State Farm or Country Financial?

Aug 8, 2007

  1. taggart1436
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    taggart1436 New Member

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    I am a career changer that is thinking of starting a State Farm or Country Financial Agency in Illinois. Does anyone have any advice on which company is better or if there are better alternatives out there?
     
  2. Macdaddy
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    Macdaddy Guest

    I don't know anything about Country, but I do State Farm as I have a friend that works for them. They are a good company, but you will work the business as if it is your own, yet you will never own your book of business.....and this is the big rub for me.

    Allstate is a great company and you would own your book of business would is a valuable asset and could even help fund your retirement one day.
     
  3. BKrocko
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    BKrocko Guru

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    I started out as a captive agent with Country back in '03. I focus only on Health now and do very little in the way of P&C - except to help out a good friend who is also independent but brokers P&C. We were both captive with Country and don't regret going independent. It was a pretty good place to start but after you learn the business - you learn that independent is the only road to freedom.

    Country is a solid company with great ratings - They provide excellent product training. The P&C side of the business takes a back seat to their real target which is Life and Financial Services. We used to say that the easiest way into a clients house was through the garage door - once you have their autos and homeowners ins, it was an easy segue to Life and finances.

    They are a mini State Farm (headquartered in Bloomington IL as well), and seem to keep the pricing about 5% lower than SF. They were (are) extremely credit score driven (Choice point), and only the A/B credit worthy client would count toward production quotas.

    Make no mistake about it, the P&C side of the business will not gain you internal favor unless you are producing a steady book of Life/Financials. P&C are really just a side show, and I believe that many (if not most) of the other captive P&C outfits subscribe to the same viewpoint. Good Luck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
    BKrocko, Aug 8, 2007
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  4. Agent
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    taggart1436,

    I am not a P&C guy however, I have some friends that are and have read about the differing companies. I also interviewed with Country (didn't join them though).

    From what I have heard/read, State Farm is a top notch organization. Rarely, does an SF agent fail. I understand this is the case because they are very particular who joins their agency force. They promote from within quite frequently; rewarding their home office employees with Agency's.

    I've heard State Farm's Life portfolio (Phoenix Life) is a little pricey, comparatively, however with good performance and I believe you can offer a discount on it (when coupled with auto etc.).

    With State Farm, after 2 years of building your book, they will *give* you your office and allow you to hire 2-3 people to support you. (forgivable loan situation) Eventually, your commissions will pay the overhead.

    Country, as BKrocko stated, is definitely more focused on Life and financial services. This actually could be a good thing...that is if you want to focus on Life & financial services you can and always have p&c in your pocket (most of us don't). Of course, as was stated earlier, you can lead with it.

    I'm not sure of SF but Country has 36k salary, plus commission I believe, for 3-5 years. That's unheard of in this industry! Your chances of getting a position with Country would probably be higher then with SF.

    I've heard nothing but bad things of Allstate. If you have religious convictions you may find a conflict with this company (do a search on Google). In addition to that however, I believe in 2000 or so, they fired ALL of their agents and then re-hired them the next day under a more restricted and less generous contract. Many Allstate agents sued.

    Check these threads out fo more info:

    For SF- Financial-Planning.com

    Financial-Planning.com

    General P&C company thread:
    Financial-Planning.com

    I would search the forums at financial-planning.com for further info on P&C companies and the business in general.

    In addition Kevin M. Lynch, CFP is a regular poster, former moderator with the boards mentioned above. He built a P&C agency from scratch with Nation Wide, sold it and currently is rebuilding a P&C shop. I would email him if I were you ([email protected]), he knows much of the industry as a whole and is uniquely positioned to discuss P&C. In the past I have corresponded with him, his advice was very helpful.

    Agent
     
    Agent, Aug 8, 2007
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  5. taggart1436
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    taggart1436 New Member

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    I really appreciate the feedback. I have spent the last 15 years in Corporate America working for a Fortune 500 company. I am currently a National Sales Manager for a financial services unit of the company, and I spend 80% of my month on an airplane traveling the country. I am ready to settle down in a community where I can directly reap the rewards of my efforts. My biggest challenge is finding the right company that will offer the best long term business building opportunity. I am replacing a mid six figure corporate income, and I want to make sure that I am partnering with the right organization. I am fully prepared to make the investment in time and money to make this successful. I expect to funnel 100% of my earnings back into the business for at least three years. Hopefully this will get me to where I want to be long term.

    Thanks again for the feedback.
     
  6. Agent
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    taggart1436,

    Congratulations on your success thus far. You said:

    "My biggest challenge is finding the right company that will offer the best long term business building opportunity."

    If your looking for the best long term business building opportunity; because of your drive, experience and financial solvency, I would take a serious look at Brooke Insurance at Brooke Franchise Corporation

    They are Independently owned and operated P&C franchises. You would need to put up some capital however, you would own your business and have access to several insurers. It appears they provide training, support and a path to run on, just as the captives do.

    Wish you the best of success,

    Agent
     
    Agent, Aug 9, 2007
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  7. taggart1436
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    taggart1436 New Member

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    Agent,

    Thanks for your advice through out this thread. I was not familiar with Brooke, but I did some research after your recommendation. They appear to be a very solid choice. The franchise fee is hefty, but it may very well be worth the investment. I have some more homework to do before determining the best course of action.

    Thanks again for the feedback!!
     
  8. senior-advisor-indiana
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    senior-advisor-indiana Guru

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    Is taggart from Beverly Hills Cop?
     
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