What’s In A Name? A Guide To Naming Your Insurance Agency | AgentSync (2024)

One of the first questions you’ll face when starting a business – or, for existing businesses, when expanding across state lines – is what to call your insurance business.

It seems like a straightforward question, but some monikers could actually run you afoul of the state department of insurance. So, if Billy Shakespeare asked your insurance agency’s chief compliance officer, “What’s in a name?” the answer might be “A few thousand dollars of potential fines.”

If you haven’t yet settled on a name, or if you’re looking to expand into new territory and you’re looking for a roadmap of potential pitfalls, you’re in the right place. Let’s look at some dos, don’ts, and general guidelines for things to think about when it comes to picking the right agency name.

Picking a name for your insurance agency – dos

For an insurance agency, you have some of the same concerns as a regular business. You’re worried about questions like:

  • Is it memorable for potential consumers?
  • Is it unique enough that people on the internet will find it and I won’t accidentally give business to my competitors?
  • Is it going to tell the people who need my products or services what I do?

Another consideration is the long-term plan for the business. Family businesses are the bomb diggity and a life goal for some people, yet names that rely on a family structure or last name can be harder to sell down the road. Consider the eponymous brothers of Stephenson Brothers’ Insurance, who then only have daughters. Aaawkward. And, if the primary value of John Smith Insurance is the name recognition and personal brand of the owner, John Smith, what’ll Jane Jones be willing to pay for it?

So, to the dos:

Do pick a name that’s memorable and unique

Do pick a name that tells people what your business does

Do search for similar names in other states you might do business in down the road

Do run your name by state regulators where it’s required

The trouble with insurance business names – don’ts

Some states require you to clear your business name and any DBAs (also known as “fictitious names”) by the state government, either through the secretary of state or the department of insurance. And the states that require this have particular thoughts on what an insurance business should or shouldn’t be named.

In fact, some states suggest applying for your agency name or DBA with several names, ranked in order of preference, in case multiple variations aren’t compliant with state laws. Some of the other rules that stricter states apply to names and DBAs:

  • A name can’t be misleading to consumers. It can’t appear to extend beyond the services you provide. It can’t hint at additional LOAs besides what you actually write under. It can’t include “consultant” or “broker” if you’re actually an agent, and if you are looking for a refresh of the distinction, check out broker regulation at the AgentSync blog). And it can’t give the impression that your agency is a carrier or underwriting service if it actually isn’t. (This is one of a dozen reasons to steer clear of trying to put a professional designation like CLU or CPCU as part of your name.)
  • A name can’t be the same or too similar to a name or DBA of other companies already operating in the jurisdiction. California clarifies that, when verifying whether a name is already taken, its state workers include alternate and phonetic variations on agency names to be as thorough as possible. This is also a good reason to submit your name to the secretary of state, even if it’s not legally required in a particular state; if your name or DBA is the first name of record, you have good legal standing if a competitor tries to use the same name.
  • A name mustn’t use a forbidden word. Some states have lists of forbidden words, such as “annuity,” “guarantee,” or other terms that might connote products or promises that would basically require a page of disclosure every time you used your name. Many states require the word “insurance” to be followed by “services” or “agency” to separate it from confusion with “insurance company,” which is generally understood to connote a carrier.

What to know about “doing business as” names (DBAs)

California actually requires state approval of your name and DBA before the state approves your business license. Most states require your name to be on your agency license (even if they don’t require you to get state approval). Other states discourage the use of DBAs, and some, like New York, forbid DBAs outright. Wisconsin is the one state that allows DBAs but doesn’t require agencies to provide any legal notice to the state about them whatsoever.

In between the extremes of Wisconsin and California, there are a few common variations to keep an eye on:

  • More than a dozen states require DBAs to be listed on an agency’s license.
  • A handful of states won’t allow you to use any DBA that you haven’t also registered with your home state.
  • Some states limit how many active DBAs you can have in that state.
  • Some states limit how many times you can re-file your paperwork to change your business name or add DBAs.
  • Many states won’t issue a DBA or business entity license to a sole proprietor or agency that has only a single affiliated producer.

Avoiding compliance problems – it’s what we do

Figuring out what to name your agency and avoiding forbidden words or names or DBA flags is just one area where insurance agencies have to practice vigilance. There’s a million other ways to step out of compliance in the industry.
For businesses looking to keep their producers, variable lines brokers, and adjusters in compliance with licensing and appointing laws, see how AgentSync can help.

