6 Things To Know Before Opening Your Own Insurance Agency

Starting an insurance agency can be a great business, as it provides a necessary service that people need and helps them feel secure. Like any new business, though, starting your own is a challenge that requires tons of foresight. To learn more, read our guide on the six things to know before opening your own insurance agency to explore the obstacles you may face in starting your new business.

The Start-Up Costs

The initial start-up costs of any business will be heavy and require a significant amount of capital, and an insurance agency is no different. Every person and company will be different, but a new agency is generally going to require at least tens of thousands of dollars.

Most people don’t have that kind of money lying around, so the vast majority will take out a business loan. But, before you can acquire a business loan, there’s a thorough application and vetting process you’ll have to go through. To receive a loan, you’ll need a good credit history, likely some reliable work experience you can offer, and a well-researched and written business plan.

Do you have all of those qualifications for securing a business loan? Be sure to think long and hard before you begin to plan for a new insurance agency. There are other ways to secure funding like grants and crowdfunding, but those aren’t as reliable and secure as a business loan.

The Needed Training and Licenses

Before you even think about starting your agency, you’ll need to have all the necessary training and licenses. Depending on where you’ll be operating, you may need to take different courses to acquire the required education and licenses. In general, most states require about 40 hours of insurance education and about 12 hours of ethics training.

Keep in mind that these courses are not free and will take time. Once you’ve completed the required courses, you must take the license certification examination. Once you’ve passed, you’re then able to operate and sell insurance legally.

What Is a Business Plan?

An essential step in creating your new insurance agency is researching and formulating your business plan. A well-made business plan helps you secure a business loan and acts as a roadmap for an initial couple of months and years of your agency.

A business plan should be a map for your business, documenting key aspects such as who will be involved in the agency, your strategy for attracting customers, your target market, your competitors, your initial budget, and much more. But there are plenty of other vital questions a business plan should answer, such as:

What Will Be the Legal Structure of My Agency?

The legal structure of your new business is the foundation of everything else. You can structure your agency to make yourself the sole proprietor, which is the simplest structure but will make you personally liable for business debts. You can also choose to structure as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), limiting your liability.

Research and weigh the pros and cons of each potential legal structure before you make such a weighty decision, especially when it comes to taxes.

Will I Buy a Book of Business or Start Fresh?

There are two ways to begin a new agency: You can buy an existing book of business from another agency, which gives you a starting list of clients, or you can start fresh and attempt to build your book of business.

An existing book will help you hit the ground running but be wary of why the agency is selling it and compare it with other available lists for a fair market value. Starting fresh will force you to build your clientele and network from nothing, which will take longer and require more investment in departments such as marketing. But your clients are likely to be more reliable and loyal to your agency.

What Insurance Will I Specialize In and Sell?

Another critical question to ask yourself is what kind of insurance your agency will sell. Will you be a commercial auto insurance agency or a medical malpractice agency? If you’re buying an existing book of business, you’ll want to know your specialty beforehand.

In your business plan, you’ll want to explain why you’re choosing to sell the insurance you picked, who your competitors are, and what the market is currently for the local area. Once you’ve got your foundation, you can continually expand your business to other places.

You Can Join a Cluster or Go Solo

Before you begin your agency, consider whether you want to be out on your own as a solo agent or to join with an association of several independent insurance agents, known as a cluster. Both ways have their advantages: There’s strength in numbers and can open doors to more prominent insurance companies, but you likely will have to pay an initiation fee which could limit future opportunities.

The Many Permits for Operating a Business

It would help to familiarize yourself with the many permits and licenses required to operate a business before you do anything. You’ll need to apply for local, state, and federal permits, so be sure you know which ones your agency needs, how to get them, and how long it will take.

To register and obtain the proper permits, you’ll need a company name and tax ID number. Your company name should be simple but unique and easy to find. Your tax ID number is the employer ID number you will use for your taxes and is required for opening a business bank account.

It Could Take Years Before Your Agency Is Profitable

It’s crucial to remember that an insurance agency, like any new small business, will take time and investment before it returns a profit. Every person and company is different, but the general benchmark is two years before owners see a return on their investment. Do you have the resources to go two years without a reliable monthly profit?

Insurance for Your Business Is Crucial

Because new businesses are so volatile, you must protect yourself and your business. That’s why insuring your agency is critical. You’ll want a Business Owner Policy, which combines business property and business liability, and Errors & Omissions insurance, further protecting against losses not covered in the Business Owner.

