Last Updated: April 19, 2022

Selling Your Book of Business  

Selling an insurance book of business is a real milestone for insurance agents. You’ve worked hard to get there, and now it is time to reap the fruits of that labor. It can be scary at first, but it will provide financial stability for years into the future once realized.  

If you have decided on selling your book of business but are confused about moving forward, we are here to help.

Why Sell Your Book of Business?

Many factors might trigger the decision to sell your book of business. Here are some of the common factors that might have led to the conclusion:

Burnout

Grinding and building your business for years is something that makes you feel proud. But now, you think you have done enough. You have put in the maximum efforts for the growth of your business and want to rest. If you feel burnt out due to years of work, selling is an excellent choice. You have done your share; it’s time to relax. 

Lack of resources  

Your business has reached great heights, and you have accomplished a lot professionally. But now, you don’t have the resources required to take your business to the next level. In this situation, you might feel it is best to sell your book of business to a larger company. That company could then pitch in additional resources to grow your business further.

Looking for partnership 

Selling your business does not always mean handing over everything to somebody else. It can also be possible to run your business in partnership with another organization at times. You can connect with organizations who are willing to stay and work with you. You might want to check with them if your organization’s goals, vision, and objectives will be respected and kept intact before agreeing to such partnerships.

Health issues

You might not be as young as you were when you started. Your physical health needs attention, and your mental health is declining due to the stress of running a business. If this, is you, and you think handling the company is not something you can do anymore, selling is the right choice. It is up to you to stay involved as much as you can while someone else is handling the everyday operations and financial responsibilities.

Loss of passion

Your business was your child and your biggest passion. It was the most exciting part of your life. But right now, you don’t feel the same hunger, passion, and fire for the business as you did before. You still love your agency, but running it is not something you want to continue doing. If all this is in your head, it’s time to sell your book of business.

Retirement

You’ve been in the business for a long time. You have worked hard, overcame various challenges, and enjoyed the rewards. Now, if you want to relax and step away from the hustle of the business, selling your book of business is a great idea. Selling your book to trusted buyers will ensure a relaxed and smooth sales process.

Timing the market

The value of your agency can depend heavily on the market conditions. If you plan to sell your agency, it is wise to weigh the market first. The interest rates in the market, buyer demand, and general profitability of the agencies in your area can all change the value of your agency.   

Experienced and expert consultants, attorneys, accountants, insurance industry insiders, and financial services professionals can help you determine the right market conditions to sell your agency at a maximum profit.

Access to large carriers

If you are an independent or small-scale insurance agency, chances are you have access to very few large carriers. Even getting an appointment from successful carriers might be a herculean task.   

Your carrier partners can shoot up considerably if you collaborate with a reliable agency or sell your book of business to them.

Before Selling your Book of Business

Selling your book of business is a big decision and will take a lot of thought and preparation. But before you sell, there are several things you need to consider.

Planning the sale

Once you have decided on selling your business book, start your preparations and planning right away. Investopedia experts recommend starting your preparations at least two to five years before selling. But don’t worry if you don’t have that much time. Start where you are!  

While you are planning, think primarily about your exit strategy. It’s a good idea to decide on your future goals, selling techniques, business valuation, sales term, and the team to help you manage the sales.   

Last-minute plans and snap decisions can hamper your business value and complicate the sales process. Prepare ahead!   

Some other steps that you need to follow are here below.

Finding the right buyer

Finding the right match to take good care of your clients and your business is a demanding process. You would want a buyer that acknowledges your expectations and agrees with your business philosophies. Someone who offers fair pricing and can align their goals with the business’ vision is a good choice.  

Your buyer can be:  

  • Internal – Your family, friends, or acquaintances might be willing to buy your book of business. Maybe there is an employee who wants to take charge or someone you have been training to take over.   
  • External – You can also sell your book of business to a local agency or a large company. It might help to get in touch with a broker who can reach out to contacts and help you market your agency.  

If you are looking to sell externally, contact us. We will help make the transition smooth for you and help you earn the rewards you deserve.

Getting in touch with experts  

Finding a specialist or an M&A consultant can help you immensely. They will assist you throughout the process with their experience and training. Decisions like when to sell and what to expect will be easier to take with them by your side. When selecting a consultant, choose someone who understands and has a good knowledge of agency sales.  

These consultants will develop a framework of the sale, which CPAs and attorneys will assess. Your CPA can help in decreasing your tax obligations. An expert attorney will keep you on the right track throughout the sales process by reviewing the sale and all the legal documents associated with it.  

Valuation of the book of business  

This is the most critical part for most agency owners. You want to know how much money your business book will earn.   

Many agency owners believe in rule-of-thumb techniques to value their book, but this is not always accurate. Certain significant factors can affect the value of your book of business.  

  • Growth of the company
  • Profitability 
  • Relationships with your customers   
  • Risks involved  
  • Structure of the organization  
  • Business location  
  • Size of the agency  
  • Diversification of the book of business  

Increasing The Value of Your Book of Business  

While you might be curious to know your book’s value, increasing the value might surely be your priority. Here are a few ways through which you can increase the value of your book: 

Consider digitization  

The entire world embraces digitization, and the insurance industry is no different. There are several ways through which you can take advantage of digitization and increase your value:  

  • Create an online presence: Today’s younger generation is looking to purchase everything online, including insurance policies. Many commercial buyers also want to compare and manage their policies from their computers. It’s easy, convenient, and efficient. Using digital platforms to sell your insurance will help attract more customers. Ultimately, it will lead to more revenue and increase the value of your book of business.  Enhancing the user experience for all your online prospects and leads is also something you should consider.
     
