This is how Farmers Insurance treats their Agents and their Families

This is an open letter to all Farmers Insurance Agents from the widow of a recently deceased Farmers Insurance Agent.
My husband became a Farmers Agent 35 years ago in 1980. He was one of the top producing agents for his Regional
Office for the next 17 years with a stellar record of making all the achievement clubs every single year including Life and
Commercial Masters, Life and Commercial Round Table, Toppers club and Championship. He was even chosen as a
Presidents Council member twice.

In the late 1990s he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer of the colon and liver with a chance of survival that was less
than 15%. After undergoing semi-experimental, aggressive and extensive surgeries, a year of topical and systemic
chemotherapy and 5 weeks of grueling radiation, he managed to become cancer free and continue living, albeit with
somewhat impaired health and with less energy than before. He also had to learn to live with some of the side effects
of aggressive treatments stemming from impaired liver functions. The disease was an eye opener in many ways. The
first thing my husband realized was that the life insurance policies that he so good at selling did not really contribute to
agency building. One needed property and casualty policies for continued for renewal revenue. Being in the Los Angeles
metropolitan area he also knew that auto and home policies would come and go as Farmers Insurance did not really
provide a competitively priced product. He always liked the commercial side of insurance so he started building on that
side of the business. Of course as most agents know, the Farmers appetite in this area is very limiting, and therefore a
substantial amount of business had to be placed outside of the Farmers Group of companies.

Any agent who has been with Farmers long enough knows the carrot and stick approach the company uses to keep their
agents productive. Although my husband’s contract was the original 1980’s version with no requirement for production,
and freedom to place business outside if it does not fit the Farmers appetite, the insurance company started putting the
pressure on for my husband to be more productive. They had no consideration for the fact that my husband no longer
had the ability to work the 16 hours days he used to put in before he became sick. They threatened him with a multitude
of consequences, once with taking away the 500 and 700 accounts he had been given to service as other agents had
left or been terminated. Other times management walked in and randomly audited files for “misplaced” business (lucky
for us we extensively documented each file for declinations before placing it outside of Farmers). Another time a District
Agency Manager came into our office and very rudely tried to make my husband “retire” or resign, with no evidence
of any wrongdoing on my husband’s side. My husband, always the gentleman, allowed this representative of Farmers
Insurance rant and rave, with his district manager right there and unable to say anything. Eventually I interrupted the tirade
and pointed out to this man all that my husband had been through and all the side effects he lived with. That ended this
meeting, obviously with the realization that if any unreasonable steps were taken by Farmers, my husband would have an
airtight reason to sue for wrongful termination.

In February of this year my husband passed away after a rapid deterioration in health and multiple organ failure.
Throughout his somewhat lengthy hospitalization our son and I maintained his office, kept full office hours, and provided
full service to our Farmers Insurance policyholders. I had always been a part of my husband’s office, managing the office
and providing service support to his clients. I am fully licensed so everything was done properly and professionally. My
son is also a licensed producer and therefore we had a fully licensed staff in place even though the agent was unable to
be in the office. After my husband’s passing we tried to maintain reasonable office hours in order to service the clients.
The District Manager was full of sympathy and attended the funeral. The regional management wrote a glowing letter of
support and condolences and donated generously to the school my husband had always supported.

However, at the same time while I was in deep shock and full of grief, the District Manager started asking me what my
intentions were as far as the Farmers book of business was concerned.  He advised me anything I worked on from the
date of his death we would not be paid for. About ten days after his passing, I came into the office, turned on the agency
Dashboard and found I had no access. Still clueless, I called the helpdesk and was informed there was no such agent
in their system! I still had the Farmers files but I was unable to provide service to anyone. With no warning of any sort,
the management at Farmers had disconnected my husband’s agency. I still had not advised them as to what my family’s
intentions were. For all they knew, one of my sons or I could have wanted to continue on as a Farmers Agent.

However, my sons and I already knew the true nature of what it meant to be a Farmers agent. We knew there was more
stick than carrot in the way agents were treated. The 35 years my husband had been their agent had taught us both sides
of the Face of Farmers.

