Farmers - your opinion

Your response to industry hot topics.

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AgencyEquity
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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by AgencyEquity » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:25 pm

Sacman-
Your point is well taken, I am familiar with the Farmers from some time ago, so I base my experience on that. Nevertheless the Farmers system as least from what I remember, is probably the closest to an IA operation and that is what I base my conclusion on. Keep in mind, starting an IA without any kind of prior experience is a very risky way to go, if not desistined for failure. Farmers provides a good launching ground, also becoming a producer for an IA is probably as good if not a better way to one day open an IA you can call your own. The key is getting experience, mostly on the product knowledge side, but you still need the business side which is what a Farmers Agency provides.
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sacman
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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by sacman » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:41 pm

I learned everything I know on how to operate a insurance agency by being a Farmers agent, I will always appreciate what I learned during my tenure.
However, 90% of it was learned by trial and error. My DM was an ex-agent that helped with product knowledge and rating/uw procedures but I received very little help in the actual day to day running of an insurance agency.

Most new Farmer DM's now are nothing more than recruiters without any agency experience.
In many areas new agents are hired by a recruiting center and given product knowledge and quotas and told to go sell.
If you don't hit the quota, your done.

I realize gaining experience in this industry can be difficult and trying, however in an attempt to gain experience you cannot jeopardize your short term financial future. That IS being done of a regular, consistent basis by those entering the Farmers system. Young agents are signing on, struggling for a year or two, then either pull the plug or are let go only to realize that they owe the company, 5,10,15 even 20 thousand dollars. I guarantee you that for every new Farmers agent that makes it, there are at least 10 that this happens to, probably more, much more.
That is not the type of experience I would wish on anybody.

Starting an IA without experience is difficult as well. The only companies that you will be able to get a contract with will probably be non-standards. Historically, that business has low retention, but you can gain experience and as you grow you should be able to start to pick up standard markets. At least if it doesn't work out Viking, Mercury or Progressive isn't going to demand a $10,000 payment when you close the doors.

IMHO Farmers would be the last choice for a new agent to gain experience.
Again, just my opinion.

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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by Mannyace » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:49 pm

Sundance, tell your friend to do an extensive research before joining Farmers as their reserve program is very long and strict and the odds to become a career agent are very slim as lot of people fail to meet the guidelines of the program. It requires all new reserve agents to produce life and financial services (Variable products) as the reserve agent needs to have those license in place before it can even be appointed by Farmers.

New agents do not have the same flexibility as old agents as their contract is different. The District Manager will promise that he/she is going to making a lot of money but the market is very competitive and their prices are not the best and their Undewriting guidelines are frustrating.

Selling insurance for Farmers is not difficult as it has a very will known brand name, keeping the clients is the difficult part of it as your friend will lose more than what she brings in and therefore, growth is very difficult to reach and that is the focus of Farmers GROWTH. In other words Sales, Sales, Sales and no one cares about anything else.

Building an agency takes a lot of time and hard work and many, many times she will be competing among other Farmers Agents who will do whatever is necessary to take a piece a business away from her.

These are facts.

Good Luck and if I were your friend, I will go IA rather than captive.

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Farmers - your opinion

Post by RKunz2 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:30 pm

Sundance wrote:I know someone who is about to take the plunge from being a CSR at an independent agency to becoming a Farmers Agent. Any advice, any thoughts or words of wisdom on the subject?

Sundance,

Look, I'm a former FIG agent too. I'm not going to bash them because their business model works (for them). As long as your friend understands the corporate culture and enters into the relationship with eyes wide open, then all is good.

You're getting accurate and true feedback here. We're not just a bunch of bitter FIG haters. FIG is an agent mill, a type of AmWay deal, if you will. They recruit constantly (real estate agents, out-of-work construction workers, etc) and slam people thru the Reserve Agent program, knowing that maybe 1% will actually make it longer than 1 year or so. Then, FIG takes the book of business, hands it over to an unknown agent at a substantially reduced commission rate and moves on.

As far as 'financial help' be CAREFUL! If you're friend doesn't have at least $100K socked away, I would highly recommend against entering the program. According to FIG, you're in business for yourself, not by yourself. Well...okay, I beg to differ, but that's just one man's opinion. Ultimately, your friend will pay for the bulk of everything (except training), so in that respect, it's very much like being an independent, only you're with a captive.

Best of luck and just take everything you hear with a grain of salt.

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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by FFA » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:58 am

I kind of confused this with the one started in Jan, 09 by an Illinois Agent. Seems to be saying the same thing, just under a different forum.

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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by rastaman » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:21 pm

DON'T DO IT! Can I say it any more strongly. The other posts are correct. Overpriced products, you do not own your business, Farmers does. Yes, they can take it away anytime. I was an agent for over ten years and I should have got out of it after half that time. Can you imagine in this economic environment only offering a rate from one company? Can you see you marketing dollars going down the tubes?
Start at an independent agency is the way to go. This is the right way to start an insurance business.Farmers has an interesting business model in that they now own 21st Century, so guess who Farmers agents compete with. That's right with Farmers! And guess what 21st Century does not have to pay agents. Can you say CHA CHING! Do yourself a favor and stay away from these thieves.

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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by lonestar » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:27 am

Thought I would keep this post alive, since Farmers is in a hiring frenzy due to a mass exodus of longtime agents, and I wish I would have had access to information about Farmers before I signed up. Also, for those looking to hear firsthand from current Farmers agents, as well as ex Farmers agents, you may go the following discussion board and ask any question you wish. Do this NOW before you sign a contract with Farmers, which is very difficult to get out of once you have done it. http://myinsuranceworld.proboards.com/index.cgi
Just create a user ID and password, and ask away. Any decision is a poor decision, unless made from an informed position.

