Here are three questions to consider which option is right for your agency.
After many years of being an independent agent, you may be considering retiring. Your book of business has grown substantially over the years and if you sell it, you can retire. Most independent insurance agents automatically consider selling their book of business—but what about selling your insurance business as a single entity?
There are pros and cons to selling your insurance business versus selling your book of business. Here are three questions to consider before you retire:
Why Sell Your Book of Business?
Some buyers may want to only purchase your book of business rather than your whole business. As a result, you may not have to close your independent insurance agency when you sell your book.
There are a few reasons you should sell your book of business instead of selling your insurance agency. First, it is difficult to sell a company that is losing money. If your business is not profitable, it might be best to simply sell your book of business.
Another reason it is beneficial to sell your book of business is that you may be able to continue to sell insurance. Of course, this depends on the terms of your non-compete. You may be able to pursue other lines of insurance and still have all the marketing materials, employees, buildings and office supplies to run your business. Selling your book of business—or even part of your book of business—means you can continue operating your insurance agency.
Selling your book of business might be a step toward liquidating your agency. After you sell it and decide to close your agency, you can sell your office supplies as well as your building if you own the property. However, selling your insurance agency through a liquidation process can be tedious.
Why Sell Your Agency?
Selling an insurance company as a whole also has benefits. Selling your insurance company is usually more profitable than selling your book of business and, once it is sold, you have fewer responsibilities to the insurance agency.
Your book of business is the product of all of you and your team's hard work. What if you could sell your hard work with your book of business? As the saying goes, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." The whole of your insurance agency is worth more than liquidating your business assets and selling them piece by piece.
Selling your insurance agency allows you to make a profit on aspects of your business you would not be able to liquidate. For instance, your marketing is a large part of your agency. Selling a website, email list, or branding and logo is difficult if it does not have the rest of the insurance agency and book of business.
Which Is Better?
Selling your insurance agency as a whole is usually the best option if you own a profitable insurance agency. It will lead to a greater return—and your employees will likely keep their jobs when the new owner takes over and your business is able to continue existing.
While it is rewarding to sell your assets, finding interested buyers and negotiating every asset sale takes time.
If you are looking to retire and close your independent agency, you should first consider selling your business as a whole. This will allow you to retire comfortably and remove many of your responsibilities to your insurance agency. You can sell your insurance agency yourself or you can hire a business broker to sell your company.
Alan Grayson is the marketing manager and content producer at Synergy Business Brokers.