Running an independent agency can be rewarding and profitable, but it isn’t always easy. It’s not just the competition – although that can be fierce. It’s also the fact that there are a lot of moving parts that go into securing coverage for your clients. Without the right resources, there’s only so much that an individual broker or a small team can do. Thankfully, being independent doesn’t have to mean that you’re on your own. By joining a network, you can leverage relationships to achieve better outcomes.
THE CHALLENGES THAT INDEPENDENT BROKERS FACE
Independent brokers face competition from other – often larger – agencies, as well aggregators, direct writers, and direct-to-consumer ecommerce sites. To succeed, you must stand out.
The 2022 Independent Insurance Broker Survey from National Underwriter (NU) and PIA found that 84.5% of brokers say that they use relationships to differentiate themselves from their direct competition. The survey also found that 83.1% of brokers use service to differentiate themselves from their direct competition, 69.5% reply on expertise, 59.1% rely on advice, 43.8% rely on coverage and 30.6% rely on choice. Additionally, 77.7% of respondents said that education is an important or even indispensable part of their agency’s success.
It’s not surprising that relationships topped the list. The relationships that broker build with clients are essential to sales growth, client retention and referrals – but these aren’t the only relationships that matter.
Relationships between brokers and other insurance professionals can be equally important. That’s because these relationships can provide brokers with the support and direct access, they need to tackle other key elements of success, like expertise, coverage and choice.
For newly independent brokers, getting carrier access is typically the biggest hurdle. Carriers want you to prove yourself before they’ll work with you, but it’s hard to prove yourself when you can’t offer clients the insurance products they need.
With network support, you can gain access to top carriers as well as exclusive programs. Working with a network is the best way to make sure you can give your clients “options” to all the insurance products they need.
Getting access to a carrier is only the first step. You also need to get your client underwritten and approved for binding. For high-risk clients, this can be challenging, especially when insurers are adding exclusions, lowering limits, and rejecting more applications. If you can’t secure the coverage your clients need, they’ll look elsewhere for help.
As an independent broker, you might not have the relationship that you need with every carrier to understand their risk appetite and navigate the process. When you work with a network that provides underwriting support, you don’t have to – the network has your back.
Heffernan Network assigns each Affiliate agency a Client Relationship Manager – A dedicated resource that can help navigate ever evolving market appetites, as well as the strategies needed to win an account. Not getting the attention or coverage needed from your underwriter. We can leverage our enterprise relationship with carriers to apply credits, improve coverages, and offer the most competitive commission structures.
The insurance market is constantly evolving, creating new hurdles to overcome. As you grow your agency, you’ll likely expand into new lines and markets or specialize in new niches. No matter how longer you’ve been in the insurance industry, there’s always something new to learn.
Your clients count on you for expertise, but the reality is that you can’t know everything. Just as they turn to you for help, sometimes you need someone to turn to. A network can provide the expertise that you need to navigate complex issues and take on large accounts.
Many Heffernan Network agencies take advantage of our ‘Fully Outsourced’ solution, which allows brokers to refer insureds to us to place coverages outside of their core competency. John Nielsen, who runs an Employee Benefits agency explains, “Commercial Lines Fulfilment Executive, Marissa Valdez, has been amazing, helpful, and super responsive to my [referred] customers needing Worker’s Compensation and other commercial products I don’t specialize in.”
The 2022 Independent Insurance Broker Survey found that many brokers are embracing digital tools. In fact, 70.9% of brokers say they can use digital tools to build trust with clients.
Adoption of new tech tools may be a very smart move. Technology is streamlining insurance processes. If you adopt cutting-edge tech, you can gain an advantage and make work easier for yourself. If you don’t adopt new tech, you risk falling behind.
At the same time, figuring out which technology to embrace can be overwhelming. You want real innovation and improvement, not just gimmicks. A network can provide access to proven digital tools that will help you succeed. Heffernan Network’s President, John Prichard Jr., is a member of Broker Tech Ventures, the accelerator and convener of broker-centric innovation, ideation, investment, and communication for the global insurance ecosystem.
LEVERAGING THE HEFFERNAN NETWORK
Heffernan Network is a wholly owned subsidiary of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, one of the largest independent agencies in the country. Heffernan Network is looking to grow its membership with independent insurance brokers with at least 3 years of independent experience, and the desire to grow their agency. Heffernan Network understands the challenges you face and has the support you need to succeed.
When you partner with Heffernan Network, you get everything you need – exclusive programs (restaurants, non-profits, assisted living, janitors, cannabis, real estate, and much more), underwriting advocacy, access to cutting-edge tech tools and unparalleled support – All while retaining your independence. Get the results you deserve by securing network support and leveraging relationships.
Are you ready to join the Heffernan Network? Start a conversation