Choosing the right MGA is one of the most important decisions that an insurance broker has to make in their career. This is a decision that will have long term implications to your earning potential, career growth and overall competitiveness. When an insurance agent is already licensed with an MGA this decision can at times be overwhelming because of the need to transfer over contracting and also the learning curve to about the new MGA’s procedures and services, but is a decision worth making if you are not getting what you deserve from your current MGA.
When determining if your current MGA is offering you all that they could be, consider some of the following important points.
Are they providing you with fast turnaround on your applications? This is a major challenge for insurance brokers and agents. Many MGA’s process applications very slowly and it is a process that the insurance agent or broker may have very little control over. While the average processing time for insurance applications with an attending physician statement add 19 days to the application process , an aggressive MGA can get this done in half the time.
Do they offer you a guaranteed turnaround time for responding to your inquiries? Another challenge that insurance agents and brokers face are when MGA’s are slow returning calls. Often when they do they cannot answer all questions and this can make your ability to service your client extremely challenging.
What compensation structure does the MGA offer? MGA’s who do not offer compensation based on individual production and/or performance can result in lower producers earning higher bonuses than higher producing insurance agents or brokers. An insurance agent or broker is best suited to work with an MGA that compensates them based on their individual needs and performance.
What is the MGA’s policy about changing MGA’s? Some MGA’s will make it very difficult for you to switch MGA’s if you are not happy. This is career limiting and should be avoided.
Will you have direct access to insurance underwriters and insurance companies? Some MGA’s will not allow this. In addition, they also won’t speak to underwriters on your behalf. There may be instances where you will need to call an underwriter to negotiate the best deal for your client. Some MGA’s will be more concerned about potentially annoying an insurer than helping you fight for the best deal for your client.
Which insurance companies do they deal with? Some MGA’s will only deal with one or two insurance companies and will be exclusive to them. You will be in a position to provide your clients with the widest range of products and will be more competitive if you choose an MGA that deals with all of the major insurance companies.
Most MGA’s are set up primarily as a processing centre and do not have the resources to provide on-going professional development and education — for both technical knowledge and the important soft-skills to succeed in the business. The world has changed and consumers are more sophisticated and as a result the cost of obtaining an appointment using traditional methods has tripled. Successful advisors today need to DIFFERENTIATE themselves to be MEMORABLE. Most advisors are also so bogged down with paperwork and compliance that they are stagnating. Most MGAs do not provide regular, ongoing coaching and mentoring. Or business development training on a regular basis, or even the professional marketing and website support needed in the new ultra-competitive, 21st century consumer-savvy environment.
The ideal MGA would be one that also provided you help with value-added services for FREE including:
- Pre-approach and prospecting systems
- Client presentation tools
- Proven referral systems
- How to generate referrals from C.A.s & other professional advisors as centers of influence
- Regular Weekly Sales Concept and/or Product Training
- Convenience of CE credit qualifying hours at your own office
- Marketing, sales & advertising assistance
- Daily activity accountability
- Practice management
- Business planning and goal setting tips
- Case consultation / case packaging / joint field calls without commission splitting
- Competition analysis – researching the best product solution for your client’s needs
- Custom spreadsheets, reports, presentations
- Retail client seminar assistance
- Elite & MDRT advisor mentoring and coaching
- Help with Time management & work / life balance
- Mining your Book of Business: Maximizing Revenue from your Existing Client Base
- A personalized website complete with video client testimonials, e-commerce functionality and corporate branding
- Social media activity and expertise
- A structured, built-in succession strategy
If you were to consider switching MGAs, it should be to one that could provide you all the benefits of full independence along with complete, ongoing support, training, professional development and even corporate branding. In essence, being in business for yourself, but not by yourself.
Whether you have just obtained your insurance license and are looking for the right MGA or you are working with an MGA already, are experienced in the industry and want to see what else is out there, research will be key.