Insurance license requirements vary by state but generally include official fingerprints, fees, a background check and a test. Prospective agents will need to invest some money and considerable energy to complete all of the requirements.
When the state license arrives in the mail, agents should pat themselves on the back for investing in a potentially lucrative career helping people protect their loved ones and most valuable assets. Still, all newly licensed agents must do one more thing before they’re ready to market insurance products.
Licensed agents need appointments from insurance companies. Insurance company appointments mean that the carrier has authorized the agent to represent it. Unauthorized agents can’t get paid and might even find themselves in legal trouble.
Thus, insurance agents need to prepare for this challenge just as they prepared for their licensing test. This introduction to getting appointed with insurance carriers will walk you through the process. New and many experienced agents should find this overview helpful.
Is it more challenging to learn how to get appointed with property and casualty insurance companies as an independent agent? Independent insurance agents typically advertise that they can help customers compare multiple policies from several highly rated companies to find the perfect match.
Offering to help clients shop around can provide a competitive advantage over agents with only one company to promote. Still, independent agents need to work harder to familiarize themselves with and get appointments from multiple companies. Learning how to get appointed as an independent insurance agent can prove trickier than the process for captive agents.
In contrast, captive agencies generally recruit and train agents to only sell products from one insurance company. Thus, captive agents may gain in-depth knowledge of one company but cannot market a competitor’s products. Sometimes, even experienced agents face obstacles in qualifying for direct appointments with insurance companies on their own. However, following some best practices can make the appointment process faster, simpler and more efficient.
First, determine which insurance companies offer products that can help the clients you hope to serve. This task means you need to think about your likely client base. Basic customer demographics could include homeowners, drivers, income and age ranges, small business owners or residents of local communities. Some narrower targets include people who own classic cars or high-value houses.
You can find carriers with products that appeal to a wide range of customers or a particular market niche. Take this list of insurance companies and dig a little deeper to answer critical questions such as:
After deciding which carriers will fit your business plans well, you should also find out if they will accept you. Naturally, all insurance companies require an active license and will probably want you to have E&O insurance. Insurers may also impose production requirements over the next one to three years, and they’ll want to know how you plan to meet these quotas.
Remain wary about high production requirements. Stress over meeting quotas can sometimes impact an agency’s ability to offer the best solution for clients. Some companies may want to see your business plan to understand how you plan to market their products. An online presence and other demonstrations of your selling ability can also help, especially for newer agents.
Most companies offer online applications. Take the time to complete each section as thoroughly and honestly as possible; never mislead the company about your experience or financial situation. If the company declines your application, you can always try again, however, insurance companies excel at uncovering information. Lying on an application can close the door to that carrier forever.
The insurance company will contact you to inform you of the next steps. Sometimes, the application will offer enough information for the company to approve your appointment, and you may receive a prompt approval notice. In other cases, the insurer will ask for more information about specific answers or request an interview. The company may want to review your business plan as well. A company may approve qualified agents within several days, but this process can sometimes take a few weeks or months.
Companies often offer free product training, and a few insurers require it. This training gives agents more in-depth education about insurance policies. It may also provide essential compliance training to help agents avoid violating company or government rules. Insurance companies generally also offer other resources, such as marketing materials and applications. If a specific insurer doesn't send information about the agent resources they provide with the appointment notice, ask about it.
Insurance companies usually offer plenty of support and resources for their appointed agents. At the same time, the insurers that offer the most valuable assistance may also impose strict guidelines to limit the number of agents because of the investment involved. Thus, newer agents may struggle to obtain critical appointments. Even some established but smaller agencies may face the same obstacles.
However, even the greenest agents can consider a few tactics to increase the odds of swift approval appointments. These strategies may include:
Renegade Insurance allows agents to work for themselves rather than by themselves. Highlights of partnering with Renegade include access to dozens of appointments with top-rated carriers, industry-leading commissions, post-sales support, automated billing and claims processing and competitive quotes at your fingertips. These services will let you focus on gaining new customers to grow your agency faster than you could alone. Find out how to become an agent to enjoy the Renegade advantages as soon as possible.