The pandemic has changed the face of business as we know it. Learn how an insurance network can help your agency carve a path forward through this new normal.
The pandemic has undeniably changed the face of business as we knew it. A walk down the main street of any town in America will see closed restaurants, retail stores, and service storefronts right now, and the long-term outlook for reopening is, at best, uncertain.
For an insurance agent, this means there is a great deal of opportunity to serve a massive pool of clients in need of reassurance. That doesn’t mean, however, that those same agents are immune to that unsettling feeling of the unknown, particularly in terms of their own business operations.
In a service industry focused on the unexpected, is there such a thing as “stable ground?” Thankfully, there is — a collective of insurance agents and agencies known as an insurance network or cluster.
What Is an Insurance Network or Cluster?
In short, an insurance network or cluster is a prime example of strength in numbers. Rather than a series of agents trying to navigate the obstacles, slowdowns, and issues inherent in doing their own “heavy lifting,” a network instead carves a path for members to follow, making the way easier for all.
Much like the concept of membership-required bulk stores in the retail customer sphere, an insurance network gives agents and agencies access to products, services, rates, and discounts they might not otherwise have at their disposal. In turn, this access allows agents to better serve their clients and, potentially, widen their service offering menu to appeal to more potential clients or upsell current ones.
How Can an Insurance Network or Cluster Help My Business?
Membership in a network helps insurance agencies in a variety of ways, supporting professional success from many angles.
Primarily, membership provides access to a wide range of insurance carriers — a volume that would likely prove unsustainable if an individual agent tried to “go at it alone.” In some cases, particularly for high-end carriers, membership can open doors that would otherwise be closed to individual agents or smaller agencies.
The right insurance cluster can also take some or virtually all administrative tasks on for busy agents, freeing them up to do what they do best. Without the time sink of activities like payroll, accounting, claim processing, and data entry, more policies can be written and more potential clients can be contacted instead.
There’s also, ideally, a strong networking component inherent with membership in an insurance cluster. The ability to connect with and learn from peers at network-hosted events, whether virtual or physical, is a vital part of professional growth.
What Should I Look for in an Insurance Network?
For agents searching for an insurance cluster, autonomy is usually one of the most important aspects, for good reason. No hard-working agency wants to effectively hand itself over for the sake of membership, but some restrictive cluster contracts may require these promises.
Find a network that allows you to retain control over your agency whenever possible — this will put you in the best bargaining position should you wish to sell your business, merge with another agent or agency, or even buy additional business prospects later on.
Finally, the same rule applies to policy-selling as membership-selling — the harder the push, the weaker the product. If membership requires an ironclad time commitment and doesn’t offer a transparent “out,” critically examine what they provide against what they’re requiring in return — chances are it’s balanced in their favor.
If you’ve been debating joining an insurance network, there’s never been a better time to test the waters and maximize business potential. Contact Voldico today to see what we can provide to your insurance business and learn how we’re supporting our valued members in these unprecedented times.