Access to Markets
Secure Market Commitments
For most start-ups, market commitments will have to come from a combination of a few possible direct appointments and/or a variety of indirect markets such as wholesalers, managing general agencies and market aggregators.
Direct appointments with a variety of established carriers that have broad, competitive insurance products to offer is the ideal situation – and very hard to come by unless you have at least a three-year track record and a sizable book of business that you will bring to the table right off the bat.
Many Managing General Agents and wholesalers are receptive to working with new agents. Many will have little or no volume commitments and are compensated per transaction through policy fees that are passed on to the customer. The Illinois Surplus Lines Association has information and links to its member MGA's and wholesalers.
Market aggregators provide assistance to new agents in seeing up their first agency office, access to otherwise unattainable markets and niche programs, the opportunity to obtain direct company appointments and a chance to share in the network's profitability. In return, these networks usually ask agents to pay a percentage of commission, a membership fee, or require them to give up a small stake in the value of the book of business built up through the aggregator. Be sure to review the contractual relationship with these entities carefully, especially as they relate to book ownership, commission or revenue sharing and exit costs.
IIA of Illinois members have access to Independent Market Solutions (IMS) - a market access solution to fit any need for any size agency - new or established.
IIA of Illinois members are also automatically members of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or Big "I") which provides access to Big "I" Markets and the Eagle Agency, both of which offer easy access to top-rated carriers with low/no volume commitments and NO FEES. Additionally, IIA of Illinois members have access to the Big "I" Flood Program through Selective Insurance.