FAQ’s from Independent Insurance Agents Considering Joining an Agency Alliance

August 26, 2022

Joining MIAA is a proven strategy for helping your independent insurance agency grow, become more profitable, and access valuable resources and support.

If you are interested in becoming a member of MIAA here are some frequently asked questions we receive.

What licenses will I need for my insurance agency?

Your independent insurance agency will need an entity license for every state you will be doing business in. Some insurance carriers can only pay commissions to a licensed entity. Therefore it is important to obtain a license in all business states to avoid confusion when paying multiple producers. MIAA will guide you in the steps to obtaining proper producer and agency licenses for our insurance agents.

How do the IIA/Big I and PIA relate to MIAA?

MIAA encourages all members of our insurance agency group to participate in insurance networks such as the Big I and PIA. Both of these organizations help the insurance industry by political lobbying and education for insurance agents. MIAA partners with member agencies differently and is designed to perform some functions that the IIA and PIA don’t provide. MIAA, the Big I and PIA can work together to provide independent insurance agencies the best advantage to achieve success.

How do I get appointed with new insurance carriers?

Each insurance carrier has applications that need to be completed for a direct contract. As a member of our insurance agency group, MIAA will provide you with these insurance carrier applications. The insurance carriers also require volume commitments in order to grant your independent agency a direct contract. MIAA has strategic partnerships with many insurance carriers and can provide your agency with a direct contract to some carriers with a greatly reduced volume commitment. Insurance carrier marketing representatives should be approached for an appointment request, or you may work through MIAA staff if you are a member of the insurance agency group.

How long does it take to start writing business with new carriers?

When you are a new insurance agency with our insurance agency group, the setup process is greatly determined by the speed in which applications are completed and received by the insurance carriers. It can take insurance carriers approx. 2-10 weeks (depending on the carrier) to contract your agency. You may submit business through the MIAA AccessPLUS System while you await your carrier contracts if you are an MIAA member.

Can MIAA help with State Department & NCCI compliance?

As an independent insurance agency, it is important to track the status of your producer licenses, insurance agency licenses, E&O policy, and tax returns. It is also important to make sure that work comp experience modifiers are pulled correctly and with authority from NCCI. Our insurance agency group has an automated reminder system for our insurance agents to help them remain in compliance with their E&O provider, the carriers, and the state departments of insurance.

Can I write Life/Health, Disability or Annuities?

Absolutely. While MIAA only deals directly with P&C insurance, your independent insurance agency is able to write all lines of business that you are licensed for. Members of our insurance agency group may obtain contracts directly with insurance carriers in these lines, or you may choose to work with MIAA partnership brokers and services if you are a member.

How do I manage agency Human Resources?

Your independent insurance agency staff is your greatest asset. There are many services available to assist businesses with the proper procedures for HR. While organizations like SHRM (www.shrm.org) can provide you with guidelines for proper and legal HR practices, educational classes such as Agency Management through CIC (www.scic.com) can provide your agency with tips for maximizing efficiencies and workflow. As a new independent insurance agency with MIAA, we provide you with helpful sample documents such as Performance Evaluations, Employment Applications, Producer Agreements, Incident Reports and Warnings.

How can I prevent E&O losses?

Classes and manuals can often be acquired through your E&O insurance carrier. Insurance agency groups such as the Independent Insurance Agents or Professional Insurance Agents associations provide E&O classes that can greatly assist in your independent insurance agency’s E&O loss prevention. MIAA offers training for member insurance agents through ISM Orientation Training and news updates that will assist your agency in E&O loss control.

How do I maximize my agency revenue with MIAA?

MIAA and SIAA work with Strategic Partnership Carriers to negotiate higher commission levels and Portfolio Management Service Fees that independent insurance agencies would not otherwise receive on their own. Your revenue will increase simply by becoming a new insurance agency member of our insurance agency group. MIAA will work with you to analyze your book of business and determine ways to place business with insurance carriers in a more profitable manner. Our insurance agency group will also suggest ways to help automate processes, streamline workflows, and help increase overall productivity by assessing your current independent insurance agency systems. Since member agency success is the measure of MIAA success, we will use all resources available for our insurance agents to become more profitable.

Where do I go to find insurance carrier information?

Insurance carrier websites or marketing representatives are great resources for the product, focus class, and general insurance carrier information. MIAA also keeps a database that members of our insurance agency group may access for these items in a centralized location via the SIAA NetWeb online system.

Can I write business with insurance carriers that I’m not contracted with?

As a new insurance agency with MIAA, you can write business through the AccessPLUS System. This system allows an agency to write business through the MIAA office with the many insurance carriers that MIAA is contracted with while you build business or wait for your direct contracts with our partnership insurance carriers.

Can I contract with insurance carriers that MIAA is not affiliated with?

Yes. It is possible for our insurance agents to directly contract with insurance carriers that our insurance agency group is not affiliated with. Your independent insurance agency will be subject to the insurance carrier’s standard volume requirements and standard contract parameters that exist outside of the insurance agency alliance.