Mega Insurance agent. Wants to become independent broker????

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:49 pm   Post subject: Mega Insurance agent. Wants to become independent broker????  

Good afternoon. I am new to the world of being an insurance agent and have some questions that I would like to have addressed by the more seasoned and experienced agents of these forums. However, before I get to the pertinent questions it is probably necessary that I give you some background information about myself and how I ended up on this unforseeable path to being a health insurance agent. I am twenty six and I graduated three years ago with a B.S. in cellular and molecular biology. The intent at the time was to attend medical school; yet, working close with physicians over the past three years I realized that being a physician in todays economy is less about medicine and more about running a business. Simply put my desire of becoming a physician had deteriorated and recently came to the realization that I would be better suited in a different sector. After discussing this transition with friends and family and doing some background research I have recently made the decision to receive my MBA within the next several years; however, I would preferably like to have some hands on prior business experience before I start the appplication process. I felt as if getting a job in sales or marketing would be a good building block to acquire the necessary skills and acumen to make me a better applicant for receiving the desired degree. Like the many legions of unemployed/disgruntled/transitioning people I began posting and sending my resume to dozens of positions and web sites daily. With little success I was becoming progressively impatient and frustrated until I received an email from Cornerstone America; a company claiming to help small businesses; inviting me to a company presentation. Tired of my unemployed life resigned to domesticity and catering to my girlfriends needs I attended the presentation and brief interview session with the intent of seeing what this company had to offer. We were presented with a presentation that spent about 90% of the time discussing their "Association benefits" and the remaining 10% discussing insurance. I do not consider myself naive and could tell from the presentation that the majority of the sales come through health insurance and the so called benefits were additional perks that most people will not use anyway. In short the presentation was a round about way of telling us that you are with Cornerstone to sell insurance and the so called benefits to assist small businesses were trivial. That being said I had no problem with the thought of being an insurance agent. I believed then and still do believe that I can acquire many good skills through being an agent. Establishing and sustaining a client base, communication skills, advertising skills, and organization are all valuable skills that will help me in my pursuit of receiving my MBA. In short I will not be an insurance agent for life; rather, I am committed to taking this time to learn about insurance in the most comprehensive manner that I can, and I plan on working as an agent to learn about insurance and not working solely for the purpose of making money.

I appologize for the lengthly preamble but I am about to get back to my central point and address my questions. While I do not want to change the topic of this thread to a Cornerstone America and MEGA insurance bashing session I will say that I felt that the training sessions were pretty inadequate and I feel as if there are a lot of holes that are left unfilled (probably because there are many). This is not to say that I think that the insurance is a particularly bad product, I just think that they are very well aware of the laziness of most people and the genreal unwillingness of people to become INFORMED CONSUMERS who in turn completely depend on an agent representing thair respective company for answers. This general principal not only applies to consumers but raw agents like myself who are new to the insurance in general (e.g. I am working in a new office and I am currently the only agent but two people have already quit after a week. Furthermore their hiring practices smack of desperation as the two individuals used English as a second language and did not have a grasp of the language. How you hire someone who doesnt speak english in a job requiring communincation was an immediate red flag). I have already stated my intent on my reasons as to why I took this job; however, I have quickly learned that there is an obvious conflict of interest when trying to sell health insurance for one company. Instead of becoming a good agent this system in place is designed to make you a better sales person. Rather than being about the client it can easily be about you. I make it a point to read and study at least one different plan or policy from a competing company to see how our product differs from theirs thus increasing my insurance knowledge and making me a more complete and thorough agent. In my two and a half weeks as an agent I have made a handful of presentations but I often find myself recommending them a different and better more comprehensive plan from another company that would probably better fit their needs. I have no qualms about telling somebody not to get our product if it is not right for them. That is my duty as an agent first and foremeost. I honestly dont think i can be successful with this company seeing as how I tell potential clients about what we dont cover and actually show them our manuals during the presentation (Something I was told we shouldnt really do). I reitereate I do not want to give the impression that this company is corrupt. I am sure there are outstanding agents with the utmost of integrity who genuinely look out for their clients. I am also well aware that I am a new agent with no prior sales background and fully anticipate sucking at this job for the first several months and I am fine with that as long as I continue to learn. My general question and concern is whether or not it is better to be an individual broker or a captive agent?? Has anybody else experinced something similar to myself? what steps do I take to become an independent agent? Are there companies that are specifically designed to employ independent agents? How would I build a client base being an independent agent? Who would I talk to in the state of Pennsylvania to become an independent agent? Will I need to reimburse the company my advances? If so what can I do to avoid reimbursing the company? In general what advice would you have for someone in my position?



