For insurance carriers, MGAs, and agencies, the producer appointment submissions process is vital, but cumbersome. Each producer who sells insurance products must be properly licensed and appointed by the state department of insurance in each state they will sell in. However, when the appointment is needed, the rules for submitting the application and the flexibility to backdate appointments to cover past business vary widely from one state department of insurance to the next. Some states don’t require appointments at all!
Due to the complexity of producer appointments, a great deal of planning is required to make the process efficient. Carriers have to consider who your producers are, what lines of business they sell—and in which states, and which agencies they work for. Agencies have to keep track of the agency’s appointments with each carrier you represent as well as each individual producer who is affiliated with your agency.
Done manually, producer appointment submissions are a nightmare at best, and impossible at worst. With 53 distinct state or territory insurance regulating bodies across the United States, any carrier or MGA who works in more than one of them instantly adds layers of complexity to their process.
At a bare minimum, the most basic best practice when it comes to producer appointment submissions is having a producer licensing management system rather than managing producer appointments by hand, on paper, or in a spreadsheet.
However, to truly reap the benefits of producer lifecycle management technology, the system needs to be smart and connected, minimizing manual entry. Ideally it will integrate with NIPR, where your system can pull from the source of truth for U.S. producer licensing and aggregated state department of insurance data.
Consider also how to make the optimal use of just-in-time appointments in the various states that allow them. Using technology to decrease the timeline of appointment processing can give you the opportunity to take calculated chances on new producers while limiting your risks and costs to only those who may be profitable.
A true best-practice scenario occurs when your producer licensing and compliance management system works for you—not the other way around.
Producer Appointment Submission FAQs
1. What if my state doesn’t require carrier appointments?
Some states don’t require carriers to report their appointed agents and agencies (the agents and agencies they contract with to sell their products in that state). Others require the carrier to only appoint a Duly Responsible Licensed Producer (DRLP), who assumes some responsibility for any agents selling under them at a given agency. Generally, even states that don’t require carrier appointments do require carriers to keep the information on their appointments and produce it to the state on request.
2. What is a DRLP?
A Duly Responsible Licensed Producer functions as a representative of an agency. In many states, the DRLP’s license is synonymous with the agency’s license to sell insurance. Most of the time, the DRLP is also at least nominally responsible for maintaining the license compliance for all agents under them.
3. NIPR says I need a CoCode. What is that?
A CoCode, or company code, is a number issued by some states that is specific to that carrier’s business (most often, appointments) in that state. If you have multiple entities in a state, you may have multiple CoCodes just in that state, each with their own login for NIPR and the state portal. Although they can complicate things, CoCodes can also simplify business processes by allowing carriers to automate fee payments from bank accounts specific to those CoCodes.
4. I’ve heard Just-In-Time appointments can save on carrier fees. What are those?
Some states (not all) allow Just-In-Time (JIT) appointments, which allow carriers to onboard agents but delay paying the appointment fees to the state until the agents have actually submitted business. This is meant to address the complex, expensive, and all-too-common experience of carriers onboarding thousands of agents and appointing them in multiple states only to have a quarter of the new agents never write a piece of business. Unfortunately, not many carriers take advantage of the JIT process because it requires the appointment process, once an agent writes their first piece of business, to be fairly automated and seamless.