Today's Viewpoint: A MarshBerry Publication

A Strong Compensation Strategy can be a Game Changer

Having a strong compensation plan can give firms a competitive edge for driving growth. Do you know where your firm compares to insurance industry averages for compensation decisions?

An insurance brokerage’s compensation plan impacts nearly everything else related to a firm’s strategic goals for growth, profitability and overall value. A strong compensation model creates motivation for producers to drive new business, supporting organic growth, and can create a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent. But as a firm’s largest expense, it’s important to understand the entire ecosystem of compensation across your organization, and those changes that can have the biggest impact for success. 

One of the best starting spots for firms looking to measure and optimize their compensation plan is by understanding what other firms, especially top performing firms, are doing. Benchmarking your approach to your peers, competitors and top performers can help you make better long-term decisions related to salaries, benefits, and overall budget planning. 

MarshBerry’s 2024 Insurance Agency & Brokerage Compensation Study reveals what top performing firms are doing to remain competitive. It includes details about how brokerages structure salaries, commissions, and bonuses and their methodologies for driving maximum revenue and growth. This biennial study, conducted in March 2024, surveyed firms on their 2023 compensation policies, processes, and strategies for roles commonly found across most insurance brokerages, and their expectations for 2024. 

Study overview 

This study is intended to help brokerages better understand the landscape of total compensation, benchmarks to measure against, and the trends that have evolved over time. It is broken out across four employee categories: 

  • Executive and management 
  • Production personnel 
  • Service personnel 
  • Support personnel 

For executives and management, the majority of survey respondents reported that salaries increased in 2023 and were optimistic about further increases in 2024. Keep in mind that executive performance tends to be linked to top line growth and profit growth; and 2023 saw strong organic growth and profit margin expansion in the insurance brokerage sector. The respondents’ projections for higher executive compensation in 2024 may also reflect expectations for stable, robust levels of growth in the near future for the industry. 

Production personnel are segmented into two categories – validated and unvalidated producers – because they are in different stages of their career and tend to be compensated differently. Producers who are validated are usually generating enough business to validate their total compensation (including benefits). Producers who are unvalidated are typically newer employees (less than three years) and are not generating enough business to cover their compensation. 

Compensation for validated producers is often tied to commission and linked to their books of business. However, firms use various combinations of compensation methods for these producers, some that also incorporate a salary. 

In the average firm, service personnel comprise 59% of total personnel and service payroll makes up 39% of total payroll expense. On average, there are 2.8 service staff to every producer. 

Between the four employee categories, service personnel saw the largest boost in salary in 2023. 83% of respondents report that service personnel salaries were higher in 2023 (compared to 2022) increasing an average of 6%. Additionally, 77% of respondents expect them to increase in 2024. 

Support personnel are employees who support the entire organization, rather than a specific department. Support functions include areas like accounting and finance, general office management, human resources, and information technology personnel. In 2023, the average firm had approximately 8.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees for every one FTE of support staff. 

Overall, salaries and bonuses for support personnel increased in 2023. For 2024, salaries are projected to increase, while bonuses are projected to remain relatively flat. 

The value of a compensation study 

MarshBerry’s comprehensive, one-of-a-kind industry report evaluates compensation trends across 35 different roles in insurance brokerage, provides over 100 charts that illustrates respondent data, and provides detailed insights into the results. It offers insurance brokerages the opportunity to benchmark where their firm sits in the range of industry peers on compensation approaches. It can provide reinforcement for their current approach – or reveal areas for change. 

As insurance brokerages continue to look for ways to grow their business, whether it be through their product offerings, service capabilities, or technology upgrades – people will always be at the root of everything they do. Having a top-performing organization, with top-performing personnel starts with a top-performing compensation strategy. 

Learn more about MarshBerry’s 2024 Insurance Agency & Brokerage Compensation Study. 

+MarshBerry 2024 Compensation Study. 

Contact Brooke Lugonjic Liu
If you have questions about Today's ViewPoint, or would like to learn more about how MarshBerry can help your firm determine its path forward, please email or call Brooke Lugonjic Liu, Senior Vice President, at 616.828.0741.

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