How to Choose the Right IMO for You

Being an independent insurance agent can be a challenging job. Even though you’re out on your own, you can still get significant support, guidance, resources, and tools by partnering with an Insurance Marketing Organization, also known as an IMO.

With so many IMOs on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one would make the best partner. Below, we dive deeper into how to choose the right IMO for you.

Know What You Need

Different IMOs specialize in different things and provide different resources, support, and tools to the independent insurance agents with whom they work. So, before you can really start your search in earnest, you need to figure out exactly what you need out of an IMO.

Do you need guidance and support directly related to sales, including software packages that make your job easier? Do you need someone to help create marketing materials that you can distribute to attract new clients? Are you looking for a partner that offers a wide range of different insurance products from a variety of carriers?

Once you figure out what you need in an IMO, you can narrow your search to those firms that provide that.

Evaluate the Technology

Advanced technology has helped make the job of an independent insurance agent easier today. Being able to access top-of-the-line technology tools and resources is one of the biggest factors in running an effective and efficient agency.

All IMOs will likely provide a suite of technology and tools to all the agents they work with, but how advanced is that suite? Does it fit your needs? Will it help take your business to the next level?

This technology should encompass everything from support with social media and websites, digital marketing, CRM systems, enrollment platforms, quoting systems and much more.

Research Their Backgrounds

While there’s nothing particularly wrong with partnering with an upstart IMO, there are many advantages to working with a company that has been around the block. After all, one of the biggest benefits of working with an IMO is the years of experience they have in the field.

After you narrow your search down to a handful of prospective IMOs, it’s always a good idea to do research on their backgrounds. Understand all the services that they offer, of course, but also investigate their reputation in the marketplace.

Do insurance carriers like working with them? Do other independent insurance agents have positive things to say about them? Ask all prospective IMOs for referrals so you can speak directly to those you’re interested in.

A big part about partnering with an IMO is the relationship you will build with them. So, understanding how well they do at client services is a huge part of it.

Figure Out the Commissions

At the end of the day, what really matters to independent insurance agents is how much they’re going to bring home in their pockets. Most independent agents love the freedom of being able to earn higher commissions by working for themselves rather than being a captive agent.

That being said, each IMO might have a different commission structure that will ultimately dictate how much money you can make off each sale and renewal. That’s why it’s important to figure out the commission structure that the IMO offers and weigh that with everything else that comes with the partnership.

For instance, some IMOs might have higher commissions in exchange for providing fewer resources and less direct support.

There is no one “right” balance, as this is a personal decision that you must weigh for yourself and your operation.

Read Through the Contract

Every IMO requires their partner agents to sign a contract to work with them. It’s very important that you thoroughly read through every detail included in the contract and make sure you understand everything completely. If there’s anything you don’t understand or are unsure of, make sure to ask the IMO directly.

If you feel uncomfortable about anything included in the contract, it’s best not to sign it until you get clarity. You may even want to have an independent attorney read through the contract to ensure that everything is “up to snuff.”

This contract is one of the biggest determining factors in your success, as it will explicitly lay out what you will get back from the IMO partnership and what they expect of you. Make sure that you are only committing yourself to an IMO once you’re completely comfortable with the contract you’re signing.

Partner with the Best

Many independent insurance agents find it challenging to get their business off the ground because they don’t have that support backbone. Working with an IMO fills that gap and provides many benefits to independent insurance agents.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you establish and grow your insurance business!

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