A Checklist for Captive Agents Transitioning to Independence

Many captive agents dream of transitioning to independence and running their own book of business. Becoming an independent agent comes with many benefits, including the freedom to run your business the way you like, the ability to offer a wider range of insurance products and services, and the opportunity to earn more money.

However, if you’re thinking about transitioning from a captive to an independent agent, it’s important to have all your ducks in a row. Read on for your checklist for transitioning to independence. Should you have any questions afterward, feel free to contact our team at Good Life Insurance Associates.

Being a captive agent provides you with income stability. While your paycheck may vary based on the commissions you earn, you also likely earn a stable base pay that you can always count on. You lose that stability when you become an independent agent.

Have Proper Startup Capital

Essentially, you are starting a small business. And truthfully, many small businesses fail in their first year; the top reason they do so is that they aren’t properly funded.

Having proper capital on hand is one way to “insure” yourself before you transition to independence. In many cases, this capital will be used to fund startup costs and customer acquisitions while also serving as income during the process of building your book of business.

Notify Your Current Clients

Before you officially transition out of being a captive agent, it’s important to notify your current clients. Keep in mind that you may be prohibited from soliciting them as clients as many employment contracts include a non-compete clause. However, you can build goodwill with both your current clients and your insurance company by helping them transition to a new agent. While you may not get any immediate business out of these efforts, you may set yourself up for future clients should they ever decide to leave your previous firm.

Create a Detailed Business Plan

Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” These are wise words to keep in mind before launching your own business.

Before you get started, create a detailed business plan to serve as a roadmap for your journey from launch to established business. While you won’t be able to predict everything that comes up along the way, you will still be able to use this plan as a strong foundation in your journey to independence.

Secure Contracts with Insurance Carriers

One of the biggest benefits of being an independent agent is the ability to offer your customers products from multiple insurance carriers. To do this, you’ll need secure contracts with the insurance carriers so you have the right to sell their products.

Or, you can choose to make things less complicated by joining a national independent insurance agency like Good Life Insurance Associates. Here, our agency offers access to over 90 top-rated carriers.

Sometimes, it helps to not do all the heavy lifting alone. As an independent agent with an agency like GLIA, you can stand behind a strong and trustworthy name while also enjoying the perks of having your own book of business.

Often, experienced IMOs like GLIA also provide countless benefits, including a complete toolbox for marketing, sales, training support, and more.

Market Your Services

After you’ve secured contracts with insurance carriers, it’s time to prospect. The advantage of being an independent agent is that you have the freedom to choose how to market yourself! If you’re looking for more information on successful prospecting with creative strategies, read our blog on Effective Lead Generation Strategies for Independent Insurance Agents!

Consult with Experts Who Have Successfully Transitioned to Independence

The checklist above is by no means a complete guide to how to transition from a captive agent to an independent agent, however, it is a general guideline to help you in the beginning stages of planning your next move.

With a new year quickly approaching, are you feeling the urge to make a change? If so, our team at Good Life Insurance Associates welcomes your call. Transitioning from a captive agent to an independent agent is exciting and liberating, but we know it can be a little scary to step outside your comfort zone; that’s what our team is here for. If you’re ready to discover the Good Life, explore our business services and insurance carriers, and contact us today. We can’t wait to help you with this next exciting chapter in life!

Effective Lead Generation Strategies for Insurance Agents

For independent insurance agents, consistent prospecting is one of the most important keys to success. Without a stream of quality leads, building a sustainable client base becomes a challenge that isn’t easy to overcome. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can generate a book of quality leads. To help you in your transition to independence, read on for a list of the most effective lead-generation strategies.

At Good Life Insurance Associates, we want to see you succeed. To learn more about the business support services we provide to financial advisors and insurance agents in our network, contact our team today!

Back to Basics: A Trip Down the Sales Funnel

Most insurance agents are familiar with the sales funnel. For those who aren’t, it’s the journey that customers take when deciding whether or not to purchase a service or good from a company. You would be surprised at how many agents forget to guide their prospects through the buyers’ journey. However, if cultivating leads is proving to be a challenge, it’s important to assess your technique. Remember, quality leads don’t happen overnight. Let’s revisit the basics.

Awareness

During the awareness stage, potential clients are forming their first impression of you. How do you want prospects to perceive you and the services that you offer? At this point in the sales funnel, people are searching for educational resources, insights, and data. It goes without saying that most people these days are finding these resources and insights through Google.

Interest

After the awareness stage, your prospects decide whether or not they want to move forward with investigating your services or products. Remember, always provide a clear path from the awareness stage to the interest stage in your sales funnel. For example, your awareness stage may consist of an educational blog where prospects can find answers to frequently asked questions. At the end of your “awareness resource,” always provide a clear path for prospects to learn more about your services. One way to encourage interest in your prospects may be an offer to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Decision

Following the investigation/interest phase, the prospect has a very good idea of whether or not you are the person that they want to work with. At this point, the prospect has likely spoken with you about your services and what you can provide. During this time, your prospect may be contemplating the pros and cons of working with you. Too many high-quality leads slip away during this time due to bad technique on the insurance agent’s side.

