Farmer's ????



Is Farmer's a decent company to start out with as a newbie?
There is a part time opening near me that I'm interested in, because it will allow me to work my regular job, and get my feet wet in this business.
FYI: I haven't spoken to anyone at that agency in regards to compensation %, or signing a contract with them etc...
As always, any advice good or bad will be helpful.
Hi Barry:

I started as a reserve agent with Farmers about 3 months ago, so hopefully I can give you a little insight of what it's going to be.

I have done some researching and most experienced agents think that going independent is better than captive. Some believe working as a producer for another agent is better too because it allows you to gain experience without having to make investment.

For a newbie, however, things are not as clear cut. Here are the pros and cons of Farmers IMHO:

  • Business training: if you don't have experience in building a business, Farmers does have a good training program for that.
  • Commitment: you can work part time until you think you are ready to commit fully
  • Ease of Appointment: it's not too difficult to get appointed by Farmers as an agent
  • Quota: you will have quotas to hit if you want to advance in your career path
  • Start from zero: unlike State Farm you are not given a book of business to work with
  • # of Agents: because it's not difficult to get appointed, there are likely way more Farmers agents in your area than there are State Farm or All State
  • Pricing: you are a captive so your auto, home, and life policies can only be done through Farmers, unfortunately we have taken a few significant rate increases this year
Here is Farmers' Career Program if you are interested:

Reserve Agent (1 year):

You are given up to 1 year for this. In order to advance, you will have to sell 30 P&C policies and 4 life policies in a 3-month period.

Career Agent (first 6 months)

You are given a $1500/month subsidy. In order to stay on the contract, you have to sell 30 P&C and 4 Life every quarter.

This is also where your subsidy level is determined for the next 2 years.

Career Agent (next 2 years)

Your subsidy level is based on the previous 6 months. Here's the breakdown:

below 60/6 = terminate
60/6 = stay on contract, no subsidy
80 / 8 = monthly subsidy on $501~2000 commission earned
100 / 10 = monthly subsidy on $1~2000 commissioned earned
120 / 12 = monthly subsidy + $100 marketing budget
150 / 15 = monthly subsidy + $100 marketing budget + $1500/month staff

The training is pretty good, but make sure you talk to the District Manager. How the DM is will make a difference on your development as an agent.

- Allan
Hey Allan,
Thanks for the info. That pretty much covered it all.
Take care,
I was considering farmers as well, but decided against it.

The subsidy is basically a loan. You will owe Farmers 40% of the subsidy that you received, if you get canned for not meeting your quotas. The DM did not mention it until i asked him about it. Is this standard?

Also, Farmers seems to have more "fan" sites than all of the other companies besides Primerica. For example,

Farmers Insurance Group Sucks! Boycott Farmers Insurance!

Farmers Insurance Agents - Farmers Insurance Agent Resource - Farmers Employees my gripe about Farmers Insurance, They Suck!

What do you guys think about the info on those sites? I know you have to take them with a grain of salt, but they are pretty detailed.
In the P&C world, you'll find strings attached with every agency opportunity. With Farmers (and others), it is a loan, that is forgiven if you meet basic performance requirements. If you don't meet the requirements, you'll be bankrupt from not making any money anyway :)

In P&C, there is no starting out on your own as a 'newbie' and then switching. Well, you can, but you would be foolish. If you want to see if it's a career path for you, work for an agent first, then decide.

This business is setup all on residuals from renewals, unlike health and most life, where there is a larger upfront commission, and lower renewals, P&C requires you to get a big bulk of your $$$$ from renewals. If you start in one direction, then switch, you'll lose all of the work you have done up to that point in growing a book of business. None of the big companies are going to let you bring your book of business with you.

That said, it's almost impossible to start out on your own as a fully independent agent and be successful. It's sort of like trying to open your own hamburger stand, it might work, but having a McDonalds franchise almost guarantees success. Is this because McDonalds has the best burger? no. Is it because they have the best prices? No. It's simply because they have one of the best business systems in the market, and if you follow the system, you'll be successful. Same goes in many cases for being a captive agent. You're buying into the successful system.

Whether you want State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, AAA or McDonalds, I can point out websites similar to the ones mentioned. It isn't the fact that companies have problems you have to worry about (if you do, give up now), it's how they address the problems that is really the issue. I can safely say that I have confidence in all of the above mentioned companies to do the right thing.

Call a few agents in your town. Tell them your thinking of becoming an agent, and want an 'inside' view. Most will gladly talk to you, good and bad, about their companies, what makes it work for them, what they wish was different. You may even get a job offer from one of the agents out of the conversations.

If you want, PM me, and I'll give you my phone number. I can give you the inside scoop on a lot of the different companies contracts, at least as of a few years ago.

You can also receive excellent training at a multi line brokers office. As a captive agent you are as good as the company products and rates. If the company goes sideways in your area, you are screwed. Being independent you simply roll the business to another carrier.

Something your should also look into is if you want to be a personal lines agent or commercial. With a larger broker you will have access to both. You can make good money in either. The key is, are you a prospector? If so you have a much better chance of making it!
I have been in insurance a few years working as staff for other companies. I was presented with Farmers as an agent opportunity in my area and did research as well. I came across all the fan sites too so I dug deeper. I don't know what your state calls it but I went to my states State Corp Commission site and we can look up agents appointments. I looked on Farmers site to locate an agent 200 miles away in my area in my state, then looked the agent up online in the scc site. That gave me info for when they are appointed so I could see how long they have been with Farmers. I looked up 5 agents that had been appointed with Farmers for over 13 years in Virginia (Va has only offered Farmers for 14 yrs.) and then looked up CA agents. Since the company was started in CA I assumed the longest running agents would be there and I found a few I wanted to call that had been in since 1977 and the 80's. I called them on my own to ask them questions to make my own mind up. I would suggest you do the same, most of the time they are happy to help. I didn't want to call the one's close to me due to competition. From what I was told most of that on those sites is bull.

Every company does have quotas to meet State Farm is 40 policies and 60k in prem. So the 16 a year they want is nothing. Allstate has quotas as well, and everyone is moving to pushing life. Those sites listed above are bogus, call some agents and make up your own mind. You have to take everything with a grain of salt. All insurance companies have their skeletons and bad points, but you have to decide if it is a fit for you.

Hope that helps! Christy