Without agents, the carriers would not provide us the rates. So we need to work together. Your success is our success and in turn your carrier's as well. Together we are an awesome pair. Let's do something great.
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