Building an insurance firm is no easy undertaking, but with enough hard work and determination, you can make your goal a reality. Here are the fundamental steps to get started.
Maybe you’re a successful insurance agent looking to start a new chapter in your career. Perhaps you’re pondering a career move and perceive the insurance business as having the potential for profit and security.
Whatever your motivation for wanting to start an insurance company, it may be a wise investment. But, even once you’ve become a certified agent, it takes a lot of preparation and hard work to get an independent insurance firm off the ground.
Let’s take a deeper look at what each phase of running a successful insurance firm entails.
STEP 1: Write a Business Plan
A solid insurance agency business plan serves as a road map for success, putting your insurance firm on the correct route. This document indicates your dedication to any possible stakeholders, including investors, workers, and insurance providers.
It also helps you:
- Set goals
- Avoid potential roadblocks
- Identify risks
- Determine financial needs and resources
Your business plan may need to be adjusted over time. It should, ideally, provide guidance long after your insurance agency has been established.
At a minimum, your business plan should:
- Introduce who’s involved in the business, and who’s responsible for executing the plan.
- Explain your plan for getting customers, and the insurance products and services you’ll provide.
- Identify your target market, suppliers, and competitors.
- Describe what sets you apart from the competition.
- Analyze your risks.
- Include an initial budget that covers start-up costs and cash flow projections.
A business plan serves as the foundation for launching a new venture. It assists you in obtaining finance and start-up capital, narrowing down your market, and deciding on a location for your business.
STEP 2: Choose your legal structure
The level of personal liability you accept will be determined by how you establish your business. There are multiple structures available to choose from:
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited liability company (LLC)
- S corporation
Each structure has its own risks and benefits.
Whatever form you pick, the correct business insurance can help protect and manage risks.
STEP 3: Choose and register your agency’s name
After you’ve completed the important duties of creating a company strategy and deciding on a structure, you can have some fun.
If you’re a lone owner, the legal name of your company is automatically your own name. However, you can also select a “doing business as” (DBA) name. This is your chance to be creative and choose a name that you like:
- Is easy to say and spell.
- Meets your state’s requirements.
- Conveys your agency’s benefits.
- Is easily searchable.
However, keep in mind that most states limit or restrict the usage of specific phrases in order to avoid a business’s name from deceiving or misleading the public. For example, the words “bank” and “banking” are frequently banned. To learn about your state’s unique naming limitations, contact your Secretary of State’s office.
Once you’ve decided on a name, register it with the government of your state. You will most likely be charged a small registration cost.
STEP 4: Get a tax ID number
When submitting their taxes, all companies and partnerships must utilize a federal employer identification number (FEIN). This number is also required to create a business bank account or credit card.
You may utilize your Social Security number if you are a single proprietor.
STEP 5: Register your business with your state
Once you’ve obtained your tax ID, you’ll need to contact the office of your state’s insurance commissioner. For state and local tax reasons, you must often register as a “resident business entity.
Your state will almost certainly demand a registration fee and give a checklist to ensure that you are aware of and comply with all state laws.
STEP 6: Get your business licenses and permits
Even if you are a licensed agent, you may be required to get a general business permit or license in order to operate lawfully. Using the SBA’s Business Licenses and Permissions tool, you may determine which permits or licenses you must have.
You should also verify with state and local officials to ensure that you are following all requirements.
STEP 7: Purchase insurance to protect your investment
The forms of insurance required by your insurance provider are determined by the structure and assets of your organization. Independent agents are already aware of the need of having proper liability coverage. However, as a business owner, you must also think about a range of additional hazards.
Customers’ property damage and injuries are covered by general liability insurance. Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, often known as professional liability insurance, protects you from lawsuits based on allegations of errors or oversights.
To register your business in several states, you must have an E&O insurance coverage in place.
Commercial property insurance is required if you buy or lease office premises. This will cover the cost of repairing or replacing business property that has been stolen, lost, or destroyed, such as your building, furnishings, supplies, and equipment.
Finally, if you use a vehicle for work, you should check your auto insurance policy. Commercial auto insurance is required if you purchase a company-owned vehicle. If you use your own vehicle for work purposes, you may require leased and non-owned auto insurance (HNOA).
It might be difficult to launch your own insurance firm. However, with dedication and hard effort, you can make your goal a reality.
If you’ve already started an insurance agency or are getting ready to start one, we’re here to help. Our certified agents can give experienced advice and answer your questions to help you get the coverage that’s best for your company.
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