Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to work with over 85 agencies starting their P&C Insurance offices from the ground up. Many were Life/Health, Crop and Financial agencies that decided to form a new P&C Insurance department in their existing establishment, and from my experience, these are the ways the successful ones made it work:
1. There needs to be an experienced and dedicated P&C Department Manager. Either the principal of the established agency becomes the 100% dedicated P&C Manager, or an experienced P&C Manager should be hired to assume the role.
2. The manager cannot operate on both sides of the agency. P&C requires a different mindset than Life, Health, Financial or Crop. It’s a “Jack of all trades, master of none” concept, and problems will arise if the manager doesn’t have a singular focus. Typically, the manager will gravitate towards whichever area of study he or she is most comfortable or familiar with. Be careful, as this can lead to failure in the division of the agency that they are the least experienced in.
3. A great producer or salesperson isn’t always a great manager. A successful salesperson may seem like a good fit for the position, but often the organizational skills needed to manage a department are not always present in aggressive salespeople. If you’ve chosen a driven salesperson to lead the department, be sure to give them the organized support staff they will need. Otherwise, consider hiring a more operationally minded individual for the task.
4. Experience above all else. The biggest hurdle initially is understanding the intricacies of P&C coverages, rating factors, carrier relations, carrier products, carrier quoting systems, and even the difficult situations that arise from customer claims and questions. The more insurance carriers you have, the more potential complications you’ll have as well. Positioning someone at the helm of the department who can make quick and accurate decisions is paramount. They must be able to avoid getting bogged down by a heavy, diverse workload while still continually growing the department.
There is money to be made in the creation of a P&C department, but also risk if operations are not fully understood. Keep these tips in mind to ensure that your business succeeds in the rewarding industry of Property & Casualty Insurance.
Written by Josh Nordin https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshnordin