A common yet important question all final expense agents should ask is, "What can I expect to earn in the final expense burial insurance business?"
The answer, of course, is, "It depends!" And this article will set out to define what to expect regarding commission levels and also to further investigate what details final expense agents need to be concerned with that factor into what they will ultimately NET (which is different from what they will GROSS).
For the most part, there is an inverse relationship between your gross commission level and the level of support you receive as an agent. However, many agents will attest that this is not always the case, as there are plenty of low-brow final expense agencies that con agents into low gross commission contracts yet do not provide a high level of support in return. Hopefully, with the knowledge gained from this article on final expense commissions, you will be able to determine which outfits will provide the best balance of value and gross commission levels.
Another reason I have written this article is that most agents get involved in the final expense business through the first person they meet; they have no benchmark to judge an offer against. Simply put, new final expense agents don't know what they don't know.
The Benchmark - Street Level Contracts
Street level contracts are defined entry-level contracts any agent can get without requiring proof of production. These are the highest no-production proof contracts new agents can get. Normally, agents can anticipate gross commission levels in the 100 to 110 first year commission percentage rate ranges.
So why don't all agents simply pick up street-level contracts? Because with the exchange in a higher gross, comes less involvement from the upline to train that agent. Additionally, there is rarely any support in the form of marketing for the street level agent, either. The agent is left up to his own abilities to find a marketing program, learn how to sell, and learn the nuances of the final expense business.
Most new final expense agents shack up with an agency on lower-than-street level contracts in exchange with the expectation of training, support, and access to a proven lead-generation system. Many of these organizations will require the new final expense agent to purchase his own leads, while others do all the lead management for the agent.
Agents that are responsible for purchasing final expense leads usually have a better gross commission contract than those who have the agency manage the lead program to reflect the added investment on behalf of the agent purchasing the leads.
A good rule of thumb for new final expense agents is to work with a final expense agency that will provide training, support, and a lead program (optimally using your own money) and in return, you should have a gross first year commission level between 80 and 100 percent.
Smart final expense agents understand that there is a lot of training he'll have to undertake, from product selection, lead selection, underwriting, to salesmanship. all of this factors into where your commission rate should be. Finding a final expense agency that will provide all of this to you, along with you getting a feel that you get along with the manager responsible for you, is a great way to get started in this business.
Blue Sky and Unfair Contracts
Beware! Always be suspicious of the agencies that sell you on "blue sky" - IE, they show you money, cars, material possessions, et cetera. Many times these agencies gloss over the extreme level of hard work and emotional discipline that it takes to succeed, and excite you with the possibilities of being rich and famous.
Also, beware of agencies with super-low first-year commission levels in the 50 percent to 70 percent range that actually require you to buy final expense leads at full pricing.
These agencies are committing highway robbery; the truth of this business is not everything you sell will actually stick, and you are at some financial risk from business that falls off the books and any advanced commissions you receive have to be repaid out of new business placed. Couple that with a full price lead bill, mostly likely in the several thousands, you have a recipe for financial disaster.
Ultimately, if you value support and training, and understand that you don't know what you don't know, you want to find a final expense agency that will provide you the tools to succeed in exchange for a short-term commission level reduction to reflect the value the agency is giving you. Yes, you do want to be at a street-level contract down the line, and if the agency is intelligent, they will show you to plan on how to earn you way to a top commission contract. Because, as first mentioned, your success is determined not just by what you make (your gross first year commission), but what you keep, which can be dramatically altered in a positive way by controlling lead costs, and optimizing your skill level to see more people and sell more insurance.