To prevent some of your best leads from slipping away, start every conversation by getting to know your customer and asking about their goals. This will tell you why they scheduled a consultation with you.

 Always write their answers down. And remember to cater your response to each individual prospect. Now is not the time for the elevator speech. If someone is interested in supplemental health insurance, don’t go on a tangent about bundles at the start of the conversation. At this point, you must tell your prospects what you can offer and how you can provide exactly what they are searching for. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Always end your conversation by asking if there are any concerns. This question is often forgotten and many times, quality leads slip away for this reason. Now is the time to address any concerns that your prospect has vs wondering what went wrong if your lead disappears.

At the end of your conversation, it is also wise to send over a follow-up thanking your prospect for their time—but don’t stop there. Information packets are extremely helpful to send along to your client during this time, too, particularly if they wish to speak with their spouse before making a decision.

Action

If a prospect doesn’t decide to go with your services right away, don’t be shy about following up a couple of days after your conversation. At this point, you will know very soon whether or not a prospect will become a customer.

Smart Ways to Cultivate Leads

Start with a Website

Before digging into any other form of digital marketing, you need to begin with a strong website. This is the foundation of all your digital marketing campaigns.

Remember, all digital marketing campaigns should be teasers to entice people to act–and that action, in most cases, will be a trip to your website. Think of the website as the façade of your business. Retail stores in downtown shopping areas spend a lot of time decorating and designing their storefronts because it’s the first thing people will see. Your website acts in the same way.

Google Ads and PPC

One of the most common digital marketing channels for insurance agents is PPC, or pay-per-click, campaigns. The most popular of these is Google Ads. Essentially, you select phrases that people are searching for on Google–for example, “health insurance agent in Charleston, SC.” PPC campaigns can be very effective, but they are costly. Remember, you’re probably not the only one who wants to show up on Google, and that’s why your website is so important. Think: if someone clicks on your ad and it leads to a broken/slow-loading website, you’ve just lost money and a prospect.

You want your ads to turn into leads and that’s what makes your website so important. Before you spend your hard-earned money, make sure that your website is user-friendly, attractive, and easy to navigate.

Build Trust through Education

It is always wise to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and one of the best ways to do that is by providing free educational resources. You may consider publishing whitepapers that people can download on more complex topics, holding webinars and podcasts, producing a regular email newsletter, or even producing YouTube videos. Do what feels best to you, as all of these techniques are effective.

Get Social

What is the use of educational resources if you aren’t sharing them with your current customers and prospects? After investing your time in creating helpful news or resources, get social and share them! Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are free. More importantly, they provide another opportunity for prospects to discover you.

Discover the Good Life

As you can see, there are so many creative and effective ways to generate new leads as an insurance agent, and the above list is only scratching the surface. We understand that all of this information can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be when you have the right support. At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced insurance sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and experienced agents. To learn more about us, remember to explore our business support services. Or, to speak with a member of our team about your journey to becoming an independent agent, contact us today!

Your Complete Guide to Medicare IMOs

Independent insurance agents can grow their business tremendously by selling Medicare plans. However, Medicare can be quite complicated to understand at times, making it challenging to navigate the waters on your own. By working with a trusted Medicare IMO, independent agents can get the support that they need to sell Medicare, while still maintaining the freedom to run their business on their own. If you’re considering selling these plans, it’s important to understand the basics and main plans you can offer clients. Read on for your complete guide.

And, if you’d like to learn more about selling Medicare supplements with Good Life Insurance Associates (GLIA), contact us today!

Medicare 101: What You Need to Know

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that is provided to certain people. People who qualify for Medicare plans include those who are at least 65 years old, certain people younger than that who have disabilities, and people with ESRD, or End-Stage Renal Disease. Medicare has three main parts, known as Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), and Part D (prescription drug coverage). How each plan works and the cost of premiums depends on several different factors.

Research tip: You can find more information on the basics of Medicare on the official government website. Keep in mind that many sales agents are bidding on the search term, “Medicare” in Google. That means that when you search for “Medicare”, the first results that you see at the top of the page are ads created by sales agents. Avoid the unwanted sales calls and remember to ensure that the Medicare website that you visit ends in .gov

Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)

Medicare Part A and Part B are often clumped together as what is known as Original Medicare. Under this option, people pay a deductible at the beginning of each year, paying for services as they receive them. They are then required to pay 20% of the cost of any service that is approved by Medicare.

While Original Medicare covers the majority of the cost of healthcare supplies and services, it doesn’t cover them all. That’s why many people will opt for a Medicare Supplement Plan to cover the remainder of the costs. These plans are called Medigap.

Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies. They are meant to fill the 20% “gap” that remains between what Original Medicare will cover and the full cost of the healthcare services patients need.

Medigap policies are also popular because they will cover some services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover at all. This includes the cost of medical care you may need if you’re traveling outside of the United States. Original Medicare will pay the share of costs for covered services, and then the Medigap plan will pay its share of what is left.

These plans are very popular for people who have Original Medicare, which makes them an essential policy to offer if you’re an independent insurance agent.

Medicare Advantage

People can also opt to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan instead of Original Medicare. These plans are approved by Medicare by are offered by a private company. In most cases, Medicare Advantage plans will offer a bundle of Part A, Part B, and Part D together.

Some people choose Medicare Advantage because they often provide benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t, including dental, hearing, and vision. These plans are fully contracted with Medicare.

There are many different Medicare Advantage Plans, and each may have different rules that determine how those covered receive services as well as how much they must policyholders must pay out of pocket.

Prescription Drug Plans

Medicare Part D is a separate plan that must be added to Original Medicare or included as part of Medicare Advantage. Many people feel as if this is an essential health insurance plan that they need since it covers the costs of prescription drugs.

You can only purchase a Medicare Part D plan if you first have a Medicare-approved plan that offers drug coverage, which includes Medicare Advantage Plans that have drug coverage.

Every prescription drug plan has variations in what drugs are covered and how much they cost. But, they have to provide a standard level of coverage for all drugs, which is set by Medicare and includes both name-brand and generic drugs.

The list of drugs that are covered may vary by prescription drug plan, and so, too, can the tiers in which these drugs are placed. That’s why independent insurance agents must review all the options for prescription drug plans and the formularies, based on which prescription drugs their clients require.

The cost of prescription drugs could vary greatly based on the specific plans the applicant chooses.

Work with an Experienced Medicare IMO Such As GLIA

Medicare can be very complicated. As you can see from above, it takes meticulous investigation to figure out which plans are best for each client so that they receive the best coverage for the lowest price.

As an independent insurance agent, this can be a very difficult task. When you partner with an experienced Medicare IMO such as GLIA, though, this task becomes that much easier.

GLIA offers Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and prescription drug plans. These plans offer our agents a wealth of options for their clients. For more information on becoming an independent agent with GLIA, contact us today to learn more.

Choosing an Annuity IMO: 3 Things to Consider

Whether you’re thinking about specializing in annuities or adding them to your list of available options, you can look forward to a rewarding career that involves helping others obtain financial security for their retirement years. But before you get started, remember that the independent marketing organization (IMO) you choose can make or break you. When searching for the right annuity IMO, here are three important things to consider.

Or, if you’re eager to get started, contact our team at Good Life Insurance Associates to learn more about our products and services!

1. IMO vs FMO: Which One Is Better for Annuities?

First, it’s important to understand what an IMO is and how it differs from other support organizations when it comes to selling annuities.

An FMO is a field marketing organization; they serve as groups that hold licenses to re-sell insurance products in most states across the country. These top-level licenses allow them to enable independent agents to sell the products they have a license for. FMOs typically have contracts directly with the carriers themselves and offer independent agents great commissions and tools because of this.

An IMO stands for independent marketing organization. They are very similar to an FMO in that they have the same contracts with insurance carriers. Additionally, they also provide support in areas such as marketing, lead generation, quote generation, and more.

Some believe that FMOs focus more on products in the health insurance sector more than anything else, while IMOs are centered around life insurance. That’s not necessarily the case, though. Essentially, there isn’t much of a difference between an FMO and an IMO in terms of the services they provide to independent annuity agents.

2. Consider what Products the Company Carries

The next thing to consider is what type of annuities an IMO carries and whether those are a good fit for the products you want to offer your customers.

There are four main types of annuities–immediate, deferred, fixed, and variable.

  • An immediate annuity is designed to provide beneficiaries with an immediate lifetime payout that’s guaranteed. This plan is often selected by people who want to secure lifetime income, and they sacrifice the ability to draw down that money in a lump sum to pay for an emergency.
  • A deferred annuity provides either monthly payments or a guaranteed income. The monthly, or lump sum, premium payments are invested by the insurer in either an index, variable or fixed growth fund, which can grow the principal of the plan over time. People don’t pay taxes on this money until they withdraw it, much like traditional 401(k)s and IRAs.
  • A fixed annuity provides the covered with a fixed interest rate that’s guaranteed on their investment. A guarantee period will be set at the beginning of the plan. When the contract ends, it can either be renewed, transferred into another retirement account, or annuitized.
  • A variable annuity allows money to be invested into other accounts, much like you can do with a 401(k). In addition, it provides a lifetime income that’s guaranteed. This type of annuity provides the greatest potential for long-term growth but comes with some risks.

