June 19, 2019

I’m An Insurance Producer. I Want To Relocate. Will Another Agency Hire Me?

by Scott Thompson

Life happens. You build a career in one community, but things change and you need to move home (#1 reason for relocation) or:

  • Your spouse’s job necessities relocation
  • Your parents are aging; you need to be near them for ongoing care
  • Your children are in a new school and you want to be closer to them
  • Your children are grown and having kids of your own. #1 grandparent status awaits.

Relocation is especially tricky for insurance producers. Agencies don’t like remote employees, retention might suffer being farther from accounts or you start producing in a new area the market access cannot support. Never fear!  Relocation is possible for you. Insurance agencies will hire experienced producers relocating to their city. I’ve helped numerous producers find new career opportunities without a book of business following them.  There’s a method to the madness. It’s all in how your story is presented. Rather than say, “Hey I’m a great producer – you should hire me!”  I advise people to consider several factors. 

1. Will Another Agency Hire Me?

This one is easy.  Yes – agencies will always hire successful salespeople!  However, you need compelling reasons beyond what you previously sold. 

  • Show that you have thought about the process beyond the physical move. Research the market.
  • Prepare a business plan focusing on the short term (30, 60, 90 180 days out)
  • Obtain a copy of your non-compete
  • Outline an honest timeline of your future success (aka, how long will it take you to validate).

2. Tout A Niche

This is the #1 way to create intrigue with agencies.  There are two types of producers.

  1. Generalists: They write whatever comes across their desk
  2. Vertical Specialists: They target accounts in specific areas based on synergy, market access and account size.

Which one of these seems easier to replicate?  I find a lot of producers are specialists but have never thought to tailor their identity. Does this mean one type of account is the only thing you write?  No, but I have found producers who tout areas of expertise are imminently more hirable.

3. A Legitimate Reason for Moving

Do you know how I can tell if someone is serious about moving?  I ask them why they want to move.  Look, moving sucks.  It really sucks.  There has to be a good reason that is compelling you to pick up your life, uproot your family and move.  If you can’t state why you want to move in less than two sentences then you need to rethink relocation.  Even worse than a convoluted answer is an undefined answer.  If you are interviewing for a job and your answer is, “I don’t know, I’m just exploring my options.” that’s a big turn off. 

4. Don't Price Yourself Out of The Market

Compensation is the most important factor to weigh in your relocation job search.  Plan on taking a pay cut. There are only two ways to avoid a hit to your earnings in the first 24 months of relocation.

  1. Your book of business follows
  2. You assume an existing book of business
  3. You leave sales and move into management

I caution people when sharing current compensation not to let agencies think that’s their firm requirement. Instead, speak in ranges or minimums. No agency wants you to live in financial ruin while rebuilding your book. This may be a case where the base is modest, but the commission plan is huge. You know what works for your personal financial situation. Look at worst case scenarios with your family and plan a new budget accordingly.

5. Relocation Expenses

Finally, you need to know how much it will cost your family to move.  Just a heads up, it has been my experience that most agencies don’t pay for a pack and move for two reasons.

  1. You knocked on their door first. Its different if they sought you out in this move.
  2. This is an opportunity hire. They aren’t hiring you for a formal opening that was budgeted.   

Signing bonuses are a really effective tool in the offer process. The money can be applied to relocation expenses or bridge a gap income that you’re walking away from (say commissions coming due or a smaller guaranteed draw). 

Are you ready to move?  If so, reach out!  Capstone is a national insurance recruiting firm. We have agency relationships in every corner of the U.S. No insurance market is too big or too small. If you’re looking to be in a new zip code, we would love to help! Message me today at sthompson@csgrecruiting.com for a confidential conversation.

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