What to ask and get straight at interview?

Jun 1, 2008

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  1. gogoguy
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    gogoguy Expert

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    I have a few different companies that want to talk to me about making the switch to selling insurance. I have been reading a ton here and a few other spots as well. Great to have some vets freely give of the time they have to help someone get started.
    I don't completely understand not getting some type of a release when you want to leave but sounds like I will need that in advance. Anyway I think I'm going to talk to a few different companies this week and thought I should have a list of things to get straight upfront.
    All input and why would be great. Also things to look out for as a sign of bad things to come and why. Thanks to all that help.
     
    gogoguy, Jun 1, 2008
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  2. xrac
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    Gogo,

    Here is a list of things I prepared before sitting down with an interview for a specific company. These questions were prepared in regard to their advertisements about the position. I would do something similar with every company before I interviewed. Others may be able to supply better questions. These were questions that were important to me.

    AGENTS STATUS

    Are agents independent or captive?
    If products are not offered by __________can other products be used?
    What is status of orphaned clients as far as replacement products are concerned?

    COMPENSATION

    Are agents compensated other than commission?
    What is commission structure?
    Are agents independent contractors?
    Are there any benefits?
    What is financial support?
    Deferred compensation?
    Do I have to use a lap top computer?
    What kind of computer is required? How is cost handled?

    MARKETING

    What markets are targeted primarily?
    What is current focus? Where is it going?
    What marketing is the company doing?
    Describe prospecting account?

    LICENSING AND E&O

    What are the strongest products?
    Are licensing fees for insurance and Series 6 & Series 63 the agents responsibility? If so what is the cost?
    What about E&O Insurance?
    What about other state licensing?

    PRODUCTS

    What securities products may be used namely mutual funds and variable annuities?
    What types of annuities are offered? Fixed, variable, indexed?
    How much of business is insurance and how much securities?
    What investment products are offered?
    Work site products?
     
    xrac, Jun 1, 2008
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  3. gogoguy
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    Seems like taking the book you make would be very important but maybe that is what you mean by independant in this sense.

    How common is being able to keep your own book? Seems that without that why couldn't the company fire you and keep all your hard work forcing you to start over again?
     
    gogoguy, Jun 1, 2008
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  4. xrac
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    This is exactly what some captive companies do. Ameriprise is a classic example. The situation depends upon who you go with. Some companies are strickly captive (Northwestern Mutual) others allow more independence (Guardian and Mass Mutual). Who are you going to interview with. I have some familiarity with companies but mostly the Life and Senior markets.
     
    xrac, Jun 1, 2008
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  5. HomeService
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    Here is why the release is important: For the purposes here of this discussion: There are basically three ways to sell a product if you are an insurance company:
    1. Direct, either through an 800 number or internet or through the mail.
    2. Through a broker.
    3. Through a captive company agent.

    If you are travelling between #2 and #3 { or vise versa or whatever} then the one entity must release you to sell through the other entity. You may owe #2 money and that may need to be cleared up before travelling on to #3.
    Also, they may be afraid of you taking a book of business and/or leads from #2 to #3.

    Basically, all the while, they could be avoiding the commish to you by selling direct the #1 way, basically undercutting you, but that's how it goes in the insurance company world.
    Not saying it's right or wrong. Ask in the interview how many times you are going to be out there chasing leads only to find the home office already sold the folks- by the time you arrive at the client's home. { btw, the reason captive agents are needed is for customer service, and personal service, not every direct sale is the correct way for every situation, the agent is still needed at times. And, you may go out to see a direct customer and get referrals and cross sell and such. Not totally a lost cause, when the home office sells them.}
     
  6. gogoguy
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    I'm talking with a few independant companies here in town. They seem to offer nothing but a desk and phone. No training at all just sink or swim. Trying to understand why anyone would do that I guess. Can I just take my tests and sign up direct with the companies like Safeco, The Hartford and such? Seems the only one that says they offer anything at all is United American which to my understanding is not viewed well here. Seems these companies that offer nothing are the poor companies. Even McDonalds train staff to do the job.
    Sure seems like alot of scammers in this industry. I don't have time to get in a bad deal to "learn". I wish someone here would take a few hours and work with me to understand better what I'm getting into in person.
     
    gogoguy, Jun 2, 2008
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  7. djs
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    djs Super Moderator Moderator

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    In insurance sales, the worse enemy is the clock. You always run out of time before you run out of things to do.

    Because of this, a lot of agents only want to deal with people after they are hired. Why train, only to have them not start? Why answer all the questions so they can go out on their own? It's amazing how many agents think this way.

    You're asking someone to give you a few hours. Make sure you understand what your asking for. Would you pay $250 for those few hours? That is what it is worth to most agents. Now, many of us will do it for free, but you have to understand that time truly is money.

    All that said, I'll add that I've never understood the whole release concept myself. Well, I get it, but never had to deal with it, so I don't know the ins and outs. It's a much bigger issue in certain types of insurance than in others.

    In P&C, it really boils down to whether I can walk and keep my book of business, or does walking mean giving up my book of business. I have both types of contracts with different carriers, I just have to understand this when I place the business. I definitely don't lose sleep over it at night.

    Dan
     
    djs, Jun 2, 2008
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  8. gogoguy
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    Dan

    If I could have a few hours with someone that has several years in this biz and they answer all my questions and help me on the path I would gladly pay them for the time spent. I understand the no free lunch deal, seems like money well spent as to getting in a bda spot from lack of knowledge.
    You must do this for yourself? Is that what you think I should do? Without training and support in not sure what working down at one of the independants here in town do for me.
     
    gogoguy, Jun 2, 2008
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  9. bluemarlin08
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    I have experience with some career shops and most are going to try and hold your files but I wouldn't worry to much, if you do the right job the clients will go with you regardless. Even if they don't if you get the proper training just consider the clients you lose as payment for the training. The most important thing is to find the right mentor or manager, regardless of the company. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Get the names of other agents in the group and talk with them about the good, bad and ugly, you will be surprised at their candor, I was. This
    is a tough business so you better have some emergency funds or you won't make it and become broke. It takes some time, I have been involved with lots of new agents over the years and seen some of the now biggest producers almost give up after 6 months.
     
  10. gogoguy
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    I do have some money saved back and we would sell off our business we have now when we find the right deal. That all said we should have 8-12 months at least in reserve then. My wife does ok so I really need to make very little if any for a long time. Having said that to sign up to work for free for 6 months or so better prove to me it has a VERY BIG return at some point. I have lead every company in sales I have ever worked for, most in the first month or so. Sales I guess just kind of come my way.
    Having said that, if I don't think it is the best deal for my customer I can't do it. So I guess you could say I'm a real sales man and not a hustler like most. Maybe that is how I sale, not sure. I thought someone here would take some interest in working with me but it doesn't look like it. I have called a few guys on here and left a message but no returned calls. Makes me wonder if they are just bs on here at this point.
    This is a big deal for me and at 36 I really can't waste time so I am looking for real answers to get going. Seems like asking if I need my license up front or not is an easy question to answer.
     
    gogoguy, Jun 2, 2008
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