Running an Agency is like Learning to Drive

driving test

Recently I got to experience a rite of passage that fathers of teenagers everywhere dread: My teenager got her driver's license.

And as the Greek poet Archilochus wrote, "We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training."  

I've spent the last year working with my daughter. We worked to train her for the road and prepare her for the feared driving test. As I coached her I realized I've developed some habits. I’ve gotten comfortable in my routine when it comes to driving. And I needed to brush up on my skills. 

This doesn’t only happen on the road. It happens in running an insurance agency, too. Here are some tips that could keep your agency from crashing.

1. Check your mirrors, adjust your seat, and buckle up before you start the car.

Are you prepared to safely drive a successful agency? When was the last time you evaluated your carrier performance? After all, they do it to you. Use your comparative rater to see if carriers that were great last year are still competitive in price and service.

Does your insurance website reflect your brand today? Does it promote trust in the agency and provide value to the visitor? If your website was built over three years ago it may need a facelift to a design that is more modern and accessible on any device.

2. While you are driving, check your mirrors. Be mindful of what's in the review mirror as well.

Your agency's past performance can influence your future. How is the agency trending for PIF count? By line of business? Is the PIF by client going up or down? Is the life cycle per client increasing?  How about revenue per client? Or producer? 

3. Before you switch lanes, check to make sure it's safe.

If you’re considering expanding, do plenty of research. Examine quote data to determine where your leads are coming from.

Maybe you want to write a new commercial risk. Do some research and network with business owners in your community to find out where they may have exposures. Learn about the appetite your markets have for those risks.


I'm no Greek poet. But when it comes to running an agency, you don't rise to the occasion. You fall to your level of preparation. Whether you are starting out or have a lot of miles under your belt, stay prepared. Always check to make sure your routine isn't just a habit, so your agency stays safe and protected on the road to success. 

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