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.