My History....My Future - what to Expect

Aug 3, 2008

  1. MrProvidence
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    I became a licensed agent in January 2002. At the time I was working for an air charter company full time and part time for a group of funeral homes doing removals (picking up bodies). While helping in the funeral homes one of the directors told me that he thought I would be very successful selling pre-need funeral plans.

    I began selling pre-need funerals in March of 2002 and was an immediate succes. I sold $100,000 in the first month (note - this is not premium, it is the cost of the funerals). My annual sales was between $500,000 and $600,000 each year. After only 9 months with the original group of funeral homes, I went independent and started representing a Family Owned Funeral Home rather than corporate. Things were great and I was earning between $60,000 and $70,000 each year. But something happened.

    In funeral sales, holidays STINK. You can forget pre arranged funerals being part of someones mindset during the holiday unless death is imminent, and then they needed the director, not me. We had enough money set aside to survive the holidays of 2004 and were very excited about the new year. We had partnered with the funeral home to purchase a rather extensive mailing campaign and were very anxious to reap the rewards of hard work. However, on Jan 15, 2005 I received a call that my mother, age 52, had been taken to the hospital and they thought she was having a heart attack. After a short time in the ER, it was determined that there was a mass to be concerned about. Several days in the hospital yielded grave results. My mother was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer and was given 2-6 months to live.

    When my mother was released from the hospital, she came to our home so that my wife and I could aid in her care. Little did we know how involved this would be. The other family offered no assistance and we wore thin rather quickly. During the 6 weeks that mother was at our home, I could not concentrate on selling funerals. As a representative of our funeral home, I handled all the pre-arrangement and all the after-care and often assisted with other tasks. I found myself cripled at the thought of my mothers pending death and the SUBJECT of funerals gripped me with fright. After her death, I tried and I tried to pull myself up by my boot straps and MAKE IT HAPPEN. I would break down and cry in my office for no appearant reason. I hated being at the funeral home. On top of that, we went a total (including the holidays) of 8 months with no income. We never did get caught up once I started selling again. We lost the cars, the house and credit was screwed.

    As a result of the above "sob story", I left the commission world in June of 2007. I hated to leave the industry, because I absolutely loved helping people, but I was crippled with fear. I began to work for another air charter company and although the pay was low, $35,000/yr - I felt like I could COUNT on that income to always be there. I never again wanted to be without SURE income. On July 21, 2008 I went to my SECURE place of employement and was informed that I was part of a "Staff Reduction". I could not believe it. I was now unemployed for the first time in my life.

    Well, now to cut to the chase. My wife and I have considered our options. We have 11 children and one due in Feb. I can sit and collect my measley $362/wk from unemployement and look for ANOTHER "SECURE" job or I can put my license to work for me again and begin doing what I love - helping people. I don't wish to get back into the funeral arena as I feel that field is way to limited. I have found a broker that will allow me to sign and they will have me appointed with several top rated companies such as Golden Rule, Assurant, Humana, and others I can't even remember at this time. They will not hold me captive and every piece of business I write is "MY" book of business from the very start. There are no annoying meetings or quotas, etc... and I am very excited about the opportunity.

    My contact has not promised me "pie in the sky by and by" and I know this industry requires hard work, determination and a desire to help others. Here are the numbers I was shown and I need to know from you experience folks if this is realistic. I will primarily be life and health at this point but in the future would like to add P&C.

    Commission is 20% of premium (is this good?)

    10-15 appts / wk
    7-8 presentation / wk
    3-4 apps / wk
    Average premium $300/mo
    3 per week x $900 x 20% = $180 x 9 mo (avg) advance = $1620 per week = $84240/yr + residuals.

    Is this a realistic picture. With my experience, as I have explained it to you, is 3 apps a week a realistic expectation? Is it high? low? I need to know what you think.

    Thanks for reading my sob story. I just felt you needed to know my background to give an accurate opinion.

    Mike R.
    Mr. Providence

    THE CLOSED DOOR IS AS MUCH GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL CARE AS THE OPEN DOOR!:):)
     
  2. HomeService
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    I have sold life ins. and health ins. and the senior market. I never did the pre-need thing. I enjoy selling life ins. only- and absolutely hate health insurance. I hate it so bad, I give all my leads away, for free. You gotta pick what you like. Maybe you will like health ins. --who knows? It is way different than what you are used to.
     
