Why Are Agency Employees Unhappy?

By | March 26, 2015

  • March 26, 2015 at 1:06 pm
    knowall says:
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    Part of the problem is managers are used to growth numbers; almost obsessed with new units etc… most places you are just stealing from the competition…little organic growth like post war through the 1980’s the culture needs to change to recognize producers who bring in quality as well as numbers

    • March 26, 2015 at 2:48 pm
      Agent says:
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      knowall, perhaps the culture needs to change with producers as well. I have tried hiring several young producers in the past. Despite training and incentives and good markets, they all failed in the first year. They seemed to think the business would just come through the front door and say “Here is my business”, write it up for me. There is little work ethic in the younger Millenial generation. However, my CSR’s are happy in their jobs. We remunerate them well, provide the latest technology and good markets to place business and we recognize them and bonus them for their production.

      • March 26, 2015 at 3:36 pm
        knowall says:
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        You are right agent; some are not motivated but I think it is less than 5% of the general population who can actually prospect and sell something. Is is still LIMRA to check first?

        • March 26, 2015 at 3:44 pm
          Agent says:
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          Not everyone can be trained by Liberty Mutual like I was starting out. Several phases employed from learning how to cold call, get interest of a potential client, to technical training on coverage, to putting together proper applications and information. They provided young producers with the appetite of the company, prospect lists and training under a manager who would go out with us to call on business. A young producer had a good idea on what was expected to keep his job. It works, by the way.

  • March 26, 2015 at 1:08 pm
    T Dean says:
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    As Commercial Insurance carriers continue to be in the stone age of technology concerned more with their individual rating systems rather than finding ways to bridge Acord Applications from the management system into multiple raters the work loads of agencies has increased 10 fold. Commercial Insurance carriers need to wake up to technology and focus on eliminating the time wasted inputting duplicate data into multiple raters freeing agencies up to go out and sell their products

    • March 26, 2015 at 2:51 pm
      Agent says:
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      T, I don’t know who you are talking about on the Commercial markets being in the stone age. All of my Commercial markets have online submissions in their sites and rating to quote accounts and only the more difficult risks have to be submitted using Acords, Loss Runs etc.

      • March 26, 2015 at 3:12 pm
        Insurance 102 says:
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      • March 26, 2015 at 8:00 pm
        EDON says:
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        Agent, i think T’s point is this, we are independent agents and represent multiple insurance carriers. But to get proposals from 4 or 5 carriers the client information has to be entered into 4 or 5 different carrier systems. Where is the efficiency in that?

        • March 27, 2015 at 9:53 am
          Agent says:
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          Edon, I would say that be thankful you have 4 or 5 markets to go to. Agents who only have one market or a couple are at a distinct disadvantage in the market. Part of the challenge of insurance is finding a good market for a client or prospect that the competing agent cannot provide. By the way, if you have a good operating system, the info is there with single entry and all that needs to be done is forward it to several markets for quote. In Personal Lines, we single enter info and quote 5 Standard Markets. It isn’t that hard to finish the quotes in the carriers system. CSR’s appreciate not having to enter info over and over.

        • May 18, 2015 at 11:48 am
          Agent says:
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          Sorry to tell you this EDON, but carriers all operate a little differently, have their own appetite guide. Acords do supply a lot of info, but most have supplemental apps that require more info to underwrite a risk. There is little common sense in our industry now. Everything has to fit in a little box to get it done.

      • April 2, 2015 at 5:55 pm
        Sherinae says:
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        I know exactly what you mean. And if you submit to different brokers for the same class risk–they each have their own application besides the Acords that they want filled out. I think there should at least be an industry standard app for each class risk. For a recent liquor liability quote I submitted to three different brokers and just the apps alone were nearly 40 pages for the 4 stores that he has. And that was just the apps.

  • March 26, 2015 at 2:11 pm
    AzKELLY says:
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    did this survey include the Cavemen and the Progressive girl?

    • March 26, 2015 at 5:53 pm
      Agent says:
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      I think Flo is very happy. I understand she rakes in the big bucks to make those goofy commercials where she tells the customer to pick their own price.

  • March 26, 2015 at 3:55 pm
    FFA says:
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    The gift to gab seems to have become extinct. Old school face to face marketing is a lost art. Scratch Pad. Kitchen table. Replaced by Face Book & E Mail Marketing.

    • March 26, 2015 at 5:18 pm
      Agent says:
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      FFA, I agree. How can an insurance agent possibly know if they are soliciting a good Commercial account unless they can physically look at facilities, ask the needed questions from the owner, get some history about how long in business, losses. Some of the best info I have gotten is taking the nickel tour of a shop or plant, let the owner tell me what they do, what kind of operation they have, see if the employees wear protective clothing, see if fire extinguishers are present and adequate etc. I then get into the trust factor. I can generally tell if they are just taking quotes to keep their agent honest. I don’t do this for practice like I did as a young producer.

      • March 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm
        TX Agent says:
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        I find that Commercial Businessowners love to talk about there business. Just ask them what do you do. From that you will get about 75% of what you need for a Accord Application. One question…….

