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New book by Forums member explores what separates top-producing agents

Brian Anderson

For those who wonder what separates the mediocre insurance agent from the top producing insurance agent, a fellow Insurance Forums member hopes to provide some answers for you.

In David Duford’s new book, Interviews With Top Producing Insurance Agents, the author sits down with 14 top-producing insurance agents and agency owners from various insurance niches in an attempt to uncover the commonalities among highly successful insurance agents.

Insurance Forums recently asked Duford (screen name Rearden), owner of Final Expense Agent Mentor, about the book and for some of the insights it uncovers in this Q&A:


What was your motivation in creating this book?

David Duford

Duford: There are several reasons I sought out these top producers and asked them to contribute their experiences selling and marketing insurance to this book. First, this book is made for both new agents and as well as struggling agents looking to find their place in the insurance business. It’s important to understand both what success looks like and the price paid to achieve it. Second, I believe those that have achieved lasting success in the insurance business have an obligation to “pay it forward” by sharing their wisdom and experience with those who are thirsting for it.


Who is profiled in the book?

Duford: Here’s a sample of the 15 total interviews readers will read in the book.

I interviewed several insurance agents who are members of Insurance Forums. Christopher Westfall was one of my first. John Dugger was another. Both are long-time contributors to the Forum that have significant experience in their insurance niche (Medicare and Final Expense, respectively), which made it a no-brainer to include them in the book.

I also interviewed national agency owners like Alan Town, whose organization has produced in excess of a half-billion dollars in final expense business since its inception, and Jim Ward, who started as a mom-and-pop insurance agency, growing it to a national employee benefits group, employing well over 125 people, and producing in excess of $15 million in annual premium.


What was taken into account in selecting these specific people to interview?

Duford: The reason I selected these 15 insurance agents is because I wanted to profile what success looks like in different insurance markets, as well as with different insurance sales and prospecting methods.

For example, I interviewed several face-to-face final expense agents such as Nick Frumkin and Chris Grove, as well as Cody Askins, who operates a final expense call center. I interviewed Larry Schneider, a four-decade veteran of the disability insurance business, as well as Jeff Root, who is on the cutting edge of insurance marketing over the internet.

Simply put, I wanted to expose readers to different markets and sales methods in an attempt to open their minds as to what is possible.


Did you notice any type of shared working history or life experience that top-producing agents had, prior to entering the industry?

Duford: This finding interested me. None I interviewed came from the same work backgrounds. John Dugger spent much of his early career in manufacturing. Christopher Westfall was a law enforcement officer. Others like Cody started their careers in insurance, while others transitioned from a white-collar background.

Personally, I think this is great news for new and struggling insurance agents, because what this shows is that your work background, age, etc., are not barriers to entry to succeeding in this business, as is the case in many industries. All that matters is your commitment to the process of becoming great, and dedication to the clients that you serve.


What positive character traits do top-producing agents have in common with each other?

Duford: They never quit! Lots of people think successful people never experience setbacks, failures, and frustrations. Once you read my book, you’ll find that this is never the case. Many of those interviewed experienced very difficult problems early on in their insurance careers. And instead of complaining or quitting, they rose above their challenge, and figured out how to turn their adversities into opportunities.


You not only profiled top-producing field agents, but also interviewed agents and marketers who are crafting new methods in the business. Tell us more.

Duford: In addition to agent interviews, I decided to include interviews with agency owners because I want newer agents to totally understand what ‘thinking bigly’ is all about!

One of the most attractive aspects of selling insurance is that your income-earning opportunities virtually have no upside maximum. Besides selling, one way to expand your income is to create an insurance agency.

Alan Town is the perfect example. Originally starting as a recruiter at a well-known marketing organization, he worked his way up the ladder, eventually going solo and securing opportunities to create and represent well-known final expense products. He’s worked with over 10,000 insurance agents in his multi-decade career, and is exemplary of what hard work and dedication can result in.


You’ve decided to promote the publishing of this book by donating the proceeds after expenses to a charitable cause. Tell us more.

Duford: For those that purchase the book between Aug. 15, 2018, and Sept. 15, 2018, I am donating the profits after expenses to the Wounded Warrior Project.

When I released my first book, The Official Guide To Selling Final Expense Insurance, I donated my first month’s profits to Mark Rosenthal, who at the time, was needing funding for stem cell therapy. Through the book purchases made by many Insurance Forum members, we were able to give Mark a big check to help him in his fundraising.

It was a great experience, and I look forward to doing the same with The Wounded Warrior Project.

Editor’s Note: There are two ways to purchase David Duford’s new book:

  • Go to Amazon, and search “Interviews With Top Producing Insurance Agents By David Duford” to purchase the hard-copy version.
  • Visit feagentmentor.com/interview-book/ to buy the e-book version.



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