October 27, 2021

The Insurance Industry and Agents

 I am astonished, almost to the point of being amazed. Let me explain. 

After you past the insurance test and get licensed in the state you past the test, that is the end. 

Everything is radio silence, UNLESS you were doing this to work as a captive agent.  

A captive agent means that you work FOR an insurance company...like Allstate.  A JOB. 

If you are doing this to be "uncaptive" or a "broker" to represent several insurance companies then nothing, you are totally on your own to figure it out. 

As I was studying for my license the topic/type of insurance that interested me the most was for eldery - Medicare.  I also certainly have an interest in Cancer Insurance (I know the importance of it) and Life Insurance, but when I looked at where to start it seemed to me that everyone turning 65 will need Medicare so you have people who actually need the insurance. 

So, back in the September timeframe I started to research what it takes to sell Medicare Insurance.  If I thought studying for the state exam was a lot of information studying for Medicare was just as bad, maybe worse.  You have to take and pass an annual certification.  Basically it is 4 modules and a bunch of just PowerPoint Slides  -  no audio  -  no video -  just slides you read.  It took me WEEKS to get through all of that. I passed.  

In the middle of going through the Medicare Certification called AHIP I found someone locally on

line that I thought could help me understand this industry so I contacted her and met with her.  She  explained FMO's.  Those are Field Marketing Organizations. She would not however tell me which FMO she was with, because that would be giving me too much information.  Okay. 

Basically what it boils down to is most insurance companies (I think throughout the industry but certainly for Medicare) don't "employ" agents (captive) they use non-captive agents as FIELD Marketing and these FMO's sign-up these agents to CONTRACT with each of the insurance companies and in return the FMO's and the person who signed you up (the lady I met with) gets an "override" commission for each policy the non-captive agent sales. Good Grief.  How did this happen?  When did this happen? 

So, I sign up with her and the FMO, go to a meeting with about 50 other independant agents and take notes.  I'm still in disbelief of the process. After this I start CONTRACTING with the health insurance companies.  Each company has a different process.  

It has gotten to the point that I need to STOP and get further information (that you don't know to ask upfront), such as: 

1. If I want to be "released" from my contracts with the FMO what is their policy on releases?

2. Do they offer any type of training? 

3. What exactly is the commission structure? 

4. Do they provide leads (another unbelievable process)? 

5. How are they different than other FMOs?

I placed a call and got a call back from someone at the FMO and waiting for a call back.   

In the meantime I found some training on line for Medicare Training.  I've signed up and it's pretty good...but I am paying for this training.  Obviously there is a need for training.  

This is one of those, you don't know what you don't know. Good thing I like to learn.