How To Set Up Your Insurance Brokerage
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge. What next?
Setting Up The company
There are two basic ways of starting an insurance brokerage either a sole trader or a limited company. There are pros and cons to each option and lots of advice is available to help you choose which option is right for you.
Setting up a limited company is an easy process and can be done online at minimal cost. There is an excellent Companies House guide which will take you through the process. If you are setting up a limited company it should be noted that if the word Insurance is in your name, for example ABC Insurance Brokers Ltd, this is regarded as a sensitive name and will require FCA approval before Companies House will register it. Your chosen name will also need to make it clear that you are not an insurer so if you want to include ‘Insurance’, you will need to include ‘Broker’, ‘Services’ or something similar.
Insurance Broker Business Planning
Every business needs a plan. This does not need to be a long and tedious document – after all it is what you do that is important and the best plans in the world will not lead to success unless the execution is good. However, the thought process; how are you going to get business, researching your market and competitors, planning your campaign, marketing/networking etc. is important.
Understanding your cash flow is vital. In starting your own insurance brokerage you may be exchanging the certainty of a salary for the unpredictability of what business you will win. Your planning should help in establishing when revenue is likely to come through, however it is important that enough allowance is built into your projections to allow for the lack of certainty. The cash outlay involved in forming an insurance brokerage will need to be closely monitored and be influenced by the model you choose – Directly Authorised or Appointed Representative.
During the planning stage of starting your own brokerage it is important that some thought is given to the marketing of your business. This does not have to be a complex marketing strategy, involving a big budget, but should include some research into your target audience, who they are, where they can be found and how they buy, along with some ideas about how you would like your clients and prospects to perceive you and the type of message you would like your insurance brokerage to convey – this is the development of your brand. A good brand will:
- Deliver your message clearly
- Connect you to your target prospects
- Confirm your credibility
- Motivate your team to choose you
There are lots of resources on the web with excellent, easy to follow advice on the most cost effective methods to begin to market your business effectively. You might find Marketing Donut and HubSpot and SME for Growth useful.
An important part of building your brand and your presence in the market is establishing a website. In its simplest form a website helps to give your business credibility and professionalism. It gives your potential customers an opportunity to find you, understand what you do and make contact with you. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you are just starting out, you don’t need a web presence yet – without one your business will not have the credibility to compete with the rest of the market.
Building a pipeline of future opportunities will also be important for the success of your brokerage. There are some great customer relationship management (CRM) systems available which will help you manage the relationship with your clients and build good prospect information to assist your marketing activities. There are many low cost and even no cost options available designed specifically to work well for small businesses.
If you are leaving employment it is important to understand any contractual obligations to your past employer. This is particularly important when clients may be following you. Interpretation of such obligations are often not straightforward and getting an expert opinion from an employment lawyer is often a very sensible investment. There is some useful information regarding covenants at out-law.com