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Take the Test - How does your agency look to potential recruits?

As Featured in the Insurance Journal……

By Daniel Rogan

THE PROBLEM: You’re an independent insurance agency owner and you want to grow. You can acquire another company and merge that into your present firm, or you can hire another producer. Now you must ask yourself … how does your agency look to potential recruits?

THE SOLUTION: Get ready to attract those new producers by taking this quick recruitment test. And even if you’re not looking at attracting new producers, now … it’s still a good idea to take this test and measure how well your agency is doing in today’s competitive environment.

1. Markets. Do you have the markets that match the candidate’s current expertise? And what about your list of carriers? Do you have the necessary appointments to keep any new producer busy? After all, the number one issue for a good, prospective producer considering a move would be a quality list of carriers.


2. Service & Marketing. Is your support staff superior to the candidate’s previous employers? Do you have a centralized or producer oriented marketing system that matches the needs of your new prospective producer? After all, it’s easier for a producer coming out of a direct writer system to fit in with an independent that has centralized marketing, as they will immediately benefit from existing carrier relations.


3. Lead Generation. Do you have a quality telemarketing and direct mail system in place? As the market becomes more competitive, producers look at every tool available to become more productive.


4. Specialties / Niche Programs. Does your agency have any specialties or niche programs that make it stand out from the competition? If you do, how do you promote those programs?


5. Automation. Automation is a must for any progressive agency and automation will also enhance your revenue to employee ratio.


6. Compensation. Is your compensation structure competitive? Whether its salary plus bonus or draw vs. commission … it’s based on a percentage of the producer’s book of business. Understand that candidates will research the average for their geographic area and then look for a strong rate of compensation. If you are recruiting a salary based producer to a commission structure, fully explain your system. You will be surprised how many salaried producers don’t completely understand the commission environment.


7. Ownership. Do you offer an equity position for the producer in their book of business? The norm seems to be a vesting program of five years, with the producer gaining an ownership stake in his or her own book of 10% per year, with a cap of 50% total ownership.


8. Contracts. Does your agency have the producer sign a non-compete, trade secrets clause or covenant not-to-compete? Understand they are all major issues to any candidate, so explain why you have them. Make sure they’re legal, valid and fair. An agreement that’s comfortable to both parties will save legal fees down the road.


9. Benefits. Do you offer any? Are they comparable to agencies of your size in your area? The two areas addressed most often at job interviews are dependent care and retirement programs.


10. Office Environment. Is your office centrally located? Does it offer attractive surroundings? Remember, first impressions are hard to change.

In Closing, remember this. Potential candidates are also interviewing you. Put your best foot forward in the beginning and should you wish to pursue the deal, the close will most likely be much easier.