Farmers Insurance

Your response to industry hot topics.

Moderators: Josh, independent guy

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby justthere » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:35 am

I have been reading these responses for quite awhile now and it just amazes me how many people are upset with Farmers. Here are the facts: less than 15% of the Farmers agents qualify for Toppers Club and less around 3% qualify for Championship. This means that there are a tremendous number of agents selling for Farmers who have either nor figured out how to sell in their system or should not be in the business. I have been with Farmers for over 18 years. I make Championship every year and President's Council 5 out of the last 6 years. If you want to succeed with Farmers or as an AI, it is not really that hard: Learn the system and figure out how you can make it work for you. If you are spending this much time bitching about Farmers, you are wasting your breath. I know - I almost left after 3 years until I figured out how to make it work for ME! I do not bleed the Farmers Blue - I work for ME. As soon as you get it through your head, then you can succeed in anything you want. Otherwise, you will always be looking from the outside in and complaining whether it is Farmers or somebody else. Yes, our rates suck right now. But, this is still a numbers game and if you see enough people and sell yourself to your clients, you will still do ok.
justthere
Insurance Journal Addict
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:23 am

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby gregcw » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:30 pm

Texas Agent wrote:You can tell.... What does everyone think about the new announcment that they are creating an Independent market that will be branded under the Foremost brand? I bet they have a competitive rate when they have to compete in an Independent Agency. ...........I bet Zurich sits back and can't believe what the Farmers management has been able to get away with. Zurich has always dealt with the Independent agent system and now they just sit back and draw the big bucks from the Farmers machine.

They are not really doing that. They are just putting themselves at arms length from the Independents. I don't know if their thought processes included this, but will keep the Independents from looking bad just by being assoicated with Farmers. I think that, overall, it is a bonus for the indepndents. At any rate I was working with Zurich before they aquired Farmers from British American Tobacco U.S. and I was working with Foremost before they were aquired by Farmers.

What I don't know yet is whether the I/A will get access to the Bristol West market, under whatever name, just by association with either Foremost or Zurich. My Foremost Marketing Rep. wasn't clear on that but it may have just been because everything is still in a state of flux and he didn't know. It does appear though, that Farmers Insurance Exchange, the Farmers (or at least their previous) management company won't be dealing with the Independents but that Foremost will be managing them.
Gregcw
gregcw
Insurance Journal Addict
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:29 pm
Location: Newport Oregon

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby IndyMischief » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:37 pm

Justthere,

Interesting take. Here's another one.

Perhaps the insurance company/management company continues to prove that they don't know what they are doing by perpetually hiring those agents that you describe as unable or unworthy of being a Farmers agent. Could that be true?

I think that's much more likely.

However, I do understand you point in general. You are correct that in order for anyone to be successful, they need to just do it! I can fully agree. After some success, followed by many years of floundering as a Farmers agent, I finally found that the Cheese had really moved and I decided to be successful and move with it. I'm now an IA and I have found success.

I would also llke to point out that just because there are a few examples of some limited shining success stories in the Farmers family ...just like there were in an organization like A.L.Williams, or today with systems such as Mary Kay and Amway, that doesn't mean that the marketing philosophy is not designed for more agent failures than successes.

Mary Kay does not thrive as a company because of the few pink cadillacs that exist. Rather, the huge supply of unused products in failing reps garages are more likely accoutable for much of the wealth up top. Seriously ...you do their numbers.

Large numbers of reps that sell to limited numbers of people work in many instances. That is the primary method that Farmers has traditionally used to (at one point) become the 3rd largest Personal Lines carrier in the nation. When only 3% of roughly 14,000 agents are making Championship, how many PIF does that account for? I will tell you that it's only about 1 million. A million policies for a Nationwide carrier is not a lot to brag about. Look, there are right at 2.5 million auto and home policies just in Texas alone. So, the vast majority of the polcies that are enriching the Farmers Management company are derived from those unable and unworthy agents as you describe.

And, one final note. when you say things like, "As soon as you get it through your head...", you sound much more like a District Manager that's having trouble making his quota, than you sound like a successful Farmers agent. I'm thinking you might not be honestly representing yourself here ...but hey, if I'm wrong, it won't be the first or last time.

