The Decision to Continue Truly Independent, Sell or Join a Group

The Decision to Continue Truly Independent, Sell or Join a Group

Article By: Steve Albinger of Couri Insurance Associates

So many independent agents are faced with this decision: Do I continue to operate as is, with the pressure from carriers to constantly add new business and grow larger with the increased cost of IT, etc. or should I look at selling? What if I am not ready to sell?

Well, there could be another option - join an aggregator. But, before you do, ask the right questions.

The aggregator world has changed drastically and there are as many different models as Baskins 57 flavors of ice cream!  Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do I like the people? Are they partners or isolated?
    • Are they going to be there locally when I need them or are they a national franchise?
  2. Are there any joining fees?   How are they based? 
    • Re-occurring monthly fee minimums?
    • Pay based off what is written?
  3.  What is included in the joining fees if there are any?
    • Automation discounts?  In some cases, these can pay for the cost of being in the group
    • Social Media?
    • Marketing support?
  4. What tools, software and support are provided? What isn't provided?
    • Do they have dedicated teams to help you write more personal and commercial business?
  5.  What are the groups requirement to keep carrier appointments, obtain new appointments?
  6.  What extra commission or increased profit shares are available? 
    • Keep in mind because the size of the aggregator allows them to receive top tier commissions and profit shares, it may offset the cost of joining.
  7.  Is there a cost to leave the group?
  8.  Can they help me with perpetuation?
  9.  Will they supply a list of group members to contact?  
    • How is the group management perceived by the members?
    • Do they validate what you are hearing?

There are a lot of options and questions to be answered but taking the time to get answers to these questions will help you evaluate and understand the group. 

Steve Albinger has nearly 40 years of insurance experience, including more than 22 years at Couri Insurance Associates. He's worked in both national and regional insurance companies and spent five years as vice president of a large independent agency before joining Couri in 2000. Steve can be reached at 414.916.9321 or at