I apologize for the extremely long post. I totally understand if people will refrain from addressing my questions. Nevertheelss if you manage to read all of this I genuinely appreciate your time and if you have the time to address my questions I will be very appreciative of your concerns, time, and advice regarding this matter of mine.



Respectfully,

AW

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:19 pm   Post subject:   

awood49, you are correct, nobody will read that post.



It's way too long and there isn't even a paragraph break until the end.



Razz But since I have an opinion on EVERYTHING including the word OPINE let me reply by saying... Wink

Razz



system edited-off-topic content removed from the post



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:44 pm   Post subject: point taken.  

allow me to be more brief:



What steps should I take to become an independent agent?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:53 am   Post subject:   

Awood, don't worry about the long posts.



Anyways, its sad to know that you hadn't had a good experience with the company. yeah, some companies are like that and that is why you have to make a well informed decision while choosing the career. You could have discussed the issue with some of the experienced insurance agents of your neighbourhood before making your choice.



Now let me know one thing, are you seriously interested in opting a career as an agent? or, is just looking for some engagement while waiting for the course to complete?



~Jeremy

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:12 am   Post subject:   

Awood, are you licensed to operate as an agent in your area? If not you are first required to get license from the state insurance department. You may visit the state department's site for information on laws and application procedure to obtain the license.



In some states you may need company's sponsorship to get the license, and if this not the requirement in your state, you may then have to sign-up for the per-licensing course and have to pass the state administered licensing exam.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:29 am   Post subject:   

To become an independent agent one also need to keep in mind that in the initial years there will be lot of expenses with no or small income. The independent agent is required to bear the cost of running the business, like- maintaining office, paying out the e&o insurance premium and such. In my experience I've seen some of the independent agents going down with debts. Hence, I'd echo what Jeremy has asked, are you serious about adopting the career of an agent? Its important to know where you interest lies beforehand than experiencing the failure later.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:08 pm   Post subject:   

I do have a license and I wouldlike to attend business school within the next several years. Judging from your responses it would not be that wise to undertake the task of becoming an independent broker if I am only going to do it for a couple of years

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:21 pm   Post subject:   

I have read the thread regarding going staying captive or going independent. I have an MBA myself and work as an agent for one company. You can make good money at this if you think more strategically than on a tactical level.



You may have more expenses on an independent basis, but you can help your clients a lot more, and possibly obtain even more clients by going independent?



So, there is no tried and true answer to this question, it ALL depends on what you want.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:42 pm   Post subject:   

My advise to you would be to go independent and do yourself a favor and buy leads. You need to incur the expense every 3 weeks religiously! Purchase direct mail leads. This will give you a steady stream of people to see. Insurance is a numbers game. The more people you see, the more money you will make. Send out 2500 mailers every 3 weeks. You will go upside down in the beginning but you will catch up and then never look back.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:37 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
Send out 2500 mailers every 3 weeks. You will go upside down in the beginning but you will catch up and then never look back.





Unrealistically expensive! No budding independent will be able to weather that storm.



Best bet for starting a new business is word of mouth -- open your mouth and talk to everyone . . . the checker at the grocery store, all the people you're in line with, hang out at the DMV (what else do those folks have to do in the next hour?), your kid's soccer/baseball/football/hockey games . . . talk to ten people, you'll learn to set 2-4 appointments, do 3-4 appointments, you'll write 1-3 pieces of business.



In life insurance, 3 apps / week will result in about $5,000-$6,000 in one-time income per month, maybe more. Health insurance, homeowners, auto, BOP -- they all pay "as earned", meaning you get a check when the insurance company gets a check. 10 health policies in a month will provide $300-$1000 per month in first year income, so put 100 policies in force and your 12th month income could be $8,000-$10,000 or more. Renewal income commission will drop by 70-80% in the 13th month, but if you keep the business on the books, it's solid income. Just keep writing the new business (homeowners and auto look about the same).



Provide excellent service to your clients, and they'll provide you with quality referrals. No need to pay for leads that four or five other agents get at the same time.



When I do a first life insurance appointment, I typically get 7-12 referral names. When I return with my proposal in 5-7 days, I earn the right to ask for the phone numbers that go with the names. My clients call these folks for me to let them know I'll be contacting them, and to let them know what kind of person I am.



Work the people, work the referrals, and the numbers will take care of themselves.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:11 am   Post subject: Insurance Intermediary -Use one!  

If you're new to the world of being an independent insurance agent you should always look into some insurance intermediary companies to show you what all kinds of policies look like, how much the pricing varies, etc. It will help you get to know the companies. I use Agents Advantage (agents-advantage.com) as my insurance intermediary. Check them out: It's definitely worthwhile to at least investigate. Good luck!


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