Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

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Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby beyert1 » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:38 pm

For 7 years I was a captive agent with Nationwide. My contract was cut and now I am going IA. I am finding out being IA can be scary. We have the security of being captive and now being an IA can be scary. Trying to find companies and prove what you have done in the past can be difficult. Companies won't appoint you unless you can prove what you have done and since my book was taken away I have nothing to show. A great many of my Nationwide clients are calling and telling me to quote them with the companies I currently have and I am winning a great many of them back. What are some good companies in Texas to have? What procedures have any of you gone through to get some of the better known companies?
Do any of you who have gone through this in the past have any advice? I sure would be grateful. Also any advice would be great. Thanks.
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby volstrike3 » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:55 pm

Find a good cluster and join. The advantage of being independent is that you can offer so many different companies and options... your not going to get direct appointments right off the bat with the best carriers unless you partner with a cluster that can provide access. I recently went from a $150m+ regional agency to starting my own firm... without losing any market access due to joining a great cluster. I don't know what your options are in Texas but there are bound to be a few good ones out there. Take your time and meet with all of your options... the cluster with the lowest up front cost is not always your best option.
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby lonestar » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:10 pm

You will do yourself a favor if you check out these guys. http://www.siaa4u.net/Default.aspx?tabid=144&st=TX
They can help get you access to many companies. Good luck.
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby d's insurance store » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:41 am

I don't know all the specifics for Texas, but generally, for personal lines, you should find that standard and sub standard auto appointments are pretty easy to get. You use that as a building block to getting preferred market appointments.

Commercial is easier to access, especially with the small commercial market.

If this circumstance came about very suddenly then yesterday you should have started on formulating a business plan, outlining your strengths and weaknesses and a preliminary market direction. At the same time, multi tasking, you want to be on the phone to a comparative rating service company to get a system installed so you can figure out who's competitive on your marketing area. While you're juggling that, get yourself some E&O coverage. At your first spare moment, start calling marketing reps for companies you want to represent.

If you had some kind of indication Nationwide was going to cut you loose and you didn't prepare, then shame on you.

You can overcome the enormous obsticles ahead of you to succeed, but you'll have to be quick, organized and lucky. Truly, if you've found your way to this forum without ANY prep, you'll have a tough row to hoe, but others have been lucky and succeeded with the same issues. It won't be easy, but if you succeed, you'll feel pretty good about the accomplishment.

Good luck.
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby mdterpfan88 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:19 pm

Hello former captive agent! Have you tried The Woodlands Financial Group? Go to their website at http://www.twfg.net. They have quite a few companies they represent and are always looking for new agents. Other possibilities would be AgentSecure, SmartChoice and Superior Access.

Good luck in your future endeavors! I'll probably be right behind you real soon. I am planning my exit strategy from Allstate and have been doing my research for awhile now.

Godspeed,

mdterpfan88
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby Rochambeau » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:33 pm

A word of encouragement that this actually is a reasonably good time to make the switch as the market starts to harden. People will soon start shopping much more than they are now.

If you have a favorable track record with some decent loss ratios, you just MAY be able to land a decent preferred carrier. You also may want to try for a regional carrier like Mercury out of California who is trying to make a mark nationally.

One last note, watch your Best ratings with a lot of these carriers. A lot of agents don't realize that their E&O doesn't cover insolvency (or severely limits coverage) if the carrier is less than "A-" or "B+". In these historically bad economic times, look for some carriers to fail. Simply going to ambest.com will let you know what rating a carrier has.
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby beyert1 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:45 pm

So many good replies - Thank you. The Woodland's group is something I don't want to do. With them I am still attached to something and if I am going to be Independent I want to stay that way. I guess having been locked into something for so many years I want the freedom.

As per some suggestions - I have secrued E&O, I was semi-prepared for this to happen to me. Having lost so many clients due to premium increases was going to throw a wrench into the machine at some point and time. Can you believe they blamed me for losing clients!!! I had already started putting together a business plan prior to my cut. I am glad I did. I have been able to secure some non-standard auto and am working on getting some of the larger companies. The unfortunate part is trying to get appointments with companies quickly. I have found USG to get things written though for right now. USG has been great with the help but the commissions are less than I was getting with Nationwide but, we do what we have to do to keep the doors open.