        • March 27, 2015 at 3:58 pm
          Agent says:
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          I ran into one like that a few weeks ago. He was complaining of his GL rates with his current carrier. Turns out after a few questions and a quick tour, he was grossly misclassified at a higher rate and should have been under sales exposure rather than payroll. I will be picking up all his business and do it right.

    • March 30, 2015 at 4:20 pm
      Agent says:
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      FFA, off subject, but I saw a funny for you.

      A great example of Progressive Liberal Thinking.

      The Federal Government, which has Tomahawk cruise missiles, Apache and Lakota helicopters and used the name Geronimo in the attack that killed Osama Bin Laden officially objects to the name of the Washington Redskins. Are you kidding me?

      • May 8, 2015 at 3:31 pm
        Rosenblatt says:
        Hot debate. What do you think?
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        Come on Agent – Tomahawk, Apache, Geronimo & Lakota refer to specific people or tribes. Redskin is a slur.

        You’re basically saying “the government is okay calling ships Reagan, Ford, Lincoln and Washington, but they object to being called Crackers?!” or

        “In China, it’s okay to name things Chin, Chang, Feng and Jun, but they object to being called Orientals?!”

  • March 26, 2015 at 6:46 pm
    Just Sayin says:
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    When I was hired on as an AM, I was told the only way my salary would increase is if the book of business I’m handling increases. 4 years later, the revenue on the book is up by 50% and I’m still making the same salary!

    • March 27, 2015 at 10:02 am
      Agent says:
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      Just, are you selling or servicing business? If you are selling, you should get commissions on business sold or increasing revenue by cross selling etc. If you are just servicing, some of the revenue increase may be rate increases on existing clients. You should be pro active with your manager. Point out what you have done to increase revenue to the organization. They should recognize that and give you an increase. If I had an employee who increased revenue 50% on their book, I would certainly remunerate them for their effort.

      • March 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm
        insurance 102 says:
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    • March 27, 2015 at 12:05 pm
      FFA says:
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      Just, with the increase of cost shifting to the agency from the company, revenue pool is not as deep as it would have been. My printing cost along have increased dramatically over just a 5 year period. Not to mention the State & Fed Govt beating up the Unemployment & Tax rates. Throw in the additional cost of benefits & rent / building ownership…. The cost of communication is up, gas, electric, E&O…. The list of increases to the agency just keeps going on and on. It all diminishes the ability for me to pay my people more.

      • March 27, 2015 at 12:17 pm
        Just Sayin says:
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        I don’t think that’s the case when the owners, managers and partners are all driving brand new 75K+ cars. The agency books are growing, the agency is growing but the staff is not nor are the salaries.

        • March 27, 2015 at 3:33 pm
          Agent says:
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          Simple remedy, Just. Go ask for a raise if the agency books and revenue is growing and you had a hand in the growth. Have your ducks in a row and evidence of your worth and you may get a good reception.

      • March 27, 2015 at 3:29 pm
        Agent says:
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        You are right FFA. Most employees do not know how agencies expenses have grown over time. There is not one expense that has been less than the prior year. Another trick companies have done to reduce their expenses and increase ours is to download Commercial policies to us that we have to print out at our expense to send to the customer at higher postal rates. Most printing per page is at least 1.5 cents per sheet. Get some of those 100 page packages and see the expense go up. You usually print copy for insured and one for the agency for file. Pretty soon, you are looking at some money. Cha Ching!

        • March 27, 2015 at 4:07 pm
          agent14 says:
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          Also, not only are agency expenses up each year, but commissions are being cut by the carriers, and carriers are competing directly against the agencies. Surprised no one mentioned this yet. The net result of both of these carrier actions is less revenue to the agency channel.

          • March 27, 2015 at 5:25 pm
            Agent says:
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            Some carriers are playing both sides of the fence, offering online sales direct and still having agent business. Some of ours participated in Esurance (owned by Allstate). Some are in wholesale brokers for quote and bypass the agent. Very few are totally committed to their agent force. In spite of all of this, I remain committed to my business and roll with the punches.

  • March 27, 2015 at 3:07 pm
    wg says:
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    When I entered the insurance business in 1969, my commissions averaged 22%. Of course the premiums were lower, but the processing was nothing compared to today. The work load is much heavier and the agent must produce more and more info.I know the premiums are much higher and maybe I should be happy where I’m at, but look at the Realtors. In 1969 homes sold for $25000, and they were getting 7%.Today the average home is $350,000 and they’re still getting 7%. If they were insurance agents, they would only receive 1%.Realtors never let other people control the commissions. May be we could learn something here.

    • March 30, 2015 at 9:58 am
      Agent says:
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      wg, the difference is that Realtors are not contractually bound like we are and we agree to the terms of contracts between us and the company we represent. If we don’t like the commissions we get, we just don’t represent that company or write business with them. Yes, some have reduced commissions, particularly on renewals, but for the most part, we get by with what we get.

  • May 17, 2015 at 10:18 pm
    Unhappy CSR says:
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    I see the salary numbers for the East and I am in shock! I am in NY and have my P&C and LAH, and Im also a notary. I work 8 hours a day for $27,000 per year with NO benefits. I work for a long time independent agency,

    • May 18, 2015 at 10:06 am
      Agent says:
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      You should move to Texas so you could do better. No state income tax as well.



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