Is your FMO/IMO acting ethically regarding your career? After all a course in ethics is required every two years to maintain your life insurance license. The FMO/IMO in this case is the seller of value and you as a producer is the recipient expected to trust in the value the FMO/IMO is promising.

We’ve all heard the promises, “We have Exclusive A leads;” $10 Exclusive “A” Telemarketed Leads;” “High Contracts;” “Free Leads;” the list goes on and on. The picture is painted that the grass is greener on our side the fence. However, when we get there you find out the details realizing yet again you were handed promises that rarely come to fruition.

You find that “Exclusive Leads” doesn’t mean that they’re fresh nor never been already worked, but rather they are several months old and been sold 2-3-4 times to other agents. But now they’re “Exclusive” to you. You find telemarketed leads can be fresh but you’re only going to get 5-10 a week for two weeks before you are off to a new area.

I’ve worked telemarketed leads (when they were legal to generate, which now they are not) you run out of areas to work disparately trying to get fresh leads even when you are driving a two-hour radius of you home. The closing ratio and persistency put your carrier contracts in jeopardy and you spend half your time chasing after lapsed business. But you’re told not to worry about lapses and chargebacks because you’ll have so much business you’ll never notice.

You find that their "high contracts" are actually 75% to 95% for Final Expense with oftentimes less for Mortgage Protection. They tote their commissions as above industry standards showing on paper what you’ll make with them. Try to leave that IMO when you find they’ve misled you…they won’t issue a release from their carriers so you can move somewhere else and even if they eventually do release you, they tell you your book of business belongs to them.

Don’t be fooled by free leads or inexpensive direct-mail leads. They’ll be a year or two old and you might close quickly realize you cannot make enough money to support yourself let alone your family.

Those types of FMO/IMO’s always parade their agents showing awards and plaque’s with how successful they are “…this could be you.” After some time passes you find that those same producers only made $40,000 a year in income. But the promise to you when you first came onboard was a six-figure income.

Bottom line: ask yourself, are they acting ethically? To ethical people, self-respect and honesty is more important than any reward someone else could offer. That fact doesn't change even when unethical people seem to benefit from their behavior or when ethical conduct goes unrecognized. Ethical people do the right thing just because it's the right thing to do.

As a practical matter, there may always be a few "bad apples" in the life insurance business, as there will be in any industry. But we can't let that be an excuse for complacency. Finding a FMO/IMO that is transparent about what you can expect, add true value that will move your career forward, and operating with honesty always demonstrating as well as expecting ethical behavior is the place to partner with. Legacy is that partner.


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