Philip Visali, founder and president of We Insure, started his insurance career in 1997 with Bankers Life and Casualty as a life and health sales agent selling Medicare supplements to the senior market while attending the University of Florida in Gainesville. The following year, Phil accepted a position as a customer service representative with Nationwide Insurance in Gainesville and took a liking to the property and casualty side of insurance. Phil opened his first insurance agency with Allstate Insurance in Sarasota, Florida.
In 2009, struck with the notion that representing only one company was not in his clients’ best interests (not to mention its limiting effect on his own growth), Phil founded We Insure Florida Inc. After only nine years, We Insure has 95 franchised locations and more than 300 employees throughout Florida and Georgia and continuously earns recognition as a top franchise opportunity.
We Insure provides home, auto, and business insurance to consumers through more than 150 top-rated carriers and offers franchise opportunities in Florida and Georgia. We Insure agent-franchise owners focus their time on customer service while the corporate office provides back-end support, call center, technologies, and additional tools needed for success.
The franchise system generated more than $150 million in annual sales in 2018. Inc. Magazine ranked We Insure among the top 25 percent of America’s fastest-growing private companies.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What are some unique aspects of the We Insure model that make it an attractive opportunity for those looking to invest in a franchise?
Philip Visali (PV): As a We Insure agent-owner, you get to do what you do best 100% of the time: Sell auto, home and business insurance. We handle everything else. We have partnerships with more than 150 top-rated insurance carriers; our agents earn top-tier commissions and enjoy higher closing ratios; our corporate office offers back-end support so you’re not wasting time on non-revenue-generating activities. We also provide agent-friendly marketing and operational processes that drive profits.
FC: What does it take to invest in a We Insure franchise?
PV: We require a $25,000 to $60,000 one-time franchise fee.
Before you open your agency, there’s a “startup” fee which includes initial training, an equipment package which includes computer workstations and telephone equipment, and initial marketing. It doesn’t include finding an office or rent for a location. The startup fee is $5,000. We also offer a few different options.
The total investment required to open a new We Insure agency ranges from $56,895 to $157,020.
We Insure also offers the opportunity for qualified insurance agencies to convert their current agency into a We Insure agency. Qualified agencies are agencies with the desire to have more market access and opportunities for growth and efficiency. The investment for a conversion agency ranges from $52,770 to $107,270.
FC: In your experience, who’s a good candidate for a We Insure franchise?
PV: Individuals with a background in business ownership or who would like to be business owners as well as individuals with insurance experience are some of our ideal franchisees.
FC: Do agents need any form of education before opening a franchise?
PV: Yes, you need to have a General Lines Agent license (2-20) to open a We Insure franchise and three to five years of sales experience.
FC: What incentives are you currently offering veterans who wish to become We Insure franchisees?
PV: We are dedicated to providing business opportunities to everyone and are proud to offer a special discount to veterans. Five percent of our franchise owners are veterans, which is something I’m proud of. To that end, We Insure offers military veterans a 10% discount to open a franchise location with extra onboarding and training. This includes enhanced training, which is two weeks of in-office corporate training. That’s where they’ll learn to quote effectively, how to hire and pay producers, marketing tips and agency operations.
FC: What are the key success factors to running a profitable We Insure business?
PV: One of the first keys to success with We Insure is an agent’s willingness to hand over the back-end support, call center duties and technology updates that get in the way of focusing on new and renewal insurance policies.
A lot of our agent-owners who run profitable We Insure locations got there by hiring producers to work in their offices and always asking for referrals. Successful agent-owners build relationships with mortgage offices and realtors.
FC: Can you tell us about your growth targets for the We Insure franchise system?
PV: In just 10 years, We Insure Group has grown to 95 locations, more than 300 employees, 152 partners and more than $150 million in revenue in 2018. We offer a referral discount of $2,500 if a current franchisee recommends a new person to become an agent/owner.
Looking forward, our goal is to be Florida’s largest independent insurance company. To achieve that, we expect to open 100 locations and hit $200 million in revenue by 2020.
Visit www.weinsurefranchise.com for more information on We Insure franchising opportunities.