I recently had a very interesting conversation with Shane Tatum, the President & CEO of Integra Insurance Services, an organization in Texas which provides agency network affiliation for qualified agents and agencies.
While Shane was explaining the Integra prospecting approaches and overall philosophy for determining the quality and experience of agents and agencies that his organization seeks as possible members, he said something that I had not heard before. He stated that they carefully “underwrite” each prospective member before considering them for inclusion into one the two key Integra membership programs.
Action words like ‘vetting’, ‘analyzing’, ‘evaluating’, etc. are most frequently heard in conversations of this nature. However, after hearing Shane describe the Integra “underwriting” approach, I do believe it is most descriptive of the actual process that needs to take place in order for an agency network organization to make the best educated decision as to who should be a member of a network group.
It is well known that traditional insurance underwriting requires knowledge of as much about the proposed insured as possible and the risks to which they may become exposed. This information is needed to make an informed decision as to whether the company wants to provide insurance coverage. Similarly, an agency network should want to know as much as possible about each prospective member. Most do but some are more about quantity than quality. Those that underwrite their prospects are models for the others. As an agent or agency seeking an agency network group to join, look for the groups that make you feel as though you are being subjected to an underwriting process. It will be to your advantage, in the long-run.
A written marketing that is well-developed will prepare you to be effectively underwritten.