My wife and I founded Jimcor Agency, a managing general agent and insurance wholesaler, in 1986. We realized the importance and necessity of succession planning to the longevity of our company many years ago, and we realized it would be a process rather than just a short-term fix. Ultimately, our current plan was based on input from numerous sources, including management courses, AAMGA University educational offerings and the knowledge of our executive staff. Over the years, it became part of our regular strategic meetings, and through that process, our plan came together.

We knew succession planning would be crucial for the continuity of a variety of senior positions. The key areas we recognized were executive and key management positions, as well as senior underwriting staff who would be looking to retire in the future. They possess a wealth of knowledge and connections that needs to be passed to younger employees.

Ongoing professional development and education has been a central part of our succession plan. Besides on-the-job training, newer managers know we have an open-door policy with our executive staff. When they come on board, they are assigned a mentor on whom they can rely for assistance. We use outside training classes for the more formal/classic leadership instruction, and we also perform in-house training sessions via webinars.

Over the past several years, we have  recruited more millennials. The key to working with them is understanding that they are fast paced, make more use of social media and look at opportunities and challenges in unique ways that offer additional options.

Especially during soft insurance cycles, it can be challenging to move millennials along their careers paths at a faster pace, in accordance with their expectations and ours. Fortunately, we are now able to promote millennial employees from within, which gives them ample opportunity for advancement and ensures continuity at the agency.

At this point, our succession planning has been part of our company culture for several years and it has become an integral component of our operations as we continue looking forward. This planning ensures the future of our agency, both for our employees and for the insurance markets with whom we have developed longstanding relationships. They trust us to be available to underwrite and bind their business for years to come.       

Related: Read “Simplify Succession in 3 Steps