Selling and Valuation of an Insurance Practice?

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Succession Planning Option #1: Pass Your Insurance Business Off to Your Kids

Passing your book of business on to your kids is probably the most obvious option when we look at retirement options. However, it’s not always ideal.

For starters, you have to make sure your kids want to be in the insurance business.

  • Do they enjoy helping people?
  • Are they naturally conversational?
  • Are they willing to work hard for the payoff?

Not everyone is suited for this business, so just assuming that your kids will be your succession plan without really thinking it through can be a big mistake.

For some people, they have a son or a daughter, but they’re not in the business. If that’s the case, you can’t expect them to leave their career and pick up where you left off. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say only 10% of agents have kids to pass their books down to.


Figure your gross commission

The value of your book of business will be a multiple of the gross commission, and that multiple can range depending on a variety of factors and situations. I’d say that in general, it’s anywhere from 1.5x-2x your gross annual commissions, though I have seen some guys reference a multiple as low as 1x. In those cases, someone usually just buys the book and lets it fizzle out. Their plan isn’t to service the customers – just to end up on the right side of their investment.


Succession Planning Option #3: Let Your Business Run Off

I don’t recommend this option, but in reality, this is what most agents will do.

It can feel like the easiest option, because it doesn’t really require any effort from you. However, while it seems easy, it’s really not. You will pay in the long run.

This is the agent that’s kind of still in it… but they’re really not.

Customers love you, but they get nervous, because they aren’t really being serviced anymore. The customers keep their insurance, and it’s still good insurance, but there’s no customer support.

The agent doesn’t really do anything – they don’t follow up with their customers, they don’t schedule annual reviews… they just let their business run off.

At this point, a lot of guys don’t even have a business model to service their customers, so they’ll try to service them as long as they can, and then it just fizzles out.

This is honestly the lazy way out. It’s the easiest thing to do for the time being, but it’s awful for the customers, and ultimately, it’s awful for you.  

We also valued this as good will.


This means that the money we pay him does not have to be counted as commission expense (or income). In other words, he counts it as capital gains, which costs a lot less in taxes.


How You Can Be Paid For Your Book of Business

Lump sum Over time As-earned
Lowest valuation Middle valuation Highest valuation
All your money up-front Your money is guaranteed Money is not guaranteed – need to trust your buyer
Risky for the buyer Risky for the buyer Not risky for the buyer  

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Live Oak Bank ROI   multiples of commissions vs EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization) multiples

It is estimated that 80% of businesses for sale ultimately do not end up selling



Ganis Consulting  




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