This annual list of the best insurance franchises was revised and updated on March 3, 2021.
The insurance industry’s job is to protect customers against the uncertainties of the future. It fills a similar role for business owners and investors, as it’s generally regarded as a safe sector with slow, steady growth. Being a necessary service and a stable investment, the insurance industry has flourished, with 5,965 insurance companies in the US in 2019.
$1.3 trillion worth of insurance premiums were written in the United States in 2019, up from $0.9 trillion a decade earlier. This reflects the huge amount of money going through insurance companies, as they protect every part of people’s and businesses’ lives, from health to homes to legal issues. The industry has grown even during some tough economic times, as the security that insurance provides is one of the needs that people will cling to even when money is short.
The growing power of the US insurance industry is reflected in the fact that it contributed more to the economy than banks did in 2015, for the first time in the industry’s history. It employs 2.7 million people all across the US, serving customers in every single community.
Just over half of insurance premiums are for life/annuity insurance, the other half for property or casualty insurance. Franchises tend to operate in this second part of the industry, offering insurance for vehicles, homes, and even businesses, though they also provide health insurance.
The insurance industry has generally weathered the COVID-19 pandemic in reasonable shape. Claims on motor insurance are down, as people used their cars less, resulting in fewer accidents and car thefts. Even health insurers, who might have been expected to suffer from large payouts, have been left in good condition as people attended hospitals less for non-urgent issues, to avoid exposure to the disease. The fear stirred up by a new disease has increased public interest in life and disability insurance. US insurers were able to support people during the pandemic, donating $280 million to the fight against COVID and returning an estimated $14 billion in auto insurance payments to customers driving less.
The industry overall faces some significant uncertainties. Claims on business disruption and events insurance due to the shutting down of much of society will hit the pockets of big insurers, and disruption to the economy will affect investments that insurers use to help meet payouts. But franchised insurance businesses are generally focused on individuals, providing motor, home, health, and other individual forms of insurance, making their position safer. The pandemic has pushed insurers toward more home working, cutting costs, and creating more flexible working models.
Because of the way it approaches risk, the insurance industry has historically failed to meet the needs of some communities, and this is where some of the franchised insurance companies flourish. By appealing to underserved communities, franchises can carve out a specific and successful niche for themselves.
The Top Insurance Franchises of 2021
1. Pronto Insurance
Pronto Insurance was acquired by RPS/Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., a global insurance brokerage, a year ago but its core business model remains the same: auto, home, and business insurance with a special focus on serving the growing Hispanic market. It has expanded operations from its home state of Texas to both California and Florida, using location intelligence platform SiteZeus to help it identify the best new markets for its services.
Additional insurance policy types include motorcycle, renters, RVs, boats, roadside coverage, mobile home, condo, and watercraft. Business insurance types include general liability, artisan contractors, errors and omissions, commercial property, workers’ compensation, and builder’s risk.
Founded by the Varela family in Texas in 1997 but only franchising since 2009, the number of locations leaped from 172 in 2017 to 277 in 2019 but has since declined to 233, of which 186 are company-owned and all are located in the US.
2. Fiesta Auto Insurance and Tax
Fiesta Auto Insurance and Tax is another insurance chain geared towards serving the growing Hispanic market with a focus on blue-collar workers and communities. By developing strong relationships with more than 40 different insurance carriers, Fiesta searches for the best possible pricing for each customer. Franchisees for this chain will do best if they speak some Spanish, or hire people that do. Its system is paperless and works through its web-based software.
Besides offering a wide range of insurance products (auto, home, business, rental property, boat, motorcycle, etc.), the chain also offers full personal and business tax services.
Founded by John Rost in 1998 and franchising since 2006, the number of locations has climbed steadily in recent years from 90 in 2012 to the current total of 226 (up from the previously reported total of 207), of which none are company-owned and all are located in the US.
3. Brightway Insurance
Brightway Insurance was recently featured as one of the “Most Innovative Franchise Brands in 2019” by Franchise Business Review, based on feedback from franchisees. The company recently rolled out a recruiting and competency-testing tool that helps franchisees find and hire good agents using benchmarks formulated based on the chain’s best agents.
Brightway offers insurance for property, vehicle, life, business, and umbrella policies. Each location hires local insurance experts who have their own relationships with multiple insurance carriers. Each customer may have policies from multiple carriers, but all are handled centrally in the Brightway system, simplifying customer service.
Founded by David and Michael Miller in 2003 and franchising since 2007, the number of locations has risen steadily in recent years to the current total of 208 (up from the previously reported total of 191), of which one is company-owned and all are located in the US.
4. Estrella Insurance
Estrella Insurance has received a lot of criticism lately for its blatantly sexist ads in Miami for its insurance services, but it doesn’t seem to be holding back the chain’s growth at all, even though its latest ads that were plastered all over Miami-Dade Transit buses have now been completely removed due to the backlash.
This company offers a variety of insurance policies to cover autos, motorcycles, boats, homes, rentals, health (indemnity plans, HMO, POS, PPO, and HAS), and businesses (commercial automobile, general/business liability, business owner policy, commercial/business property, professional liability, worker’s compensation). It works with more than 30 different carriers. Like Pronto and Fiesta, Estrella focuses especially on the Latino market.
Founded by Nicolas Estrella in Miami in 1980 but only franchising since 2008, the number of locations has grown steadily in recent years to the current total of 166 (up from the previously reported total of 152), of which two are company-owned and all are located in the US.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.