How can a new agent obtain appointments?

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How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby MarinerFan707 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:25 am

I am a new agent in Californiaq currently working through the Farmer's reserve agent program. I know all about people's experiences with Farmers and i really have no intention of staying with them. My question is this...should i decide to wrap up my training with Farmers, what is the easiest way to go about obtaining insurer appointments? Any suggestions / opinions are definitely appreciated.
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby bh1950 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:07 pm

Hello Fan:
Just a little background here. I have been in this business for 40 years and I respect your decision to not be a captive. I have oqned two agencies of my own and the Independent way is the onloy way to fly. When your a captive your hands are tied and there is always a hand in your pocket.

The first thing you want to make sure you have is a good business plan that depicts a good marketing strategy. When you start to talk to markets they will want assurance that you have a plan anjd a strategy in place. Many companies make it difficult for startups but I have found with a good plan and solid strategy many companies will talk with you and open up so to speak. if you shotgun the market place with no Written plan you will be lost. Highlight your experience and where you want to be in 5 years.

Non-Standard auto markets are not too hard to secure and this will give you a starting point. As you build a book and a track record you build credibility with other markets. Many times you will need to turn to an agregator such as Superior Access to get the markets, build the book and then secure your own markets.

On the commercial side good relationships with stable MGA's are a good way to build a book and a track records. MGA appointments are are fairly easy to nail down but again have a plan and a strategy. You will find the MGA relationships very helpful with commercial risks.

I have done this twice in CA where I am now and once in Florida and it takes a little time but gets easier as you build relationships and a book.

Hope this helps
Bill
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby MarinerFan707 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:24 pm

Thanks Bill-

I definitely appreciate the input. I do have the plan, working on the marketing strategy (all while holding down a full time director level accounting position).

I just need to find a starting point so i can gradually build the business the way I want to, not the way some company wants me to.

Again thanks for the input.
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby sacman » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:47 pm

Mariner,

Bill has offered sound advice.
It will be difficult, but not impossible to get appointments as a new agent.
Non-standard auto carriers will be your best bet initially.

Another option is to join an Independent Agency as a sub producer.
You will take a commission split, but not have the responsibility of overhead.
You can negotiate a buyout of your book of business so that after a year or two you can leave, take your book, and have a greater liklihood of getting your own appointments with carriers. Especially with those companies that you have been using as a sub-producer and taking their business with you.

This can be a very lucrative industry, but you DO have to pay your dues.
The majority of successful agents had a couple of very lean years before the tide started to turn.
Be patient, honest, professional and don't be tempted by "shortcuts" and your perseverence will pay off.

SACMAN
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby Cindy Blazer » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:48 pm

You have already been given some great advice, and I would like to offer some more immediate help. I am with Monarch E&S Insurance Services, we are an MGA/Surplus Lines broker with binding contracts with over a dozen A rated companies. I would love to send you our producer kit that includes information on what we write and our producer agreement. We can start quoting your accounts in no time. Drop me an email at cindyb@monarchexcess.com and/or give me a call at 818-249-0100 x 223.
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby gregcw » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:44 pm

MarinerFan707 - I left FIG in 1989 after seven years. I've been in the business for 29 years now. In general I agree with all of the posts here. I have one other additional recommendation if you have the wherewithal to strike out on your own. If you are looking for a preferred market, you might want to contact a regional carrier like Mercury Insurance. They may be more open to appointing an agent with fewer years of experience as an Independent Agency than the national carriers like MetLife, Hartford or Travelers. When I left FIG I had several non-standard auto companies as well as a couple of specialty companies. At his point in your career and with the direction that FIG appears to be taking I would suspect that is not true in your case. I initially appointed with two regional companies and as the agency grew I was able to appoint with some National carriers like MetLife.

One other suggestion is to work towards and obtain a professional designation like Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC). This will make you more attractive to companies.
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby mhutch69 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:03 pm

Mercury will NEVER appoint you. So forget them.

Stay with MGA's and contact Monarch and others for commercial.

As stated above, it takes time to build a successful business in insurance or any other line of work. So, good luck and plan on working long hours.

that is what we all did and still mostly do.
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby wariline » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:19 pm

Mercury appointment is difficult to get. You'll probalby have better chance with some National carriers such as Traveler's or Hartford. Also, some preferred carriers sometimes loosen up on appointments for a short period of time. You'll need to keep yourself informed and make sure not to miss those oppotunities.
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby rodgwag » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:24 pm

Mercury is easier to get than Travelers, The Hartford or Safeco. That said, the big three are better to have in the long run.
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby briand » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:22 pm

You could also look in to providers such as insurance noodle, secure access etc... there are also wholesalers out there, like appalachian underwriters, that will give you access to several national carriers for personal lines with no volume committment and a chance to earn a direct appointment once you're able to build up your volume. Best of luck to you!
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby robbiem » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:10 pm

We have both admitted and non admitted makets and are very user friendly. Alot of our brokers work from home, so you will have access to the underwrtier when others are not available or hard to reach.

Please feel to contact me with any particular risk that you are working on. If for some reason we cannot offer terms, we can use our referral system to get you to a market that specializes in the type of risk you have. We have a network of people that we work with and generously shae this information with our retail core of agents.


Regards
Robbie McKiney, CIC
R E. Chaix & Assoc.
robbiem@rechaixinsurance.com
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby tmanning » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:49 pm

Depending on where you are located, you might want to look into a cluster. Clusters can you get you direct appointments.
There are all different types, some with direct access, some with central marketing.
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby AgencyEquity » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:49 pm

It is very difficult for a very new agency, most especially if you have not been licensed for very long, to get independent agency appointment. One way around this is to join an insurance agency cluster organization (also networks, franchises, or alliances) as they arrange for insurance carrier appointments, profit sharing, and a number of other benefits you would not have on your own. If you use the “wholesale distribution system” in many cases you will not get the best policy terms and you must share commissions. You can find a list of cluster organizations at my website http://www.agencyequity.com along with information on how to start an independent agency.
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby cheryzune » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:49 am

I agree. New agents find it very hard to get appointments. Most want quick ROI without the overhead of time, training and costs. Having said that it's not impossible, just keep knocking and you will eventually find something.

Good luck!
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Re: How can a new agent obtain appointments?

Postby michal » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:23 am

to get new appointments is not a very easy one but for having a good Representative you must have good communication skills with good skills you can obtain so many oppointments
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