Farmers vs. Independent

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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby JKolak » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:17 pm

Thank you Lonestar for your advice and insight. It was one of the agent recruiters from Farmers Philadelphia Agency Point who gave their commission rates. Interestingly enough, the agent recruiter told me that she would keep her insurance with the independent agent she dealt with rather than transfer her policies to one of the newly minted Farmers agents. Nothing like trying to pitch something to me that you don't really believe in yourself.

As far as sales goes, I've read a lot of books by Jeffrey Gitomer, Brian Tracy, Stephan Schiffman, Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar, etc. on sales. However, it's one thing to read about, think about it and another thing to do it. On the other hand, I handle employee benefits and retirement plans at work. I have employees who constantly ask me for advice and ask a variety of questions about insurance. They often tell me I should be in the business because I know so much and make it easy for them to understand.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby Victor Cordone » Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:52 pm

I have been an Insurance Agent for 38 years, 37 as a captive. I've been a subscriber to Insurance Journal Online for a number of years, but have never posted a response until now. I sold my Agency in August 2010 and set up a company, along with my partners, to transition captive Agents into Independent Agency. Our company is FMJ Agency Alliance, and we are currently in the northeast states of NJ, PA, and NY. In the near future, we are planning to open in additional states as well as additional regions of the country. My partner John Scirocco ( www.SciroccoGroup.com ) was voted one of the Top 100 Agencies - per Insurance Journal, is also a Best Practices and Trusted Choice Agency.

Although FMJ Agency Alliance may be new to most, The Original Scirocco Group Agency was Founded in Bergen County New Jersey in 1950 by the late John Scirocco Sr. We have built FMJAA to be an all inclusive, one stop opportunity for former or current captives that want to own their policies, while looking for a smooth transition into the Independent Agency System. I invite you to visit our website at www.FMJAgency.com for more information.


Vic Cordone
Director Agency Sales

201-727-1111 x 722.
Email - Vic.Cordone@FMJAgency
777 Terrace Avenue, Ste 309, Hasbrouck Hts, N.J. 07604
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby TheInsuranceGuy » Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:10 am

Unfortunately, I think that you will find the lack of ethics in most major or minor companies for that matter. So that you kind of have to work over. Just keep your head where it should be and work hard. AS with sales it was a hard decision. I am still not sure which you would prefer, but you might just want to do your research on all both of them and compare them.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby lonestar » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:32 pm

If anyone wants to post questions to agents who know about Farmers Insurance firsthand, you can visit the following website and post your question. http://myinsuranceworld.proboards.com/index.cgi
You will need to create a user name and profile, but for those thinking about a career with Farmers, you would be wise to ask a few questions from longtime current and ex Farmers agents in order to make an informed decision. The above site is a discussion board frequented by current and ex Farmers agents.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby AgencyEquity » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:36 pm

milleniumgirl wrote:Hello to all... I am new to this forum, but not new to the insurance industry. I am currently a Farmers Insurance agent (5 years) and am frustrated and angry with the company. My frustrations? You name it... the lack of ethics within the corporate management to idiot DMs to the increasing micro management to the incompetence of policy services to the archaic billing system to the POS dashboard. To top it all off, we had a huge rate increase this year which is reeking havoc to my book of business. Anyway, I am considering either buying an independent agency or starting one. My Farmers contract value isn't more than 40k, so buying one is probably a pipedream. I would like some feedback from others who have been Farmers agents and are now independents. For example, how do I get to be an independent? Just get appointment with a few companies and open my doors? How hard is it to get appointed with companies like Allied, Safeco, Travellers, Progressive, etc.? Are you happier as an independent? Is it easier to write business? Any feedback would be helpful and appreciated.

milleniumgirl


The best Independent Agencies are acquired by other existing independent agencies, agencies that may be available to a former Farmers Agent would probably fall under these catagories, non-standard auto, a very small agency (no management system, uses MGAs) or an Allstate Agency. For a Farmers Agency who wants to move on as I did after 10 years with Farmers, starting an Independent Agency is your best option. I wrote a Guide to Starting an Independent Agency, you can find this guide on my website which is linked below. Is starting an agency for everyone? Of course not, but for those who have some investment capital to start up and get them by for the first few years, it's a great way to go. For those who don't have investment capital and/or are unable to go for a few years building the business, I would not recommend it. Lastly, you must have the entreprenuerial drive, you must be able to take the iniative on your own without anyone holding your hand. Thos who have the investment capital and the drive are prime candidates for staring an IA.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby chizcurlz » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:09 am

Though it is hard to establish your own insurance agency, it more easier to get more money and to build clients as well.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby ins-atty » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:52 pm

As a lifelong independent agent, I am fascinated by this discussion. I must say that Zurich does not leave its independents totally unscathed. They are perhaps the only insurance company in the industry that gives its agents "reverse profit sharing."

