In Their Own Words: Why Producers Change Jobs

By | April 1, 2019

Q: We have a zillion newbies and plenty 50-plus year old veteran producers. I’ve tried the out-of-industry route. Frankly, my agency isn’t good at training. I want experienced, ‘hit the ground running’ sales talent at other agencies. How do I recruit producers from my competitors?

A: I’ve learned over the last 13 years of recruiting producers that you need empathy and understanding. The best way I can illustrate this is “In Their Own Words.”

Below are interviews from several producers Capstone assisted in 2018. I hope you find their testimonies helpful, inspiring and eye-opening.

Why Did You Decide to Start a Job Search?

“I saw massive opportunities in the marketplace. I’m half the age of the average, 55-year-old insurance agent. I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for turnover to bring me a better deal.”

“It was all about job security. My agency’s management was in turmoil. There was constant hiring and firing.”

“My compensation didn’t line up with the revenue I was bringing in.”

“I needed to find a better fit – the niche I was selling in, location/commute and culture.”

“Inexperienced leaders were running the agency. Half the time the sales manager would blow off the meetings he set.”

“The agency couldn’t take me to the next level. I was going to be stuck in small groups forever. They couldn’t help me ‘punch above my current weight class.'”

“It was like being in an abusive marriage. My compensation was horrible. Staff retention was a joke. Once I realized, ‘Oh this is how I should have been treated the whole time, I was out of there.'”

“My search coincided with major life changes. I have a young and growing family. My priorities and long-term goals shifted.”

What Did You Experience in Your Search?

“Most agencies came across hungry to write new business and grow organically with young people.”

“The interview process was one of two ways. Either the agency cared only about my relationship building potential or they grilled me on technical insurance knowledge. I found the nitty, gritty insurance scenario style to be very cumbersome. I went with the agency that employed the first strategy. I had one, one-hour interview and got an offer.”

“Insurance wasn’t my only option. I was considering other industry sales positions simultaneously. I just wanted speed and efficiency. Not all interviews were like that.”

“I spoke with a wide range of agencies – size, operations and management of new producers. The biggest differentiator was their approach to timing. I liked the ones with a sense of urgency. Lackadaisical = lazy + uninterested in me.”

“I had to battle the reputation of my current firm. I worked hard to convince agencies I wanted more and was willing to work for it.”

“My suitors came by word of mouth. Four agencies courted me until the end. Early on, I knew I didn’t want to stay in a churn and burn corporate environment. Some made me feel like a number even in the interview process.”

“I was looking at multiple roles, in and out of the industry, in the local market and involving relocation. It was a lot to balance but helped me make the most informed choice possible.”

Why Did You Choose Your New Agency?

“They had the infrastructure to teach me.”

“They were willing to invest in resources beyond account managers and markets. They had tangible products besides what carriers offer. They were a true, full-service shop.”

“The company was the first to make me an offer. It met my criteria. They were speedy and transparent.”

“I clicked with the executives. I felt the president understood my personality. He didn’t come across like hiring me was a part of a numbers game.”

“If I didn’t choose this agency, I would have gone out on my own. Knowing this, the agency set up a contract and comp plan that allowed me to feel like an entrepreneur. They pay commission across all lines. They won’t pigeonhole me into one identity.”

“Employee-owned with complete transparency. I interviewed with the service staff. They were candid, and it was refreshing. I chose culture; their people actually enjoy coming to work.”

“The agency I chose met my short-term needs (position and resources) with long-term plans (flexibility, supporting my passions, compensation and expanding my skill set). I was convinced of their culture when so many of the employees I met had 20-25 years of tenure. I interviewed at agencies where two years is considered good tenure. That wasn’t where I wanted to go.”

About Mary Newgard

Newgard is partner and senior search consultant for Capstone Search Group, a national recruiting firm dedicated to the insurance industry. For questions and comments, email: More from Mary Newgard

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