We’ve outlined a number of questions that may interest you and provided responses below. Please contact us with any further questions. We want to make sure you get the answers you need to make a thoughtful decision regarding affiliation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a general agency?
A general agency is an insurance agency that partners with various insurance carriers to market and distribute their products to agents and brokers. We are an expert on various product portfolios, underwriting guidelines, eligibility, rates, and all other relevant carrier information. Technically, we are a producer entity in the state of Washington, where there is no statute for general agency. Another term for our structure is an Independent Marketing Organization or, from a carrier’s perspective, a Field Marketing Organization, providing carriers access to a field sales force in our market.
As a general agency, what are you responsible for?
Our main responsibility is communication. Whether it is staying up-to-date on changes in benefits, underwriting or rating structure, our job is to get that information to you. We are also your resource for education and training for products or continuing education credits.
• maintain appointments with multiple carriers
• provide quotes and proposals
• answer technical product questions
• assist producers with sales presentations and enrollments
• process the enrollments, keeping the producer updated on the status and negotiating with the carrier’s underwriting team
How do you make your money?
In many cases, Ucentris is compensated by the carrier in the form of an override on business sold through us. The general agency method is a cost-effective distribution system since the carrier does not have to pay for any of the above-mentioned services unless a group is sold and placed through the general agency. This override is completely separate from the producer’s commission, and the producer maintains the Producer of Record status. In some cases, Ucentris does not have a general agency appointment with the carrier and a small portion of the producer’s commission will be taken out.
Why shouldn’t I get an appointment with a carrier directly?
Some carriers have minimum production requirements to allow a producer to maintain an appointment. This can limit the options you present to your clients. By using Ucentris’ appointment you are not subject to production requirements and are free to use a wider variety of carriers in your business. Ucentris can provide lots of administrative support that you wouldn’t get with a direct appointment.
What do I need to do to become affiliated?
Ucentris can send you an affiliation packet through e-mail. You’ll need a copy of your state producer’s license, proof of $1 million E&O Insurance and a few forms to fill out including an agreement, a W-9 and an ACH form so we can pay you. We also need to pay the state a $20 fee for adding you to our agency. Our checklist helps step you through what is needed and you can contact us at UcentrisLicensing@ucentris.com with any questions. Once we receive your completed information, it takes up to 10 business days.
What is your relationship with Premera?
Ucentris Insured Solutions is a member of the Premera family of companies. We are not an affiliate of the Blue Cross Blue Shield association and are responsible for our own products and services. As a general agency, Ucentris provides service to producers, much like Premera does; however, Ucentris- affiliated producers have no production requirements for Premera products and remain independent. Ucentris has agreements with carriers that prohibit us from sharing product or underwriting knowledge with Premera.
Do you have more carrier appointments than listed on the site?
Ucentris is always looking for good carrier options for our producers. We already have access to many other carriers not listed on our Web site. If you have a case that you would like to write with a carrier that is not on the Commission Schedule, please contact UcentrisLicensing@ucentris.com or call 800-228-5798 to see if this is something that can run through Ucentris.
Do you train me on new products?
Yes, Ucentris works with carriers to provide training to our producers. We periodically schedule onsite training at our headquarters and e-mail out product changes for our producers. We are planning more product webinar training in the future to allow producers more flexibility.
What is your turnaround time for quotes?
Turnaround times vary widely depending on the product lines we have, but for the most part, we strive to turn quotes around within three business days. If a quote is expected to take longer, we let you know as soon as we know.
Should I affiliate as an Independent Producer or an Entity Producer?
Generally, if you are the only producer working for your company, we recommend the Independent Producer contract. If there is more than one producer, then we recommend the Entity Producer contract.
How do I complete an Independent Producer contract?
The Independent Producer Agreement and Exhibit B need to be set up in the individual producer’s name. If you want commissions paid to the Agency, then complete the W9 and ACH in the business name. Follow the checklist for additional items needed for affiliation.
Is an ACH (automated clearing house payment processing) required?
No, ACH is not required, but we strongly encourage it as your commissions will not be as timely without it.
What is involved with the E&0 Requirement for affiliation?
Your documentation of your E&O Insurance needs to include your name as a producer on the contract or the contract needs to state that all employees of the agency are covered.
What happens once I send in a completed affiliation kit?
Once you are affiliated, you will receive a welcome email from Ucentris. At that time (if you didn’t already have a direct appointment), you will immediately have the ability to write business with our affiliated companies (Premera Blue Cross, WAHIT, LifeWise Health Plans, and LifeWise Assurance Company). You can also then complete the checklist that is attached to the email and return it to Ucentris, letting us know what other carriers you are interested in selling. We will then send you the additional contracting paperwork required for those appointments. If you have questions, you can contact UcentrisLicensing@ucentris.com or call us at 800-228-5798.