Starting a new insurance agency is a significant endeavor that requires mountains of research, education, and paperwork. What’s most important, though, is your commitment and investment in your agency. Now that you’ve got the gist of what to know before opening your own insurance agency, what will your agency look like?

6 Things To Know Before Opening Your Own Insurance Agency

4 Factors To Consider When Starting a Chiropractic Practice

Starting a chiropractic practice can be a daunting and intimidating task, like starting any business. Becoming an entrepreneur is exciting but can lead to disaster if you’re not prepared. We want to make sure you’re ready to start your new practice. Before you make any decision, read about these four factors to consider when starting a chiropractic practice.

What To Practice & Where To Do It

First, what do you want to practice, and where do you want to do it? If you’ve decided what scope of the chiropractic profession you want to practice, do some research on the laws for that scope in the state you want to practice in. Different states have different regulations and requirements for the chiropractic profession, so consider that before you choose where you want your practice located. Conduct some demographic research on the city or town you want to open in. What’s the average income of your expected patients? What care do they have access to? There’s no such thing as too much research!

Start New or Buy an Existing Practice?

What makes more sense for you: starting from scratch or purchasing an existing practice? If you want to begin from the ground up and be involved in every decision of your business, you probably will prefer a brand-new practice. But you could save on start-up costs by purchasing an existing chiropractic practice. If you know the practice is successful, there’s less mystery about if the business can succeed, and you likely have a built-in client base. You can make it uniquely your own through changes, but you can still purchase crucial business momentum and skip the initial steps of starting from nothing.

What Do You Know About Running a Business?

You could be the best chiropractor ever to live, but that’s only part of why your practice will succeed or fail as a business. Do you know how to bill patients properly or how to market yourself and a business? Do you know where to get proper insurance like chiropractic malpractice insurance? Many students start as associates for existing practices to learn the profession and save money before starting their practice. If you’re unfamiliar with the particulars of running a business, perhaps that path would work better for you.

The Initial Financial Burden

As with any business, starting a chiropractic practice demands a sizeable financial commitment. The start-up costs especially are high, so before you begin planning your new practice, make sure you’re aware of the sacrifices you’ll have to make initially. A brand-new practice means a hefty investment up-front. Even if you choose to buy an existing practice, you’ll likely have zero net income for months, if not years. Are you prepared for that financial burden? Be sure you can accurately answer that question before committing to anything.

Starting a chiropractic practice takes a lot of time and involves a certain amount of risk, like starting any new small business. These are just four factors to consider when starting a chiropractic practice, but there are many, many more. Keep reading Baxter & Associates blog for more advice and information about health care, business, and the law.

The Biggest Challenges for Healthcare Workers in 2022

The American healthcare industry and its workforce have faced extraordinary challenges in the past couple of years. The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed many hospitals and workers to the breaking point since 2020, and, unfortunately, 2022 is forecasted to be another challenging year for many. There will be many obstacles for healthcare workers, many of them without clear solutions or answers. If you’re looking to learn more about the industry and its immediate feature, we’ll be breaking down the biggest challenges for healthcare workers in 2022 in this article, including staff shortages, burnout, staff turnover, and more.

Staff Shortages

The most significant problem healthcare workers and the industry are experiencing and will continue to struggle with is staff shortages. Lack of a good staff was a problem for many hospitals pre-pandemic, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the situation to crises levels. A study showed that full-time equivalent hospital staff had shrunk 3% from pre-pandemic levels. Couple this shortage with hospitals operating at, near, and sometimes even overcapacity, and the problem is only intensified. A worker shortage is a significant problem for both hospitals and workers, and many of the challenges facing the industry currently and in the future stem from inadequate staffing. New issues arise, and other problems exacerbate the shortages that many hospitals already struggle with.

The increased workload that COVID-19 has brought to hospitals and staff has been especially detrimental to workers. Without proper support from other resources, the remaining staff are asked to work longer hours and in different capacities, sometimes outside their training, leading to staff worker burnout and low morale. It also directly affects patients and the ability of healthcare workers to do their jobs adequately. The U.S. News & World Report reported that four out of every five healthcare workers say staff shortages have negatively affected their ability to work safely and satisfy the needs of their patients. Workers see the problem and struggle under their conditions, but how do things look for the future?

