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Want to make more money as an independent agent? Consider specializing.

Want to make more money as an independent agent? Consider specializing.

Here’s the why and the how of specialization.

Potential clients — now more than ever — want and need specialized insurance assistance from subject matter experts and trusted advisors. Specialization supports a client-centric operating model that leverages referrals to generate new business and lock in renewals year after year. That’s not to suggest abandoning current business, it’s simply an opportunity to hone in on a particular market to make business more lucrative. Here are the benefits of becoming a specialized independent agent and how to get started today.

Your daily work — streamlined

Specialization makes your business faster and more efficient. Client situations are similar, so you get used to answering the same questions, which deepens your expertise without the extra effort. You also don’t have to write a brand new policy for every client, and can zip through the submission process, both of which save you a lot of time.

Multiple new business referral sources

Agents who specialize get new business from a variety of places, such as:

1. Industry connections.

Specialization around a specific industry lets you build relationships with industry associations and groups. People gain trust in your knowledge of risk in their industry and send you business.

2. Partner relationships.

Building relationships with distribution partners who write insurance for specific types of businesses not only speeds up submissions, it also creates a mutually beneficial partnership that brings more business to both you and the partner.

3. Existing customers.

Serving specialized clients sets you up as an expert. You quickly get to know the ins and outs of your specialty — and people love to refer experts, so referrals tend to flow more freely.

How to choose a lucrative niche

You can specialize in a certain line of business in a geographic area (i.e., servicing restaurants in the Orlando area), in a particular industry or in a specific product line. You can even combine niches in which to grow your expertise and build your reputation as a trusted adviser.

Review your current book of business. Who do you serve? See what your best customer accounts have in common. You can also take a look at emerging industries or current risk trends. Here are two strong areas of specialization:

  • Cyber security is a great example of a fast-growing niche. Since the onset of COVID-19, companies have seen a startling rise in cyber attacks and are eager to secure their brand reputations and revenues. Since exposure to cyber risks is growing and difficult to understand, agents who specialize in cyber insurance are becoming invaluable.
  • Hard-to-place risks for E&S lines are another profitable specialization. Companies with poor loss histories, high-risk venues and new or high-hazard operations need flexible solutions that address a growing set of complex risks. Find out why independent agents are thriving in the hard-to-place risk market.

Get to know your market and client

When you specialize, your clients have specific problems and vulnerabilities in an unfamiliar coverage landscape. Show them you understand their industry and can advocate for them in a world of risk. Set a Google alert to stay up on trends, news and changes relevant to your area of specialization.

Gain visibility as an expert

Market yourself as an expert in your niche. Promote your specialized services clearly on your website. Post quotes from satisfied clients. Create Q&A videos that showcase your knowledge and post them regularly on social media. Referrals are easier when you are a subject matter expert. Read this to brush up on simple referrals strategies.

Be available and stay in touch.

A successful insurance business is all about the relationships. And this is particularly true when you specialize, since you become a risk management partner and source of knowledge that your clients count on. Need some ideas on how to connect with clients regularly? Try these.

MacNeill has been covering hard-to-place risks across multiple lines of business for over 75 years, giving independent agents access to diverse admitted and E&S offerings with top-rated and exclusive partners. We offer competitive options for cyber insurance and make it simple to get an online quote for stand-alone policies or as additional protection for your Professional Liability, General Liability or E&O policies.

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