Starting An Agency


 We've been hearing for several years that the insurance industry is facing an imminent talent gap, and now 25% of insurance agents are expected to retire within the next two years!  But results from Vertafore's fourth annual "Millennials in Insurance" survey offer some hope.  According to the report, 86% of millennial insurance professionals are somewhat or very optimistic that the industry will be able to attract future workers, and 82% would recommend a career in insurance to friends and family. 

And that's why IIAN has launched the Talent Network - to help your agency connect with next-generation talent! 

IIAN Talent Network Director Kelli Backman is visiting with college students and graduates  looking for internships and careers every day.


Kelli Backman
Talent Network Director

Check out the Talent Network Website:

Looking for a new employee or interested in an intern?

Click here to post job openings and find out about internships.

This toolkit is designed to educate and assist in the process of starting an independent agency, but it is up to you to make it happen. Building an agency from scratch is possible. If you're successful, the rewards are considerable, including the ability to call your own shots, a healthy return on investment in the form of owner’s equity and the satisfaction of being in a business that protects people and their valuables. On the other hand, starting an agency from scratch is challenging.

Following is a short list of critical success factors necessary to make it:
  • Capital – While an independent agency is not capital intensive relative to other industries, you can expect to need approximately $40,000 to $50,000 in start-up capital to pay for things such as office space, equipment and furniture, E&O insurance and marketing; and that doesn’t count resources necessary to live on while you build your customer base.
  • Access to insurance companies – You can get licensed but you can't sell insurance without access to insurance companies and managing general agents. For property and casualty insurance, most companies are looking for a long-term relationship. Getting an appointment usually requires, among other things, experience in the business, a track record of successful marketing and selling, a marketing territory geographically desirable to the companies and a solid proposed business model.
  • Good sales and administrative skills – Some people have great selling skills and can make great insurance producers. Other people are great at administration and service. Starting an agency from scratch will require both sets of skills until you get large enough to hire others.
  • Thorough technical expertise – Customers are placing their risk management needs in your hands, therefore you need to understand the products you're selling. Depending on the lines of business you intend to offer, there are scores of different policy forms and coverage implications. Add to that the importance of understanding the risk management process itself, and you have a very knowledge-intensive profession.
If you're still interested, this toolkit will walk you through the steps necessary to get started and provide resources to help you implement the steps where possible. Click here to see the detailed steps.
Hiring the right employee is essential.  Get help by putting your Big "I" membership to work for you at either Omnia or Caliper. 

IIAN Omnia Profile Program:

As an IIAN member, your agency is eligible for a FREE Omnia Behavioral Assessment!

The Omnia Profile report that you receive post assessment includes easy to read graphs and a clear non-clinical discussion on how compatible a prospective or existing employee is with a job, a work culture and a management approach. The report also spells out what motivates that person and whether you need to tweak strategies to improve the sales-to-close ratio.

You can compare one employee to another, gain insight into team dynamics, inherent behaviors and potential areas of morale-lowering group conflict. Knowing how and why some producers succeed, some struggle and others simply fail allows you to be a more effective, attuned manager who triggers desirable employee behavior.

Get started today!  Contact:  Carletta Clyatt | 800-525-7117  x1226 |


Learn more at The Omnia Group website at:


IIABA Caliper Program:

Big "I" members receive discounted pricing on Caliper products to help your agency with pre-employment assessments, staff development and corporate culture.

What does Caliper offer?

Pre-employment assessments
Get clear about which candidates have the greatest potential to succeed and make your most informed, confident hiring decisions ever.

Talent Development
Caliper's three-phase approach to talent development focuses on exceptional performance and remarkable, measureable results. 

Corporate Culture
Transform the culture you have to the culture you need. We’ll put your vision in perspective and provide solutions for achieving your goals.


Visit the Caliper website to learn more about each of these areas.


What is my Big "I" discount?

Big "I" members receive $50 off a Caliper Profile (final price $245) and 10 percent off other products.

Order by calling 609.524.1200 and identifying yourself as an IIABA member.

wahve_logo.pngWAHVE’s mission is to provide the highest quality innovative onshore remote staffing services to insurance agents, brokers and insurers, enabling them to achieve significant bottom-line savings and growth by capturing the brain trust of the industry’s retirees, helping our retirees supplement their retirement income working from home and keeping jobs in America.
IIAN Benefit for Members: 
Big I members get a 50% discount!
  • Experienced and qualified insurance professionals available to help your agency.
  • Access to a large talent pool of highly qualified, trained, experienced insurance industry retirees across the country.
  • Amounts depend on amount of hours services are provided.
  • Have minimal start-up costs and time.
  • Eliminate the worry about health care changes, tax increases, or the political issue of outsourcing overseas.
  • Supplement your staff and perform daily back-office tasks and processes and/or customer service, saving 40-50% on staff costs and overhead.
  • Free up highly paid staff for increased client and prospect time, increasing retention, new business, revenues and margins.
When would you use a WAHVE?
  • To mentor and bring along a producer who may not have a strong insurance background 
  • To help cover back office duties to allow producers and CSR's to refocus on sales and service 
  • To maintain productivity if an employee is on maternity or other extended leave 
  • To focus agency marketing efforts on a new segment of business
Getting Started with WAHVE
Contact Bill Hunt with WAHVE to discuss your needs further and get additional details.
Phone: 347-292-3757
You will be provided with a list of candidates that match your requirements 
You will work with WAHVE to interview and select your candidate
Visit the WAHVE website at

How could you use a WAHVE on a full, part time or project basis?

  • Full service staffing, including:
  • Live customer service representative (Commercial or Personal lines)
  • Sales & marketing assistant
  • Claims representative
  • Underwriter
  • Special knowledge expert on hard to place or niche lines of business
  • Mentors & trainers 
Back office process support, including but not limited to:
  • Preparation of new and renewal business applications
  • Quoting & proposal preparation
  • Loss run ordering & analysis
  • Policy checking
  • Premium audits
  • Certificates issuance
  • Change requests/endorsements
  • Indexing of scanned documents
  • Claims support
  • Excess & surplus lines filings
  • Accounting & finance 
Find out more:
Interested in becoming a WAHVE?
WAHVE can help you earn a supplemental income in addition to your retirement income and opportunities exist for full and part time work.
To be considered as a WAHVE you must meet the following requirements:
  1. Must have insurance experience 
  2. Must have a dedicated workspace in your home 
  3. Must have a fully updated computer system to utilize during working hours 
  4. Must have high-speed internet access 
Visit the WAHVE site for more.
Client Testimonials
Justin Foa, President, Foa & Son:
“The insurance brokerage industry has a problem in that it’s a graying industry. A lot of talent has gone to Wall Street or other financial fields and consequently we don’t have a lot of young talent available. WAHVE is tapping into mature talent that’s sitting on the sidelines and making use of it in a financially attractive way for agency owners.”

John O ’Brien, Chief Concerned Officer, O ’Brien Insurance:
“We’ve been primarily a Personal Lines agency, and wanted to expand our Commercial Lines book in order to grow. We are using WAHVE to do this and it’s been terrific. Our WAHVE is helping us in rounding out clients by reviewing renewals, upselling to existing clients when she sees a coverage is needed or is now available. We are very happy with how things are working.”