  • Use social media: Use social media to learn more about your clients and what is going on with their lives. If they post about getting a new car or buying a new home, you can check with them if they require any insurance. Social networking sites like Facebook are a great way to stay updated on your client’s needs. You can also use social media to wish your current clients on their birthdays, anniversaries or keep in touch with them.  

Promoting your business to clients through social media is also very smart. Keeping your social media handles up-to-date and active, adding your contact information on social media platforms can help clients see what you offer and make it easy for them to reach you.  

  • Digitize your client information: Having all your client information in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system will make everyday operations easy for you and attract good buyers. When you have all your client information digitized, there will be one less thing for the buyers to handle.   

Many agency owners believe it is a huge hassle to go digital. But it’s just a myth. Going digital is now easier than ever, or you can outsource the services.  

Focus on your USP  

What makes you unique? What sets you apart from the competition? Why should prospects choose you over any other agency? May you be better at serving a particular niche better. Maybe your resources make you have most relevant for providing commercial policies. Whatever it is, your USP can define the strengths that can help you grow. Use those strengths to attract more clients, and market yourself.  

You can also include your unique selling points in your communication with your clients, your website, and your campaigns.  

Retain your clients  

Gaining new revenue from existing clients is a cheap tactic to earn more profit. After all, you won’t be spending tons of money to reach out and enroll new customers.  

Here are some of the suggestions that might help you retain more:  

  • Optimize your onboarding process. Make customers feel welcome, pleasant, and comfortable from the very start. Give them reasons to come back from the first interaction itself.  
  • Provide customized services when you can. Research well to find out how to match your products to their needs.  
  • Use technology to help your customers through the process of purchasing an insurance policy. Wherever you can, insert automation.  
  • Show appreciation to your loyal customers. Whenever they decide to renew their policy, send them gifts, incentives, or rewards that they might enjoy.  
  • Learn to be a good communicator. Don’t just focus on sales pitches. Listen more, stay in touch and get to know your customers well.  

Research your prospects   

It can be tempting to spend very little time on a prospect before contacting them. However, suppose the deal may bring in serious commissions or long-term cooperation. In that case, it is worth investing some effort into learning about your client’s company and industry knowledge firsthand so that you will get optimal results from any future interactions with them.  

Build a robust referral system  

A robust referral system is one of the most powerful ways to grow your book of business. 88% of people trust their friends or family to buy an insurance policy. But how can you build a robust referral system?

Here are a few tips that can come in handy:  

  • Provide fantastic customer service to all your customers, prospects, and leads. Give them excellent experience of interacting with you. Answer their questions respectfully, follow up diligently, and respond quickly. The quality of your service might help secure that sale and encourage them to speak positively about you with others.  
  • Maintain a good relationship with other agents. If a customer comes to them requesting policies they don’t provide, they will consider recommending you.  
  • Keep in touch with your current clients. Don’t forget about them once you seal the deal. Follow up with them to see if they have any questions or require help. Show appreciation if they decide to renew. 
  • Work hard on improving the quality of your products. Offer exceptional products to customers that truly satisfy their needs and exceed their expectations. When you continually make your products better, your customers will see the effort and will not shy away from recommending your products to anyone who might need it.  
  • Reward referrals. Let your current and prospective customers know you will reward the referrals. If people know you appreciate their efforts and receive a little something from them, they will be motivated to refer more.  

Cross-selling  

It’s cross-selling when you sell additional products to your existing clients based on their needs. It is a great way to gain extra profit using your current customer base.   

If you have all your client’s information on your CRM, cross-selling will be a lot easier. You can study the available information and look for coverage gaps.   

In case you don’t have a CRM, you can also try asking relevant questions during a current sale to understand your clients’ needs. Providing information about all the policies you offer (without being pushy) can also help you cross-sell.   

Cross-selling will add policies to your book of business and attract more revenue and profit.   

    Determining the payment terms

    The most important part – how are you going to get paid! You can either accumulate all your cash at once or get paid gradually as the agency makes money.   

    There are three distinct methods through which you can get paid:  

    The Lump-Sum Method is a one-time payment option. You will get all your money at once, and the deal is closed. This is the best method for the seller as you will earn your money quickly and move forward.  

    Of course, there is a chance your buyer might not want to choose this method. It is very risky for the buyer because the buyer might lose their money if anything goes wrong.  

    In Over Time Method, the buyer pays a certain sum upfront and gives you a note for the remaining amount. It is up to you to either get regular payments or sell your notes to a company specializing in note purchases.    

    The Earn-Out Method is the riskiest method for you. Your buyer will pay you 60-80% at once, then pay the remaining as your agency makes money. This is a very risky method for you. But if you are confident in your company’s ability to earn a profit, then the rewards will also be very high.

      Closing the deal  

      This is the step where you draft a letter of intent that includes the critical components of the deal. Your mergers and acquisition consultant will prepare this letter. Your CPA and attorney will then review and finalize all these documents.  
      Since the buyer prepares all the documents typically, here are some of the documents you will need:  

      • Purchase agreement
      • Employment agreement
      • Producer agreement
      • Consulting agreement
      • Separate non-compete agreements
      • Personal guarantees, and others.

      Ready To Sell Your Book of Business?

      You are now ready to take the leap. You have worked hard all these years, and now it’s time to move on. Honestly, you deserve this break.  

      Feel free to contact us for any consultation or advice. It’s free of cost! 

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