3. Good vs Shady IMOs: What to Look For

Before you partner with an IMO, it’s important to select a reputable one that has your best interests in mind–and that of your clients, too. After all, how you present yourself to your clients goes a long way in determining how successful your business is. The quality of the IMO you select can make or break your reputation.

So, how do you tell whether an IMO is reputable or not? First, see how long they’ve been in business. If they are new, it may not be worth the chance, even if they are promising you the world.

Next, see if they have any current clients they can refer you to so you can get a handle on what someone else thinks about them. This can be a great way to get an honest review of the IMO.

Another great tip is to check which insurance carriers they offer products for. If they list some of the main insurance carriers, then it’s more likely that they are a legitimate IMO and not a scam.

Finally, get a sense of how well they treat you during the get-to-know-you phase. You should get the sincere feeling that the people who work for the IMO care about you and your business as an independent agent.

Remember that they are there to work for you, and not the other way around. You should feel comfortable with the services they are providing you in addition to how they are treating you.

Trust the Professionals at GLIA to Be Your Annuity IMO Partner

When you’re choosing an annuity IMO, there are many different things to consider. By following the three tips above, you’ll be well on your way to discovering which IMO would be the best fit for your needs as an independent insurance agent.

At GLIA, we offer Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuity (MYGA), Single Premium Immediate Annuity (SPIA), Deferred Income Annuity (DIA), Hybrid Annuity w/ LTC, and more. We have been supporting independent insurance agents just like you for years now, and our team of dedicated professionals and the success and growth of our agents is top-of-mind at all times.

To learn more about our products and services, contact us today! We can’t wait to help you with this exciting new chapter in your career.

What Is the Best IMO for New Medicare Agents?

As an independent insurance agent, you have a lot of choices on who you want to work for and what products you want to sell. One area of business that could prove very beneficial to your business as well as your potential clients is Medicare. As a new Medicare agent, though, you may find it challenging to figure out the rules, regulations, and available companies that offer Medicare plans. One great way to simplify Medicare plans is to work with an Independent Marketing Organization, or IMO.

But, what is the best IMO for new Medicare agents? Read on to learn more! Or, if you’re ready to launch your new career as an independent insurance agent, contact our team at GLIA today to start your journey.

What’s an IMO?

Before searching for the best IMO for new Medicare agents, it’s important to understand what an IMO is. An Independent Marketing Organization is a third-party company that works as a go-between for independent insurance agents and various insurance carriers.

An IMO will help independent agents get connected with insurance carriers they may not have the ability to partner with on their own. But, they are much more than that.

A reputable IMO will provide independent agents with support, tools, and services they typically have to handle on their own. This includes contracting, recruiting, training, software tools, lead generation, marketing, and other support.

What an IMO provides is a teammate to help independent agents navigate the industry. When it comes to selling Medicare plans, an independent agent must have an experienced IMO in their corner.

Do You Want to Work with Specific Carriers?

Different locations have different contracts for Medicare plans. So, before you decide which insurance carriers you would like to work with, you have to figure out which carriers can even offer plans in your area.

A simple search through the medicare.gov website will help you figure out this information. Then, you can select from among the list of available insurance carriers to decide who you’d like to work with.

Once you’ve done that, you can match up potential IMOs that provide you contracts with the insurance carriers you desire. By reverse engineering the process this way, you’ll be simplifying your research and narrowing down your options right from the start.

What Type of Support Do You Need?

Before selecting an IMO, it’s important to understand what type of support and/or services you need when you’re selling Medicare plans. Do you need training, educational materials, and hands-on support? Do you need tools to help with lead generation and quickly processing quotes? Do you need marketing and advertising support?

Make a priority list of the things you need help with the most, and then search through available IMOs that match up best with your list of needs. Anytime you are partnering with an outside organization such as an IMO, you want to make sure that what they provide matches up with what you need.

Ultimately, this will result in a more productive business relationship.

What Are the Contract Details?

It’s also important to understand how contracts and/or commissions work when you’re partnering with an IMO. Are the contracts you sell fully vested? This refers to whether you own the contracts and pay the IMO a percentage as a commission, or vice versa.

Also, what are the fee structures, bonuses, and other commissions available with the IMO you’re considering? Is there the potential to have these reduced over time as you sell more Medicare plans?

Knowing the details of the arrangement will help you decide if the tools and support the IMO is providing you are worth what you’ll have to pay.

What is Their Reputation?

An IMO will be serving as your support backbone. You will be putting a lot of trust in them to help you grow your business. With no large insurance carrier serving as your support, you can’t afford to partner with the wrong IMO that steers you in the wrong direction.

So, before you choose an IMO, make sure you do your research. How long have they been in business? What is their reputation among other independent insurance agents? What are people saying about them?

You want to feel comfortable with the IMO you’re partnering with, as they’ll play a vital role in the success and future growth of your business.

Work with GLIA

These are some of the things you should consider when you’re weighing your options for which IMO to partner with for Medicare plans.

