The decision to join an independent agency network is a critical one for your business – and is influenced greatly by what you want your agency’s future to look like.
Independent agents are, quite simply, the backbone and lifeblood of the P&C insurance industry. It’s not something they do. It’s who they are.
They are the trusted advisors to millions of citizens and business people throughout the U.S. who depend on their valued counsel when it comes to coverage inquiries, and who advocate on their clients’ behalf to insurance markets to ensure the best service possible.
They are often well-known in their community: sponsors of the local little league team, active members of local community boards and social clubs.
They are also fierce entrepreneurs.
Many agency principals will tell you with well-justified pride that they built their businesses from the ground up, working tirelessly for years to build a book of business that affords them the continued freedom to retain their independence and run their agencies precisely how they see fit.
Those victories are often hard-won, especially when it comes to the carrier relationships they’ve cultivated. As any agent will tell you, gaining and maintaining those relationships requires a great deal of effort and maintenance, and the revenue garnered from those efforts has afforded them the lifestyles they currently enjoy.
As a result, the idea of putting any of that hard-earned business – or the principal’s equally valuable reputation – seemingly at “risk” in pursuit of greater success for their agency is a proposition that needs to be considered from every angle.
As savvy businesspeople, those principals have some key questions and some concerns as to whether the potential benefits will exceed what they put into a membership with an independent agency network such as Renaissance Alliance.
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Overcoming the Hesitation to Join an Independent Agency Network
It’s common for successful agency owners to wonder whether they’ll lose their “independence” by becoming part of an insurance agency network. Independence, however, can mean different things to different principals: Some might ask, “Will I risk losing my relationships with my current carriers?” or “Will I end up having to cater to new markets, and have fewer options than I do now in serving my clients?”
Others might wonder, “I’d like to join a network, but will I have to give up control of my agency?” or, “Will my role as the agency’s principal diminish if I join a network? Will I lose control of my business?”
Some principals might hesitate to join an agency network because they’ve heard stories about how such an arrangement didn’t work out for someone else, and might ponder, “Will I get stuck in a network that doesn’t work for me?”
Regardless of their decision to join an insurance agency network, however, at the end of the day many agency principals share the same goal: the desire to see their business endure, and for the fruits of their labor to be passed on to their children and grandchildren. As a result, another commonly asked question is, “Will my agency’s valuation suffer if I join a network?”
Let’s answer those key questions around joining Renaissance Alliance, and what that move can mean for perpetuating the business you’ve worked so hard to build and maintain.
Will I risk losing my relationships with my current carriers?
Agencies that become members of Renaissance Alliance enjoy wider and improved access to a variety of insurance markets, including E&S carriers. They are granted appointments that might otherwise been challenging or extremely difficult to achieve in today’s challenging insurance market, in which size matters more than ever.
What we do not do is tell you which carriers to do business with. You retain full control of all your contracts.
As an agency network, Renaissance recognizes that the insurance industry is, at its core, a relationship business. Our members can maintain the carrier relationships and agreements upon which they’ve built their agencies. What we do is expand the palette of market options for our member agencies and provide them even more options for securing the right coverage for your customers.
New and up-and-coming agencies benefit greatly from these new market options, as do established agencies looking to offer their clients even more choices – and in the process, often better rates – when crafting coverage. Agencies with more sizable books of business can take advantage of higher commissions and overrides paid by our core carrier partners, should they wish to move some of their book to those insurers. But they are under no obligation to do so.
Expanding the spectrum of your agency’s carrier relationships is part of Renaissance’s mission. The decision about which ones to do business with has always been and always will be yours.
Will I have to give up control of my independent agency?
To be an independent agent is to be master of your own fate. Being independent means that all is possible, limited only by your hard work, business acumen and sales talent.
Retaining control of your agency remains one of the key priorities of independent principals, and the benefits offered by Renaissance are built with that goal in mind. Our members run their agencies 100% of the time – not Renaissance. We were built by agents, for agents.
What we offer are the tools to empower your growth and drive more revenue, which adds to the financial strength of our overall agency network and further enables us the leverage to advocate on our members’ behalf for increased commissions, profit sharing, and overrides.
