I apologize if you thought this page would have a listing of insurance agencies for sale. It does not. The purpose of this article is to give agency buyers some tips on finding agencies for sale and on how to get the attention of the owner or broker representing the agency. First, I will go ahead and list some websites where you can find agencies for sale.
Agency Equity has become a top website for finding agencies for sale online, as well as agency valuation, financing, sale and acquisition specialists. Joe Totah has done a very good job of aggregating an array of resources for insurance agents. It is an advertising site so the focus, visually, is on click ads paid for by a number of vendors (my company included). Buyers are required to register before being able to contact the owner of a listing. All email communication goes through Agency Equity’s internal system, which can be a bit frustrating, particularly if the parties are not regularly checking their email on the website. Each ad shows a click count, so you’ll have an idea of the amount of interest the agency has received. The listings are posted in chronological order, with the newest on top of the first page.
As the largest lender to insurance agents in the country, Oak Street Funding launched its own agencies for sale website. The site contains a mix of both independent and captive agencies with some general information available online. For most states, you will have to request more information through Oak Street, with the exception of Florida where the ad owner’s contact information is provided. Oak Street contacts listing owners monthly to make sure the agencies are still available. The company also provides articles and webinars on topics related to valuing, buying, selling and building insurance agencies (with yours truly being the top contributor for the last 5+ years).
As likely the largest lender to Allstate agents in the country, PPC Loans also launched its own agencies for sale website, AllstateforSale.com. Much like Oak Street’s website, you will be directed to a US map and have the ability to see some general information and the ad owner’s contact information. Paul Clarke and his team also list some great information related to valuing, buying, and selling Allstate and Farmers agencies, such as the Allstate Agency Value Index.
BizBuySell and BizQuest
Both business for sale websites are now owned by the same company so I will lump them together. They represent the largest online websites for businesses for sale. When it comes to the insurance industry, you will typically find that most agencies listed on these sites are posted by general business brokers. Searching for insurance agencies for sale is also cumbersome due to the volume of other industries in the search choices. Nevertheless, these sites have agencies listed that may not be on some of the industry-specific sites mentioned above.
Truthfully, we stopped listing many of our agencies for sale online. The reason is that we have an email database of 3,000+ insurance agents looking for acquisitions. We do occasionally place listings on some of the above websites; however, buyers in our contact database generally get a first shot at the opportunities before they get posted online, so I would recommend signing up for our Agencies for Sale newsletter (click the link). Having seen the presentation material that other parties supply on agencies for sale and heard feedback from buyers around the country, the confidential summary that we supply to buyers is hands down the best in the business. It is common for us to receive offers within a day from sending out a summary, so if you receive our email and have an interest in an agency then respond quickly or you will miss out.
When you find an agency for sale, expect the process to go something like this:
1) Contact the owner of the ad and provide your name, phone number, physical address, and email address with a short indication of your interest. Don’t go overboard or be rude in the message, which I frequently do, in fact, see. That kind of behavior will get you eliminated from the process because no one wants to deal with a primadonna.
2) You should then receive disclosure forms from the other party to include a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement and, depending on the party, a request for personal or company financial information.
3) Complete the requested form(s) and send them back quickly with a request for more information.
4) You should then receive additional information on the agency. Hopefully, it will be comprehensive and leave you with minimal questions (as our confidential summary does).
5) Follow up with a few simple questions if necessary and request a meeting or phone call with the seller. DO NOT send in a laundry list of questions or you will likely be ignored. There is a time for conducting due diligence but this is like a courtship and being over-eager will turn off the broker and seller.
6) Once you are reasonably comfortable with the information provided, proceed diligently with presenting an offer. I’ve discuss other Tips on Buying an Insurance Agency, which is also worth reviewing.
We literally interact with hundreds of agency buyers each year. I know the frustration that buyers face in finding good agencies for sale, getting the necessary information to make an offer, and in trying to win a bid in this very competitive market. Knowledge, preparation, and diligence are keys to being successful. It also helps if you get to know the dealmakers so pick up the phone and call them. You may lose a few (or many) opportunities but, with time and persistence, you’ll learn the game and hopefully make an acquisition. Good luck!
Posted by: Michael Mensch, CBI, M&AMI and Managing Partner