At GLIA, we have been working with new Medicare agents like you for years now, helping them get their business off the ground and supporting them as they grow long-term. Contact us today and find out why we’re the best IMO for new Medicare agents.

The Best Insurance Companies for Independent Agents

One of the biggest benefits of being an independent insurance agent is the ability to choose the insurance companies with which you’d like to work. You aren’t tied down to one insurance company, offering you a type of freedom that captive agents can’t enjoy. But, each insurance company has its unique benefits. So, how do you choose the one that is right for you? Start by researching the best insurance companies for independent agents.

Below, we’ve done the research for you so that you don’t need to spend countless hours searching. Read on to discover the best options for independent agents. Or, if you have immediate questions about where to start your career, contact us at GLIA today. We can’t wait to help you on this exciting chapter in life!

 

 

9 of the Best Insurance Companies for Independent Agents

1. GLIA

GLIA is the leading insurance marketing organization, also known as IMO, on the market. By working with GLIA, independent insurance agents have access to a full range of different insurance services, products, and tools at their disposal.

GLIA helps its clients overcome the challenges of working as independent agents, including connecting them with many of the premium insurance carriers on the market. Independent agents can work with GLIA on a wide variety of insurance products, including life insurance, long- and short-term care insurance, disability insurance, Medigap, fixed annuities, property and casualty insurance, and dental and vision insurance–just to name a few.

The best part about GLIA, though, is the huge selection of support services they provide independent agents. This includes an agent portal and vast technology, back-office support, sales support and training, contracting assistant, business development support, tech support, and even marketing services.

2. National General Insurance

National General Insurance offers independent agents the ability to sell property and casualty insurance, including commercial, personal auto, motorcycle, and RV. The company provides training and support to all its agents across the country, and they’re always looking for ways to remain innovative.

One of the biggest downsides to National General Insurance, though, is the limited insurance products they offer. If you want more than just property and casualty insurance, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

3. Nationwide Insurance

Nationwide is a recognizable national insurance brand, which is the main draw to working with their company. They offer retirement products in addition to insurance products, which is another benefit. The company offers proper support to its independent agents, as well as many tools to help them be successful.

A downside to Nationwide Insurance, though, is they have many captive agents working for their company. This means they may be less helpful to independent agents than those working for them full-time.

4. Markel Insurance

Markel is a specialty insurance company. If you have customers looking for unique insurance products such as for sports and fitness businesses, specialty properties, marine, or livestock and equine, then they are a good company to turn to.

A downside to Markel Insurance is also their upside–they are very specialized. You would only need to work with them if you have clients with these special needs.

5. Progressive Insurance

Progressive is another well-known national insurance company. This is a big benefit to working with them since many of your potential customers will feel comfortable with their plans. They specialize in auto insurance and the ability to customize plans for whatever their customers may need.

While Progressive Insurance has been named one of the best places to work, they have many captive agents that could take away from their focus on independent agents. In addition, Progressive doesn’t offer as many insurance products as some other companies.

6. Selective Insurance Group

Selective offers a decent range of products and works with independent agents to help them grow their business. Their model is dynamic, meaning it is flexible to work with all different types of independent agents.

At the same time, they don’t offer as many insurance products as some other companies, which is one downside to working with them.

7. The Hanover Insurance Group

The Hanover Insurance Group is very much focused on independent agents. They have even built specific solutions for these agents to help them succeed. They help with selling, marketing, prospecting, and even underwriting. This suite of tools is a huge benefit to working with them.

At the same time, they don’t offer a huge number of insurance products, which can make working with them challenging.

8. Travelers

Another relatively well-known company, Travelers provides its independent agents with a nice suite of services that includes onboarding, marketing and networking programs, customer support, and solid handling of claims as well. They also have a nice quote platform that independent agents can use.

The compensation package that they offer independent agents isn’t too attractive, though, making it a downside.

9. West Bend Mutual Insurance Company

West Bend focuses on the wellness, health, and finances of its customers and independent agents alike. They are a fairly easy company to do business with, and many independent agents report it’s a nice work environment.

That being said, their suite of offerings isn’t nearly as extensive as some other companies, so you may need to supplement it with other companies.

Start Your Exciting New Chapter with GLIA

If you’re considering becoming an independent insurance agent, the above information should prove helpful in your search for insurance companies to work with. One of the best parts about being an independent agent is the ability to choose your path.

If you’re looking to join a team with a name big enough to make an impression but small enough to always remember your name, then GLIA makes the perfect fit. Contact us today to learn more about the career opportunities available for independent agents. We can’t wait to help you with this exciting new chapter of your career!

Being an Independent Insurance Agent: The Pros & Cons

Insurance agents have two main choices when they enter the field: They can either be a captive or independent agent. As a captive agent, you will be working for one insurance company, selling only their products the way they want you to. As an independent agent, you’ll enjoy more freedom in making your own business choices and selling multiple insurance companies’ products.

