Insurance agency network Smart Choice has announced that it will award $10,000 to the 10,000th agency to join.
With about 9,900 member agencies currently, Smart Choice said it expected to achieve the milestone in the fourth quarter of this year.
“One of the most critical decisions an independent insurance agency can make is whether to partner with a network and who to partner with,” said Andrew Caldwell, president of Smart Choice. “First, the terms of the contract must be agent-friendly – but just as important is the strength of the network measured in the number of agency members, carrier partnerships, geographic coverage and level of influence when negotiating agency compensation.”
Independent agents are continuing to increase their market share, according to a recent report from the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”). The hard market, disruptions caused by agency acquisitions, and other factors are spurring the establishment of a growing number of independent agencies.
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“It is imperative that agencies exploring potential relationships with a network ask probing questions regarding fees, length of contract commitments and retaining 100% ownership,” said Ashley Wingate, senior vice president of sales at Smart Choice. “But they must also ask how many agencies they have under contract – because most networks, alliances and clusters are surprisingly quite small.”
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