Unfortunately for workers, the trend is that things will get worse in the coming years. The U.S. healthcare industry is trending toward a shortage of 3.2 million workers by 2026. That’s a staggering number that shows how serious the problem is. Without practical solutions or resources, the need for healthcare workers could be hazardous to healthcare workers and patients soon.

Burnout Among Workers

One can’t understand the staffing shortage without learning about the rate of burnout many healthcare workers feel and have felt for years. Like the previous pandemic years, healthcare workers in 2022 face alarming challenges, and chief among them is burnout from working longer and harder hours. The pandemic has taken a toll on workers—not only physically, but also mentally. A 2021 survey of healthcare workers showed that nearly 30% are considering leaving the profession entirely. As we mentioned, burnout and staff shortages are permanently linked. The shrinking hospital staff leads to higher burnout, leading to more workers leaving and greater stress on remaining staff. It can be a devastating cycle for facilities if it’s allowed to continue with any applied solutions.

The same study found that working during the pandemic has affected the mental health of 60% of healthcare workers. With some hospitals at, or in some cases over-capacity, healthcare workers are bearing the brunt of long hours with more challenges as they work to fill the gaps of diminishing personnel. Many within the industry hoped that 2021 and 2022 would see a return to normalcy for hospitals and staff with the introduction of vaccines and booster shots. However, hospitals operating at their limits with limited resources have evaporated many hopes for a more normal year in healthcare. COVID-19 variants have pushed healthcare facilities to capacities seen at the pandemic’s peak, pre-vaccine. Whether or not COVID-19 cases go down in 2022, it’s a safe assumption that burnout among staff will continue to be one of the biggest challenges facing healthcare workers in 2022.

Not Enough Time With Patients

We’ve talked about the problems facing healthcare workers and the industry so far, but what we haven’t mentioned yet are the patients. How do all these challenges translate to patient care? As you might expect, these circumstances trickle down to more challenges in treating patients. Fewer nurses and physicians working longer hours means saving time in other areas, such as facetime with patients. In April of 2020, the Cleveland Clinic saw the consequence of this as its complaint rate of patients toward healthcare workers more than doubled, as threatening and violent behavior also increased. These complaints came at the height of the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s easy to see how this trend could become more prevalent in hospitals as variants of the pandemic push hospitals across the country to their capacity like in the first year of COVID-19.

The deterioration of relationships between patients and hospital staff is a natural result of shortages and reports of burnout among the remaining team. In 2022, these same problems will likely persist, leading to greater stress on patient-staff relationships. Liability insurance for healthcare facilities is likely to become even more critical. As relationships between patients and healthcare workers falter due to the decreased time doctors and nurses have with their patients, it’s only logical that complaints will arise. Possible lawsuits will increase against facilities as well. Legal protection in 2022 and beyond will be a crucial resource for many facilities in 2022.

High Turnover Rate

As one might expect from the increased work hours and the difficulty of the job, turnover among healthcare workers has increased under the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing and other essential positions were already susceptible to high turnover rates pre-pandemic, and COVID-19 has only aggravated that trend. In a survey of healthcare workers, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and Registered Nurses (RN) accounted for two of the three highest turnover positions within hospitals, exceeded only by Patient Care Techs. In healthcare facilities, one in four CNA positions is turned over in a year, essentially replacing the entire staff within four years on average. The turnover rate for RNs was slightly lower, at one in six, but still much higher than most professions in other industries.

What leads to this high turnover rate amongst critical positions for facilities? The simple explanation is that it’s an extraordinarily tough job that has only been made more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also points to low morale among the workforce, even for those who remain on the staff for years. RNs and CNAs work together daily under challenging circumstances, which makes close relationships between coworkers natural. Losing not only a relied-upon coworker but a close friend at regular rates can be devastating for the confidence of staff.

There are many questions and obstacles ahead for healthcare workers and facilities in 2022 and beyond. The most prevalent of them is a lack of adequate staff to fill facilities, and from this shortage, more problems branch out, such as staff burnout, a decrease in patient-worker relations, and an increase in staff turnover. Like 2021 and 2020, healthcare workers will face many challenges, and only time will tell how facilities and the industry will react to these obstacles soon. Keep reading the Baxter & Associates blog to learn more about the inner workings of the healthcare industry and the latest news.