Before you get started, it’s important to know the pros and cons of being an independent insurance agent. Read on to learn more. Or, if you’re ready to launch your new career today, contact us at GLIA. Our team is here to help guide you through this next exciting chapter in life.

Pros

There are many advantages to being an independent insurance agent. Here are four important points to consider:

1. Freedom

One of the biggest benefits of being an independent insurance agent is you will have freedom that you simply wouldn’t enjoy as a captive agent. This includes the freedom to set your own schedule, tailor your branding and marketing to your tastes, and sell the products you want to sell.

2. Unlimited Income Potential

As an independent insurance agent, you’ll be a business owner. With that comes the ability to earn as much money as you want. There is no cap on how much you can earn, as opposed to when you’re a captive agent and you’ll have a set salary and commission percentage.

As an independent agent, you can grow your income as big or as limited as you want.

3. Build Solid Relationships

Independent insurance agents can build strong relationships with their clients. Because they aren’t tied to any one particular insurance product, customers rely on them to find the best products that fit their needs.

Because of this, independent agents can better build real relationships with clients that can last. This results in loyal clients who not only stay with them for a long time and purchase more than other clients but who also spread the word about your agency and refer other clients to you.

4. Product Choices

As an independent agent, you’ll have the choice of which insurance companies you want to partner with. The freedom of being able to sell auto insurance policies from multiple insurance companies has several benefits.

This allows you to shop around for the best prices for your customers, rather than being hamstrung by only one company. If one company has a higher price than another, you can show your clients how you are working to save them money. Ultimately, this can result in more satisfied customers.

Cons

For some people, there will be some downsides to being an independent insurance agent.

1. No Boss

Some people prefer the structure of having a boss or someone else telling them what they should do, how they should do it, and when they should do it. A set structure is one thing that you’ll have as a captive agent.

The flip side, of course, is that you can have solid structure as an independent agent, too. You’ll just have the ability to set that structure yourself, based on what works for you.

2. Income Variations

As an independent agent, your income may vary from one week to the next. Since you won’t be paid a typical salary to show up for work every week, you could make a lot of money one week and then not nearly as much the next.

However, if you go into the arrangement knowing this is the case, then you can adjust your finances so you can withstand some of the variations in income.

3. Learning Curve

You will often be faced with a steeper learning curve as an independent agent. Not only will you need to learn the details of products from various insurance companies — and not mix them up when selling to clients — you’ll need to learn how to master marketing, branding, advertising, lead generation, and many other business-related activities.

The good news is that you’ll be able to do this at your pace and personalize your learning based on what you want out of your career.

4. Finding Clients

When you work as a captive agent, leads are typically given to you every day. The company likely has a robust lead-generation program in place, as well as the benefit of national branding around their company.

There is a major pro to this con, though. Since you’ll be in charge of your own lead generation, you can customize the program much better to your needs and that of your clients, so that you can ultimately better serve those who need you.

Become an Independent Insurance Agent with GLIA’s Help

We hope you enjoyed this guide on the pros and cons of becoming an independent insurance agent! Hopefully, you’re armed with more insight into what becoming an independent insurance agent would be like. While there may be some downsides, the advantages are plentiful.

If you’re ready to launch your new career as an independent agent, contact us at GLIA today! Our team is here to help guide you through this next exciting chapter in life.

How to Become an Independent Insurance Agent

Going out on your own can seem scary, but it doesn’t need to be. Being an independent insurance agent has a lot of perks. Not only does it provide you freedom of choice in terms of which policies you can sell, but it also allows you to grow your business at your own pace. Read on for tips on how to become an independent insurance agent.

Or, if you’re ready to kickstart your new career today, contact our team at GLIA to learn more about your options as an independent insurance agent!

 

1. Decide What You Want to Sell

First, decide what type of insurance products you want to sell. Do you want to focus only on life insurance, auto insurance, or homeowners insurance? Do you want to integrate investment products along with the most common insurance products?

Knowing what products you want to offer can help direct the rest of the process when you’re becoming an independent insurance agent. It determines what education and licenses you need and also your target customer audience.

2. Get Your Licenses

Every state requires agents to have a license to sell insurance. The process and requirements involved vary by state. Remember to check the specific qualifications for your state and for which insurance products you want to sell.

Most states require a complete background check and a minimum of required hours in education courses. After, you must take and pass insurance tests before you can officially apply and receive your license.

3. Get Your Own Insurance

As a business owner, consider getting insurance that protects you. Depending on how you plan to operate, you might need building insurance, auto insurance, and errors and omissions insurance. All of these products help protect you as you work to protect your customers.

4. Develop a Business Plan

A detailed business plan is essential for anyone, no matter what industry they’re in. Business plans detail your goals and how you plan to achieve them. They also include plans for marketing and branding, customer attraction, retention, financial benchmarks, and realistic projections.

