Advice on switching to independent

Your response to industry hot topics.

Moderators: Josh, independent guy

Post Reply
Linux
Insurance Journal Fan
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 21, 2018 9:25 am

Advice on switching to independent

Post by Linux » Mon May 21, 2018 9:34 am

Hey everyone, would greatly value any advice from the industry veterans here.

I've been working as licensed staff for captives (state farm, allstate) for over 10 years. I'm seriously considering the switch to an independent, but I don't really know where to begin. I've been making decent money the last few years ($55-65k), but corporate is continuously putting the screws to their agents, who then do the same to their staff. Even writing $30k+ of new premium every month, I never truly feel like my job is safe, and I've got a family to support. There's also way too many underwriting games we have to play to hit production goals, since we obviously don't have the ability to shop multiple carriers. I'd like to be out of that situation.

My issue is that I don't know what I'm even looking for in terms of an independent. Most of the brokerages I'm aware of in the area cater to low-income people and bad drivers. The couple I've been inside of also seem extremely slow. Allstate or State Farm are sort of known sums- how would you suggest I find the brokers worth actually sitting down and interviewing with?

Other than that, how well (honestly) do you imagine the skills from a sales person in a captive environment transfer to an independent? We purchase a lot of warm transfer leads and draw a good bit of interest from people who find us online through the corporate website. I realize this might not be the case in the new environment.

Like I said, any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

d's insurance store
Insurance Journal Addict
Posts: 348
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:04 am

Re: Advice on switching to independent

Post by d's insurance store » Mon May 21, 2018 10:26 am

You don't list an origin location, so it's hard to draw any firm conclusions from your plea for advice.

I refuse to believe that EVERY retail insurance broker in your area just caters to non-standard auto for financially challenged consumers. If these are the only agencies YOU'RE aware of, then you've got some heavy duty blinders on.

If you can sell and service in the retail insurance field, then you're in demand...somewhere.

There's no magic, 'job in a box' formula anywhere. Research the skills necessary for job switching, compile a list of your attributes and get to work finding retail agencies that are likely out of walking distance from your home and start with making appointments for 'informational interviews'. Decide if you're future lies in personal or commercial lines. Figure out if you're a producer or a CSR type.

As a refugee from the captive world, I can surmise that it is a limited view universe, where rules and processes and products are somewhat restrictive, but provides a product offering for a broad swath of consumers. Rates are, of course, limited to what the home office actuaries dictate and there's not much competitive shopping allowed. You either can offer a good rate and win business or you move on. Migrating to an independent world can offer a more targeted and specialized marketplace, but with a broader range of product options.

Linux
Insurance Journal Fan
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 21, 2018 9:25 am

Re: Advice on switching to independent

Post by Linux » Mon May 21, 2018 11:54 am

Thank you for the reply. I'm in California, if that helps.

I'm sure that there are good independents in my area who aren't servicing the substandard market; its just a minority and I'm having a hard time locating them, at least with the causal searching I've started to do.

wariline
Insurance Journal Addict
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: Advice on switching to independent

Post by wariline » Mon May 21, 2018 3:45 pm

You can probably start by looking at which carriers the brokers have direct appointment - either through its website or DOI's website. If the broker has multiple carriers that typically only write preferred risks/Good driver policy, such as Safeco/Travelers/Metlife/Kemper Preferred, then there's a good chance they target preferred markets.

ziiqui
Insurance Journal Enthusiast
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:39 am

Re: Advice on switching to independent

Post by ziiqui » Tue May 22, 2018 11:59 am

Contact Bill Kinney with SIAA @626-441-7000

ocbroker
Insurance Journal Enthusiast
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Advice on switching to independent

Post by ocbroker » Tue May 22, 2018 2:39 pm

My advice would be to reach out to a handful of local marketing reps for preferred carriers and ask them for recommendations. Any marketing rep worth his/her salt should be able to rattle off a list of 5 nearby agencies with strong reputations.

If you don't have any existing connections or know where to find those people, Linked In is not a bad way to start. Although you would be making a cold intro, a good marketing rep should see the value in stepping up to help. Making a good connection adds value to their existing agency relationship and earns them a potential ally (you) who can send them business down the road.

Post Reply