I Can't Get a Direct Carrier Appointment — What Do I Do?
Securing direct carrier appointments can play a really important role in your business’ growth and success. Here are some tips to help.
Whether you’re a new agent or an established agency with a good track record, securing direct carrier appointments can play a really important role in your business’ growth and success.
Direct carrier appointments mean you can gain access to exclusive products, discounts, and niche markets — in short, practically everything you need to grow your agency and your revenue.
But while the benefits can be substantial, snagging those appointments isn’t easy. Most carriers want agencies with proven track records, strong marketing territories and plenty of experience. Priority is given to agencies that can demonstrate their ability to form long-term, profitable alliances with the carriers; after all, carriers want (and need) to make money, too.
As an agent, securing a direct appointment with a major carrier is a little like finding the golden ticket that takes you to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Fortunately, we have a few tips that can help you find your own ticket and increase your chances of getting the carrier appointments you want. Here’s what you need to do…
Write (or refine) your business plan
Having a business plan demonstrates to carriers that you know where your business is going. A detailed plan should include current data about your agency, along with future goals you plan on attaining. There are plenty of resources online to help you draft a good, comprehensive, professional plan (including sample plans and templates to serve as models). Take the time to review some of those resources so your plan stands out above the competition. A good plan shows you’re serious about success — and that’s attractive to carriers.
Join an insurance cluster
As the saying goes, there really is strength in numbers. Some carriers are more likely to work with members of insurance clusters, providing access to unique niches that can be hard to break into on your own. Cluster members may also be able to cash in on more lucrative compensation structures and otherwise inaccessible markets, helping you expand your business faster than you could on your own. Clusters can vary a lot, so be sure to do some research before selecting the one that's best for your business goals (and your budget).
Click here to learn more about joining an insurance cluster like Voldico.
Research your target carriers
Yep, more homework. Before reaching out to a carrier, spend some time reviewing their website and their products. Find out if they’re accepting new agents, if they have minimum requirements, and whether they serve the niches you’re interested in. Reading agency reviews of carriers can be helpful, too.
Wholesale carriers generally are more likely to be open to establishing relationships with new or inexperienced agents. A good strategy: Start with a wholesale carrier, then spend some time gaining experience and building your book. Before long, you’ll look a lot more attractive to major carriers — and you’ll be in a much better position to snag one of those direct carrier appointments.
There's another old saying — the things that are worth having are worth waiting for. Getting turned down is no fun, but be patient and remember: Carriers want strong agency relationships, too. Spending a little time preparing your agency before submitting an application can dramatically increase your chances of success, bringing you the appointments and the success your agency deserves!