  3. MrProvidence
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    Thanks - I think I'll like health insurance fine, but I guess only time will tell. I really thought I'd get more thought provoking responses. :dull:
     
  4. Delta76
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    It's absolutely doable to place 3 deals a week, especially if you're coming from a sales background. Also, your in a position where you can't afford to fail with 11 kids (soon to be 12). The key is generating enough leads to write four apps a week (to be safe, figure 1 in 4 will fall off in underwriting). How do you plan on doing that?

    Read this board, talk to the people hiring you on, and you will realize there are many different approaches to generating leads: shared leads, telemarketing, business to business, seminars, ect. Realize that in the beginning you have to build a pipeline from scratch, therefore the first few months you will have to work extra hard to get it off the ground. But it is certainly doable and realistic. I personally think if someone isn't writing three apps a week, they're not fully committed to the business.
     
    Delta76, Aug 3, 2008
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  5. MrProvidence
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    Thanks Delta 76 - I appreciate the candid response. I have been told by the broker that there are plenty of free leads to work. I plan on working those and purchasing a few other leads. I have done "seminars" regarding funeral in the past and once I'm comfortable with Health insurance and traditional life, I'll do seminars on that as well. I did NOT think about the apps that won't make it thru underwriting. Thanks for the thought provoking post and I am certainly open to any ideas for creating that pipeline.

    Thanks
    Mike
     
  6. Newby
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    You sound like you have the drive and just need to find your niche and learn your trade.

    With what you went through with your mother, you may find yourself very motivated when selling Long-Term Care Insurance. Home health care for her would definitely have helped you through that time financially and emotionally. Of course, having great health insurance was also very important for her.

    A lot of success is what you believe in. I have always been like you, believing that pre-need sales fall off during the holidays. But part of that is because I "thought" that way. I have several friends who always have their best month every year in December. A lot of it is in our heads.

    20% commission is good for health insurance as far as I know. With life insurance you should be getting close to 100% (depending on if they supply leads for you.)
     
    Newby, Aug 3, 2008
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  7. MrProvidence
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    Thanks for the words of encouragment. I assure you in the market I was in, December was bad, real bad - and I stayed on that phone like a fly on cabbage. As for commissions - I will be @ 20% for health as I said, and 90% for life. I am so excited about this opportunity.
     
  8. MrProvidence
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    Hey Txinsurance - I Tried To Respond To Your Private Message And Was Prohibited Because I Have Sent Less Than 20 Messages. Email Me On My Private Email If You Can.

    Thanks
    Mike
     
  9. HomeService
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    Guys like me who only write life, we need guys like you to go out and get successful selling health, so we have somebody to give all our free health leads to. Seriously, I don't mess with it. I'm like the brake and muffler shop that does not do transmissions, and I send all the transmission work to another shop. Tires too. I don't do tires.

    So I encourage you to have at it. Sell lots of health insurance.
     
  10. DM77
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    You definitely have a long term care insurance story that could convince some Boomers to think about somebody other than themselves (no offense to Boomers on here...). What you described happening to you is what I'm trying to convince clients in my office why they need LTCi---their daughter/son MAY NOT BE ABLE to take care of you when you need it. A MedAmerica policy pays cash regardless of being in a 'licensed facility' or at your child's home.

    Now, onto your future. The only way to know if you can do it is to get out there and do it. If your broker can help you get the ball rolling and trained up, then do it. Find out how you're supposed to get the appointments...do they provide leads, how do they prospect, etc. You might want to ask for extra help on selling group plans...3-5 emplyees. Assurant has a new group HDHP out now (at least in MT) that I think is appealing to employers now because it has some preventative first dollar benefits. I haven't looked at it completely but when my wholesaler told me about it last week I thought "well, about time you give me something to talk about." I'm the type that looks at these plans and scrutinize them as if I'm the insured. I've been told I shouldn't do that because I'm not the buyer...well, when I talk to 30-40-somethings with kids, yes, I am like the buyer. Anyway, if you can get your foot in the door with some small group plans, that'll get you some clients quickly. Oh, and don't forget the short-term medical policies. If you're in an area where there are layoffs, try to position yourself as the short term medical expert...at least through Assurant they are.

    Good luck!
     
    DM77, Aug 5, 2008
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