So You Want To Start Your Own Insurance Agency?
On October 10, 1990, I started The Addis Group from scratch. No name, no revenue, no carriers, no customers, no reputation. Only a dream, a network of supportive friends and a unique process.
Although it has been over 24 years, it seems like only yesterday that The Addis Group began. What was the “recipe for success?”
Network: In assessing the opportunity for success, I went to my network (i.e., centers of influence and friends) to solicit their opinions. I asked each person three questions:
- Would you stand behind me?
- Would you refer me?
- Would you become a client?
The answers were all positive.
Value Proposition: I needed a unique “value proposition” – a process that was different from any other firm in the Philadelphia region. This was necessary to attract and retain insurance carriers, staff and clients. I also knew that my Network would be able to generate referrals if I armed them with a powerful, compelling story about The Addis Group’s approach.
Marketing and Business Plan: Essential to the endeavor was the crafting of a Marketing and Business Plan – a road map for the future of the firm. This document also helped secure a credit line as well as attract insurance carriers.
Insurance Carriers: Insurance carrier partners were critical to the evolution of The Addis Group. The firm could not exist without a handful of top notch insurance companies who embraced The Addis Group’s unique process. I was aware that attracting these carriers was going to be a significant challenge that would require insurance premium volume commitments.
Family Support: This was a huge consideration. Before venturing out on my own, I met with my wife (Bobbie) to confirm that I had her support. In October, 1990, we had two boys (Andrew, age 9 and Jeffrey, age 7) and a third child on the way. Bobbie and I thought deeply about the potential impact on our family as a result of the time and energy it would take to get the business off the ground. We also measured the financial risk factor. Fortunately, Bobbie was a registered nurse who was willing to do what it took to help the cash flow.
Passion and Purpose: Last but not least, I had a passion and purpose to design a futuristic agency that would develop business through a unique business model. At 34 years old, I had energy, determination, focus and drive. I also had a heavy dose of fear.
Do you want to start your own agency? The experience of The Addis Group gives evidence that it can be achieved. However, you must start by asking yourself the following six questions:
- Do I have a network of centers of influence and friends who will stand behind me, refer me and become clients?
- Do I have a unique “value proposition” to differentiate myself within the marketplace?
- Does my marketing and business plan lay out a road map for future success?
- Is my family supportive?
- Will I be able to attract insurance carrier partners?
- Do I have the purpose and passion to build this enterprise?
Please share your thoughts on additional strategies to starting an insurance agency.