Control of your agency, meanwhile, is retained by you. With Renaissance, the agency principal remains the captain of the ship, allowing you to continue to make the decisions around how your business is managed. We serve as a valuable resource on every front for your agency, from expanded carrier access to technology tools, back-office support, and a variety of other empowering tools designed to make your business more efficient, more connected and more successful than it is now.
Simply put, taking control of your agency is not what Renaissance does. Rather, we provide a full suite of benefits to enable you to accelerate your agency’s success, providing positive financial results for you and our network.
Will I get stuck in an agency network that doesn’t work for me?
One of the reasons agency owners might hesitate to join a network are the stories they’ve heard about another principal who joined one and didn’t get what they were promised.
Sometimes, those stories involved cases in which the principal felt the agency suffered as a result – or worse, they’re now stuck in an unhappy marriage with a network that has disappointed them, bound by long-term contracts that they now wish they never signed.
Not every agency network delivers on its promise. Renaissance does.
Our member agencies grow their premium and revenue at more than 2 to 4 times the average rate. Our team includes more than 80 industry experts in marketing, policy placement, operational support, billing, technology & data analytics, and strategies to drive your agency’s growth.
Renaissance Alliance provides these solutions to help you achieve your business objectives:
- Tools and services to help you grow your top line.
- Market leverage to help you make more, reliable income on the business you already write.
- Discounts and services that create capacity for your team to focus on prospects, customers and growth.
The proof, as always, is in one’s actions – and in our guarantee: You’ll earn more with Renaissance Alliance in the first year (profit sharing and fixed overrides) net of your monthly fee than you would have as a stand-alone agency, or we’ll pay you the difference.
There’s no entrance or exit fee to join Renaissance, and you can leave for any reason with a 180-day written notice.
Join our network and you’ll be able to enjoy all of our growth-enabling capabilities for a year, risk-free.
Zero financial risk, all upside potential for your agency.
Will my agency’s valuation suffer if I join an Independent Agency Network?
The issue of agency valuation is perhaps the biggest one for principals, and for very good reason: Your agency’s book of business is the single biggest, most valuable asset you own. As such, protecting its future is paramount.
Agency owners know that valuations are currently quite high. However, there’s no telling how long that trend will last, and many principals know that not every agency has a solid perpetuation plan. They may have perpetuation ideas for their agency, mind you, but not a solid plan.
Renaissance understands this conundrum and can help in several ways.
Increased premiums and new revenue streams, both of which are enjoyed by our members, are vital for your agency’s future regardless of whether you have a succession plan in place or not. In the event that a family member or another partner is designated to take control and ownership of your Renaissance member agency at some point, he or she will do so with the knowledge that your agency’s financial performance is on the upswing; if your intent is to sell, you’ll be best able to maximize your payout by proving that your premiums and revenue are on an upward trajectory.
In either case, as the agency’s owner, you get to determine its future. Joining Renaissance enables you to see guaranteed growth, which provides inarguable, demonstrable value to the successful business you’ve built – and proves the selling price that you know it’s worth.
Have more questions? We’ve got answers.
Being an independent insurance agent is a mindset that an individual can create an agency from scratch and pilot it to success, based on individual talent and initiative. We understand that mindset – and are avid supporters of the men and women who put it into practice every day.
Joining Renaissance Alliance is a significant undertaking for your business, in that your agency will benefit greatly from the various revenue-driving benefits of your membership.
In summary, joining Renaissance Alliance is the right move for your agency if you wish to:
- Grow premium and revenue at more than 2-4 times the average rate
- Improve customer service, close ratios and retention through additional carrier options
- Reduce service time and burden for your staff
- Stabilize profit sharing
- Reduce expenses
- Increase your agency’s valuation
- Remain 100% independently owned and operated
Most independent agents are perceptive enough to realize that while their independent status provides a positive competitive advantage, it does not guarantee success.
There are multiple successful business relationships to develop and manage in an independent agency, and being an independent agent doesn’t mean going it alone. If anything, successful independence requires more constant relationship-building – and joining the Agency Growth Engine is the ideal strategy for those looking to take the next step forward in their successful evolution.