A solid business plan serves as a blueprint as you start your independent insurance business. It also helps you obtain financing from banks if you need capital to grow your business.

5. Partner with Insurance Companies

One of the main benefits of being an independent insurance agent is that you won’t be limited to one specific company’s products. To sell insurance products, though, you must set up contracts with insurance companies.

Start by reaching out to the insurance companies that you want to work with. Find out what their requirements are and see whether you qualify.

This is another area where your business plan will benefit you. Some insurance companies may ask to see your plan before approving you to sell their products.

6. Brand Yourself

It’s always a good idea to brand yourself before you have any clients. This gives you a more professional look, and your clients will feel more confident in your ability to handle their concerns.

Start by setting up a clean and impressive webpage and social media accounts. Post photos and blog posts on insurance topics to help position yourself as an expert in your field. By having this in place before marketing your services, you can give your target audience the information they need when they check you out.

7. Find Customers

Only after you’ve completed these steps is it time to attract customers. There are several different ways you can do this. You can purchase targeted advertising on search engines and social media platforms. You can do the same in more traditional media such as radio, TV, and local newspapers.

Consider partnering with local businesses so that you can spread the word about your services. You can also join local business organizations such as the chamber of commerce to network in the community.

Finally, you can purchase lead lists or have someone set up a lead funnel for you to reach potential customers.

8. Stay Compliant

Most states require insurance agents to remain compliant with licenses regularly. Again, each state has different requirements for how often this must be done.

When you get your license originally, it’s a good idea to mark your calendar and list what the rules for remaining compliant are so that you don’t forget.

Find Your Career Path with GLIA

Becoming an independent insurance agent can seem like an overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be. When you have a team of experts on your side, you can take this exciting next step in your career with ease and confidence.

If you want to become an independent insurance agent, contact GLIA today. We can’t wait to help you with this exciting new chapter in your life!

Everything You Need to Know About Cyber Liability Insurance for Small Businesses

Cyber liability insurance for small businesses is essential. Why? It safeguards you from the high costs of hacking, cyberattack, theft, or a breach on your systems. With these incidents occurring more today than ever before, businesses of all sizes need to protect themselves from the significant repercussions of cybercrime.

A recent survey conducted by the Small Business Administration found that 88% of all owners of small businesses thought they were vulnerable to a cyberattack. If you are worried, there’s hope. Here are the ways that cyber liability insurance can protect you.

Ransomware

There are a few different ways that your small business could be affected by a cyberattack. Perhaps the most well-known is known as cyber extortion. In this case, cybercriminals use specialized software called ransomware. Once they have broken into your system, they install ransomware which locks you completely out of the systems on which your business relies. Then, they demand a ransom payment to “unlock” your systems.

Data Breach

Small businesses are a particularly high target for another kind of cyberattack known as a data breach. These situations happen when cyber criminals break into your systems with the intent to steal information that you have stored. In many cases, this will be the personal and financial information of your customers, such as credit card numbers, names, addresses, and Social Security numbers.

Direct Attack

The third type of cyberattack is a direct computer attack. In this situation, cybercriminals will hack into your system and cause damage that disables you from operating on your computer. In this case, the data you stored on these computers may be lost for good.

The Cost of Cyberattacks

The cost of any type of cyberattack can be significant. According to a 2021 report conducted by Hiscox, the average cost of a cyberattack on a business that has less than 250 employees was $25,600.

Expenses here include either hiring an outside IT security team — or paying your internal team extra — to recover lost identities and data, figuring out where the vulnerability was and fixing it, and restoring and/or replacing the equipment that was damaged. And that’s only the beginning.

If the data of your customers and business partners was compromised as a result of a cyberattack, you’ll have additional financial losses. Damages could include notifying customers of the breach, legal fees, settlement costs if you’re subjected to a lawsuit, and paying for free credit monitoring for those affected

You may also need to hire an expert public relations firm to help you mitigate the damage to your business’ reputation following the cyberattack. Maintaining trust in customers and business partners is essential going forward following a cyberattack, and a good PR strategy is key.

Keep in mind that all of the above doesn’t factor in the lost revenue you could experience due to your systems being down, or any regulatory fines you may incur if you were found incompliant with certain security regulations.

What Cyber Liability Insurance Does and Doesn’t Cover

Most cyber liability insurance policies cover all of the incidents listed above. There are a few exceptions, of course, depending on what the expense is or what the situation is.

For example, if the cyberattack was determined to be an intentional act of fraud conducted by your employees or you, then it will likely not be covered under the policy. You’ll also not likely be covered if you had prior knowledge of the cyberattack before you signed up for the policy.

Most cyber liability insurance policies won’t provide coverage for any business interruption that occurred due to a cyberattack on a third-party system. For example, if an outside provider of an essential system is attacked, and you lose revenue because of it, you likely won’t be covered under this policy.

