Step-By-Step Guide To Starting & Growing Your Insurance Brokerage

Expert insights and essential resources to starting an insurance brokerage and power your growth strategy

In today’s fast-paced landscape, starting an insurance brokerage and building it beyond a going concern is essential to remaining competitive long-term. To take the next step and grow your insurance brokerage while maintaining your usual high standard, however, takes careful planning and a wealth of support. 

On this page, you’ll find exactly that: a step-by-step guide to growing your brokerage, packed with expert tips and useful resources to streamline your growth journey.  

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Step 1: Identify Your Goal 

Keeping your target in mind is key to your success — especially when the going gets tough. An essential first step is to identify why you want to grow, and what you’re growing towards.

Set some goals and KPIs to measure your success. Remember, keep these goals SMART:

  • Specific. Clearly defined goals with a narrower focus encourages more effective planning.
  • Measurable. Define which evidence/data will track your progress against these goals. 
  • Attainable. Stay motivated by only setting goals you can reasonably accomplish within a certain timeframe.
  • Relevant. Align your goals with your business values and overall objectives. Shorter term goals should build towards your longest term one.
  • Time-based. Keep up the pace by aiming for a realistic, yet ambitious deadline.

Break your overall growth target down into smaller steps and start with essential, practical goals — like accumulating 3 months’ working capital to tide you over unforeseen challenges. Further segment these cumulative goals into short term (1 year), mid-term (3 years) and long term (5+years) categories — helping to keep them attainable. 

Related: If you’re still wondering whether being an independent broker is all it’s cracked up to be, you may want to check out this blog post.

Related: Accomplished brokers weigh in on what you need to run a successful insurance brokerage on our resource page, The Broker’s Baseline.    

Step 2: Define Your Audience

Don’t be everything to everyone! Key to your success is defining your ideal customer or audience — this stops you from diluting your core messaging and service portfolio. Take some time to identify who you’d like to work with and what their key challenges are that your service offering can solve. For example, you could choose to focus exclusively on the fintech, retail or professional services sector.  

Once you’ve profiled who you’d like to communicate with, consider what you’ll be sharing. In other words, define your value proposition — the key promise you make your clients — and make this prominent across your website and in all communications. Complete this stage by outlining your “Reasons To Believe” (RTB) — the 3-to-5 reasons why your audience should believe your claim.

Step 3: Align Your Core Product Offering

Once you’ve defined your audience, value proposition and RTBs, consider your range of products and services. To grow your insurance brokerage, pare down your products and services to ones that clearly address your audience’s primary needs.

While you can still offer peripheral solutions, your core product offers need to be foregrounded for website visitors, on your sales documentation and so on.  

This is easier if you’re just starting your insurance brokerage. If your business is already a going concern, with an established products and service portfolio, you may have to restructure your portfolio to align with your new goals. Be prepared to phase out certain offerings, extend others and/or build new ones before you take the next step.   

Step 4: Develop & Refine Your Financial Model

To reap the financial rewards of a larger brokerage, you’ll need a clear, strategic financial model to get you there. Smart money management governs how successful you’ll be as a growing brokerage and sets up a sustainable model for your future, larger-scale business. 

If your finances have been ad-hoc until now, it’s time to create some order. Our favourite tips for effective financial management include:

    • Budget and plan in ratios. Think about which ratio of commission vs operating expenses will keep you solvent and turning a profit.
    • Go remote. Embrace the cost savings of having a remote workforce. For example, building out your remote team can sidestep the need to invest in increasingly larger, costlier office space. This way, you can grow, while limiting your physical space to what you’d need for client meetings or group workshops.
    • Monitor cash flow. A small and growing brokerage has no room for wastage, and mismanaged cash flow is a common reason why small businesses fail. Have systems — like a CRM or accounting software — in place to measure your current income, and forecast based on which policies are ending and new business in the pipeline. 
    • Identify problems early. If you’re battling with low profitability no matter how well you’re seeming to grow, you may have structural problems, such as perpetual operational inefficiency. Identify problems early and ask tough questions of your financial and operational model, to drive sustainable changes.
    • Work in scalable terms. Work with your income and expenses as a ratio. Calculate the one you’d need to maintain between them to enable growth, rather than scrutinising total amounts — it’s a scalable way to keep tabs on the health of your bank balance.

Step 5: Focus On Your Sales & Marketing Strategy

Your sales and marketing strategy determines how well you connect and communicate with your target audience. Establish and/or streamline your sales and marketing strategy to align with your growth goals — what worked when you were a one-person start-up may not be the right approach to propel you to where you aim to be in 5 years’ time.   

Here are three areas to consider:


  • Sales enablement. How can you make it easier for your sales team to close more deals? Consider which content, tools, training and information they need to sell your product or service and equip them as a priority. For example, because you’ve defined your audience early on, your sales team can be trained as product experts in the appropriate verticals. (More on this in Step 7, below)


  • ABM. Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a growth strategy in which you identify and target high-value accounts, by creating personalised buying experiences for them. This means you deliver highly relevant experiences to prospects that closely fit your ideal customer profile, and grow strategically. Learn how to identify and reach high-value customers with HubSpot’s Ultimate Guide to Account-Based Marketing
  • Content marketing. Marketing is about more than just snappy ads. Build out a content marketing strategy that positions you as a thought leader in your specialism, and makes your brand personable and accessible through strategic blog and social media engagement. 

