If you join an agency, what's the deal?

Thanks guys.

As was mentioned, I think starting with an agency would be a great way for me to learn the business and different product lines. I've read about many of your experiences with captivity but from what I've heard the management at this agency has a different approach than most. They encourage you to bring them on appts with you and won't take any commission in the case of a sale. Their motivation is to get you to open up your own office as a career agent which in turn opens up a spot in the home office for a new agent to come through.

Anyways, given that I'd like to have the structure, training, mentoring at least in the beginning, it seems like it could be a good route.

Love the board, it's a fantastic library of information.

I went to the dark side myself back in August. Went with a Nationwide Agency.

Here are a few things in my experience that need to be understood before you make your decision.

1. Employee or 1099 status. ( I prefer 1099 status because they still can't tell you what time to be in or what days you can have off, kinda still in control of your own business ).

2. How long before you are vested? More than likely the clients will belong to the agency but a good honest manager will allow you to become vested after a period of time and pay you for your book of business if you leave.

3. You will probably have to sign a non compete.

4. Make sure there are no questions about your commissions! More than likely they will take a cut of your commission (maybe 20-30% of your commission) but if they pay you a guarantee or receive help from the office as in leads paid for, a desk, staff, and office should make that a fair trade off. (be even better if you get all of that in trade off for the cut of your commission) :wink:

5. What kind of training will you be receiving? Will they train you in other areas of insurance or strictly use you as a health person? What do YOU want?

6. Will they let you write with anybody? Tell them if they want you to really do well you must be allowed to write with anybody, even if the commission comes in the agency's name then distributed to you.

Just a few of my thoughts...

Good luck!

Thanks Joseph. To answer a couple for the questions:

I know I won't be selling anything for a month and half to 2 months. First, I'll go through the insurance courses and then studying for my series 6 and 63. Then another week of training once that's done. They reimburse all expenses. Unlike most of you on this board who do health, it looks like I'd spend most of my time focusing on Life along with P&C and financial services. Obviously, cross-selling will be vital to my success.

I'm limited to selling their products so that is probably one of my bigger concerns.

I started out as a captive agent w/Country a few years ago. I have always said that they are a solid company and provide excellent product training to their agents - they run a very tight ship.

On the other hand, I hated being captive. You will only offer their product (nothing special and overpriced), you will also find that there is a lot of micro managing (everybody will be micro managed for the first year or so). You better hit your numbers or they will take a heavy chunk out of your check (fair enough - just understand that it will be done). The P&C side of the business is just to get you inside the door, the products that they will push for is Life and Financial Services. Get used to it - Life is everything to them and you better produce. The contract back then was 50% for the first year of Life sales - then nothing unless you made it to Career Agent with them (very few make it and it will take a min. of 2 yrs).

Leads are not provided but they will co-op company approved lead sources - which is a joke in itself 'cause you get the bottom of the pit when it comes to zip code availability - the agents that have been there awhile already have a lock on the numbers so you have to wait and hope that they give some zips up (never happens). If you are lucky, someone quits or gets fired (not uncommon), then be the first in line to salvage anything they had.

You need to be a real team player as well. Smile, dress and march the way they say you should. Never be the first one out of the office and never plan to work less than a 12 hr day. They want superstars and those that make it with them are just that. I have a few friends that were with me back in those days and they are doing great as independent agents (even though they struggled with Country).

The interview process is time consuming - IF you pass the personality test there are usually 3 or 4 more interviews that you have to pass through. The last one normally involves your spouse. They will not put up with any whining from the "other half" just because you are at work more than home. They make sure the spouse understands and buys into the game from the beginning.

Also, if you have any credit score trouble - they will not hire you (they are very credit score driven for your customers as well). They used to contract with ChoicePoint Services for credit ratings, I don't know if they still do or not.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
Agree with what's been said about Country. Their training is very good. You are given a salary -- expenses not too bad. They make up for that by paying low P/C commissions and owning your book. Way too managers and more money for them means less for you. Don't be misled -- they are not a "P&C company." They are a life company that happens to sell P&C. Make a lot of money one month selling P&C and litttle life, and they'll be on you. Write a few puny term policies and no P&C will result in no money for you and a slap on the back from managers for your life production.

They are all about churn and burn. Very few agents make it, they give the business they wrote to 1-2 year agents, and you get paid no renewals for servicing the business. It's great for Country because they keep the commission for themselves. Ask the hiring manager why there's State Farm, Allstate and Farmers agents on every corner and Country is rarely seen and rarely advertises.