Starting an agency from scratch is challenging. But, it is also very rewarding.
Big I New Jersey is in the business of helping independent agencies of all sizes succeed. As you start on your journey building your own agency, here are some tips and tools to assist you on your way.
While an independent agency is not capital intensive relative to other industries, you can expect to need approximately $40,000 to $50,000 in start-up capital to pay for things such as office space, equipment and furniture, E&O insurance, and marketing. And, don't forget you're going to need to pay yourself as well. We recommend agents reaching out to the professionals at InsurBanc
to discuss business financing and cash management. They understand independent insurance agents and specialize in insurance agency financing.
Access to Insurance Companies
The one thing you cannot do - even with a license - is sell insurance without access to insurance companies. For property and casualty insurance, most companies are looking for a long-term relationship. Getting an appointment typcially requires experience in the business, a track record of successful marketing and selling, a marketing territory geographically desirable to the company, and a solid business model. While it is possible to build company relationships on your own - especially if you have worked for an agency in the past - Big I NJ makes access to markets much easier with IMS
and Big I Markets
. Both exclusive market access programs feature a variety of products to help agents start writing policies day one. Please be advised these programs are member-only.
Insurance Licensing and State Regulations
If you're starting your own agency, you're likely already licensed in New Jersey (if not, click here
). But, having a license is just a start. Agents are required to complete a specific number of continuing education credits
to maintain licensure in New Jersey. Plus, with the changes in regulations - especially as it pertains to cyber liability - it's imperative to stay abreast of state laws that are imposing new requirements on independent agents.
Great Sales and Admin Skills
Everyone excels at a different skill. Some are great at selling, others are great at administration and service. Starting an agency from scratch will require you to wear many hats and be great at all functions of the agency - at least until you are able to hire staff to manage some of the tasks. Should you choose to join Big I NJ, our Virtual University
(VU) program can help you with this undertaking. And, when you're ready to hire, our hiring and staffing
resources (some of which are also available to non-members) can get you the right candidates.
Customers are placing their risk management needs in your hands, therefore you need to understand the products you're selling. Depending on the lines of business you intend to offer, there are scores of different policy forms and coverage implications. Add to that the importance of understanding the risk management process itself, and you have a very knowledge-intensive profession. While our member-only VU program is an excellent resource for this, we offer many webinars
and training opportunities that are available throughout the year to members and non-members alike.