Smart Choice – #8 Agency Partnerships 2019

September 2, 2019

Smart Choice

$108,378,576 2018 Total P/C Revenue

Smart Choice is an agency network of 7,500 independent agency locations across 44 states. The network offers agencies of all sizes opportunities to build their business with limited upfront commitment.

“We not only offer quality market access to a variety of different lines of business, but also offer enhanced profit sharing, training and support, and a partnership that helps agencies establish relationships with quality carriers,” said Andrew Caldwell, president at Smart Choice.

“We bring the power of one of the largest networks in the country and yet still have the relationship and one-on-one attention an individual agency would look for in a partner,” Caldwell said.

Smart Choice offers training and mentorships through its network of 80 territory managers and state directors, access to supplemental products such as agency management systems and discounted E&O programs, and a Smart Start Program for assistance placing personal and commercial risks.

It also offers perpetuation assistance, working with its partners to match agents ready to retire or sell with potential buyers.

There is no upfront cost to join the Smart Choice network and no monthly marketing fees.

“Perhaps, most importantly, agencies are not required to move any of their existing business, or business they write direct, underneath our network, nor do they have to split any commissions on their direct carrier codes,” Caldwell explained. ”

Smart Choice operates off a commission split only on markets an agency obtains through its program. “We also stop taking that commission split at a certain level of earned commission, so agencies will never have to share more than a certain amount of commission in a calendar year,” he said.

Caldwell added that Smart Choice Leadership Agencies – those that reach a commission “cap” obtained by having production over a certain level on a running 12 months basis. – also share in profit-sharing. Those agencies can earn up to 75% of general profit sharing, and usually receive 100% of special short-term incentives directed to Smart Choice by its carrier partners.

Smart Choice Leadership Agents can also compete for annual trips and other special incentives.

Members of Smart Choice remain 100% independent owners. “Our agents’ customers are theirs, always,” Caldwell said.

All carrier appointments obtained directly by the agent are maintained separately from the network.

“Smart Choice does not have any stake in those relationships and agents are not required to move any of their business to appointments under Smart Choice,” Caldwell said.

There are no exit fees if an agency wishes to leave the network.

Member agencies can access several discounted agency errors and omissions (E&O) markets through Smart Choice, however, they can also obtain E&O coverage on their own, through their preferred carrier.

Caldwell says Smart Choice can be a great fit for agencies of any size and age.

“Our network has had four straight years of record growth, both in revenue and agency partnership additions,” he said.

“With a number of different programs for our partners to choose from, we are a great fit for a start-up agency, a medium sized agency, and the largest agencies in the country,” Caldwell added.

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From This Issue

Insurance Journal West September 2, 2019
September 2, 2019
Insurance Journal West Magazine

Agency Partnerships (Aggregators, Clusters & Networks); Professional Liability Directory; Market: Residential Contractors