When it comes to agency perpetuation planning, you’re likely somewhere between square one and planning your retirement party. Let’s hope, unlike some of 2016 Future One Agency Universe Study respondents, you’re closer to a beach house and a cold drink. The study found 23% of agencies with one principal over age 66 said perpetuation was more than five years out. Age may bring wisdom, but it should also bring retirement before 70!
How do I get started on perpetuation?
The issue all too many agencies encounter is not planning ahead. One of the biggest sticking points in this planning is picking a mode of succession. With so much invested in your business, it’s a difficult choice. In a recent SIS Perpetuation Survey, 25% of respondents said naming a successor was the most challenging aspect of perpetuation.
Here are 5 Questions to Ask when planning independent agency succession
Success comes from tackling one aspect of perpetuation at a time. So, let’s start with the most critical: will you perpetuate internally or externally?
I’d like to pass on my agency to someone I know. What should I consider in internal perpetuation?
You’re not alone. 60% of SIS Perpetuation Survey respondents chose a family member as a successor. However, 25% said mentoring their successor was the most challenging aspect of perpetuation. Like any choice, internal perpetuation has its pros and cons.
- Higher control of your involvement post-perpetuation
- Easier transition compared to bringing in “an outsider”
- More familiar face, resulting in higher trust among employees and customers
- Requires more hands-on training from you
- Offers lower cash benefit
- Keeps you involved longer than you may want
Planning to perpetuate internally? Read our tips for a successful transition
What about external perpetuation?
Perhaps you’ve heard the stats that less than 40% of family businesses successfully move to the next generation. Or maybe the next generation isn’t interested. Whatever the reason you’re considering external perpetuation, it has its benefits and drawbacks as well.
- Higher cash benefit
- Less training required
- Able to exit involvement sooner
- Potential loss of company culture
- May be disruptive to employees
- Less opportunity to stay involved
Any change can be overwhelming – find out how to manage change in our “4 Cs of Change Management” post
I’m still not sure what’s best for my agency. Where can I go for advice?
Regardless of which way you go, you don’t have to decide alone. In fact, 38% of our Perpetuation Survey respondents said they went to peers for succession advice. Talk to contacts through professional groups and user communities, get together with owners you know, and bring in trusted employees for their input.
Our Partner XE User Community was created for this very purpose: to connect agencies with those that know the industry best. At Regional Learning sessions, in our online PartnerNet portal, and at our annual National User Conference, our partner agencies seek and give advice on everything that matters to them as independent insurance agents.
Author: Sarah Deak
Sarah Deak has been contributing to the SIS team since 2013, covering topics like agency perpetuation, workflow improvements, data security, and marketing. She has a background in small business, working with organizations to improve their online presence and client engagement. Sarah also writes for the SIS newsletters and website, and counts herself lucky to hear from our many passionate, hard-working clients for our client stories. Her favorite part about working for SIS are the dedicated, service-minded people.