"To me, it seems to be at the center of insuring families," says independent agent Billy Wagner. "Our goal wasn't just to sell policies but to facilitate informed purchasing decisions through education and simplification."
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
How did you get started at your agency?
I embarked on my insurance journey in 2006, starting from scratch with no clients or established connections. Prior to that, I spent six months learning the industry by working for free. This foundation helped me grow my agency to serve nearly 20,000 clients, focusing primarily on insurance for the home-buying process. Our agency's strategy involved building over 700 relationships with realtors and lenders, emphasizing a remarkable experience for both clients and partners.
To me, it seems to be at the center of insuring families. Our goal wasn't just to sell policies but to facilitate informed purchasing decisions through education and simplification. Beyond insuring a client's home, we developed a comprehensive five-point system to cover all household needs, including auto, flood, umbrella and life insurance, aiming for total client protection.
Challenges in the homeowners market?
Currently, the market is incredibly challenging, marked by limited capacity and cautious carrier appetite. Two main issues are roof-related fraud and the skyrocketing costs of reinsurance, which significantly impact profit margins. These challenges have led many companies to refrain from writing new business to avoid guaranteed losses.
I anticipate a more open market in the next 18-24 months, along with a boom in real estate values due to low supply, potential interest rate reductions and a demographic peak in the home-buying age. Reliable insurance partnerships will be crucial for the real estate sector to ensure smooth transactions and well-served clients.
Advice for a fellow agent?
Focus on creating outstanding client experiences and building strong relationships. Understand your products thoroughly to educate and simplify choices for clients. Cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with carriers is equally important, as is providing accurate data to support their business growth. The goal would be for the carrier partner to recognize you as a best practice agent and for the community to see you as the best possible option to protect their homes.
Olivia Overman is IA content editor.