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Tail Wagging the Dog: Annuity Carriers Stealing Your Clients?

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It’s tough enough these days building a book of business and managing the controlled chaos of an independent practice. In fact, it’s no surprise that some predict that over the next few years there will be significantly fewer agents and advisors. And yet, the insurance carriers that aren’t folding up their tents and exiting the annuity business are sniping clients away from lower-producing agents. Yes, you read that correctly: Some of your favorite small town insurance carriers are stealing and re-assigning your clients to other agents.

This reeks of unethical behavior and is creating more headaches for agents whose stolen clients are not only confused, but also insulted.  How could some nearsighted insurance company blindly assign their account to a company-line toeing puppet who knows nothing about them? It’s no surprise either that the “hungry,” company-selected agent immediately shows concern and requests to meet urgently with your client to review all of their investments.

I have heard, seen and experienced this assault and burglary on a practice numerous times. It’s deplorable. How dare an insurance company maliciously breach the trust you placed with their organization by recommending their products? Those clients you brought to the annuity carrier are YOUR clients, not theirs. Yet this hijacking of clients is occurring more often now that cap rates are so low and more attractive alternatives exist for clients.

Your clients expect you to analyze, review and recommend unbiased products and investments.  What message is sent from the very top of the industry by the carriers when you’re held hostage to their production requirements or risk having your client base raided and assigned to commission-hungry salespeople?  Neither one product nor one carrier will always be the only choice or best choice for your client.  Once again we see how the elaborate incentive trips and “wining and dining” by the insurance companies disguises their true colors.  Benedict Arnolds are they and the stench of their tactics is appalling.  “Caveat emptor” now applies to the agent as well as the buyer, at least when entrusting their client’s money to unscrupulous, secondary market, one-trick pony insurance carriers.