Getting licensed as an insurance agent can be challenging work. Aspiring agents have to complete education and testing requirements to get their license to sell insurance in their state. Once licensed, an agent can help potential their clients, only if they have insurance products to sell. Agents who work for a specific insurance company won’t have this issue.
However, independent agents will need to get appointed with insurance companies so they are authorized to sell their products. Getting these appointments is fairly straightforward, but there are steps you can take to give yourself a better chance at succeeding.
What’s an Appointment with an Insurance Company?
An appointment with an insurance company is an agreement or contract between an independent agent and an insurance company that allows the agent to sell their products. The agreement will detail which policies the agent is allowed to sell on their behalf, and how much the agent will be paid in commission for each policy they sell.
Just like agents, insurance companies can only sell policies in states where they are licensed. Once insurance agents have an appointment with insurance companies, they’ll be allowed to sell the company’s products in those states in which the company and the agent are licensed.
Before applying for appointments, you should research which insurance companies you might want to have an appointment with.
Research Insurance Companies
Check to make sure the company fits with who you are and what you want to do in business. Do they offer the products you want to sell? Is their approach to selling and providing insurance in line with your approach?
Also check the company’s AM Rating, which will tell you a lot about the financial stability of the company. While this rating alone shouldn’t be your determining factor, it can help guide your decision.
Once you have compiled a list of companies, analyze what the actual appointment contract would include. How much would it cost you, and how long will you be locked into the contract? Is there a sales quota on agents, and how strict is it? What will you get out of the arrangement, and what type of support will the company provide you?
Review the Requirements
Each insurance company will have their own requirements for agents who want to be appointed with them. Check to see what each insurance company requires and whether you even would quality before you apply. It’s best to avoid applying altogether if you don’t meet the company’s minimum application requirements.
Prepare a Plan
When you apply to get appointed with insurance companies, you want to try to make yourself stand out from other agents. A great way to show the companies you’re serious and a good fit for them is to prepare a good business plan.
In this business plan, you can highlight your insurance experience and your successes. Detail how you got where you are today and present a marketing strategy for advertizing plans to new customers. Explain where you’d like your business to be in the next five years, and how you plan to get there.
Last, tie in how being an appointed agent with that particular insurance company will help you achieve your goals.
Build a Brand
While selling insurance still requires a lot of in-person and “old fashioned” connection between an agent and customer, marketing insurance plans has changed dramatically in recent years. To this point, it’s very important that agents have a solid digital presence and online brand –insurance companies will look for this presence when deciding who to contract.
If you don’t have one already, make sure you have a clean website with an attractive logo and easy navigation. You should also have a presence on social media platforms where you can connect directly with the community. This strong online presence could convince insurance companies that you would be a good fit to sell their products.
Network with Other Agents and Reps
You can also network with other insurance agents and representatives, for insurance carriers, by joining networking groups and attending training sessions. These in-person connections can go a long way to making an impression as you’re looking to get appointed with insurance companies.
In addition, you can make these connections online as well. Try connecting with insurance reps and agents on LinkedIn, and express your desire to become an appointed agent with their company. It’s important to make these connections but not be too pushy in doing so. If you take a friendly approach, you’re likely to make the impression you’re looking to make.