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Starting an independent insurance agency

Starting an agency from scratch can be difficult and complex but not impossible. Be prepared for many roadblocks along the way. Insurance Agents & Brokers (IA&B) wants to make sure you are fully aware of what you are about to embark upon. Consider this a disclaimer from a professional trade association with decades of experience in assisting insurance agencies through the highs and lows of their operations.

What experience do you have? Insurance carriers are going to demand a business plan. How is doing business with you going to be profitable long term? Do you have access to a niche market? What separates you from the agencies already doing business in your area? Can you demonstrate your successes with selling and marketing?

Do you have the financial resources to begin your own business? You can conservatively estimate needing financial resources in the amount of $20,000 and that can vary based upon location. This seed money will go entirely toward start up costs including office space and equipment, IT infrastructure, and furniture. Additionally, you will need professional liability insurance and you will have expenses related to marketing, branding and advertising.

Are you organized and detail oriented? Without these qualities, you are prone to errors and omissions, a fact not lost on carriers. For that reason, some carriers are going to be cautious in appointing a new agency without a proven track record.

With this as our backdrop, if successful, you will find this a profession that offers a variety of opportunities to make a clear, positive impact on people's lives. Your clients will look to you as their consultant, trusted advisor, advocate and hopefully friend.

This guide was created to walk you through the process of starting an agency from scratch. It provides you with a myriad of considerations and suggestions. Let's begin.    


Getting started - explanation of distribution methods and basic independent agency operations


Obtaining your individual insurance license - licensing and continuing education requirements


Creating your business and licensing your agency - registering with the Department of State and Insurance Department


How to prepare the agency for a company appointment - attracting markets, creating a business plan, understanding agency agreements


Errors & Omissions - options through IA&B


Privacy requirements - complying with GLBA and HIPAA


Agency's fiduciary duties and how to properly set up bank accounts - handling premium payments and funds on behalf of your carriers


Procedures manual - checklists and record retention requirements


As the agency grows - technology, productivity enhancement, best practices, HR concerns and producer agreements


Networking and getting involved - IA&B's Member Agent Panels


Additional considerations





Need help?

Fee-for-service counselors are available to help in lieu of many of the DIY compliance resources described here.
800-998-9644, option 4

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Agency Procedure Manual

Customizable documents to formalize agency workflows.

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