Opportunity  |  Company Access  |  Starting Your Agency  |  Licensing  |  Producer Bond
Obtaining Company Appointments  |  Location  |  Joining IIA of IL  |  Automation


Opportunity

Captive Agents
Never before has a career as an independent insurance agent been as attractive as it is now.  For those with and without experience the time to act is at hand. If you are a captive agent representing only a single entity you know the trials of captivity.  Many of your colleagues are realizing that multiple company representation is the answer to declining policy count and restricted income.  Independent insurers currently are welcoming the addition of experienced representation.  The Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois is your link to freedom and success. 

Definition:  A Captive agent is one that represents only one company and effectively is under the control of that Company, e.g. State Farm, Allstate, Country Companies, Farmers Insurance Group, American Family and Shelter, to name a few.

New Ventures
Are you interested in becoming an entrepreneur?  Are you a self-starter? Are you comfortable in helping people?  If so, take your confidence to a new level and investigate the possibilities in becoming an independent insurance agent.

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Company Access

One of the most pressing issues in the decision to become an independent insurance agent is company access.  The most common practice is to seek and contract with companies individually.  While this method can be profitable to all parties it is often time consuming and may result in a relationship that is strained by lack of product, and an inability to meet company expectations.

As an alternative, those insurance professionals seeking an independent status should investigate affiliating with an aggregator organization.  An aggregator is an insurance retail operation that is contracted with multiple companies.  Every aggregator is unique but they all have a common thread which is company access.  The aggregator allows its’ members to access these companies, normally for a fee and/or a commission split.  The advantage of such a relationship is a plethora of company representation without the normal commitments associated with contracts obtained singularly.  This can mean higher commissions and earlier access to profit sharing and contingencies.  An excess of companies without the normal commitments means more product and broader market base for the individual agent.

In choosing an aggregator due diligence is the key. The aggregator’s company representation is not the only criteria to be measured.  It is as important to evaluate the aggregator’s business model as well.  These are normally intended to be long relationships so care must be exercised when making the decision to team with an aggregator.  The Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois can assist in the process of choosing an aggregator.

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Starting Your Agency

Register and license your agency with the Illinois Dept. of Insurance (IDOI). Register your agency with the Illinois Secretary of State and apply for a Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN).

Complete a business plan and resume’. Help in preparing a business plan can be obtained from www.SBA.gov under “Starting a Business”.

Purchase an Errors & Omissions policy. For applications, click here. Complete the Westport application as it can be used by all companies.

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Licensing

In order to sell or solicit insurance you must obtain an insurance license. There are three types of licenses in Illinois.

  1. Property/Casualty
  2. Life & Health
  3. Personal Auto Only

To view the requirements for licensing, click here.

The applicant must attend a pre-licensing course approved by the Illinois Dept. of Insurance (IDOI). Recommended course and information can be found at www.ABRC.com.

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Producer Bond

Any person that carries an insurance license is also required to carry a producer bond in a minimum amount and maximum of $50,000.

In addition the agency must maintain an entity bond unless it is a sole proprietor with no producers.

To view the bond statute, click here.

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Obtaining Company Appointments

Obtaining company contracts can be very difficult unless you are prepared with all that has heretofore been written.  The majority of Independent Insurance Companies will not give a contract to a newly licensed person with no insurance experience.  However, IIA of Illinois has access to companies that will work with new, inexperienced agents.  Perhaps the thing that will convince a company to offer you contract is a list of possible clients with dates that their insurance renews.  This is called x-dating. 300-500 prospects is a number that companies would expect. 

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Location

Select a location for your office. DO NOT WORK OUT OF YOUR RESIDENCE.  Select a location in a high volume traffic area and erect a sign as large as you can afford.

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Join the IIA of Illinois

Join the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (IIA of IL).  The IIA of IL is an association dedicated to assisting Independent Insurance Agents throughout the state of Illinois.  They provide a wide variety of products and services to assist Independent agents in the day to day operation of their agency.
Services provided are full time lobbying in the Illinois General Assembly, continuing education class, industry communication via monthly magazine “Insurance Insight” and bi-weekly “Brief”, agent access to markets and Errors & Omissions insurance, and trained experienced employees to assist in all types of insurance questions. For more information visit our website at www.iiaofil.org.

As a member of the IIA of IL you are automatically a member of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America which is the National Association of Insurance Agents and offers many additional agent benefits. Visit their website at www.IIABA.net.

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Automation

There are many agency management systems dedicated to insurance agents.  The IIA of IL does not recommend any one system but can provide contact information.

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4360 Wabash Ave. • Springfield, IL 62711
(800) 628-6436 • (217) 793-6660 • (217) 793-6744
info@iiaofil.orgwww.iiaofil.org