Business Advice

Single Producer to Agency Owner

Episode Summary

In a recent podcast, David Ireland provided expert insights on building a successful insurance agency from the ground up. He outlined key steps agencies should take when first starting, how to structure the business properly, recruiting strategies to find top agents, and best practices for long-term growth and profitability.

Ideal First Hires
David recommends that new agencies recruit 1-2 experienced agents as their first hires. Look for agents who have large books of business from renewals, as this provides them with a steady income while also bringing built-in revenue to support the fledgling agency. These experienced agents can lean on their years in the industry to provide knowledgeable support as the agency scales. Focus initial recruiting efforts on people you already have relationships with for the best results.

Structuring Your Agency
Forming a limited liability company (LLC) is advised to properly structure income and manage taxes as the agency grows. Partnering with an established brokerage when starting provides important support services to agents in exchange for the brokerage taking a small override on carrier commissions. However, David notes that these overrides are much smaller than street-level commissions. He suggests leveraging the brokerage at first but developing a unique value proposition and services over time so the agency isn't just a pass-through for the brokerage’s offerings.

Starting Small
Trying to scale too quickly right off the bat is unwise - it's better to start small and be strategic. Bring on just those 1-2 trusted experienced agents at first and let them help formalize processes, services, and recruiting strategies for the agency. Set clear goals, develop a plan for recruiting new agents, and consider hosting local informal meetups to start networking. Leverage resources like the brokerage's contact center for outbound recruiting once processes are in place.

Building Expertise
David emphasized the importance of gaining hands-on experience in the agency role before trying to rapidly expand. This allows agency owners to become true experts in key areas like goal setting, sales training, mentoring, and driving production. Top agents are attracted to agencies that can support their growth and help them advance their careers. Become a true partner and resource beyond just providing the brokerage basics.

In summary, lead with expertise and provide real value to agents. Take time to formalize processes and develop a support structure before pursuing rapid growth. Follow these best practices from the outset to build a successful and profitable insurance agency.


(0:00:00) - David Ireland shares his advice on how to start and scale an insurance agency
(0:00:45) - Who's a good candidate for building an agency? Generally, it's a seasoned agent
(0:01:59) - Starting an agency is the natural next step to scale. And it can be hard. It's not get rich quick
(0:06:39) - You make your commissions and hopefully those commissions exceed your monthly bills
(0:07:47) - Let's talk about Medicare Advantage specifically because then that'll help with numbers
(0:10:31) - You get an override on the business that your downline agents write
(0:12:29) - Different levels are depending on size of your agency
(0:15:17) - We are pre-qualifying what a good candidate is for building an agency
(0:16:54) - David: Your specialty is helping people scale up their agencies
(0:17:18) - When you're a producing agent, you're generally writing business as an individual
(0:22:35) - You might want to do this agency as sort of a succession plan
(0:25:15) - How do we start to bring people into the business and build this agency
(0:28:15) - You need to have your value proposition when recruiting new agents
(0:32:39) - We are always doing our own recruiting outbound and inbound as well
(0:35:15) - All right, so hope this helped you guys. And I do want to close by also saying that we're always taking on new agencies
(0:36:02) - Building an agency is an incredible way to scale your income as an insurance broker

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