Tough Employment Decision

Jul 21, 2015

  1. ncagent83
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    ncagent83 Expert

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    I have been working at an agency for almost two months now working as an account manager. I've got a degree in RMI and an commercial underwriting opportunity came up that would pay nearly $20K more a year. I'd like to think of myself as a loyal person but when an opportunity comes up like this, it's hard not to consider. I applied for the job to see what the outcome would be.

    I have a chance to own the business that I work for in the next five to ten years. They picked me up as soon as I got out of school and have been good to me. I don't know what would be the best option: stay for the long haul, or a quick raise in salary and responsibility while potentially burn bridges.

    What would you do?
     
  2. insurance1822
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    insurance1822 Guru

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    1.) How old are you
    2.) Describe the agency you work for (# of staff, premium volume, carriers, personal vs commercial.)
    3.) Describe what you do there.
    4.) How much have you made each year you've been there
    5.) Who owns the agency, how long have they been in business, do they have kids
    6.) Are you married
    7.) How much $ do you have in the bank
    8.) Describe your opportunity to "buy" the agency one day. Is this spelled out in writing? loose conversation w/ the agency owner? Is the agency owner buddy buddy w/ any other local agency owners?
     
  3. ncagent83
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    1) Early twenties
    2) 20m book, approximately 10 employees.
    3) I'm working personal lines now.
    4) Been here 2 months, signed for 38k/year.
    5) Owners have kids who have no interest in insurance ...
    6) Not married
    7) a couple K
    8) It is not in writing yet. Owner wants me to learn the business

    They're great people and I would like to stay and learn the business and continue to operate it for years to come. However, I'm looking at this on a realistic view as well. If there is a good opportunity to work with a company that pays 20K more with opportunity to grow and advance, it's hard not to consider it. My thought is that the UW position may look good for the short term, but the chance to own an agency may be best for the long term. I just have to get it in writing soon.
     
  4. PhilL
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    PhilL Guru

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    Amazing that you got such a good opportunity after only a few months in an agency. Understandable that the agency owner wants you to learn the business before giving you a solid deal in writing. Working for a company as an underwriter can give you a great knowledge base that you can always use to advance in the industry.
    If you want to call me, I will be glad to give you some free advice.
     
    PhilL, Jul 21, 2015
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  5. insurance1822
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    Still Need...

    1.) How old are the owner's kids
    2.) What's your connection to the agency owner? Family ties, friend etc?
    3.) Please describe your pay structure at the agency
    4.) How long have you been in insurance?
    5.) Is this agency 100% retail?
    6.) Is the agency more personal or commercial
     
  6. ncagent83
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    1) Kids are reaching college age
    2) Friend of family
    3) bi-weekly
    4) 3 years w/ degree
    5) 90% retail 10% broker
    6) It's around 60% C 40%/P

    Don't know that I mentioned that this is an aggregated agency
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  7. Herkster
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    Why not leverage the opportunity? Tell them that you'd like to gain some more knowledge on the company side of things for a few years, and then see if they'd welcome you back after a certain time frame. You'd get to pocket more money, gain more knowledge, and still have a chance to come back and own the business.
     
    Herkster, Jul 21, 2015
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  8. insurance1822
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    1.) His kids are still young. Nearing the end of high-school my anticipated profession would have been an Olympic wrestler or porn star. Once they get into college & start their careers...the allure of substantial income off buying daddy's business can (and most likely will..) outweigh whatever it is they "think" they want to do.

    2.) That size agency would require a substantial amount of capital to purchase & without a strong loyalty to you it would be easier to sell back to their aggregator or another huge broker house that can write the massive check. The aggregator would also have to approve you. While it seems simple..there's so many moving parts it's very difficult to count on this.

    3.) Only you know what's best for you.

    4.) The experience you could get as a company side underwriter in commercial is PRICELESS for the advancement of your career. I WISH I could have had that opportunity at a younger age.

    5.) You could also duplicate that experience by partnering w/ the agency's current commercial producers/account managers as well & further your role there.

    6.) If owning an agency is what you eventually want to do (which will make you the most money..) I think a best case scenario is getting into commercial w/ the current agency as you'll learn underwriting AND sales, prospecting etc. After taxes another 20k isn't really much & if you get into commercial (and you're not an idiot..) you should easily make up that difference if you get into a commissioned position at the agency.

    7.) Either way both routes are great ones

    8.) Going company side you'd also gain valuable experience.

    9.) Now I see why you came to the forums on this one...tough call. Without the 20k increase I'd say stay w/ the agency. BUT AGAIN...if you get into commercial insurance at the agency you could make that extra 20k no questions asked.

    10.) You need more cash in savings. Save more money you chump.

    11.) If you learn the company side as an underwriter & have the relationship w/ the agency...you should always be able to come back anyway.

    boy...tough call...the only thing is 20k (relative to what you're currently earning.)
     
  9. ncagent83
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    I meant that the agency IS an aggregator. That's my fault, I misused my words. Let me know if this changes your opinion

    I have recently settled into my office and this opportunity comes up. If the UW position was available a few months ago when I was fresh out of college, I would have taken that opportunity over the agency.

    I went ahead and applied for the position. If I get a opportunity for an interview, I'll just have to sit down with the agency owner to see where we're at. I'd love to keep the relationship going. I just hate to leave only after two months with them.

    I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on this!
     
  10. AZDave
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    Two totally different directions in the insurance world.

    Underwriter: There is much to be said about salary, benefit package with 401, healthcare/vision/disability, vacation and sick pay, opportunity to advance (especially with degree), a position in demand and, did I say salary? You can lose a few accounts and not have to worry about a huge reversal of commission.

    Agency: There is some great rewards of agency ownership. Being your own boss, setting your own schedule, being rewarded for your hard work with $$$! Many times I have said this is the best part time job in the world! But many times I've cursed it. After 30 years I'm still working it. After 30 years as a commercial underwriter your pension would be set.

    Good job applying for the position. The easy thing would have been to do nothing. Don't worry about burning any bridges. This is about your future.

    Good Luck to you.

    Dave
     
    AZDave, Jul 21, 2015
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