When you become an independent insurance agent, your agency will need an insurance entity license for every state you will be doing business in. Some insurance carriers can only pay commissions to a licensed entity. Therefore it is important to obtain an insurance license in all business states to avoid confusion when paying multiple producers. MIAA will guide you in the steps to obtaining proper producer and agency license in setting up your independent insurance agency.
When you start a new insurance agency, it is important to carry E&O for every line of business that your agency services. E&O can be obtained through insurance brokers or directly with various insurance carriers. Premiums vary depending on estimated written premium, when your independent insurance agency was established, and principal producer experience. MIAA has connections with many E&O insurance carriers and will work with you to find the best premium for your independent insurance agency. It can take approx. 1-2 weeks to receive an E&O insurance quote depending on the carrier that is quoting your risk.
A Sweep Account is an agency account that the carriers use to withdraw funds that clients give to your agency in the form of cash and is needed once you become an independent insurance agent. If a customer brings cash to your office to make a down payment, the insurance carrier will withdraw the funds a few days later from your Sweep Account. Sweep Accounts may vary in form, but should be separate than your Operating Account or Direct Deposit of Commission Account for insurance agency accounting purposes. MIAA will assist you in questions you may have regarding your agency accounts even after you start your new independent insurance agency.
Each insurance carrier has applications that need to be completed for a direct contract with your new independent insurance agency. As a member, MIAA will provide you with these insurance carrier applications. The insurance carriers also require volume commitments in order to grant your insurance agency a direct contract. MIAA has strategic partnerships with many insurance carriers and can provide your independent agency with a direct contract to some carriers with a greatly reduced volume commitment. Insurance carrier marketing representatives should be approached for an appointment request, or you may work through MIAA staff if you are a member of our insurance agency group.
Choicepoint is a data aggregation company that provides data sourced from multiple public and private databases to insurance carriers for insurance agents. Your new independent insurance agency will need a Choicepoint ID in order for insurance carriers to pull MVR and CLU information for insurance quotes. The form and setup instructions can be obtained directly from Choicepoint or through MIAA if you are a member of our insurance agency group. MIAA will assist you with this critical phase in starting your independent P&C insurance agency.
When you become an independent insurance agent, the setup process is greatly determined by the speed in which applications are completed and received by the insurance carriers. It can take the E&O insurance carriers approx. 1-2 weeks to return a quote that you have applied for. Once your E&O is received, it can take insurance carriers approx. 2-10 weeks (depending on the carrier) to contract your new insurance agency. You may submit business through the MIAA AccessPLUS System while you await your carrier contracts if you are a member of the MIAA insurance agency group.
It is important to track the status of your independent insurance agency’s producer licenses, agency licenses, E&O policy, and tax returns. MIAA has an automated reminder system for insurance agents if you are a member of the insurance agency group.
Absolutely. While our insurance agency group only deals directly with P&C for insurance agents, your agency is able to write all lines of business that you are licensed for. Your new independent insurance agency may obtain contracts directly with insurance carriers in these lines, or you may choose to work with MIAA partnership brokers and services for our insruance agents if you are a member of our insurance agency group.
Your agency staff is your greatest asset as a new independent insurance agent. There are many services available to assist business with the proper procedures for HR. While organizations like SHRM (www.shrm.org) can provide you with guidelines for proper and legal HR practices, educational classes such as Agency Management through CIC (www.scic.com) can provide your new independent insurance agency with tips for maximizing efficiencies and workflow. MIAA provides members insurance agencies with helpful sample documents for insurance agents such as Performance Evaluations, Employment Applications, Producer Agreements, Incident Reports and Warnings.
Insurance training classes and manuals can often be acquired through your E&O insurance carrier. Independent insurance agency groups such as the Independent Insurance Agents or Professional Insurance Agents associations provide E&O classes that can greatly assist in your new independent insurance agency’s E&O loss prevention. MIAA offers training for insurance agents through ISM Orientation Training and news updates that will assist your new independent insurance agency in E&O loss control.
MIAA and SIAA work with Strategic Partnership Carriers to negotiate higher commission levels and Portfolio Management Service Fees that independent insurance agencies would not otherwise receive on their own. Your new independent insurance agency revenue will increase simply by becoming a member. MIAA will work with you to analyze your book of business and determine ways to place business with carriers in a more profitable manner. MIAA also works for insurance agents to suggest ways to help automate processes, streamline workflows, and help increase overall productivity by assessing your current insurance agency systems. Since member success is the measure of MIAA success, we will use all resources available for your insurance agency become profitable.
Learning how to be a successful insurance agent starts with insurance carrier partnerships. Insurance carrier websites or marketing representatives are a great resource for the product, focus class, and general insurance carrier information. MIAA also keeps a database for insurance agents in our insurance agency group that they may access for these items in a centralized location via the SIAA NetWeb online system.
Members of our insurance agency group can write business through the AccessPLUS System. This system was created for our insurance agents and allows an independent insurance agency to write business through the MIAA office with the many insurance carriers that MIAA is contracted with. This is a temporary solution for our insurance agents while they await their direct contracts or build up needed business with the partnership insurance carriers of our insurance agency group.
Yes. It is possible for a member insurance agency to directly contract with our insurance agency group carriers that MIAA is not affiliated with. When you start a new independent insurance agency, the non-partnership carrier will be subject to that insurance carrier’s standard volume requirements and standard contract parameters that exist outside of our insurance agency group.