I posted a blog addressing this subject once before - about four years ago. However, it is so important, I am emphasizing it again.
I refer to them as "Agency Networks" based on my past relationships. They have a lot of other names within the P&C world, such as: Agency Groups, Clusters, Premium Aggregators, Agency Franchises, etc. They serve a very important role in the P&C industry. Choosing the proper agency network for affiliation should provide a solid base for an agency to succeed. These agency networks can be a very effective way for an agency to acquire markets and services that might otherwise be difficult or not likely attainable in the P&C marketplace.
However, when evaluating any of them, you need to ask a number of critical questions and you must receive clear and understandable answers, in writing. Believe it or not, here is one question that I sometimes see overlooked or misunderstood, in the course of an agent’s due-diligence evaluation of the best options for him or her to proceed in building the agency.
You must ask: Who owns the business that I produce as a member of your Network?
Obviously this question is critical but I have known agents who have joined agency networks without asking for clarification about it and have paid the price, as a result.
Make sure that you are totally clear and comfortable about all of the circumstances regarding ownership of the business before you sign a contract. Your business future may hang in the balance!
If you want my list of other questions to ask, please contact me.
Can it be done? I recently read an article in which the author stated that, as an insurance Agency Principal, he feels that he can teach any employee to do almost any task. He added that the real issue is to teach people to care.
Maybe he was in a low mood when he stated this but his point is well-taken, as least as “food for thought”. It might have more to do with creating an atmosphere where “caring” is a key aspect of the workplace culture.
I am not at all sure that “caring” can be taught.