Soon after this, I received a letter from Farmers Insurance advising me that although I had promptly and diligently turned
in all of the files connected to my husband’s book of business to the District Manager, and also given them our dedicated
Farmers Insurance telephone number, I would not be paid the contract value for the next 90 days. My understanding is
that although I will not be paid for any policies I put in force after the day my husband died, they would have the right to
not pay me for any policies that lapsed or cancelled for the next 3 months. So as far as they are concerned my husband’s
contract stopped on the day he died, but the value of the agency could still decrease even though he was no longer an
agent. I wish someone could tell me how this can be legal! Even the district manager does not really know. He told me I
would probably be paid in 30 days. It has now been 45 days and I have not seen any checks from Farmers.

Therefore when an agent dies, his family is left high and dry with no income to even pay their bills if they rely solely on the
agent’s income from Farmers. Chances are a young agent’s family would be left in very dire straits if such an event were
to befall him. The intent of this letter is one of a cautionary tale. Who is going to pay your family’s or office bills if something
were to happen to you today? The new contract you might have signed really reins in your ability to have any form of
income outside of the Farmers agency. The Farmers Insurance Agents group life policy will not pay your family for at least
another 45 days and neither will the FNWL life insurance policy you might have purchased on yourself.

I am not an attorney, but I learned the hard way that when a sole proprietor dies his business dies with him. I am guessing
most Farmers agents might well be sole proprietors. Even as a corporation, the agent is always an individual. Agents need
to make sure they understand the ramifications of this in case something does happen to them. We sell life insurance to
protect families, and yet we do not really understand what can happen to our own families if suddenly we are no longer
there.

Mrs Vartan Karlubian

Source: UFAA The Voice

Farmers Insurance Agents Sue Carrier Over Contracts, Taking Client Info

A group of Farmers Group Inc. agents have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging the Los Angeles, Calif.-based carrier has undercut them by sharing their data with a competing subsidiary and several contract violations.

The United Farmers Agents Association alleges in its suit that the U.S. subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services in 2009 “began orchestrating and engaging in a series of improper actions” at the expense of Farmers agents.

Those alleged actions include Farmers unilaterally changing the terms of the contracts with its agents, the company using client data gathered by Farmers agents to undercut them and terminating agents through a purposely rigorous new set of standards to take away their books of business and give them to agents making lower commissions.

“Under this  scheme,  Farmers  utilizes  information  and  data  about  the Agents’ policyholders – information and data acquired by the Agents through Agents’ efforts – to directly solicit those Agents’ existing policyholders with less expensive insurance policies sold through a subsidiary of the exchanges,” the suit states.

The fallout between Farmers and its agents seems to have started in 2009 with Farmers purchase of direct writer 21st Century Insurance Group. Following that buyout, Farmers unveiled a series of performance programs subjecting agents to new standards, including production minimums, quoting requirements and office hours, according to the suit.

In 2009 Farmers introduced a modified version of the contract that pertains to agents who entered the contract after that date. That same year Farmers acquired 21st Century, a direct writer of primarily automobile and homeowners’ insurance.

Farmers completed the acquisition of 100 percent of AIG’s U.S. Personal Auto Group, which included 21st Century Insurance, in July 2009. In addition to 21st Century Insurance, the acquisition included the former AIG Direct business and Agency Auto business. The purchase price amounted to approximately $1.9 billion.

Unlike the agent-based model, 21st Century does not rely on agents to sell its insurance products, instead it markets and writes policies directly to consumers.

“By employing a direct writer approach, 21st Century can offer insurance at low  rates  which  undercut  the  rates  being  charged  to  the  Agents’  own customers  and policyholders,” the suit states.

Following the purchase of Century 21, Farmers began using applicant and policyholder data from agents under contract with Farmers and disseminating it to 21st Century and other Farmers-held companies that were competitors of its own agents, according to the suit.

“In both cases, Farmers, through 21st Century or another competitor, would then typically offer insurance policies to the Agents’ policyholders and prospective policyholders  at lower prices than those which Agents could offer,” the suit states.

“These new programs were unlike any past programs, in that they impose explicit  production  minimums  upon  Agents  without  their  consent;  irrespective  of  an Agent’s past performance; and without regard for whether an Agent even markets and sells the particular  type(s) of insurance required  to be marketed  and sold under  the various programs,” the suit states.

UFAA President Tom Schrader declined to discuss the suit in detail, citing his fears that bad publicity would impact Farmers’ clients and agents negatively.

“This is a fundamental disagreement between the company and the agents and we prefer to handle it in-house without airing our dirty laundry,” Schrader said.

