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Farmers Insurance Agent vs. Independent

Posted by administrator 
Farmers Insurance Agent vs. Independent
April 06, 2010 04:48PM
Sorry had to repost Brent's message due to technical difficulties

--- snip ---- --- snip ----
First off, I would strongly discourage anybody from signing an agency contract with Farmers.

Twenty one years ago at the age of 25, I became an Agent For Farmers. I enjoyed the first ten years of my relationship and built a solid business. Back in those days, most of the people in the Farmers organization were decent people who actually cared and wanted to help each other grow.
About ten years ago, Farmers was sold. First to British-American Tobacco company, then to Zurich. And thus began a downhill slide in the corporate environment. Today, there is a very adversarial attitude from management to agent. Over the last few years, agents have become very bitter and angry that the promises made to them are being broken on a daily basis. We've seen 30-60 percent rate increases, and business is leaving in droves. It has become such an unpleasant place to work, that after 21 years, I decided to resign my contract and walked away from a very nice income.

The Independent world:
Trying to get appointments from the carriers that support the independent agents has turned out to be a much longer and more difficult process than I expected. Many companies want volume committments, and many simply won't appoint you until you have a certain size book of business (catch-22). It's like having a big store, and lots of customers who are ready to purchase, but the shelves are empty. Very frustrating.

Two months ago, I found the solution. I have joined a group of independent agents who have banded together as a group. I now have access to about 30 different insurance companies, and can win a sale against Farmers almost every time. When I was with Farmers, my closing ration was about 20 quotes to one sale. Now I have a place fore every prospect that walks through the dore. The combined premium volume of the group makes us a powerful negotiator with the insurance companies. We are able to obtain higher commission percentages and share in profitibility bonuses that are otherwise not attainable for many years of solid production. I'm now making on average almost double the commission from what I was getting at Farmers. I can make just as much as I was before with 1/2 the customer service work. And I will be able to share in the production bonus at the end of the year.

But more importantly - The independent carriers have to compete for your business. They must keep the agent happy, or the agent will place his / her business elsewhere. If you decide to build your career with a captive company like Farmers, you should know that they do not have this attitude. They know that most agents will get to a comfortable income and be hand cuffed to the brand. They have no incentive to keep the agent happy. They pay low commission percentages, and in the end, you will find that the "contract value" is worth only about 60% of how it is represented. After my painful lesson (it cost me a bunch of money), I have explained it to several other agents and they are shocked at how the math actually works.

If anybody would like to talk to me about the opportunities within our group, I would be happy to introduce you to the team. Send me an email.
Brent Walker

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2010 04:51PM by administrator.

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Brent, does this organization do business in CA?

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I would really like more information I was a farmers Reserve agent What a mistake. Does your group work in Washington?

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It has been three years since I wrote this post. Apart from the embarrasing spelling errors, I still stand by every word of it.

I've met many new friends in and away from the farmers Agency force -- most of them still unhappy. I on the other hand continue to enjoy growth that I never thought possible. The grass is most definately greener on the independent side of the fence.

Independent: Free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority.
(Synonyms: Liberation, Freedom, Unconventional)

Captive: A person who has been taken prisoner,confined, or kept under restraint.
(Synonyms: Prisoner, Jailbird)

The agency is growing in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. We are looking for agency partners in those states and beyond. For those of you that simply want a place to put the business that farmers rejects - without fear of the competition cross selling the rest of the household, we will be happy to co-op with you. For those seeking a full time insurance career away from the confines of the captive contract -- We can help with that as well.

Insurance can be a fun, rewarding, and profitable career. That is, for those of us who are NOT tied to the farmers mill-stone. (The "f" is not capitalized due to lack of respect)

I don't monitor the boards, so if you wish to open a conversation, please call 801-562-5000 or email to brent@bwalkerinsurance.com

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who did you join, I am with a different company as captured agent, I have been in financial planning for over 25 years and recently about 4 years ago started adding p&c lines also, but being capture and having to suffer at the whims of a corporate environment is proving more difficult than I want to deal with. I really want to go back to be independent and am just starting to look, any help you can give would be appreciated

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