Remember, these processes are iterative. For example, the tools your sales team needs to achieve your short- or mid-term goals, may not be sufficient to power you over your long-term finish line. Revise and update your strategy every 6–12 months, using data to identify what’s working and where you need to course-correct.

Related: Get tangible ways to use broker tools and processes to remain ahead of the curve, in our blog post: 5 Tips To Remain Competitive With Your Brokerage.

Step 6: Build - And Retain - A Team That Enables Growth

Attract the right talent

A growing business is a changing one; the skill-sets you need as you start your insurance brokerage or while it’s a going concern are radically different from those you’d need to grow. Assess who you’ve got on hand and identify any skills gaps that need to be filled to achieve your goal. 

Alongside strategic new hires, you can reassign/restructure roles and transition existing employees into mandates that more closely align with your needed skills sets. A third avenue is to consider outsourcing non-core functions — this can be a cost-saver and free up your internal team to focus on specialist work.

Dive into the details of which roles you’d need (and when), in our blog post: 5 Tips for Smart Staff Hires That Grow Your Insurance Brokerage

Retain the talent that helps you grow

Low staff turnover makes for a stronger business. You’ll gain the support of dedicated company experts, deliver a better customer experience, avoid the costs of on boarding new hires, and benefit from the increased productivity of a well-oiled, experienced team. 

As you embark on your growth journey, consider how you’ll retain your top team players. Change can be a stressful time for everyone; what you offer can make or break their decision to take on the challenge with you. The following can boost talent retention:

  • Smooth operational processes. Ensure your tools and processes aren’t working against your team. Simple things like eliminating process redundancies and equipping everyone with the best available tools/software can make all the difference.
  • Work–life balance. Today’s modern talent is more determined than ever to prioritise a healthy work–life balance — especially now that remote work is ubiquitous. Establish some fair expectations and boundaries that reassure your team or prospective new hires that 27-hour days won’t be normalised in your company culture. 
  • Company culture. As you grow, pay particular attention to crafting a culture that attracts and retains the talent you want. A well-defined culture lets talent know you value that people lie at the heart of your business and it’s success, and communicates your core values and business identity.
  • Growth opportunities. No one likes to stagnate. Offer your team opportunities to grow, and make it easy for them to keep up with their Continuing Professional Development (CPD/CIP) requirements. This could include giving them time off to attend conferences, or incentivising engagement with online resources such as the DUAL School — an online training platform packed with everything from quick educational videos, to comprehensive CPD-allocated webinars.     

Step 7: Unlock, And Leverage, The Power Of Technology

Wherever possible, automate! Using tools that speed up manual processes go faster will save you time and money — resources which can be reallocated towards achieving your growth goals.

Which tools do your sales and marketing teams, and insurance brokers, need? Which are essential, and which may be “nice-to-haves”?

There are a host of industry-agnostic platforms available, but you may want to start with specialist tools and technology that focus on equipping your business core — your insurance brokers. Our favourites are: the DUAL WebRater and our specialist, broker document library

The WebRater is an online trading platform that lets you get a quote and bind a policy in under 2 minutes, while the document library hosts quick-access templates of proposal and claims forms, fact sheets, NCDs and more. 

As you grow, you’ll need to know what tech to invest in at each stage and when to prioritise it. Check out these 3 Essential Tips On Tech Tools For Brokers and get expert insights that help you craft the perfect tech solution.

Step 8: Refine Your Customer Experience Strategy

Make sure you have plans in place to drive customer delight and retention. The only timeless marketing tactic is word of mouth: a world-class customer experience defines whether you attract and retain enough clients to grow sustainably. 

There’s no need to over-engineer the customer experience (CX) either. You could start with simple things such as: offering long-standing clients better rates, being able to sign documents without needing to print them, and sending personalised birthday messages.

Brainstorm a list of tactics at your disposal and consider the impact of each against the effort it requires and/or the costs involved. This will help you prioritise achievable ways to deliver the best CX, at the right stage of your client’s journey with you. 

Further, identify where your CX is weakest and how to improve it. If you’re struggling to attract clients, read this blog post for practical Tips on Broker Tools & Processes To Land Clients For Your Brokerage. Is your client onboarding a mess? Resources like this blog post, can help: 5 Client Onboarding Tips For Your Brokerage. Or, if you’ve attracted and on boarded them successfully, but you’re finding retention a challenge, you may want to check out the advice in our blog post: 5 Ways to Mitigate Your Risk of Losing Key Clients.

Finally, remember to draw on the tools you have to pre-empt and smooth potential roadblocks. The WebRater, for instance, helps pre-empt upcoming renewal discussions by sending brokers reminder notifications when they’re due. This way, you’ll never be caught unawares, and be well-prepared for a successful renewal after a well-timed reaching out to your client. 

If you’re not growing, someone else may muscle you out

Insurance is simply too competitive a sector to tolerate stagnation. If you’re not growing, you risk being muscled out as your competitors grow. In this industry, growing is surviving and needs to be a part of your insurance brokerage business plan. Thankfully, resources like this page, the WebRater and the entire DUAL team are available to support you at every stage of your growth journey. 

Download your free PDF copy of this page to share, or keep on hand as a reference. Why not begin your growth curve today? Click the button below and request a quote using our WebRater — and see how it can help you grow your insurance brokerage.  

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