Farmers spokesman Mark Toohey offered the following statement:

“Farmers Insurance strongly disagrees with the issues raised in this lawsuit. During our nearly 85-years of doing business in the United States, Farmers Insurance has taken great pride in the strong relationship we have developed with our agents and we look forward to the future.”

The suit continues: “Farmers has used and continues to use these programs as a basis for taking disciplinary and other action against Agents, including termination, in violation of the contracts, which do not contain any provision requiring Agents to meet performance standards of any kind.”

According to the suit, Farmers has also taken action against agents on the basis of the location and type of offices being maintained by agents.

UFAA is a not-for-profit professional trade association, and is a member of the Coalition of Exclusive Agents Associations Inc., a national organization of exclusive agent associations whose companies insure over 60 million families. UFAA describes itself as a voluntary membership  organization  with the purpose of improving working conditions for Farmers insurance agents.

Each member of UFAA represented in the suit has a contract with Farmers. Under the contract agents serve as independent contractors of Farmers and must extend the right of first refusal to Farmers to bind insurance coverage on behalf of applicants procured by the agents.

Aside from sharing agents’ clientele information and contract violations, the suit alleges that Farmers has been terminating some agents for failing to meet the new guidelines and taking their books of business, which under contract is owned by Farmers, and using those books of business to provide seed accounts to newly signed agents earning a smaller commission.

The suit further alleges that the new performance standards imposed upon agents by Farmers are designed to be difficult to meet and they are being used as a pretext for terminating agents.

Aside from setting daily minimums for agents to contact, quote and present insurance products, the new program often also requires agents to market or sell products they have never sold before, according to the suit.

The suit seeks declaratory relief and seeks a jury trial. No trial date has been set. Neither Farmers parent Zurich nor 21st Century are named as parties in the suit.

Click here to read a copy of the lawsuit online.

Source : http://www.insurancejournal.com

A Typical Farmers Insurance Interview

I understand that companies don’t hire every candidate and they have a certain selection process– what bothers me though are these nasty recruiters and hiring managers who just have to INSULT candidates interviewing. let me explain that this has happened to me and a friend of mine who interviewed with this company. now im a sales genius- top seller and performer in various venues….I know everything about the sales process and would be the ideal candidate for a position like what they had. now they don’t have to hire me or anyone but what bothered me is that during the interview process I was actually INSULTED by the hiring manager who interviewed me…oh yes INSULTED and told im quiet oh and that he wasn’t convinced I could sell- im laughing at this as I actually gave a TEN MINUTE dissertation on sales and the sales process and brilliantly described in detail everything which most people would never be able to do. they say they are looking for TRUE sales people yet completely treated me as if im a stupid unexperienced quiet person who has no idea what im talking about yet im a proven TOP performer for over ten years in sales? this was just HORRIBLE- they have NO RIGHT to insult candidates this way or even PUT DOWN their abilities..imo its VERY unprofessional- any dolt with a brain would say this is an exceptional person who understands sales beyond most others yet this jerk manager actually insulted me my speaking ability and my PROVEN SALES ability which is disgusting shame on him! he basically just treated me as if im a stupid female with no brain…what a pathetic loser? to judge and put down someone who is actually EXCEPTIONAL is a stupid and ridiculous thing to do esp if you have a position of power over that person..shame on them..

the problem is– when someone calls you QUIET what they are doing is really trying to socially dominate you and PUT you down in MANY WAYS–especially when you are far from quiet…they are trying to demean you, your self esteem, your speaking ability, your character and in essense are saying they are jealous of you and you will never have a chance around them- most people who are threatened by someone will say this to them…I have spoken with MANY quiet soft spoken people and no one ever insults them and they get hired for many positions yet those who are exceptional, outgoing, and who threaten the idiots in places especially like Orlando where losers cohabitate will wrongly get called something like this just to be insulted for no reason. now a hiring manager or recruiter saying this to someone is just a complete domination of that person- that person has no way of defending themselves except saying “well im not quiet.” really they’ve already lost.. and in essence its almost as if they are now arguing with the person or having to fight and in the end they will lose…the hiring manager is putting this person in a corner really and theres not much they can do…what bothers me about this pathetic interview is that I was told this by the nasty hiring manager who already decided he wanted nothing to do with me despite my brilliant answers and the fact that I spoke so intelligently for many minutes at a time about the sales process giving in depth excellent answers…to call someone QUIET after they have spoken for so long is absurd, unfair, ridiculous and a way of social dominance and utterly pathetic…a candidate can say nothing because the imbecilic recruiter has already decided they have the power and place to insult and socially dominate this person no matter what the circumstance…so the candidate not only won’t get hired despite the fact they SHOULD get hired but they will also be INSULTED and have their self esteem put down by this pathetic imbecile in a management position who feels they can treat the candidate this way because they are a recruiter in a position of power over that person….this was my experience with this company and just AWFUL.

