Any ideas how to open a insurance agency in NC?
I am very interested in opening a agency in High Point. Can you give me any pointers and details of how i should go along this? i would greatly appreciate your help and any ideas you give me.
- Margarita DLv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
Depending on your state's specific requirements, you will probably at least need your P & C (property & casualty) license as an agent & a separate P & C license as a broker if you want to write excess or surplus markets (this license also usually requires a bond). Many states will also require that you obtain E & O (Errors & Omission or Professional Liability) Insurance--the insurance companies will require this to give you a contract or appointment even if the state doesn't require it. You will also need a Certificate of Occupancy for your office space and in some states they also require that you obtain a Basic Business License and that you obtain a state tax registration number for use in filing Property Taxes, Annual Reports, etc. You will also need to obtain a Federal Identification Number to be able to open a bank account (and depending on the state requirements you might have to open two bank accounts--one for Premium/Escrow funds where you keep clients monies and the second one for your operating funds), report unemployment tax, pay Federal withholding taxes, etc. You will need to register the name with the insurance licensing department or commissioner's office. You can check with an attorney and your accountant to figure out the best way to form your agency, i.e. partnership, LLC (Limited Liability Company) or Corporation--there are pros and cons to each.
Since you live in North Carolina, I would approach Erie Insurance since they are very willing to appoint scratch agents and Travelers Insurance Company (https://apps.travelers.com/corporate-inf%E2%80%A6 is another company I would definitely approach for a contract. Since I do not live in North Carolina. I don't know about other companies but I would look into a good regional company, a sub-standard auto carrier like Progressive & get a contract with a surplus lines or substandard wholesale broker.
The most important requirement will be for you to obtain the appointments or contracts from the insurance companies so that you are able to market and sell their products. Without a good company to give you a contract, it will be very difficult if not impossible to be successful. In order to obtain the contracts, I suggest that you start on a Business Plan including a Marketing Plan, Mission Statement, SWOT analysis, etc. Once you have this done you can approach insurance companies that you are interested in representing and go through the steps necessary to convince them that you want an appointment and will be able to successfully and profitably market and sell their policies.
Also FYI starting a "scratch" agency is not easy. Be prepared for 60 to 70 hour work weeks, cold calling, etc. One more point, in my opinion it is better for you to have an independent agency than obtain a contract with an exclusive company. In the current financial market I would not one to put all my "eggs" in one basket by representing only one company--apart from the fact that with some exclusive companies they actually own your "book of business" (the client roster) not you. Essentially that means that they can terminate your contract and keep all the clients that you developed!
When I first started my business, I dropped off flyers in Church parking lots during services, at parking lots for grocery stores, home improvement stores, etc. I also did volunteer work with a lot of the advocacy programs here and since people met me and saw me as someone willing to sincerely help people I got a good reputation and they would send me clients. I dropped off flyers and business cards and spoke with the owners of all the local businesses. I also dropped off specialized flyers that are made so that they can hang off a doorknob in neighborhoods that I wanted to do business, etc.
Also join whatever networking groups you can. I am in the Mid-Atlantic Region and here we have a group called BNI (Business Networking International) only one person from each industry can be represented in the group (i.e. one home improvement contractor, one commercial real estate agent, one residential real estate agent, one mortgage broker, one banker, one accountant, one property casualty insurance agent, one life agent, one group benefits agent, one commercial furniture sales person, one printer, one computer person, etc.). The group meets on a weekly basis to get to know each other, know each others businesses and give each other referrals. Look up BNI on the Internet, but if you don't have this type of group, I suggest you start one. This is a wonderful way to get real referrals not just leads and also make excellent business and social contacts. Also check into other business groups for networking such as your local chambers of commerce, etc. Do not waste too much money on advertising since it does not work as well as actual networking and the other methods I have mentioned.
The most important thing to remember is to treat each of your clients as if he or she is that million-dollar accountSource(s): Certified Insurance Counselor, Licensed Insurance Agent & Broker for over 29 years.
- GambitLv 71 decade ago
If you have to ask how open up an insurance brokerage/agency, then you are not ready to open an insurance brokerage/agency. Besides proper licensing, registration and contracts with insurers to represent them (they're not going to sign with a newbie with no experience), there are a lot of intangibles that you can only learn from experience (personnel, continuing education requirements, proper bookkeeping to meet regulatory requirements, etc). You would be way better off getting a job with a current brokerage/agency, learn the ropes in and in a few years you might be ready to open your own.
- AnonymousLv 71 decade ago
If you have no idea how to open one, the first thing you should do, is get a job IN an agency, and learn all about the business that way.