So Much Information - Where to Start?

Mar 3, 2016

  1. Damion
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    Damion Expert

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    I own a business consulting firm which specializes in web design, online marketing, SEO/SEM services and much more, including think tank, generalized consulting, risk management...well, pretty much anything you can think of as it pertains to growing a business, reducing risk and overhead, etc.

    I got my Health and Life license a year ago so I could offer offer-funded IUL's to my business consulting clients as part of an "added services" offering for retirement strategy. I had a mentor who knew the industry in and out, but unfortunately was very poor at training/direction so I have not done anything with my licenses since.

    Fast forward to a few days ago when I was approached by a State Farm recruiter on LinkedIn with promises of excellent money, trips, bonuses, marketing allowances, etc etc etc, and it got me really interested in opening an insurance office again (something I considered last year as well).

    There is so much information (and misinformation) about captive vs independent. I am hoping I can get some quick feedback here.

    The appeal to captive from a new agent perspective is having places to write business through, training (TRAINING), and a book of business, or some sort of account package to contact to cross sell. Of course, I am not a fan of building a business that I cannot sell or pass on to my kids, etc, which is a big turn off to me on the State Farm side. I am unsure of other agencies.

    The appeal to independent is the ability to write for whomever I can get appointments through, higher commission rates, and an overall more flexibility in the business, but the major disadvantages as I see it are inability to get appointments with no experience, and of course lack of training as a new agent.

    Now, I am a reasonable sales person, I am capable of generating my own leads, and developing the business overall. I lack a full understanding of the insurance industry as a whole (getting appointments through carriers, etc). As stated above, I already have my Life & Health. I would go after my P&C first followed by financial (series 6, 63, and eventually 7).


    Given my scenario, what advice or plan of action would you take?
     
    Damion, Mar 3, 2016
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  2. The Gimp
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    On the life and health side, getting appointment won't be a problem at all. If you can make it through the background questions you can get an appointment.

    Another concern you have is Training. Your definition of training is going to determine which way you need to go. Is webinars and phone support is enough to get you rolling, you will be fine going the independent route as long as you have some sort of marketing budget.

    In my opinion, Nick Perry and Rick Bronstein over at Independent Life Insurance Agent Association — Training, Support, Community, and Direction for Your Insurance Career would be a good place for training.
    You can reach them at 404-660-1020. Tell them James sent you. They won't pay me but at least we'll know I referred you.

    The insurance pro shop would be another good resource if you really want to market cash value life insurance and focus more on being an advisor. The training does have a higher cost associated with it but youll really get an understanding of how to position permanent life insurance products.

    Outside of that, the marketing organization that you contract through SHOULD be able to help you with product selection and additional support.
     
  3. Damion
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    Much appreciated response. I am appointed through a producer group with Anico and Accordia but have done nothing with either of them. My ultimate goal would be to get P&C as well, which, from my understanding, is where you can run into problems. Is that correct?

    I watched a couple of videos the iliaa.org site had. Aside from being very low key and hard to maintain interest, they seemed to be focused on how to build a business, which is not where I would need help. My main need would be in products, regulations, and the like. Also, some guidance in actually getting appointments as a new agent, etc.

    I am under the impression from reading that most carriers or producer groups have training on their specific products. Is this true across most? Then, of course, the next logical training question is seeing where the best product for any given circumstance would be so you can best manage your time through product knowledge versus quoting multiple places to find which works best for that scenario. (does that make sense?)
     
    Damion, Mar 3, 2016
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  4. AdvisorsIns
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    I would recommend paying your dues working in a P&C agency under a mentor for at least a couple of years. Might not be the answer you were looking for, but a couple years of learning the business would save you a lot of time and money. Learning on your own dime will be very expensive. The learning curve in PL P&C insurance is at least 6 months when being mentored. The learning curve in commercial insurance is much longer and definitely need a mentor. I did my time 4 years with State Farm and then started scratch in independent 4 years ago this month. Even with 4 years experience there was another learning curve moving to Indy. After 4 years we are just now beginning to focus on mid size commercial accounts. None of this to scare you. Just make sure you do your homework and have a team of mentors experienced in P&C and how to run an agency. No reason to re-invent the wheel.
     
  5. The Gimp
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    Someone else will have to come along and give it away from the PNC side, but it is my understanding that getting. Appointment is difficult so you would need to find an agency to work with.
    The independent life insurance agent Association has more in depth videos on the members site once you become a member.

    Selecting the right product for the right circumstance is the job of your upline. You should be able to call them with case specifics and they should point you in the right direction. You can feel free to give me a call 10-7 eastern and I will do whatever I can to help.

    I would type more but I'm on the cell phone at the moment.
     
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