And while cyber liability insurance typically provides legal coverage in civil proceedings, it doesn’t for criminal ones. In other words, if any criminal proceedings are brought against you or your company, cyber liability insurance typically does not provide coverage.

How Much Cyber Liability Insurance Costs

Like all insurance plans, the cost of cyber liability insurance varies greatly depending on the amount of coverage you need. For instance, the policy for a very large company will be drastically more expensive than one for a smaller business.

That being said, Insureon reports that the median cost for small businesses is $140 per month. Considering that it covers you from surprise cyberattacks and associated fees, the cost is well worth the peace of mind.

Remember that this is only a general idea, as you’ll need to speak with your insurance company to figure out a policy and premium that works for you.

When considering the amount of cyber liability insurance you need, consider the potential cost of a cyberattack on your company. If you collect, receive, send, or store personal health information and other identifiable information, then your cost will be higher. Costs would also be higher if you’re in an industry with specific rules regarding data storage, such as finance, health care, or education.

Find the Plan That’s Right for Your Small Business

We hope you found this guide to cyber liability insurance for small businesses helpful! Remember, an experienced agent can guide you through the process of figuring out what the appropriate level of cyber liability insurance for your small business would be. If you have any other questions, contact our team at GLIA today to ensure that your business is protected in the case of a cyberattack.

Cyber Insurance & What You Need to Know

Businesses today can unfortunately face threats every day. While the internet is essential for day-to-day business in just about every company in every industry, it’s also a source of potential loss.

Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for ways they can target businesses to compromise the data they hold on their systems to exploit the valuable information contained therein. One way businesses can protect against any losses they suffer as a result of data breaches is cyber insurance. Read on to learn more about cyber insurance and what it covers. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact our team!

 

What Is Cyber Insurance?

Cyber insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers businesses for the losses they suffer and the costs they incur as a result of a data breach in one of their systems. These events are typically not covered under a business’ general liability coverage since that coverage protects against any damage to property or injuries someone suffers due to the use of a company’s services, operations, or products.

Because cyber events aren’t covered under general liability insurance, businesses must purchase a separate plan that covers them in the unfortunate case that they suffer a data breach.

This is extremely important, as a 2021 threat report published by Thales Data found that 45% of all companies in the United States experienced a data breach within the previous year.

Data breaches are serious and can be expensive since most companies store vital personal information on their customers such as their account numbers, medical records, driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and contact information like addresses, emails, and phone numbers.

What Does Cyber Insurance Cover?

Cyber insurance coverage can be broken down into first and third-party coverage. The two categories cover both the effects a data breach has on your company (first-party) and the effects it has on your customers (third-party).

First-Party Cyber Insurance

When a data breach occurs, there are many ways that a company can experience loss. Most of these are related to network security.

Included under the umbrella of first-party coverage includes any costs related to IT forensics, data restoration, loss of funds, cyber extortion–such as payment to unlock ransomware–computer fraud, and any loss of revenue suffered as a result of a business interruption.

A lot of work goes into not only figuring out how a data breach occurred but on restoring any data and operations that were lost as a result of the breach. Then, once all that is solved, a company must figure out how they can set up new and better network security to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future. All of that can be very expensive.

In addition, there can be a significant cost incurred for companies that have to fight a public relations storm as a result of the breach. This is especially true for bigger companies that hold lots of customer data on hand. Cyber insurance can help pay for the costs of all the physical network security as well as the public relations that go along with keeping face and instilling public confidence in the company.

Third-Party Cyber Insurance

There’s a lot more that goes into a data breach than just what happens to the company. Customers’ vital personal information could be susceptible during a breach, and the company may have many costs associated with that.

First, companies are required by law in most states to keep the personal information of their customers safe and secure when they are storing it. When a data breach occurs, companies have to notify their customers of the breach and the potential that this information was compromised.

There is a very serious cost associated with notification. Then, companies have to find a way to instill confidence in customers who may have many questions and concerns. Some companies start up a separate call center or customer service team to respond to these inquiries. Some offer free credit monitoring for a year to all customers whose information was potentially compromised. Again, these are expensive propositions.

There is also the possibility that a business may face liability from civil lawsuits if customers suffered a loss due to a data breach. Many of these cases are class action lawsuits that are brought, and the payouts could total into the hundreds of thousands of dollars very easily.

Cyber insurance covers the costs of the legal fees in this case and also helps with any settlement payment or judgment that is handed down.

Protect Your Business Today

Unfortunately, it’s a reality today that nearly every business in every industry is susceptible to a cyber attack. These cyber-attacks can have huge ramifications for every involved, including a company’s customers.

Data breaches can have long-term and huge financial implications for a business, and the entire process can be extremely expensive. Cyber insurance helps to provide coverage to a business in the unfortunate circumstance that they suffer a major data breach. If you have any questions on securing your data with Cyber Insurance, contact our team at GLIA today!