New York Life Insurance Company Career – New Personal Financial Representatives Doomed?
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New York Life Insurance Company is large and successful. If you think life insurance careers are easy, think again. If you think personal financial representatives are entry level careers, you are doomed. Want the true facts about life insurance careers and personal financial representatives? Read this article.
I remember that years ago 15% of the women entering life insurance careers were women. Today with some career life insurance companies like New York Life Insurance Company that figure is now approaching close to 50%. Moreover, in a business already flooded with far too many male and female life insurance agents, their recruiting figures are up. This is a marketing scheme. Change the name to possible applicants from life insurance agents to financial representatives and suddenly an image of prestige and easy money appears. However, ask yourself why the insurer’s name is New York Life Insurance Company and not New York Financial Company. It is just a name game.
FACTUAL INFORMATION Recruiters of insurance agents or so called personal financial representatives have hardly been able to increase their retention rate during the first year and a half of the new recruit’s career. 10 years ago, 86% of newcomers left life insurance selling during their first 18 months, now that figure is 85% leaving, 15% remaining. After four full years of gaining experience, only 7% remain, and gender is not a factor.
Why does a highly respected company like New York Life Insurance Company hire over 3,500 reps in 2008? Their figures show appointing around 3,200 in 2007, and expecting 2009 to produce 3,500 new financial representatives to train. To me that adds up to 10,200 inexperienced reps in 3 years. Does anyone logically look at the numbers? This financially solid company founded in 1845 has a total agency force numbering slightly over 11,500. 90% of these are certainly are not newer financial representatives. The common interpretation of new hires retaining a lasting career is False. My analytical studies of New York Life Insurance Agents indicate slightly elevated retention than others. A similar insurance provider loses at least 70% of their first year agents.
New York Life Insurance Company still has poor retention rates. However, during the past 10 years they have implemented a strategy few of their competitors have not been as successful at imitating. That strategic method means recruiting agents, “financial representatives” with a keen emphasis on a wide diversity of cultural backgrounds. This a rapidly expanding area underserved by agents possessing the same nationality and ability to speak the language. This strategy involves personal representation into Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, India, Asian along with Hispanic and African-American and other cultural residents.
Even though New York Life Insurance Company recruits excessive numbers of agents, to result with the skilled few, this is the same numbers game practiced by competitors. Factually, it is a profitable tradition for the insurance provider, as departing agents sacrifice 100% of premiums collected to the company. To the credit of New York Life Insurance Company is this distinction. For many years, they hold the prestigious recognition of having the most MDRT, million dollar roundtable members. This does not mean making anywhere near a million dollars. However MDRT selling principles and premiums are adjusted yearly and strongly enforced to make sure qualifying is left to many of the best of the best.
A new agent is not a financial representative. This is where calling a new agent a financial representative or financial advisor, hurts all the truly experienced and knowledgeable professional personal financial representatives and planners. New York Life Insurance Company mentions on their website regarding new recruits the opportunity to provide vital insurance protection and financial advice. Be honest here. An agent trainee is barely able to properly perform prospecting and life insurance sales effectively. This explains why industry turnover is so great. Selling life insurance to cover death expenses or pay off a mortgage is a far cry from providing the accurate financial advice of a professional. Likewise obtaining a variable contract license to sell investment products does not mean an agent has the ability to do so properly.
A true financial representative must be very qualified to give advice. This often means meeting semi-wealthy to wealthy prospects and advising them how to lay out their entire financial situation. The planning could involve rearranging hundreds of thousands of dollars of assets. Given the economics of the near past, even some of the best financial planners have been given the cold shoulder by clients seeing their wealth accumulation slashed in half. New York Life Insurance Company certainly has some of the best experienced financial representatives in the business. However, most of these pros average 10 years of continued education and specialization while earning various designations as proof of their abilities.
An agent trainee is in the wonder years. Just selling enough insurance to survive the critical beginning years is a challenge few can master. Taking agents living in a $45,000 income area environment and getting them in front of million dollar clients is truly throwing them in the furnace to be burned. All salespeople have a comfort level of selling starting with prospects close to their own level. After sales skills and product knowledge, this level gradually increases. Few new agents comfortable with clients making $50,000 a year can quickly adapt to working in the $200,000+ yearly income bracket clientele. Ordinary middle class Americans do not need a financial representative, the service of a hard working life insurance agent will do fine.
Can a new financial representative make it? Although New York Life Company provides quality training, it cannot guarantee success. My previous insurance career and 25 years as an insurance advisor analyzing mountains of agent data says NO. However if a rep already has most of the following qualities or characteristics I could be convinced to say a 50/50 chance at best. You must enter the business in good financial condition, no loaded up credit cards, and hopefully a decent nest egg. If you have the ability to speak fluently a second language and are going to concentrate on your ethnic group that is a plus.
You must realize the average insurance agent earns around $25,000 yearly in the early stages, so you have to view this career as a step building process. Very few insurance agents or financial representatives, percentage wise, earn $100,000, especially during their initial four years. While product knowledge and most selling skills are learned over time, other career makers must already exist. An extraordinary dose of never-ending determination to break the odds, backed up with phenomenal self-confidence, plus a lack of fear and rejection are required prerequisites. Add to this the ability to take everything you are initially taught as a grain of salt and then revise it to perfection.
Never are you in the business as a company representative, you are in business for yourself. Financial rewards only come to those that separate themselves quickly from the failing masses. IF you still really feel you have what it takes after reading this article, a New York Life Insurance Company Career could become a reality.