its like telling a surgeron who has performed thousands of surgeries theyre not sure that person can do that…its completely FALSE and makes no sense. what’s worse is that the person I shadowed at the company knew NOTHING about sales and wasn’t even a seller and was horrible- in fact everyone there seemed terrible. Sure the company isn’t obligated to hire me or anyone if they choose not to but they have no right to literally insult candidates as if they have any idea…in fact im sure I could not only outsell the manager but am far better than him and maybe they are threatened by exceptional people but at this place they do not hire exceptional people but they insult them during interviews then reject them. I applied to work for these imbeciles- not only did I have all the qualifications but far exceeded them. I was told by the recruiter that someone wasn’t hired by them because the person gave a silly answer to a basic question..its very strange that someone can give in depth brilliant answers and still be insulted AND rejected. im amazing at sales and its been proven. Top performer at many positions. In my interview- I gave a ten minute dissertation on the sales process, something I doubt ANYONE can do and proved I knew everything about sales. of course because I am a female he had to put me down and say I am ‘soft spoken’ and he’s not sure I can do the position lol! ive been doing TELEPHONE SALES for over 10 years and a proven sales success and he’s telling me he isn’t sure I can sell insurance over the phone? is he crazy? Also I’m a sales GENIUS being able to sit there and analyze everything about sales, my call, the person I shadowed their call – EVERYTHING and this imbecile is saying he’s not sure I can SELL? the sales person I shadowed was horrible and not even a sales rep! He was awful and not even selling and completely stupid and this a**hole recruiter at farmers is trying to put ME down a sales freaking genius and also trying to say im “SOFT SPOKEN” after giving a dissertation on sales?? these managers these days are crazy- it seems they are threatened by exceptional people especially those who are women and its disturbing and disgusting. I think this was gender discrimination as im a pretty female and he just HAD to put me down and mistreat me in this terrible way. I KNEW I wasn’t hired the minute I left- and it’s really weird how recruiters these days are brain dead imbeciles who like to put down the BEST employees or potential employees and they hire complete dolts, stupid people and people who I think are just robots. for a company like this they should have been BEGGING to get a sales rep as good as me and someone not only who is so knowledgable but someone who knows everything about It and has a TON of experience- but no instead the trashy POS sales manager had to INSULT me and put me down even put down my speaking ability which is GREAT and my sales ability and say hes not sure or convinced I can SELL something ive been doing for over TEN YEARS being the TOP REP at every single place ive worked??? someone needs to teach tehse idiots a lesson….they have creeps as hiring managers and really crappy trashy people who insult and put down really amazing people…screw them!

also, once these nasty hiring managers do not hire you once…they will NEVER consider you again because they are in this case JEALOUS or threatened by your abilities and would never even think to hire you however they will hire total idiots who have no ability, no experience and who are horrible at the job!

my advice to people interviewing with this awful company is just act very stupid and sit there silent and act dumb because you will be praised rewarded for it and get hired- if you make a very STUPID mistake, they wont hire you but if you just act stupid and average they will like you and take you. however, if you are exceptional and great, they will insult berate you and then reject you immediately while laughing in your face…it’s a trashy and bad company beware…again what bothers me is that my talents and abilities were falsely INSULTED by the nasty manager rather than be praised for my excellent history and great sales abilities…how dare they do this to people coming in to interview–they try to break random people down? they have no place to do this….tehse people are far underqualified along with the people they hire and use their abilities to undermine demean and insult amazing candidates far above their crappy qualifications and far above their own selves…what a trashy place run by trashy crappy people…what bothers me about these terrible companies and crappy managers that do this is that, they promote STUPIDITY and bad workmanship…rather than praising and promoting individuals with TALENT INTELLECT and ABILITY they insult them during the interview process in turn trying to mess with their self esteem, their abilities…this is horrible really..is this what this society is coming down to–punishing those who are great and exceptional and rewarding idiots with no skills or abilities? this is what disgusts me about practices and companies like these that feel they can treat individuals this way…shame on them and hope they hire more dolts because that’s what that terrible place deserves…

Source: Compaints.com

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