Once you’ve received your insurance license, what do you do next? While you might be eager to jump in and start selling policies at your insurance agency, there’s something important you have to do first; you have to get an appointment with an insurance company.
Getting an appointment with an insurer means that you’ve been authorized to sell insurance products for them. For instance, if you’re appointed with Nationwide, you can sell your clients coverage through Nationwide. That's true whether they need commercial or personal insurance. If you don’t hold this appointment, you can’t sell those policies.
Below you’ll find tips on how to get appointed with insurance companies, so you can start selling policies and grow your business.
Research Your Options
Receiving an appointment with an insurance company isn’t always an easy process. Before you start filling out applications, make sure you take time to research your options.
What insurance companies are you interested in working with? Compile a list, and then start learning all you can about how the company works.
You can ask yourself questions like:
- Do these companies allow you to have appointments with multiple companies, or are you locked in with a single appointment?
- Are they taking on new agents right now, or do you need to wait until a different time?
- What are the financial goals of the company?
- What quota requirements exist?
Learn about the Carrier's Requirements
Try to determine what a particular insurer is looking for in its agents by looking at its appointment application and website. You can also call the insurance company directly and ask to speak with the Business Development Manager or another person in a similar role.
A few common requirements are:
- An active license to sell insurance
- A proven track record of success in selling insurance
- A solid business plan in place and regular review of that plan
- A drive and readiness to succeed
- An established online presence and an ability to market well
- Strong customer service skills
Basically, insurance companies want to know that you’re a licensed agent willing and able to sell products and find new clients before they hand out a company appointment. Insurers also want to make sure you treat policyholders well, so they keep renewing. Experience in these things helps improve your chances of a direct appointment.
Once you’ve narrowed your options, you can focus on the insurance companies most likely to grant you an appointment first.
Apply for an Appointment
Once you decide which insurance company to apply for first, it’s time to learn more about them. Most companies have a website with information for potential applicants, so start your search there. You’ll likely learn more about the steps it takes to get an appointment with them and the benefits of doing so.
Filling Out the Application
Many insurance companies allow insurance agents to fill out the initial application online. You’ll need to answer questions about yourself and your agency. Make sure you complete each part of the application to the best of your ability and honestly. Now is not the time to exaggerate your book of business or pad your experience with a couple of extra years.
Once you submit this online appointment request form, the next step may be a discussion with a sales manager at the company. If this goes well, you may need to fill out another more formal application and do a more in-depth interview. Then, your paperwork and portfolio get reviewed, and the company decides if it’ll approve your appointment or not.
The Next Steps
The exact process varies from company to company, so plan on asking what your next steps are. For instance, after you get an appointment with Atena for selling health insurance, you must get certified with its training program. Similarly, P&C carriers might have their own requirements. Always check out the requirements, so none of them catch you off guard.
Keep in mind that getting a direct carrier appointment isn’t a quick process. Many agents report that it takes several months for this process to be finalized. One of the reasons is because the insurance company has to register your appointment at the state level.
What if you’re ready to start selling now and want to speed up the insurance agent appointment process? Consider becoming a captive agent first, meaning you only work and sell products for one insurance company. Then, you can gain some experience and learn more about the insurance process before switching to becoming an appointed agent with other carriersan independent agent.
Can You Get Insurance Carrier Appointments from Multiple Companies?
As an independent agent, you can apply for appointments with different insurance companies. This way, you have options for your clients, and can help them find the policies that are the best fit. However, it’s important to note that not all companies allow you to have multiple appointments. Make sure you select companies that work with your business goals.
3 Tips For Getting Insurance Appointments
Now that you know a little more about the insurance appointment process, here are some tips to help improve your chances of getting appointed by insurance carriers.
Tip 1: Network
You want to get your name out there in the insurance world — attend industry events, connect with other agents on LinkedIn, and get to know any carrier reps at the insurance classes you take.
While the person you’re interacting with may not have the final say on your appointment, having a positive relationship with them isn’t going to hurt your chances. Even if they don’t work at the carrier you’re targeting, they may know people there. Once you develop that relationship, it’ll be easier to ask for an introduction or even a personal recommendation.
Tip 2: Try for Unusual Types of Insurance
If you’re just starting out, getting appointments for personal lines of insurance, such as life or auto insurance, might be tricky. Most companies prefer agents with plenty of experience and a solid book of business in the niche.
But, if you look into less common types of insurance, you reduce the competition and stand a better chance of approval. Consider selling commercial insurance, such as E&O policies, or diving into unusual insurance policies like food truck insurance or salvage car insurance. Being able to reach different client bases can help you make a good impression on the insurance company.
Tip 3: Get Experience First
Applying for a direct appointment as an independent insurance agent is a long process. However, if you are willing to join with other agents for a few years, you can get the experience you need to stand out above your competitors and land the appointment of your dreams.
When you’re first starting out, consider working with a Managing General Agent (MGA). MGAs are a type of wholesale broker who act as intermediaries between insurance agents and insurers. They help agents and carriers get unique types of coverage for clients. It’s easier to get appointments when you have direct access to agent support from a larger group than if you’re a new agency going at it solo. Plus, the underwriting skills you learn during this time can help you get appointments later on.
While you’re working with others, keep records so you can show your profitability. Insurers want to see proof of your ability to grow and profit as an insurance agent.
Grow Your Insurance Business with Carrier Appointments
As an insurance agent, you can use carrier appointments to grow your business. They can help you find new business, as you’ll attract different customers based on the different carriers you sell. If you’re having trouble landing your first few appointments, consider the other options that can still move you toward your business goals.