Open an insurance intermediary firm: regulations, formalities

An insurance intermediary agency sells insurance contracts from one or more mandated companies. It does not ensure the compensation benefits of its customers and it is not subject to the same regulations as an insurance company. The agent has a diploma or professional experience in the management and production of insurance contracts and signs a mandate with one or more approved insurance companies. Opening an insurance intermediary firm requires registration with URSSAF for a sole proprietorship or with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for a company and registration in the register of insurance, banking, and finance intermediaries (Orias register).

Opening an insurance firm: definition and professions concerned

Open an insurance company

The insurance company manages the insurance benefits. It collects premiums from its customers and pays compensation benefits according to the terms of the contract. This activity requires substantial social capital (enough to claim claims) and strict regulations, in particular concerning obtaining state approval. Some insurance companies develop their agency as a franchise.

Open an intermediary insurance agency

The intermediary insurance agency (company or independent agent) sells a catalog of insurance from one or more approved companies and partners. The insurance agent is a trade intermediary.

The regulations for opening an insurance intermediary firm

Obtain the professional capacity of intermediary insurance agent

Carrying out the profession of intermediary insurance agent implies having the professional capacity relating to the exercise of this activity. You must provide proof of a diploma relating to the profession of the insurer (management and production of insurance contracts), mentioned in the list of articles A 516-6 and R512-9 of the Insurance Code. In the absence of a dedicated diploma, you can obtain professional capacity if you have practiced with an insurance firm for at least 4 years (or 2 years in executive status).

Sign a mandate with the insurance company(ies) concerned

To exercise the profession of the intermediary agent in insurance, it is necessary to have insurance to offer. You must sign a mandate (or “appointment treaty”) with one or more principal insurance companies (they generally impose an initial training period of 6 months alongside them).

Please note that the law does not require an intermediary insurance agency to work with several companies, but it obliges them to communicate, at the client’s request, the contact details of competing insurance companies as well as to analyze their offer to be able to make an objective comparison and offer the most suitable contract.

Justify “professional integrity” to exercise the profession of insurance agent

An intermediary insurance agent can exercise this profession only if he has a clean criminal record and no convictions mentioned in article L322-2 of the Insurance Code. This is called professional integrity.

The formalities for setting up an insurance intermediary firm

Registration formalities for your intermediary insurance agency activity

The formalities for setting up a business differ according to the legal status :

  • an insurance intermediary who wishes to practice as a self-employed person (sole proprietorship) must register his activity with the Center de Formalit√© des Entreprises (CFE) of the URSSAF.
  • an insurance intermediary who wishes to open an agency in the legal form of a company ( EURL / SARL, SASU / SAS ) must register his activity with the CFE of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry

If you create a company, additional formalities await you:

  • drafting and registration of articles of association
  • the publication of a notice of incorporation in a Journal of Legal Announcements (JAL)

The administrative costs of registering the company vary according to the legal status and amount up to approximately 250 euros for a company (excluding the additional cost linked to the publication of the notice in a JAL and the drafting of the articles of association if you call a professional).

Registration in the register of insurance intermediaries

To open your insurance intermediary firm, you must register on the single register of insurance, banking, and finance intermediaries (Orias), providing you with a registration certificate, an identity document, proof of professional capacity, and at least one certificate of mandate with an insurance company. The cost of registering for Orias amounts to a few tens of euros.

Taxation of insurance intermediary income

Activities relating to the management of insurance contracts are liberal professions falling within the tax category of

Non-Commercial Benefits

(BNC). In this context, independent insurance agents (sole proprietorship) operating in

micro business

must respect the turnover ceiling for the liberal professions (33,200 euros in 2017). Companies subject to the real regime (income tax or corporation tax) are subject to the relatively controlled declaration of the liberal professions for their accounting and tax obligations.

By Cary Grant

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