This is planning season!  During this time of year insurance company executives are trooping through our offices asking for more business next year.  Often those discussions include talks about what they are offering in terms of compensation.

Unfortunately, in the current environment, those discussions often involve offers to pay less not more as carriers struggle to make money in a low interest rate high commoditization environment.

May I encourage you to push back?

If you are a high growth agent you have something very valuable that every company wants:  organic growth.  This makes you more valuable than agents who are growing (read the vast majority).  If you are producing good loss ratios you are worth even more.

As carriers become more sophisticated and data driven they are making increasingly sophisticated distinctions between agents.  They know better than ever before who makes them money and who doesn’t.  If you are one of those that do you should be asking for better than average compensation.  You won’t always get it but you should be persistent.

Here’s something else.

Put your business where you get paid the most!  Now I know the immediate reaction you are having is to say “I put business where it’s best for the customer”.  To which I call BS.  Most agents put it where it’s cheapest.  Then they put it where its best for the customer.

I think you should always put it where its best for the customer.  Every time.  That’s not always the cheapest.  But I think your second criteria should always be “who pays me the most”.  In the first place you’ll make more money and in the second you will encourage those carriers who don’t pay you the most to up the ante.  Why would anyone give business to a carrier who pays 8% commission when 15% is available at a competitive rate to the customer?  Its nuts but it’s done all the time.  Why would anyone put business with a company where you get no contingency instead of one where you do?  That’s crazy too.

You should know what everyone pays you.  Decide the best deal for your customer, then yourself, and then sell that.  When companies complain show them what others pay you and tell them when they step up to the plate with a better deal you’ll reward them.

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