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.


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.


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.