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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by alx730 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:51 pm

Thanks for chiming in Lonestar. It's amazing how many of us out there in the indy world now are recovering Farmers people. I don't actually even have any bad feelings about Farmers. Luckily, I had a great DM who trained me very well for my career and actually cared about my success. Most are not that lucky. When I decided to leave after 5 years, I got a nice check from the corporate office which wasn't bad either because I had worked hard and been fairly successful. Then again, I was the only one out of probably 120+ who came through my district office and tried but eventually failed. They definitely don't make it easy for you to succeed.

Best of luck to you all.
Alex S. Holtze, ARM, CRM, CIC
Sales Manager
Gaslamp Insurance Services
San Diego, CA

Saigonmylove
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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by Saigonmylove » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:22 pm

I was a Farmers agent for more than 6 years succesfully. But my numbers of polices inforced keep going down dramatically due to very high premium so I decided to resign.
Last edited by Saigonmylove on Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

OldIndyAgent
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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by OldIndyAgent » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:31 pm

Can anyone say, "PONZI"?

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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by expinsgal » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:49 pm

As a very tenured (25 yrs) FIG agent, this post is written with a certain amount of trepidation due to the loyalty decorum running through my blood. That said, it is extremely tough being a FIG agent these days - for one reason and one reason only - rates! The company has a lot going for it but until management stops drinking the kool aid and thinks we can sell high prices by being consultive sales people in this economy, it will be difficult for anyone to start an agency and hit the numbers the company demands.

dm307799
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AgencyPoint model

Post by dm307799 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:49 pm

Farmers has new AgencyPoint training facilities in some geographical areas, flips the old DM model on it's head! Visit http://www.farmerscolumbus.com/ for the Columbus, OH example.(I would even say it's worth moving to one of the areas for an opportunity like this) The training is there/the tools are there (no lack of effort on the staff's behalf for sure!)...you just need the natural market to start & then take advantage of their advertising opportunities to fill in the rest (they think outside of the box). It's a great model & they channel leads from 21st Century to your agency if you've done right by them starting off. You will not have a lack of markets for risks when appointed through Farmers! If you have 10+ years to give them, I am sure you could walk away a winner!

lonestar
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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by lonestar » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:43 pm

dm307799, at first reading, I thought your post was a joke, or satire, since it is completely funny and fictional. Then I realized you were trying to be serious. Are you a "DM", as your sign on name implies? Funny rabbit, tricks are for kids. Put down the Farmers Kool-aid glass long enough to realize you will be gone in 24 months or less, due to not making your 20 life apps per agent quota. Funny. "We are Farmers, dum de dum dum dum dum dum"

dm307799
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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by dm307799 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:11 am

Not cool lonestar...that was my first post on any forum anywhere & you tried to be negative. I am not a DM, why would I promote the AgencyPoint model if I were. I am not on the kool-aid...it's just I see the opportunity for what it is & not making a 20 life app goal per quarter would be a self-imposed limitation brotha! I mean seriously, 2 types of people in this world..."can do" & I'll say it..."have not". I am an advocate for the industry. I am not even on the direct channel anymore & I still have the fortitude to post my "opinion" regarding what I think is a great opportunity. People like you need to challenge your own "norms"...you'll benefit from it!

lonestar
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Re: Farmers - your opinion

Post by lonestar » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:09 pm

dm, if you are not an employee of Farmers, and are not a district manager or division marketing manager, then please accept my apology. However, if you completely read this entire post from the beginning, that was started a couple of years ago, you will see that many long time, tenured agents are now EX-FIG agents, due to the way that FIG is running the company into the ground. So when I see anything that suggests someone should give FIG 10 plus years to see what happens, along with a link to a Farmers recruiting site(which, by the way, I think is not cool.), I get a little skeptical. Maybe it is because I was a successful FIG agent for over 10 years, and I personally know from firsthand experience what happens if you give Farmers 10+ years. But I also know a longtime FIG agent that gave over 25 years, expecting his wife to take over the agency if anything happened to him, because that what FIG had told him. Well, after leading his district in life production for 24 of the 25 years he was an agent(FIG grades agents by life production) Farmers told his widow that IF AND ONLY IF she 1. reserved, then wrote enough life insurance to 2. career, then and only then would she be "considered" for no more than 500 of his P & C policies, and only at 40% of the normal commission! Also, in 2010 to 2011, Farmers performed mass terminations of FIG agents in the Houston, Texas area, to the tune of about 450 agents termed. If this is how FIG treats their "most valued" agents, then how will they treat other agents? Not to mention, that FIG pays Zurich 15% of every premium $1 off the top, NOT AFTER EXPENSES... And in May of 2009, the CEO of Farmers, Paul Hopkins, spoke publicly at a Zurich stockholders meeting about how he believes that Farmers agents are only useful for the first 7 years of their career, and that "they" have ways to get rid of agents after 7 years... Also, by Farmers OWN numbers, they recruit about 10,000 persons each year that want to become a Farmers agent. Do you know how many of these 10,000 actually make it to a storefront, and are still an agent after 2 years? By FIG's own numbers, roughly 250. So, this means a success rate of about 2.5%. Let's put this into perspective: If I came to you and said "Hey, I have this great opportunity. Invest $100,000 with me, and give it 10 years, and let's see what happens. However, you stand a 97.5% chance of losing money." Would you still invest? If the average Farmers agent candidate has about a 2.5% chance of making it, please tell me how ANY of this can be good for an agent "to give 10 + years" to a company like this?

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