Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc., CMGA

Helping Independent Insurance Agents Since 1996

How to Grow your Independent Agency | Business Tips for Insurance Agents

Published on October 27, 2016

In a world where big national insurance companies have marketing budgets that can afford superbowl commercials, it might feel like your independent insurance agency doesn’t have the resources necessary to really grow your business.

BUT, according to the Accenture Independent Agent Survey, of all P&C Insurance premiums, 58% are earned by independent agencies. That means you’re in the majority, and if you want to grow your slice of that pie even larger, we have some tips.

In an article on PropertyCasualty360.com, Barry Seigerman (a producer for People’s United Insurance Agency, Hartford, Conn., who built a multimillion dollar agency from the ground up) shares some tips for success. He says one of the “secrets” to growing your business is to be creative and open to new ideas “Look at every encounter as an opportunity,” he says. “Everyone is a potential partner, employee or prospect for insurance.”

Here are 2 main ways you can grow your independent agency:

1. Continually hire the right employees.

The first step in an agency’s growth process is hiring and retaining the best employees available. But where do you find them? How do you recruit the next generation into an industry that has a reputation for being staid and boring?

“Look for people who can do what you can’t do,” advises Seigerman. “If you’re good at sales, hire someone with underwriting and technical skills.” He believes that professional designations aren’t strictly necessary. Instead he asks, “What’s your experience?” and “What can you bring to the table?”

Seigerman points out that everyone goes to the same places looking for talent. Try to think outside the box for where to find potential employees. He specifically points out the under-used channel of going to groups who help recently returned veterans find employment.

Wherever you find your next employee, try to expand your team’s talent with each hire. Diversify your expertise.

2. Get serious about social media marketing.

Internet word-of-mouth and social media campaigns play a huge role in the ways that consumers evaluate their current and prospective insurance agents. Millennials, especially, trust their friends, families and strangers on social media when weighing insurance products and carriers, according to Accenture’s report, “The digital insurer: Unleashing the potential of social media in insurance.”

But considering that your clients and prospects surf a plethora of social media sites, establishing and maintaining a social media presence that’s tailored to each site can seem daunting—and in actuality, it is. But the challenge isn’t insurmountable.

Paradiso Insurance in Stafford Springs, Conn., started its social media presence in 2008. The agency has three employees—two full-time and one part-time—to oversee its Facebook (3,170 followers), Twitter (2,700 followers), LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest pages.

The agency brings in about $24 million in premium annually, but has grown 50% during the last four years. So, when owner Chris Paradiso says that all independent agencies can boost agency growth through social media, he knows what he’s talking about—and he knows how to do it.

Regardless of which platforms you choose to establish a presence, it’s important to have the right people watching you, Paradiso says. “I post a lot about my kids [on social media]. Why do I do that? Because I insure families.”

Start with what you know. If you know how to get people lower insurance rates, post about that. If you know that many people are under-insured and lack proper coverage on their homes, share helpful information about that. If you have kids and your clients do too, post about that.

As you find what your clients connect to most, you’ll hone your social media marketing skills. But overall, that is a place where you need to have a presence because if you do, people will refer you to their friends or search for you to verify what kind of an agency you are.

There are many ways to grow your business, but these two are big ones that you can’t afford to ignore. To read the full article, click here.

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Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc. is a California wholesale insurance broker (CMGA) that has licensing and expertise to place business in both admitted and non-admitted markets for personal lines insurance and commercial lines insurance in California and surrounding areas.

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