What is a general agency?

Are you a health and life insurance broker trying to understand the value and role of a general agency (GA)? Do you have questions on what a health insurance general agency can offer insurance brokers? Do you want to learn more about working with a general agency?

This article covers the basics to help you make sense of it all.

What is a general agency system in insurance?

A general agency (GA) is a company that connects insurance agencies and independent insurance brokers together with insurance carriers.

General agencies have access to top-tier contracts and relationships with insurance carriers and vendors, allowing them to provide insurance agencies and brokers with a wide range of products and services the broker may not otherwise have access to.

In essence, general agencies provide insurance products and services to agencies or independent brokers who sell these products to companies or individual consumers. You can think of general agencies as wholesale agencies for insurance products and services. In other words, a general agency is a broker’s broker.

Some general agencies may focus or specialize on one type of insurance, such as health or life insurance products. In other instances, general agencies may sell products and services across a wide variety of insurance types—for example, health, life, worksite voluntary benefits, dental, disability, Medicare, and individual or ACA plans.

Why should brokers and agents work with a general agency?

One of the main reasons insurance agencies and independent brokers choose to work with general agencies is for better access to insurance carriers and plan options that they can then offer and provide to their employer and consumer clients.

General agencies manage multiple relationships and have contracts with multiple insurance carriers. Smaller agencies and independent brokers many times do not have the resources to support exponential volume and maintain many carrier and vendor relationships, which makes working with a general agency an easy choice when planning to grow business revenue.

In addition to providing access to a large variety of products and carriers, general agencies often offer additional back-office and administrative support. This can include support with broker contracting, continuing education, marketing, compliance, and client services such as application processing and enrollment.

Through this administrative support, brokers are able to focus on sales-related tasks to grow their core business.

Do insurance brokers have to work with a general agency?

Many health insurance carriers require agencies and brokers to work through a general agency—this allows the carriers to focus their efforts on their products while relying on general agencies to handle broker product support and service.

In some instances, insurance carriers do offer direct contracting options, but this is often limited to larger agencies and requires a certain level of policies to be sold. If sales expectations are not met, the carrier will likely terminate the business associate agreement with the agency or broker.

Does it cost anything to work with a general agency?

Most health insurance general agencies do not charge for their services. General agencies succeed if their brokers succeed. General agencies increase their revenue by helping their partners sell insurance products and better assist their employer and consumer clients.

Certain elite services and support may be offered only to brokers who reach a particular sales threshold but in general there are no additional costs to gain access to insurance products and carriers when contracted through a general agency.

What general agency services does Savoy provide?

Savoy has been providing brokers with general agency and consulting services for over 39 years. Savoy is a proudly independent boutique agency that provides a full suite of health and specialty benefits, individual health and life insurance, Medicare, a multichannel Contact Center, compliance and human resources services, technology, research, education, marketing and other innovative solutions.

With licenses in 40+ states and over 100 general agency carrier and vendor contracts, Savoy provides access to a wide range of insurance products, resources, and technology to support your employer and consumer clients.

How can I learn more about working with a general agency and Savoy?

We want to hear from you. What type of insurance products and resources are you interested in selling? Are you currently working with a health insurance general agency? What challenges do you struggle with the most?

Fill out the form below, and a member of our team will be in touch to provide you with more details on Savoy’s general agency capabilities and how we help brokers better serve their clients.