Have a great day!
IndyMischief
Insurance Journal Enthusiast
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:52 am

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby xdate » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:28 pm

I was life masters,toppers, championship,and back in the day commercial masters as well. Two out of every ten years when farmers would roll out a rate I was a top producer. These Farmers awards are based on minimal p/c numbers and huge life numbers, as you know. Dont leave farmers because of their rates being 3 times as high as the rest of the market. All carriers go thru rate adjustments, and all agents have to address that problem when it happens. Finding success in sales means finding something you can sell. Simple as that. If farmers doesnt have product in your area, the question should be, will they have product here and if so when might that be? The answer I got in 2006 was soon but not sure the exact time frame. Three, yes three years or 36 folios later they still dont have product and actually have less now than when I left. Enough of rates, I left farmers not because of rates but because I had always been told by every dmm
that when my father's HUGE book became available that it would come to me. After conversations with the dmm at the
time and careful review of my fathers exsisting contract that may not have been the case. I was finally told by the region that I would get the book but only in 500 code. I could no longer work with a company that could lie so effortlessly.
I wish the best to all farmers agents and hope you reach all of your goals, toppers,championship,masters. Please do me a favor and keep that vip program going in Texas its the best thing to happen for my agency since the advent of the ballpoint pen. Our call centers are working around the clock to get these people back where they belong.
xdate
Insurance Journal Fan
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:11 pm

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby justthere » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:44 pm

I do agree that Farmers has about 3 times the number of agents they should have and I do agree that they do an abysmal job of taking care of their agents or their agent's families when separation occurs. The only reason I can come up with is the extra income the company gets off of orphan policies. But, I do not know of any other captive insurer who does it differently. If you can live being with a captive, then it can work very well for you. If not, look elsewhere. Ultimately, it still comes down to the person in the job. Either you can handle it or you can't.
As a sidenote reponse - I am not and have never been a DM or DMM. You could not pay me enough money to do what they do to people. I enjoy helping people and that is not in their job descriptions. Besides, I would take a pay cut and my wife would shoot me.
justthere
Insurance Journal Addict
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:23 am

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby IndyMischief » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:53 pm

Fair enough. 8)
IndyMischief
Insurance Journal Enthusiast
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:52 am

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby lonestar » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:27 pm

As you can see, there is much emotion coming from both sides of the fence. Bottom line, if you are in sales, you must have a product that you can sell. Some Farmers agents are able to sell the product in their area. Others, probably for specific geographic rate reasons, are not able to sell as much, or are losing clients. I am a Toppers club and Masters agent who has never had a problem being able to sell Farmers products for the past 10 years until recently. I, like others who have posted on this board, also consider myself a great agent. But, there is a difference between a great agent, and a great salesperson: I would never be able to take pride and sleep at night in being able to sell ice to eskimoes. But for those that can do this, keep doing what works for you. Here in Texas, by Farmer's own numbers, the average quote to conversion percentage on auto policies is at 15%. So, in order to sell 15 auto policies, you will need to quote on average 100 potential clients. In the spirit of keeping everything factual, my IA friends tell me that their quote to issue percentage is about 80% on auto. It takes them about 5 minutes to quote multiple companies and to find the very best rate for the client. As a Farmers agent, it takes me about 5 times as long, due to the Farmers cumbersome system. So, it appears that to be a successfull Farmers agent, you need to have one of two things working for you right now, or a combination of both: 1. An endless stream of clients knocking your door down to quote their business, or 2. be lucky enough to be located in area where Farmers rates are competitive right now. Given the choice, I would rather quote 20 clients and write 16 of them, versus quoting 100 clients and writing 15 of them. Much less time expended, and more business written. And I haven't even brought up the differences in commission, or what it means to an agent to legally own the policy and the renewal, versus not owning the book of business. Since the American consumer is viewing insurance more and more as a commodity, with the likes of gasoline and pork bellies, it would seem that this trend will continue with folks paying less and less attention to the company logo at the top of the insurance policy, and more attention to the rate they are paying. As they very well should. I wish all of you out there, whether you are a Presidents Council Farmers agent, an average agent, other captive agent, or current IA, that you will be able to find the measure of success you are striving for, no matter what path takes you there. All I know is, all the Farmers agents I know as well as myself are having trouble selling gasoline at $5.00 per gallon when our competition is selling it at $2.00 to $3.00 per gallon. And I do not consider leaving the business as an option, because I do not feel that I am any less of an agent than anyone else. But then again, the insurance companies my competitors represent are not paying a management fee each and every year to Zurich in the range of $2 billion plus, with this year's fee to the tune of $2.5 billion. (see http://www.ufaa.com/phorum/read.php?1,4239) Peace to all, and keep "Adding Value" out there, whatever that means in your particular situation. :D
Last edited by lonestar on Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
lonestar
Insurance Journal Addict
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:19 pm

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby commercialconcerned » Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:02 pm

Anyone have information on Farmers/Zurich small business commercial in captive states? Concerned about IA's getting Farmers commercial products. Seems with the new captive contract they are trying to keep Farmers Agencies writing personal lines and push all future commercial to the IA's. I see they rolled out the habitational in Florida thru Sigma Programs/Brown & Brown and look to go national in 4th quarter 2009. Very confused how this will impact captive agents.
commercialconcerned
Insurance Journal Fan
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:39 pm

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby mikebb22 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:12 pm

I am a Farmers Agent in California and looking to file for bankruptcy. Does anyone know any other Farmers Agents that have done this and how it came out? Did they keep their appointments? Keep Series 6 and 63? Did they have to give up future renewal commissions to the trustee of the bankruptcy? Just really worried as I have a book of about 2,000 policies... I want to keep my agency.
mikebb22
Insurance Journal Fan
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:11 pm

