As an independent agent, getting appointed with a commercial insurance carrier is key. It’s a great way to build your book, after all. But It’s not always easy for new agents.
Most established insurance companies prefer agents with a few years’ experience. They want to see you have a proven track record and an existing book of business, too.
So if you’re a newly licensed agent, how do you go about getting appointed? Don’t worry, it’s difficult, but not impossible. And we’ve got some tips to help you.
First, we’ll explain:
- What an insurance carrier appointment is
- What to look for in an insurance carrier
- How to get appointed
We’ll also give you a heads up on a way to get all the benefits of commercial insurance carrier appointment, without the hassle.
What is an insurance carrier appointment?
Also called an insurance company, or insurer, an insurance carrier:
- Creates insurance policies
- Decides what the policy will cover and what it won’t
- Sets the limits on what they’ll pay out if there’s a claim
- Takes on responsibility for the policyholder’s risk
- Pays claims
Insurance carriers can only offer the policies they create. And they’re strictly regulated by the government to ensure they have the funds to cover the risk they take on.
Now, being an insurance agent means you’re licensed to sell and service policies created by insurance carriers. And if you’re appointed with an insurance company, it means you’re authorized to sell their insurance products to your customers in states where you’re licensed.
An appointment is basically a contract between you and the carrier. It lays out which policies you can sell and the amount the carrier will pay you for each policy you sell.
What to look for in a carrier selling commercial insurance
Before you apply for an insurance carrier appointment, do your research. If you’re successful, you’ll be in a working relationship with them. They’ll do their due diligence on you and your agency.
But it works both ways. You want to make sure they’re a good fit for your business too.
Of course, first check the company is taking on new agencies. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time and theirs by applying.
It’s worth checking their AM rating too. It’ll give you an idea of the company’s financial stability. But don’t panic if they don’t have one. They might be a subsidiary of a larger firm. Or had a name change.
You also want to find out:
- How much an appointment will cost
- How long the contract will be
- If they expect you to meet strict sales quotas
- What their customer service is like – for example, how’s their claims handling?
How do you get appointed with an insurance carrier?
Every insurance carrier is different. But as most are looking for a long-term, profitable relationship, they typically look for:
• Several years’ experience in the business
• A proven sales track record showing growth and profit
• An existing book of business
• A solid business plan with a marketing strategy showing you’re committed to growth
They’ll look at your appearance, to make sure you’re a professional-looking operation. And they might also be interested in the technology and platforms you use.
Your business’s location is important too. They’ll want to be sure you have access to the kind of customers they want. Which is why they’ll also ask how many other insurance carriers you represent. So there’s no risk of duplicating markets.
Getting appointed: tips for new insurance agents
If you’re a newly licensed agent, you won’t have a proven track record. But there are things you can do to get that appointment on your own.
Do your research
Research the carrier and the products they offer thoroughly. Check how often they take on new agencies. Read their online reviews and make sure their products fit with your business plans. If they do, tell the carrier.
Review their requirements
Review what the carrier requires and make sure you qualify before applying. They may well do background checks. And ask for proof you have the relevant licenses.
Stand out from the pack
Show the carrier you’re different. That might be in the way you market your agency, or the technology you use.
Have a solid business plan
Show you’re serious about growing your business — and how — by producing a solid business plan. Highlight your experience, your marketing strategy and where you want your business to be in five years’ time.
Build your brand
A well-designed, easy to navigate website, a logo, and a social media presence all help to build awareness. It shows you have presence in the industry and that you mean business.
Keep an eye out for carrier reps at any conventions, training sessions. You could also try looking on LinkedIn for people you could approach for commercial appointments. And if you’ve already spoken to carrier reps, ask them to steer you in the direction of the individuals responsible for agency appointments.
Be friendly, not pushy. You won’t be the only agent contacting them, hoping to get an appointment.
Do the leg-work
Most major insurance carriers tend to look for captive (exclusive) agents rather than independent ones. That means you’ll have to pursue them, not the other way around.
Start networking with carrier representatives. Ask what they’re looking for and tell them what you’re offering. You may not be right for that insurer now, but you might be in the future. So keep in touch.
A commercial insurance appointment through InsuranceBee
There is another, much easier and quicker way to get the benefits of a commercial insurance appointment. With industry-leading insurer, Hiscox.
Sign up to InsuranceBee’s wholesale insurance program. It comes without the high price tag, long term contract and strict sales quotas a direct appointment usually entails.
It’s free to join. And what’s more, you don’t need a direct appointment as we pay your commission.
Sign up to get immediate access to Hiscox. Then you can:
- Quote and bind business insurance online for over 180+ professions
- Get instant coverage for your customers
- Deliver policy documents to customers on the same day
- Earn commission on sales and renewals
There’s no post-bind effort, either, as Hiscox takes care of the servicing and bills your clients direct. Renewals are automatic too. So you can just sit back, relax and earn commission.
carrier appointmentsindependent insurance agents
You’ll find more information on our wholesale program for insurance agents on our website. Or sign up now. The on-boarding process is simple. We’ll have you set up in no time.