Is an independent agency or direct writer better for you?

By Susan Stropparo, The Glatfelter Agency on March 23, 2018

As a new producer, you'll get more with an independent agency

As a new producer ready to enter the insurance industry, you’ll have to decide who you’d like to work for: an independent agency or a direct writer. Each agency has its own pros and cons, but for me, there was no choice. In my opinion, the benefits of working for an independent agency far outweigh those of a direct writer. Here’s why:

More Room to Move

With an independent agency, you have more options than you do with a direct writer. You are able to negotiate with your carriers as they know you have plenty of choices. Clients know an independent agent is going to do the best by them versus the agent who works for the single company they represent. With a direct writer, there will be rate increases and you, as the agent, will have to sell this. You’ll be unable to move your client to another carrier for a better priced premium.

More Empowerment

As an agent working for a direct writer, you’ll have more control over pricing. But remember, independent agents have more options available to them. Typically, they also have binding authority and can apply up to 25% credit to an account without underwriting approval. This gives them more power.

More Control

You can craft your destiny as an independent agent. It will provide you with a specialty in your industry and will enable you to find the niche markets that you are most comfortable with. If you are working for a direct writer, you have to hit certain goals or you won’t receive bonuses, and you don’t have a choice of what you write.

Regardless of your decision, ask questions.

Do your research. Don’t choose an insurance agency based solely off of their reputation. Here are some questions I've asked regarding agencies in the past that have truly helped me make successful and informed choices:

  • What states do they write and what carriers do they represent?
  • What is their educational reimbursement plan? Do they have a mentor or training program available?
  • What is their compensation method? Is it commission-based? Is it a ramp-up program? Is it a hybrid?
  • What are their expectations? And what happens if you do not meet their expectations?
  • What is the culture of the organization?

Finally, there are different ways each agency interacts with clients, and these are very important to observe. Get clarity over the model that the agency has and make sure it fits your expectations. Find out if this is an agency where your role will only be production, (meaning you bring in the account but then you never visit them or service the risk). These are all important questions that may make or break your time as a producer with the agency of your choice.

By considering each of these items and asking careful questions while being observant, you can help ensure that you place yourself into the right area. Working within the right company can make or break your initial success, and can help set you up for the future. Choose wisely, know what you want, make adjustments as needed and reach for the stars.

Have any other tips for future new producers? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe!

 



Susan Stropparo, The Glatfelter Agency

Susan is a proud wife and mom and is passionate about being heart-healthy as she serves on the board of the American Heart Association. She also enjoys being a big sister to the Distinguished Young Women’s Program. She is a beginner runner and has her first half marathon next month.

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