What’s In A Name? A Guide To Naming Your Insurance Agency | AgentSync (2024)

FAQs

How do I come up with an insurance company name? ›

Let's Have A Look At How To Generate Business Name Ideas For Insurance Companies
  1. Include Your Insurance Niche In The Name. ...
  2. Consider Your Brand Message. ...
  3. Pick An Easy Name. ...
  4. Choose A Long-Lasting Name. ...
  5. Research Your Competitors. ...
  6. Choose A Catchy Name. ...
  7. Brainstorm The Names. ...
  8. The Name Should Convey Some Meaning.
Jan 4, 2019

How do you come up with an agent name? ›

Create Agent name ideas in seconds using our AI Agent name generator!
  1. Elite Agent. Global Agent.
  2. Prime Agent. Dynamic Agent.
  3. Proactive Agent. Innovative Agent.
  4. Trusted Agent. Expert Agent.
  5. Efficient Agent. Reliable Agent.
  6. Smart Agent. Strategic Agent.
  7. Creative Agent. Professional Agent.
  8. Visionary Agent. Pioneer Agent.

How do I organize my insurance agency? ›

There are a number of organizational areas that an insurance agent needs to work on to become successful.
  1. Record keeping - numbers and ratios.
  2. Building a daily action plan.
  3. annual planning - developing your annual goals.
  4. quarterly planning - adjustments as you go along.

How does an MGA make money? ›

For example, if you have a car accident, your MGA would contact the insurer on your behalf to handle any claims. This allows you to focus on getting better health care and recovering from your injuries. MGA's usually charge a commission fee based on the number of premiums collected.

What do insurance agents call their customers? ›

I refer to the ones who “get it” as clients and the others as customers. After looking for definitions for these names, I'm thoroughly convinced, clients are the people who appreciate, and actually deserve a true insurance professional.

How do you get noticed by an agent? ›

The best way to get an agent's attention is through a referral. Since success often hinges on who's willing to speak on your behalf, a good recommendation is gold. That's why you're looking for an agent in the first place, right?

Who can be called an agent? ›

An agent, in legal terminology, is a person who has been legally empowered to act on behalf of another person or an entity. An agent may be employed to represent a client in negotiations and other dealings with third parties.

What agents do you start with? ›

When you start a new account, you'll be able to play five agents: Brimstone (Controller), Jett and Phoenix (Duelists), Sage (Sentinel), and Sova (Initiator).

Is owning an insurance agency profitable? ›

Owning an insurance agency offers unlimited income potential. Your earnings are directly tied to your sales and the performance of your agency. Insurance agencies typically earn commissions and bonuses from insurance carriers for policies sold, which means the more you sell, the more you earn.

How are insurance agencies structured? ›

Insurance companies can be structured either as a traditional stock company with outside investors, or mutual companies where policyholders are the owners. Owning equity in an insurance company may lead to dividends, inflation protection, and stable company revenue.

What multiple does an insurance agency sell for? ›

Over the last several years, insurance agencies have, on average, sold at between 5-7x EBITDA. This means that when an insurance agency valuation is complete, the final number typically falls somewhere between 5 and 7 times their total EBITDA.

What makes a good MGA? ›

A good MGA covers all facets of the process, from underwriting to claims administration, loss control and assistance with audits. The process should be seamless and the agent should not see or feel a difference."

What is the difference between an MGA and an insurance company? ›

Like an insurance carrier, an MGA underwrites policies. But unlike carriers, who hire and contract with agents to sell policies, MGAs quote and bind the policies they underwrite. They can do so because carriers have granted them more authority than granted to other agents.

What is the difference between an MGA and MGU? ›

The main difference between an MGA and an MGU is that an MGA handles all the administrative tasks while an MGU merely provides a platform where you can sell insurance.

Who should be named on an insurance policy? ›

Not Everyone Needs to be Listed to be Covered

If the policy lists one household member as the named insured, anyone in the household who is related to that person through marriage, adoption or blood is covered under that policy. This also extends to anyone under the care of the named insured, such as a foster child.

What is another name for the insurance company? ›

A carrier is another name for insurance company. The terms insurer, carrier, and insurance company are generally used interchangeably.

Does it matter whose name is on the insurance? ›

If someone in your household, who is unknown to your insurance company, gets in an accident, your insurer might rescind or cancel your policy and/or deny your insurance claim because they've been kept in the dark.

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