Calling All Insurance Agents:
Five Questions to Ask Your General Agency
Are you working with a general agency that offers you the support and solutions that set you up for success?
Is your general agency helping you capitalize on everything it has to offer to increase your profitability and efficiency?
It can be difficult to discern all the services your general agency has to offer, let alone the differences from one general agency to the next in your market.
Let’s pull back the curtain to get a better understanding.
Here are five questions about the qualities of a General Agency that you should consider:
What kind of customer service do you offer?
Customer service can mean a lot of things. According to insurancebusinessmag.com, 93% of producers rated responsiveness/turnaround time as one of the top three most important qualities they look for in a general agency partner.
You have a reputation to uphold with your clients, and you need to know that your business partners help you uphold that reputation. Today, nearly every company promotes good customer service. So how do you decide the difference between good customer service and great customer service?
One way to do this is to ask your general agency what you should expect for turnaround times across the various services they offer. Aligning on this with your GA partner sets the stage for your success, and helps you set expectations with your clients.
As important, ask your general agency how and when to expect communication about the various areas of business in which you work together.
- At OCI, customer response times and communication are central to our business model. A partnership with OCI means lightening your load so that you can spend the time doing what you do best, building and strengthening customer relationships. We make it a priority to respond to our clients within 24 business hours, and most of the time much sooner. You can also expect regular communication on our services, carriers, and education via your online account, e-mail, and social channels.
- At OCI, relationships matter. Our agent partners have a dedicated local representative and a full-service back-office support team who offers you guidance and facilitates the support you need across our suite of services. Not only that, OCI’s reputation and size have led to the development of the strong carrier relationships that help you expedite the business you place through OCI.
What’s it going to cost me to work with you?
Better yet, what will it cost me if I don’t work with you?
It’s important to understand the costs and the savings associated with working through your general agency partner.
GAs typically receive compensation directly from the carrier in the form of an override, which means you don’t pay a thing, you remain the agent of record on the case, and receive your full compensation from the carrier. Find out what the carrier pays and make sure you are receiving all that you are owed.
Just as important, GA’s help agents save money. Partnering with a GA results in operational efficiencies and substantial savings in overhead expenses. These efficiencies help you focus your time on revenue-driving activities such as prospecting for new clients, marketing your business, and nurturing your existing client relationships for increased retention.
- Same Commission, Better Perks. A partnership with OCI means you have a team you can count on as an extension of your business while you keep 100% of the compensation, including commissions and bonuses you earn from the carriers.
What are the types of insurance that you specialize in?
It’s important to know that your general agency can support you in your insurance niche. If you are selling health benefits to businesses, you will want to make sure you will have solid support in that area. It’s also important to know if they can help you when it comes time to cross-sell. Take a couple of examples into consideration:
Scenario 1: If while reviewing a group disability plan you realize that because of maximums on the policy the highly compensated employees will only get a fraction of their total income, can you’re GA partner help place individual disability policies on those executives?
Scenario 2: Or when wrapping up a benefits presentation the employer asks if you can assist them with a buy/sell plan, does your GA partner have the capabilities to assist, or will they send you down the road?
- OCI’s model encompasses a diverse group of product lines from group health benefits, individual health products (Under 65, Medicare, and STM), life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care, and annuities.
- Not only does OCI offer support across multiple insurance product lines, but there is also a team of specialists in each line to provide you with the expertise you need.
Do you have Sales Support to consult and enable me in my business?
Are you constantly thinking of ways to keep your customers coming back? Are you looking for ways to expand your business without making a large investment of time, money, and energy?
It’s important to understand the sales support options your general agency offers to help you do both – retain and grow your client relationships. Additional questions to consider:
Does your general agency offer you the advice you need after the quote? Do you run across client scenarios where you could use guidance to make the best recommendations for your client?
If you are thinking about ways to grow your business, find out if your general agency offers sales support in lines of insurance that you don’t currently specialize in. This could be the ticket to increasing your earning potential and simultaneously owning the entire insurance relationship with your customer.
You shouldn’t have to travel the road alone; your general agency partner can help.
- Hands-on Sales Support: At OCI, the partnership doesn’t end after the quote. OCI has experts to help you make recommendations of the best-suited products and plans for your client. On top of that, OCI offers opportunities for you to increase your revenue by leveraging your existing client relationships in lines of insurance you do not currently specialize in.
Do you have comprehensive in-house commissions management?
One of the most important aspects of running a business aside from making a difference in the lives of your clients is getting paid! Managing your revenue and keeping track of all your commissions across carriers is a big job. You could spend days each month reviewing your paychecks to make sure they are correct, or you could choose a GA partner that does it on your behalf, saving you time and money.
- Accurate commissions in one place. Agents place a high value on OCI’s commission audits and single system for tracking all commission sources, including one 1099 at the end of the calendar year.
- Reliable weekly payments all wrapped into one. Get used to relying on a paycheck each week from OCI for business you have written across all carriers.
- Full transparency. OCI provides you with full transparency in your online account and on your weekly payments, with not a single detail left to wonder about.
When you go about selecting a general agency or trying to understand what your current general agency has to offer, it can be a lot to navigate. Therefore, it’s best to consult your current general agency partner or other general agencies in the area to ensure you are receiving all the value that should come with working with a general agency.
If you are in the market for a general agency partner, discover the difference at OCI.