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When the impact of the Great Recession was felt by insurance agencies in 2008, I was only 18 months into my recruiting career at Capstone. I remember agencies going from a high volume of claims, loss control and account management projects hiring projects to almost none in the non-revenue bucket. At this point in the economic crisis, companies only wanted candidates who generated revenue. My partners and I, former insurance producers, decided we needed to shift our focus to recruiting producers if we wanted to keep Capstone afloat.

What not to do when recruiting insurance producers

Clearly we left the lights on. In 2022, Capstone celebrated its 20th anniversary, and producer recruitment remains a huge part of our practice. We do it in ways that might surprise you.

  • We don’t smile and we don’t recruit.
  • We do not review listings for anyone with an insurance license.
  • We do not post general job ads.
  • We don’t scream “We’re hiring producers!!” on LinkedIn.

These things didn’t work 17 years ago and they don’t work today, even though that’s how I see so many insurance agencies and recruiters targeting sales candidates.

Critical element agencies must attract marketers

You should aim to make each producer recruitment project unique. An agency recently told me they plan to hire 10 new producers in 2023, but they can’t tell one hire from another. Unfortunately, they’ll have limited recruiting success because candidates give up when the plan sounds homogenous.

You need to isolate specific skills (aka a great profile) and have a compelling story (aka a unique pitch).

The profile of the target candidate

Think of it like any other rental. What do you want this resume to look like?

Experience: How much career experience and with what titles, types of companies and success?

source: What type of agency (large brokers, regional agencies or small independents)? What about the captives?

Compensation: What is your structure – guaranteed salary or step-down basis? What are the commission breakdowns — during and after validation? What is the maximum salary you will invest during validation? What is the sales target for the first year and the estimated total compensation for the first year?

Great presentation of the company

Saying “Our agency is looking to hire good producers” doesn’t work. Three offers pique the seller’s interest.

The liberation. They don’t like where they work. You are the antithesis of their employer. This works if you want to receive from large corporations or stores that are vulnerable to acquisition. Producers are willing to consider changing jobs when it’s clear their agency has no perpetuation strategy or will be constantly bought and sold.

Worship. You need them more than they need you. You see ways to capitalize on unused revenue, which benefits the candidate and you. You want to target manufacturers in vertical/product groups (construction, trucking, healthcare, etc.). You want to expand geographically. In addition, their market knowledge carries the flag into new areas. You have retirement coming up and you can’t give a legacy business to a newbie.

Rejuvenation. They want to contribute in many ways. Some mid-career producers want to contribute beyond just selling. This could be office and/or people management. Some can build teams and train/mentor other traders. Others want to contribute as an owner or shareholder.

Let me teach you a better way

My team is taking time to think about how we will explore prospects. We are extremely methodical in the way we approach candidates. We are interested in how the message is interpreted. Ultimately, we want to create commitment from all parties in the process. It’s not a numbers game. Recruiting producers is quality over quantity.

I encourage you to do the same. You won’t find a rulebook for recruiting producers, but I can help you customize the process to fit your culture.

You can also find additional information on recruiting producers in previous ATIR articles. Check out these past Insurance Journal columns: Never Say This to a Prospective Producer During an Interview and in their own words: Why Producers Change Jobs.


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