Step 3: E&O and Legal Criteria
Licensing, Registration, Tax ID, etc.
Meet Legal Criteria:
- Choose an Entity - There are several broad categories to investigate when determining your business organization: sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability partnerships and corporations. While sole proprietorships are the least expensive and easiest to create, they carry a risk of personal liability for the owners. Partnerships and corporations can afford further protection for the owners, but require more paperwork and costs. You should discuss pros and cons of various types of structures with your legal counsel and tax advisor to determine the type of entity under which you want to operate.
- Register With the Secretary of State's Office - All businesses in Missouri must make filings with the Missouri Secretary of State's office. Such required paperwork may include corporate registration, fictitious name filing, etc. You may also be required to obtain a business license in your municipality or county, so check with local city and county officials for such requirements.
- Obtain IRS ID - The IRS requires a Taxpayer Identification Number for all entities. This number is used in the administration of tax laws. If your agency is organized as a sole proprietorship, your social security number is your tax identification number. If your agency is organized as a partnership or corporation, you are given a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
- Apply for E&O - Since this is a new independent agency, and most professional liability policies are on claims-made policy forms, your new E&O policy will have a retroactive date of the policy inception. In addition, since your agency is new and there is no previous information to reference, the E&O carriers will essentially have to underwrite you, as the owner, and your goals for the agency. E&O carriers will require a business plan and resume with all new applications. AMC (Agents Marketing Corp.) is part of a national purchasing group providing E&O coverage to members. For this reason, MAIA membership is required in some cases before your E&O application can be processed.
MAIA's E&O Page for Applications and More
The association is here to help members succeed. MAIA also offers support through education, insurance market placement, technical advice, governmental advocacy and agency management support.
Top 10 Reasons to be a MAIA Member
Agency Membership Application
- Obtain Licenses - Individuals working in the agency will obtain producer licenses for life and health or property and casualty based on what types of business they will handle. In addition, the agency must have a separate business entity producer license.