One of the draws to becoming an agent in the life insurance business is the notion of being in business for yourself. However, once having taken the leap into this career, many agents feel they are simply employees of a life insurance companyselling products and services to earn a commission.
Breaking out of this mindset can be very challenging, according to those agents who successfully have made the transition from company employee to independent business owner.
“The concept is the agent is now a businessman, and you have got to think like a businessman,” says Allan Oxman, principal of First Financial Resources, Charlotte, N.C.
When Oxman entered the life insurance business, like many, it was the promise of being in business for himself that attracted him most. But after spending a few years in a career agency, he started to feel like he worked for his primary carrier and just earned commissions. To make the transition into running his practice like a business, Oxman felt it was necessary to cut the ties and go independent.
The biggest challenge Oxman faced going independent was the loss of all his renewals. At the time, his contract with his primary carrier stated that should he leave the career system he would lose all his renewal income. “That was the biggest challenge, walking away from renewal income while creating your own overhead,” he says.
While leaving his career company did help Oxman become the business owner he wanted to be, others say that being independent isnt necessarily a requirement for running your practice as a business.
“Some are stuck thinking they are employees of the insurance company,” explains Charles Gleason of The Gleason Corporation Inc., Sanibel, Fla.
“Baloney! The agent is the customer of the insurance company,” he says. “When the agent realizes that he is an independent businessman, he can start thinking like one.”
Before coming into the life insurance business, Gleason was running a corporation with annual revenue of $3 million. With his business background, he started to apply the same principles to his life insurance practice, which included some detailed accounting. This is an important part of running your business–keeping a good set of books.