Captive agents and independent producers alike have been tempted by the idea of joining an insurance cluster or an insurance aggregator. Whether you are representing one insurance carrier or work in an agency owned by another agent, the next step is to be fully independent and learn how to grow your insurance agency

Doing this on your own can limit your resources and slow that growth, which begs the question: How can you grow your own agency independently?

Insurance clusters and aggregators are two terms that are frequently used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. If you’re looking to build your agency into a powerhouse in Illinois, joining an insurance cluster is the best way to knock out many birds with one stone: marketing, networking, streamlined administrative tasks, and more. 

Let’s explore the world of insurance clusters, whether or not they’re the right fit for you, and our top picks for insurance clusters in Illinois.

What Is an Insurance Cluster?

Insurance clusters are groups of agents who form a joint venture combining individual books of business with common carriers. Think about the principle of ‘there is power in numbers.’ This idea suggests that by working together to pool resources and knowledge, a team can rise to greater heights in a shorter amount of time. On your own, you’re reinventing the wheel by trying to find the most effective and efficient ways to lower expenses and expand your business book.

The difference between an insurance cluster versus an aggregator is that aggregators aggregate several markets by rolling the premiums of a specific market into one ‘bucket,’ which allows them to establish additional revenue from that market. Clusters are more focused on building up a network of agents, working together to improve their standing and leverage with carriers.

Should You Join a Cluster?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh, green agent finally stepping into independence or an established agency looking to expand–working in an insurance cluster cuts costs, provides better access to insurance carriers, and affords you with new networking opportunities. Any independent agent or small agency can join a cluster, and there are several established ones in Illinois.

If you are ready to reap in the benefits attributed to membership in a cluster, it’s time to search for the right one.

Prominent Clusters in Illinois

Greater Midstates Insurance Agency, Inc.

Greater Midstates Insurance Agency, Inc. (GMIA) is a member-only insurance cluster. It requires continuing evidence of errors and omissions (E&O) protection with a minimum of $1,000,000 per claim limit. It has a one-time investment fee upon acceptance, rather than a monthly or annual fee, and requires each member to own their own account through the cluster. 

While its membership fee is among the lowest in the state, it isn’t the most established cluster on this list and may not be the most exclusive cluster for networking purposes.

Insurance Pro Agencies

Insurance Pro Agencies (IPA) is a revered insurance cluster in Illinois. We’ve been in operation for more than forty years, continuing to be a family-owned business that maintains that sense of intimate support from a small community with the resources of the largest agencies. We represent multiple major carriers, including State Auto, Allied (Nationwide), Safeco, Progressive, and more. 

We have several benefits that make us stand out from other clusters in Illinois–we offer direct carrier access with no volume commitments. This alone can make a freshly-established agency look like a thirty-year agency from the day it opens its doors. Agents can work remotely, have ownership rights to their book of business, and have the option to exit our group with their book of business in the future.

Next Steps

Insurance clusters are essential if you are a captive agent or an independent producer. They are a surefire way to ensure your agency not only has legs, but also that you can reach your loftiest goals. Insurance Pro Agencies is by far one of the most dependable and expansive clusters in Illinois, offering exclusive benefits to members that other clusters don’t. If you’re ready to make connections and watch your agency soar, contact IPA today!

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