How do you decide which insurance cluster or insurance aggregator to join? In the insurance industry, agency networks, or clusters and aggregators, are formal associations of insurance agencies working to provide members with more negotiating strength and increase efficiency. Approximately, one-quarter of insurance agents work for an agency that belongs to a network.
Before making the decision to join one, do your homework and research. Make sure the one you’re joining enables you to have sustainable growth and delivers the advantages you are seeking. Utilize insurance affiliate programs which can help you solve the biggest problems insurance agents have with clusters or aggregators. Take the time to compare and contrast the pros and cons of different clusters and aggregators to better make a decision on what fits you best.
Joining helps you gain access to more carriers and products. With this, you can better provide customers their needs with more options being provided. Not only do you have access to more carriers, but access to markets. In these markets, you’ll actively contract with carriers to offer customers insurance coverage. Give customers more options with the best type of coverage plan and best price. Are you thinking about other lines of business? Different types of training for agents may be given to keep your agency current and competitive. Continue to learn and grow with the help of training programs.
Though you are joining a larger group, you remain and independent agency. Continue working under your company name and receive commissions from your carriers.
As you go from a smaller entity to a larger entity, you’ll be given the opportunity to attend networking events. Meet with other agents, carrier representatives and network staff members and share information on what is and what isn’t working. Improve on your work with ideas from others you never thought about doing.
Membership with a cluster or aggregator might grant you access to agency management software. Manage your agency and everything that goes with it in one place including: administration, management, commissions and more. Make your work process more efficient using the software. Keep all important files in one location for easy and quick access. Software needs are important if a cluster or aggregator provides one. Does the software get updates? Ensure you’re working at your best and not lacking behind the competition with quality, up-to-date software.
Each network offers different, varying amounts of benefits. Review and compare the benefits of each to see which are offering the most and the best benefits for you to better get everything accomplished.
1. Membership Fees
Compensation is needed to provide you with service. Clusters and aggregators will charge fees in order to obtain that compensation. There are a number of fees required to pay if you join: Start Up fees, Monthly fees, Maintenance fees, and Exit fees. For an agency owner that needs markets but has little profit, this can be a problem. Research each network and find the one that offers the best market for the littlest cost.
2. Lack of Common Goals and Commitment
Though you’re joining a group, there is no formal commitment. When a member leaves, it creates a hole the others have to work to cover. It’s important to know what the common goal is be able to put in the time to make everything succeed.
3. Lack of Management Skills
Success or failure depends on strong leadership, management, and teamwork. If a cluster or aggregator lacks any of these, it can throw off the organization of the network. It needs to be organized well for everyone, coming from varying skill levels and experiences, to come together and make it succeed.
As mentioned before, when you want to leave, you may have to pay an Exit fee. This fee makes it difficult to leave to pursue other operations. There is also a void created when a member does leave, forcing members to rush to fill in where needed, adding pressure to their work. Screening members can help prevent members from leaving, as the uncooperative ones are weeded out, ensuring the only ones involved are willing to put in the effort.
With these pros and cons discussed, the hope is to better help you in your decision on joining an insurance cluster or insurance aggregator. As you research different networks, comparing the pros and cons of each, it will be easier to narrow it down to one that fits you best.