Re: Farmers = no comparative raters

Postby darnovak » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:19 pm

I work for a NY agency that has had Farmers for 2 years (through an original Foremost appointment). They do not subscribe to any comparative raters. We told them "no rater = no access to our prospects" as we do not have time to go to their system and quote. Our rater does all of our other PAP and HO carriers (9) and we wrote 900+ new home and auto policies last year. Been advising them for 2 years they are operating in the "stone age". Obviously, they do not want to write in NY. Any other Northeast agents having a similar experience?
darnovak
Insurance Journal Addict
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 10:51 am
Location: Alyamont NY USA

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby sacman » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:12 pm

55 posts on this topic and only 2 people showing support of Farmers. Both of those people were new agents just completing their 2 year career program. I wonder if either of them are still with Farmers.

I was an Farmers agent for 17 years and now have been IA for three. I find it interesting that new agents seem to know SO much about the insurance industry and as a result of two whole years in the business can give insight to long term agents on how to successfully run an agency. I have made very few changes to the agency operation since going IA, and yet my new agency is flourishing. In fact, after just 3 years, my agency is larger than it ever was while with Farmers. How could that be? Could it be that I was already running an efficient operation but didn't have a marketable product? Now that I have a quiver full of quality products priced competitively, I have no issues obtaining and retaining clients. It wasn't that I wasn't working hard before. In fact I was working much harder before just trying to maintain my agency. The fact is that Farmers is pricing itself out of the market while simultaneously changing its policies to be LESS inclusive, thereby reducing its claim exposure. Who in their right mind would want to pay more for lower quality? The answer is obvious and is the explanation for the current state of Farmers.

To new Farmers agents or those considering joining FArmers, please be aware. You are NOT an agency owner. Regardless of what the job ad says or your DM tells you, it is Farmers business. YOu are nothing more than an 'at will' employee. The only difference is that all the business expenses are in your name. Rent, phone, advertising, etc. So if you are terminated you are still responsible for those expenses. Don't believe me. Read the contract. They can terminate your contract WITHOUT CAUSE with a 90 day notice. In the newest contract they even have included multiple infractions for keeping your contract value, including disparaging remarks against the company. This is happening to agents all across the company. don't for a second believe that you are immune from it.
sacman
Insurance Journal Addict
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:40 pm

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby FFA » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:12 pm

Any one being sued for Non Compete?
FFA
Insurance Journal Addict
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:48 pm

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby NorCal Insurance » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:55 pm

i have worked with a doezen agents in switching from Farmers to and independant.
there is a non solicitation clause in your Farmers agreement but if you have a signed release from each insured stating that you did not solicit them, you are safe and so is your payout from Farmers.

Feel free to contact me if you have more questions:

Brian Ward
Brian@SoftechInternational.com
NorCal Insurance
Insurance Journal Fan
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:02 pm

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby gregcw » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:24 pm

NorCal Insurance wrote:i have worked with a doezen agents in switching from Farmers to and independant. there is a non solicitation clause in your Farmers agreement but if you have a signed release from each insured stating that you did not solicit them, you are safe and so is your payout from Farmers.
Brian@SoftechInternational.com

Brian,
I'm really surprised that this thread is being picked up again since it started on January 17,09 and ended March 16,09.
Your post appears to say that if you did not solicit them that you'r e O.K. I pulled out my FIG contract and the language is ...the Agent will neither directly or indirectly solicit, ACCEPT, or service the Insurance business of any polcyholder of record... . So in essence your hands are tied for the one year agrrement to not ACCEPT business from any Farmers policyholder within the district you were appointed in. Admittedly, if the FIG customer was not one of yours you would have to be turned in by the losing agent. With what C.L.U.E. does now if they ran one of your FIG customers that they lost they could concievably guess that you solicited and accepted that customer's business if they are with a company that you are appointed with.
Gregcw
gregcw
Insurance Journal Addict
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:29 pm
Location: Newport Oregon

Re: Farmers Insurance

Postby kevinraz » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:10 pm

I'll say this about Farmers: they are still around and still have a good market share.

I left FIG back in 1998. Main reasons were huge technology issues & billing problems.

But here we are in 2010 and they are still around, still a major player, though they obviously still have their problems.

What I found when I was with Farmers: if I could get into a 30/60 household (married couple, more than 1 car, owned the house, no violations/accidents) then I was tough to beat. Anything else and I probably was not competitive.

They must be around somehow, someway. Their history and generally good track record for claims service in the past does not carry much weight anymore.

So how are they still around? We, myself included, all complain and moan about how uncompetitive they are, lousy products, etc. How are they still around?
Kevin Rasmussen AU, CIC
kevinraz
Insurance Journal Addict
 
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2004 12:59 pm
Location: Iowa

PreviousNext

Return to Opinions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 12 guests