The Basics of Starting an Independent Insurance Agency

By Tony Caldwell

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Dive into a mindset.

Have you had enough with being a “captive” agent? The name says it all, doesn’t it? The insurance business is full of opportunities, and you should be taking advantage of all of them. Insurance companies set goals and limitations for their captive agents, but independent agencies get to call the shots and seize every opportunity. 

If you’re ready to become uncaptive, our very own CEO Tony Caldwell will give you all the tools you need to change your mind, uplevel your skillset, and get ready to launch your independent agency. 

Create a business plan.

How are you going to reach your goals if you don’t have any? Successful entrepreneurs know that planning is half of the battle. 

Making a business plan doesn’t have to be incredibly complicated: identify your best opportunities, set goals, and then plan the steps to reach them and grow your book of business at a steady pace.

Start your business.

To start a business, you probably don’t need a big office and a full-time assistant. What you will need is good agency management software, some sort of office space, and making sure all your licenses and permits are in line as per the insurance commissioner.

See what your income could be with an OAA membership.

1. Goal Setting

You will get a lot further if you know where you’re going and how to get there. Let us help you create the perfect business plan to make a splash in the insurance industry.

2. Carriers, Partnerships & Profit Sharing

Your relationship with insurance carriers will be very different now that you are an independent insurance agent. Learn about the insurance products you can sell and the types of insurance that interest you most, and get ready to negotiate terms with insurance companies.

3. Training, Development & Coaching

You’re the boss now, it’s time to study, learn, and grow. There is no room for error and omissions when your name and agency are on the line, so get ready to study lots about professional liability insurance, life insurance, or whichever field you want to be the expert in.

4. Insurance Agency Management

Managing an insurance agency is an art and a science, but you can make everything work smoothly with the help of technology. Leverage agency management software to make the most of your time and increase your efficiency.

5. Sales & Marketing

The world has gone virtual, and marketing is smarter, leaner, and meaner. Learn how to use email campaigns, social media, and the power of the Internet to find prospects and turn them into customers.

6. Hiring

If you want to grow into a big agency you will need more people to share the workload with. Let us help you answer all the big questions regarding hiring agency staff.

7. Growing Your Agency

Are you ready for expansion and growth? Congratulations! We have many tools for independent agencies ready to move into the next level.

Download the free "How to Start an Independent Insurance Agency" guide from OAA.


Questions? We have answers.

Freeing yourself from captivity and starting your own agency can be daunting, and we’re sure you have many questions. Here are the answers to some common questions, please take a look at our blog or contact us if you have any other questions about becoming independent and joining OAA.

Starting an agency is overwhelming, how can I prioritize and focus?

As an entrepreneur, especially one who’s growing an agency, there are so many hats you have to wear and so many things that you have to do every day, not to mention every week, that it's really hard to have focus and intentionality. But those things are really, really important to continued success in building your business.

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How do I make a name for myself and get customers to trust me as an independent agent?

You want your agency to be immediately recognizable to prospects and clients alike. Developing and consistent use of brand guidelines may not get you worldwide recognition, but it can help increase sales.

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Should I strike out as an independent agent even with the COVID crisis?

In every crisis, there is an opportunity. While independent insurance agencies will need to play defense, their offensive capability, due to representing a number of insurance companies with broad market appetites, means that they have a unique opportunity to grow their business. 

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How can I negotiate with a major insurance carrier if I’m an independent agent?

Agents have responded over the last 30 years to the changing environment, in many cases by joining an organization to help them have more access to markets at a higher compensation level than they could on their own. This has benefited many of them.

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Should I use social media to promote my agency?

Yes. Take advantage of the networking part of social media platforms and start building a community by providing quality content and actively interacting.

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Are you ready to fly solo?

We have been helping agents start successful independent agencies for years. Contact us to find out how we can help you succeed.

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How we’ve helped entrepreneurs start and grow independent insurance agencies.







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OAA was born out of the desire to help independent agents succeed.

If you want to start off your own agency, make it grow explosively, or sell an established agency, we have the experience, knowledge and skills to help you.

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