Every year about this time, ZSB takes a mandatory $300 "co-op" fee out of our commissions. Even if we choose not to participate, they will not waive this fee. Our rep told us that they will only waive the fee if we give up our contract.

In exchange for your $300, they will give you free Zurich labeled pencils, small chewing gum packages, and other inferior advertising pieces. We made the mistake of actually ordering these items one year. We unfortunately discovered that our $300 fee did not include "shipping and handling." It turns out that "shipping and handling" actually costed us more than these items were worth.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby FFA » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:44 am

So, you have to pay them $300 @ year to have their contract? Do they think they are that great of a company. Here in IL, they are not that competitive. Usually an easy sale.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby ins-atty » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:05 pm

I know you Farmers agents are probably laughing, but I had high hopes when it was announced FOUR YEARS AGO (March 5, 2008)that Farmers was going to "purchase" ZSB. As FFA correctly states, ZSB is not a competitive market. In fact, they haven't been a good market since about 2002. I thought that things would have to get better under Farmers management.

What has actually changed in the past FOUR YEARS? Absolutely nothing. We still access their overpriced products at the same old mediocre Zurich website, and still are forced to pay them $300 under their "reverse profit sharing plan." If you go to the Zurich website, they don't even have a agent locator feature.

You would think that after FOUR YEARS, Farmers would have brought something to the table. The only thing 21st Century about Zurich/Farmers is the Geico clone they bought from AIG.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby FFA » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:56 pm

Not really surprising. Isn't P.H. somewhere in the Upper Management Mix over there? As an Illinois Agent, I had such high hopes with him coming out of Agency in Ill. Thought there would be some loyalty to his home state, his former peers and his former policy holders.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby yoyowordup » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:07 pm

This thread is almost 5 years old. Shouldn't there be a new Farmers Sucks thread or maybe even it's own category?
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby JAM » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:16 am

Farmers is the armpit of the insurance industry. for good info go to the UFAA website.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby AgencyEquity » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:50 am

"Farmers is the armpit of the insurance industry. for good info go to the UFAA website."

Farmers Insurance has launched many carriers, this group also seems the most prepared to become independent agencies as compared to Allstate or State Farm. I beleive their model is probably the closest to an IA than the other captive agency companies, however I also understand this may be changing.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby JAM » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:03 pm

As an Ex Farmers agent I can tell you that you are wrong. There are several reasons that there are more Farmers agents going IA vs SF and Allstate:
1) They are less discriminate in taking new agents. SF an Allstate are much more challenging to get into.
2 ) At Farmers you don't own the book and cant sell it.
Their Model is nothing like an IA, You are encouraged to under insure and sell high deductibles and sell their sub par, overpriced financial and life products.
All of this pushed the Farmers Agents to walk away from their agency to start from scratch.
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Re: Farmers vs. Independent

Postby AgencyEquity » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:25 pm

JAM wrote:As an Ex Farmers agent I can tell you that you are wrong. There are several reasons that there are more Farmers agents going IA vs SF and Allstate:
1) They are less discriminate in taking new agents. SF an Allstate are much more challenging to get into.
2 ) At Farmers you don't own the book and cant sell it.
Their Model is nothing like an IA, You are encouraged to under insure and sell high deductibles and sell their sub par, overpriced financial and life products.
All of this pushed the Farmers Agents to walk away from their agency to start from scratch.


Allstate actually has a much bigger Agent problem than Farmers, though I will not dispute there is Farmer discontent among the Farmers Agency force. I did state that "model is probably the closest to an IA than the other captive agency companies" and please keep in mind, I said closest as compared to other direct writers, most especially since they can have outside appointments (provided risks are only placed on first right of refusal) as well as their commission and profit sharing structure more so reflects an IA than Allstate or State Farm. Again, in no way I am saying that Farmers is idential to an IA, it's certainly not. You do have a point with Allstate allowing to sell their books, but very little in the Allstate agency operations reflects that of an IA. Allstate is heavily recruiting right now because they have agents leaving in droves, yet it is my belief that a bigger percentage of exiting Farmers Agents go Independent than Allstate. I had this discussion with a number of cluster groups, all agreed that the Farmers Agents end up making better Independents. As far as "sell high deductible" I 100% agree with that, the name of the game is coverage for castrophic incidents, not the small day to day incidents. Also most IAs I know push high deductible, that is pretty much the industry norm.
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