I have been blessed with a large number of clients who are calling saying they want to stay with me as their agent and will leave Nationwide. Most said they had planned on shopping around but did not want to leave me as being their agent. I guess all the customer service has been paying off. So, once I get some appointments the business will start flowing again in a normal manner.

I have already setup the software ITC. I did not get a rater because I have been told by so many companies they are not always accurate. Plus the extra expense is just not needed right now. I have also cut the staff to me - myself - and I. I am glad I followed my Mother's rule. If you are going to tell someone how to mop the floor, you damn well better know how to do it yourself. So, I always kept myself in the know of what was going on day to day. I was never one of those come in and out agents. It has paid off.

I am working on getting Universal, Hartford, Met-Life and Travelers as my majors and then take on the minor companies as needed. This way I will have my home, auto, business and life clients all taken care of. I figure if you get the big names you are better off when shopping for the client. They are always looking for experienced agents to appoint, just the wait can kill you.

I hope what I am being told here will help the others who are wanting to do this. So many agents have set their spouse, kids or another family member up in an IA but their contracts with the captives are hard to deal with. I suggest, from my experiences, to make sure and have a good relationship with your clients so they will stay with you when you do go IA.

Keep the suggestions coming, I like reading the ideas and taking in the suggestions.

Thom
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby Smalltownagent » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:27 am

Check out Germania, a wonderful company to write for. Allstate was our biggest book and now Germania has overtaken that. Good commissions, good bonus program, good underwriters and company feedback. Germaniainsurance.com

And be careful about Travelers, just found out today they are going direct.... :x
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby FFA » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:56 pm

Depends on what State you are in. If you are in Ill, a good GA can help out plenty. Try Midwest Insurance Brokerage Services out of Arlington Heights.
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby MLight » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:29 pm

Can anyone suggest any good GA in Massachusetts?
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby FFA » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:06 am

Not sure if these folks are Mass, but they are North East coast. I am in Chicago and they work well over the net.

Not sure if their product mix would fill your needs, but its worth a shot.

Smith Bell Thimpson at 800-735-1800. Eric would be the contact.
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby JBOTexas » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:22 am

The best two online markets for Independent Agents are (1) Insurancenoodle (www.insurancenoodle.com) and
(2) Agentsecure (www.agentsecure.com). Both of these have all the standard markets you would ever
need for small commercial and I believe they both have personal insurance as well. Companies like
The Hartford, Zurich, Travelers, Safeco. They do charge a small fee, but it will be well worth it to get started
and have markets. You should also join the Independent Insurance Agency group in your area, or at least
go to a few of their meetings. You will meet underwriters & MGA's galore in your area. I have always been
an Independent Agent..I believe it is better...you have more choices and you don't have to worry about having
your only contract taken away, you will end up with lots of carriers and won't have to worry that the only one you have
has left you high and dry. I have known others through the 30 years I have been in the Insurance business, left
high and dry by the same company you mentioned as well as other Direct Writer/Captive Insurance Companies.
I call that putting all of your eggs in one basket-now that's scary to me!

Good Luck, I know you will do well. :D
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby ParkerH » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:40 am

Smalltownagent wrote:Check out Germania, a wonderful company to write for. Allstate was our biggest book and now Germania has overtaken that. Good commissions, good bonus program, good underwriters and company feedback. Germaniainsurance.com

And be careful about Travelers, just found out today they are going direct.... :x



Travelers going direct? What lines??
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby Porter » Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:41 pm

Check Travelers website. They are going direct with their auto insurance. You can buy online or call Travelers direct.
Always Be Closing!
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Re: Just went IA from Captive - HELP!!!!

Postby Caroline25 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:43 am

Does anyone know of a good cluster type company to join in Arkansas?

Thanks
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