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Declaration of Independents: Ivan Hudson

Late last year, Ivan Hudson started to put the pieces in place to move his captive agency to the independent agency world. “There's a difference between starting an agency and launching one—I chose to launch."
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DoI Ivan Hudson.jpgIvan Hudson


Ivan Hudson Agency

Little Rock, Arkansas

Late last year, Ivan Hudson started to put the pieces in place to move his captive agency to the independent agency world. “There's a difference between starting an agency and launching one—I chose to launch."

Hudson's background in economic development with the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce gave him not only a professional start but, more importantly, delivered insight into the power of networking that would one day lead to the type of clients who wanted to be more intentional about how they purchase insurance.

However, after owning a captive agency for nearly a decade, “it got to the point where I was turning away viable business opportunities. I wanted to grow my business and a captive agency did not provide the independence required for me to grow in the way that I desired," Hudson says. “There's a time and place for the captive side but the future is in the independent agency channel—and I decided I'd be doing myself a disservice if I did not tap in."

What Has Helped You Transition?

The National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA) really helped me feel like I had a purpose in this industry. They introduced me to Big “I" Arkansas. Last year, I met with the leadership team and was blown away by the depth of benefits to help independent agents become successful.

I didn't know a lot about the independent agency system, but I've learned a lot. As my network expands, that continues to be my biggest marketing system—referrals are the main way I'm attracting business.

Biggest Challenge You've Overcome?

We all have to overcome the self-doubt that creeps in and derails progress. After years on the captive side, there was the fear of starting over, but I have a solid foundation and a successful track record. I'm able to overcome those doubts by knowing the value I bring.

Diversity in Insurance?

The key is intentionality. Focusing on attracting diverse talent will not only sustain the talent pipeline that our industry needs but establishing a culture of inclusion will also provide direct access to diverse and expanding consumer markets. The more that we can highlight and showcase the myriad of opportunities in the industry, the more we can be more intentional about attracting that talent. Representation from diverse cultures and ethnicities matters in our industry.

Recently, I was elected as the inaugural president of the Arkansas Chapter of the National African-American Insurance Association (NAAIA). This has been an extremely valuable organization for me because, for the first time, I was able to lead, serve and make a direct, positive contribution to the insurance marketplace.

Combining Insurance with Other Financial Services?

In 2012, I was primarily interested in financial services, but it wasn't until a buddy of mine showed me a carrier advertisement looking for business owners who were willing to get their securities license that I became interested in insurance. That spoke to me because it was the first time I'd thought about insurance and financial services under the same umbrella. When I was starting a scratch agency, I wanted to build my property-casualty business, as well as a financial services business. That is one way that I distinguish myself in the industry.

I secured my Series 6 and Series 63 licenses, which helps me to educate clients about certain types of securities, and I can review risk in a different way compared to the average agent. I can talk about protecting assets, but then flip the conversation to talk about growing those assets.

Most Useful Big “I" Resources?

The business planning templates have been an incredible resource—webinars from Big “I" Diversity, such as the Agency Fast Start, as well as the Big “I" Virtual University. Also, Trusted Choice® and the errors & omissions program.

Will Jones is IA editor-in-chief.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Agency Operations & Best Practices