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The first thing we think about when we hear the term “ethics” is our interaction with our clients. After all ethics is part of the CE credits we need every two years to keep our license in force, so we can continue providing our services and make a living.

So why then does ethics go out the window when some IMO’s conduct the business of their agencies?

Don’t get me wrong there are IMO’s that do act ethically in their day-to-day business. Unfortunately, it isn’t the IMO’s that promote recruiting as the first order of business.

I think you already know who those are…they tell you the way to make serious money is to recruit a downline and collect an override on their business often before you’ve even sold a policy. But this is only part of the unethical behavior.

The Kool-Aid they give you to drink includes commissions starting at 55% with the option of moving up to 70% when you build a team. You might get to 60% if your average production is $10,000 a month. You’ll receive a 10% override on your downline’s business plus your commission on the business you write.

People find this appealing, so they jump at the chance. Sounds like a good model after all when we look around at the upper management we see career and income growth. The agency founders have big homes, private planes, vacation homes, etc. all of which they say “…can be yours with hard work.”

Here is where ethics in business comes into play. The override they are collecting on you and your team is between 80% to 100%, double digit renewals, and most often a bonus of another 35%. Meaning they are making more money per policy then you are. Spread that comp over thousands of agents and they are rich, and you are not.

At that level it’s all about the number of agents in the system. Don’t think for a minute they care whether you stay or go. They don’t. Don’t think they care about the sales you’ve given them. They don’t.

Your immediate upline will lose out on your override, true, but it’s all about the money they’ll lose not about you or your career growth. Above your upline they’ll just move on giving your book of business to someone else to replace your business and get more commission.

It matters little to them if an individual agent succeeds or fails because there is a 100 more coming onboard each week, week in and week out. Ask about this and you’re told this isn’t going to work out…good bye. Or you’ll watch your leads suddenly dry up and you’re no longer able to provide a living for your family and when you do try to leave you find obstacle after obstacle.

So, what do ethical IMO’s that embrace ethics in their business look like? What do they do for their agents? How do you route out the truth of what they do?

First is what commission is being offered. If they are providing you with triple digit commissions then their override is the same as your override when you do build a team. Less if you and your team’s production is high enough.

Their main concern is your success. They continue to provide you with ways to acquire prospects or leads.  They look for your feedback; they bring on different tools to make your job easier. They will say, in writing, their release policy so if you do decide to leave you’re not held hostage. They’ll offer mentorship to help you grow; direction and a business path to achieve your goals not theirs.

I encourage everyone to do their due diligence and research the IMO they are thinking of joining. Did you find any negative reviews online? Have you enquired about them on the Insurance Forum? What does their website look like? Is it filled with pictures of their conventions or filled with ways on how to sell more?

Those IMO’s that are more concerned with your growth as an agent will have positive feedback on the Forum; their website will be filled information to help you grow. Instead of their convention, they will help you qualify for Carrier conventions.

Your book of business is your book of business. You own it not the IMO. This is what an IMO looks like that embraces ethics in business.

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