Succession planning -- sometimes known as perpetuation -- is arguably the biggest challenge facing independent insurance agencies and brokerages, and the insurance industry as a whole. Many agency owners wno came to realize they did not have solid plans for transition ended up selling to one of a wide variety of buyers, ranging from other regional brokers or banks, to private equity investors or large, national brokers. An ownership succession plan is simply a predetermined methodology that addresses certain likely ownership events -- such as the loss of an owner -- and is documented in a legal agreement among the shareholders. Developing a succession plan may be the most importaiit thing you do for your business. Before taking this step, it is critical for the owners and shareholders to understand their personal and professional goals, as this understanding will determine the scope of the ownership succession plan.