By Kate Ranta on Jun 15, 2015 4:00:00 PM
Many insurance brokers with an entrepreneurial spirit and attitude find tremendous satisfaction from leaving their agency and starting their own broker business. As an independent broker, you gain autonomy and control over your workday without needing to deal with the corporate hassle.
Starting your own brokerage firm, however, is no small feat. To get you started, here are the basics of starting your own broker business:
- Narrow it down: Running your own brokerage means you can select any carriers you want to provide. It's a good idea to narrow your carriers down in these early days while you're still figuring out ways to make the whole process more efficient.
- General agent: Once you have narrowed down the carriers you want to represent, contact those carriers to explain your new situation and find out what they need from their general agents. You will want to speak with someone in the licensing or agent appointment department. Ask for a general agent kit so you can have the information on hand and review it for each carrier.
- Clients: You’ll want to tell your current clients about your plans to launch your own business. Perhaps your most loyal ones will come with you, and encourage those in their network to do the same. Word of mouth about how good you are goes a long way.
- Office: You're going to need some good office space to work from and meet with clients. Ideally, your office will have (at a minimum) a personal office for you, a lobby/waiting area, and a conference room that is large enough for six people to sit comfortably in. There are a lot of variables to think about when you're shopping for office space. Locating yourself somewhere in town that's convenient for people to get to is always a perk, but those spaces generally come at a higher cost than offices that are more out of the way. You'll maximize walk-in potential by situating yourself in a downtown area. Make sure you have nice office furniture and that your office is comfortable and appealing when people step into it.
- Get some help: You're going to need an assistant to take care of much of the administrative tasks involved in running your own brokerage. Find someone who is knowledgeable about the industry who can assist in making and answering phone calls, scheduling meetings and running the day-to-day office tasks.
- Advertise: All of this work won't pay off if people don't know your brokerage exists! Start advertising through different media forms. Online, print, social media and direct mail advertising—and even TV and radio—all have benefits. You should also create a web page for your business. Unless you have extensive experience building webpages, it is best to pay a professional to create and maintain your website.
These steps should give you an idea of what to expect from breaking out and opening your own brokerage. While stepping out on your own will take some time, money and adjusting, in the long run it can reap the benefits of full autonomy and the opportunity to do exactly what you want to do every day.