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Agent to Agent: Coping With Business Failures

By Charlie Downey
Downey Insurance Agency

In the insurance industry, independent agencies have come to realize that in order to survive and continue to sell policies, they must adapt. The way that consumers shop for and purchase insurance has changed, and unless the agencies change with the consumers, they find themselves without any policies being bought. While many insurance agencies have had immense success right off the bat, there are others who have been faced with business failures. The difference between those agencies that bounce back from a failed idea and those who do not is one thing: attitude.

Coping with business failures is one of the most important strategies a business can learn. Not every idea will work immediately, but it is imperative to the success of your agency that you not only try new ideas, but try again if you do not succeed. When it comes to dealing with failure, having the right attitude is half the battle, but the other half is in your response.

Always remember to stay positive and:

  • Maintain a team structure. A single business failure is never the result or fault of one person. Everyone should work together to foster new ideas and contribute to the growth of your agency. If an idea does not work, lean on one another to brainstorm how to make it better.
  • Celebrate the victories, but also praise new ideas, even if they fail.
  • Remind yourself that this too shall pass. Remember to laugh at things when they go wrong, especially if they were out of your control. Sometimes things change faster than you can keep up with them, and that may not necessarily be your fault. Be ready to start over and go at it with a positive attitude


All companies are going to experience failures and setbacks, but always remember that does not make your agency a failure. One bad idea does not constitute a failed system. The important thing is to continue to make advances, adapt to survive and embrace change. The insurance industry is competitive, and your ability to recognize the need to adapt is most important.

Charlie Downey is the president at Downey Insurance Agency and has over 25 years experience in the insurance industry. After more than 70 years at its Massachusetts location, Downey expanded and opened offices in New Hampshire and Vermont. They are dedicated to serving the coverage needs of individuals, families and business all across New England.