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Originally Posted On: Firefly Insurance vs Covered by SAGE – Agency Height
Firefly Insurance and Covered by SAGE model are two options that agents have when going independent. We will look at how these two models square off against each other.
The competition between independent insurance agency platforms is very dynamic, with various new companies springing up and touting innovative models and features to address the ever-growing needs of the market.
Previously, we looked at how Covered by SAGE fared against Goosehead Insurance and Brightway Insurance Franchise. It showed that success through traditional methods is not impossible, but new, forward-looking strategies to building an agency are required for agents to truly thrive in today’s evolving climate.
Here we’ll look at two such agency ownership opportunities, namely Firefly Insurance and Covered by SAGE. They share a few similarities, but a lot more differences.
Who is Firefly?
Firefly is an insurance agency that operates on a hybrid model that closely resembles an aggregator, but still has some elements of an agency, since they are still the broker of record. It appoints agents with carriers so that they can start selling their products. However, Firefly places several contractual restrictions on the agent as well.
Firefly provides their agents with carrier appointments and not much else. They charge a monthly fee that goes toward E&O and off-the-shelf rating platform, EZLynx. Firefly agents need to manage everything by themselves.
How do Firefly insurance agents make money?
Firefly agents work on a commission split basis. They get a percentage of the commission earned for each policy that they write.
Firefly gives its agents up to 80% of the commission for the policies they sell
How does Firefly insurance make money?
Firefly insurance operates an aggregator model and charges an ongoing fee of $395 per month. Besides this, they also take a percentage of the commission revenue,
How wide is Firefly’s market?
Firefly has a slightly limited market that varies state-by-state. They are appointed with only 12 P&C insurance carriers in Georgia. Additionally, Firefly agents only have access to personal lines.
Firefly insurance agents are exclusive and cannot seek appointments with carriers outside of Firefly’s portfolio, significantly restricting their market access and ability to sell to a variety of customers with varying risk profiles.
Who is Covered by SAGE?
Covered by SAGE started as a small operation, but they are currently licensed in over 40 states, and offer multiple lines of businesses for agents. Investors of category-defining brands have backed Covered by SAGE, believing that disruption through market-leading insurance technology will ultimately allow agents to “be their best selves”.
Covered by SAGE does not operate an aggregator model. They’re an insurance agency platform that offers a “you sell, we service” model to their agents, but that is just the start of what they’re trying to do.
How do Covered by SAGE agents make money?
Covered by SAGE agents also make money from commissions. Their rates are much better than Firefly’s, with agents receiving up to 95% commission on new business and 50% commission on renewals for personal lines.
Unlike Firefly insurance, SAGE also gives its agents access to commercial lines carriers. They offer the same split on personal lines as they do on commercial lines. Additionally, Covered by SAGE also has options for agents who sell life or health products, with access to 40+ carriers, allowing their agents to cross-sell all insurance lines of business and round out the account.
How does Covered by SAGE make money?
As opposed to Firefly insurance, Covered by SAGE has no retail outlet requirement; it allows agents to virtually start their agency with $0 investment. They charge $100 per month for access to their carriers, technology, training and in-house licensed service center.
Ultimately, Covered by SAGE only generates earnings from the commission splits, with costs to covered technology and training, thereby tying their success with the success of the agent.
How wide is Covered by SAGE’s market?
At the time of writing, Covered by SAGE is appointed with over 35 P&C and 40 life insurance companies, with more coming soon. Agents have wide market access. Unlike Firefly, Covered by SAGE also allows agents to sell commercial lines, life, and health policies.
How does Firefly Insurance compare with Covered by SAGE?
Firefly insurance is an agency that works on a hybrid agency-aggregator model. As such, they only provide very limited support to their agents. Firefly appoints their agents to carriers, giving limited support from an agent-trainer. That’s to say the agents need to manage everything else on their own.
On the other hand, Covered by SAGE started as a technology company. They developed a proprietary plug-and-play technology that is easy to use and provided to their agents at a very modest cost.
Unlike Firefly, Covered by SAGE also offers a guaranteed buy out on the book of business the agent builds. Firefly imposes several restrictions on the sale of the book for their agents, making it very difficult to crystalize the value of the book their agents have worked so hard to grow. Agents cannot sell their book to agents outside of Firefly and Firefly has a right of first refusal to purchase the agent’s book, which makes it very difficult to find an outside buyer.
However, Covered by SAGE provides a buyout of a multiple of the agent’s revenue of the book of business with no strings attached.
In a nutshell
Firefly Insurance or Covered by SAGE – which should you choose?
Firefly insurance started as a way for independent agents to find success in the market, but their offerings and services is somewhat limited than those of Covered by SAGE
Covered by SAGE allows agents to run their agencies with very little cost. They also provide marketing support, proprietary technology, and even remote servicing teams. They believe that agents must focus on what they’re good at: selling.
After seeing what both of these models have to offer, Covered by SAGE looks like the clear winner in terms of initial investment, services, and ease to the agent.
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