Planning your insurance agency perpetuation may seem like an insurmountable task. But, when broken down into manageable pieces, it can be tackled like any major project. Throughout the years, we’ve created a number of resources to help owners map out their succession plan. When compiled, we found five simple questions can put agency transition on the road to success.
- Do I perpetuate internally or externally?
There’s a reason this is question number one. Your answer will determine what path you’ll take and how to prepare your agency for it. Weigh what you’re looking for in succession. Internal perpetuation usually means more brand consistency and control, but external generally means a higher cash gain.
- Who will take over?
Once you know if you’re looking inside or outside of your agency, think about who will be taking the reigns. If internally, it may be a family member or employee. If external, it could be a local agency, larger regional agency, or even a bank. Decide what’s best for your business. Ideally, you should start planning your perpetuation 5-10 years out so you have time to work with your successor on the next three questions.
Read more on the pros and cons of perpetuating internally and externally
- What’s my agency worth?
Determining agency value can be tricky. To help, ensure you have a financial reporting system in place early on. Most agencies use their management system to track money in and out. Use reporting features to set up recurring reports to give you a clear picture of where you stand year to year. This data will inform you on your agency’s real value. That’s a great bargaining chip when negotiating with potentials buyers.
- What’s my timeline?
If you’re asking when you should start planning, the answer is now. As mentioned, the nuts and bolts of perpetuation should be put into motion 5-10 years out, but it’s never too soon to draft a timeline. In your timeline, map out when you plan to select a successor, length of the transition period, and your expected turnover month and year. Knowing these dates ahead will help you prepare your staff, your successor, and yourself for the transition.
- What’s my post-succession role?
Everyone is different when it comes to how much they’d like to be involved post-transition. You can stay on with a more active role as an advisor or board member, or you can choose to take a more passive position jumping in here and there as needed. If full retirement is more up your alley, you can pass off your agency and hit the links. Just be sure you’re upfront with your successor on how you’d like to be involved.
Here’s what to do – and not to do – when planning succession
BONUS: What will be my biggest obstacle?
There’s a lot that goes into planning and executing your agency transition. What are you most anxious about? Whatever it may be, that’s the area where you need to spend the most time. Reach out to owners in your local professional organizations, do your research, and make sure you’re as prepared as you can be for whatever scares you most.
Find out what other agencies had to say about perpetuation in our Perpetuation Survey
For many, it’s the transition itself that is most intimidating. You can ease that fear by ensuring you have the right technology to easily transfer information. As we’ve heard from our partner agents, being able to turn over critical data with our Partner XE agency management system has been a lifesaver. With integrated accounting and email systems and an intuitive, easy to use interface, Partner XE leaves you one less thing to worry about in agency perpetuation.
To find out more about Partner XE, get in touch with an SIS team member today at [email protected].