There are a variety of stories out there about insurance agency aggregators.
Perhaps you’ve heard about a fellow agency owner who felt they lost their independence when they joined an aggregator, or a former colleague complained to you about the astronomical fees they were charged when they decided to leave their agency network.
Maybe you watched a friend begrudgingly sign over ownership of their agency to join an agency aggregator, and you decided right then and there that it wasn’t for you.
However, the truth is that not all agency aggregators are created equal. They possess a wide variety of benefits, structures, expectations, and contract terms.
Here, we’ll debunk some of the most common myths about agency aggregators, providing you the best information possible for deciding whether an agency network is a good fit for you.
Download our free e-book here: The Independent Agent’s Playbook for Success – How to Solve Your Agency’s Five Biggest Challenges
Myth 1: All agency networks are the same
Agency networks are best known for their two core offerings: market access and profit sharing. While most agency aggregators provide these two core benefits, they vary in the other types of services and advantages they provide. This makes it very important to understand a network’s scope of services before considering membership.
Some groups position themselves as essentially nothing more than “commission clubs,” offering just the table stakes of more markets and better profit sharing. But a select few provide comprehensive business services, innovative technology offerings, and true agency support to help your business thrive.
Renaissance is heavily focused on helping agencies grow—not only by growing your revenue, but meaningfully growing your agency’s overall value.
Myth 2: You’ll lose ownership of your agency
Agency merger & acquisition activity is at an all-time high. Chances are, you get regular phone calls from potential buyers interested in discussing the sale of your agency.
While that could be the right decision for some agency owners, it might not be the right decision for you. If you don’t want to sell, a network can be a solid alternative to help you stay competitive.
However, you need to be careful, as some aggregators do take ownership of some or all of your agency as part of their contracts.
Be sure to carefully read the terms to ensure you can remain 100% independent and keep exclusive ownership.
Myth 3: You’ll lose control of your book of business
When researching which network might be your best fit, you will no doubt come across some that will want you to sell your book of business and give up your clients. Unfortunately, many agency owners believe that this is the only way to tap into an agency group’s benefits, and they end up signing over control as a result.
The good news? Not all aggregators will demand that. While some take control over your book of business or agency decision-making, there are groups that allow you to retain complete ownership and control.
At Renaissance, you will always be in control of where to place any piece of business, and free to make the choices that are best for your clients and your agency.
Before seriously considering joining any insurance agency network, get clarity on their policies regarding ownership of your book of business and your agency as a whole, so that you don’t end up surrendering any independence in the process.
Myth 4: It’s expensive to join and impossible to leave
One of the biggest things to pay attention to when signing a contract is the fine print around fees.
It’s true that some agency groups require a high fee to join, and many of them draw up restrictive contracts that make it next to impossible or very expensive for you to get out. It’s very important to pay close attention to the length of the contract, as well as the fine print around buyout and exit fees.
You never want to be in that position. (You’re an independent agency owner, right?) And luckily, you don’t have to be in that position, because not all aggregators have hefty entrance or exit fees that make things more complicated.
We’re one of them.
Renaissance Alliance has no entrance fees or exit fees. All you need to do to leave is to give 180 days notice. That’s it.
What have we learned?
Not all networks are the same, or the right choice for your agency.
But don’t let someone else’s bad experiences or a misunderstanding get in the way of your potential growth. When you can push the rumors aside and do your own deep research, you’re likely to find there’s an agency group that gives you all the things you want without having to sacrifice your independence.
And if what you want is more market access, increased compensation from carriers, technology to help you leverage your agency data, and truly useful services like 1:1 growth consulting, marketing support, commercial lines account placement, back-office processing, employee training, an IT helpdesk and more, Renaissance might just be the right group for you.