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How to start a virtual agency is an exciting question. You could be launching a new business. Or shifting away from a physical office. Either way there are challenges to overcome. But it doesn’t need to be overly complex. You can take advantage of the cost savings that can come with a virtual insurance agency. Then orient your business toward providing top-notch digital service that many clients now want.
Once you get settled into running a virtual insurance agency, the fundamentals remain the same. You’re still selling insurance. Meaning you’re finding ways to connect customers with the policies they need. You might have to make a few changes in terms of adopting new technologies. Also consider shifting how you interact with prospects and clients.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most important aspects of starting a virtual insurance agency. This way you can quickly get going and grow your business online.
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The first aspect of starting a virtual insurance agency is establishing your business in a compliant manner. Regulations vary significantly among different geographic areas and types of businesses. Be sure to check with relevant authorities who can provide guidance specific to your situation.
In general, you may need to cover areas like:
For a new business, you’ll need to follow the business formation rules in your area. Consider factors like whether you’re launching an LLC or a corporation. This process may differ slightly from starting a traditional insurance business.
Working from home could depend on local rules for using your home as your business address. You might want to establish a business mailing address. But this doesn’t mean you need to still open a physical office. You can search online for virtual mailbox services. Or explore options like getting a virtual membership at a local coworking space that can accept your physical mail.
Licensing can take shape in several ways. Starting a virtual insurance agency doesn’t mean you’re exempt from rules around being a licensed insurance agent. You may need to get approvals. It could still require a business license from your city. Even if you’re operating out of your house.
With a virtual insurance agency, it may be easier to hire employees from anywhere, rather than just your local area. But that might make employment law and taxes a little more complex. It might be easier in theory to sell insurance to non-local clients by working online. You still need to be aware of and follow licensing rules for selling insurance in other states, even if you have a virtual insurance agency.
Build a Digital Presence
So you have everything set up to operate a virtual insurance agency. Now you can dive into setting up your virtual storefront. This process isn’t so different from a physical insurance office. But there are few different areas of technology you’ll want to focus on.
Building a digital presence for your virtual insurance agency involves areas such as the following:
Customers can’t find you by driving by your office. It’s arguably even more important to have a strong website. You don’t need to spend a ton of money building out your website. There are services like Squarespace. They offer low-cost ways to build a professional-looking website. You don’t have to know much about web design. But you might prefer to work with a web developer who can create a site for you.
Your website needs to quickly make it clear what you offer and to whom. You don’t want individuals looking for auto insurance if you’re selling property and casualty insurance.
Make it clear how to get in touch with you. Prospects don’t need a lengthy explanation of why and how you started a virtual insurance agency. Let them know what you offer. They’re more interested in information like your email address and phone number so they can ask questions if needed. If you want to offer to meet with clients, you could integrate a service like Calendly into your website. This makes it easy for others to book a meeting or video call.
Another important feature for your website is online quoting functionality. Platforms like Wheelhouse make it easy for prospects to generate bindable quotes from your website. If you don’t have a website yet and are eager to start making sales, you can create targeted landing pages through the platform. You can offer online quoting capabilities there.
You don’t have to be a virtual insurance agency to offer online quoting, but they go hand-in-hand. If a client comes to you online it seems natural for them to generate quotes and complete policy applications there. They didn’t use the digital route to deal with outdated processes like filling out and mailing in physical paperwork.
Without a physical location it’s important to establish your social media. It can take time to build up an organic audience. If you have the budget, consider experimenting with social media ads to drive traffic to your website. You can partner with other online businesses to create content. That way, you can tag each other on social media when sharing the content. Thereby creating exposure to each respective party’s audience.
Don’t Forget the Basics
A lot of your work will happen online when starting a virtual insurance agency. That doesn’t mean that all the basics of running an insurance business go out the window. Communication methods like mail and phone calls still might be needed at times.
Mail can be managed through third-party services that collect your physical mail for you. You could also use a solution like a PO Box. For phone service, you could set up a digital phone service known as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
VoIP makes it easy for clients to still reach you by phone without needing a landline. There are tons of VoIP options you can compare online. You can integrate this phone service into your existing cell phone through apps or even take calls directly through your computer. Plus, VoIP providers often have related solutions such as for texting, virtual voicemails, and even virtual receptionists.
Sometimes clients might want to also meet in person. If you do serve any clients in your area, consider how you would facilitate those meetings. That could involve options like going to their office. It’s possible to rent office space for the day through a coworking space.
Starting a virtual insurance agency can involve some adjustments. In the grand scheme of things, the work remains largely the same. You may be able to find ways to increase your efficiency. Online quoting helps. And you can find cost savings by not paying rent on a large office space. But growing your virtual insurance agency still depends on common strategies like building relationships and engaging with clients.