Choosing an FMO That's Right for You
How do you choose the field marketing organization that’s right for you?
We may be a little biased, but we think our FMO is pretty great.
That being said, we want to make sure you can make an informed choice about your FMO partnership. Choosing the right FMO is serious business, and there are some things to look for.
First, does the FMO you’re considering have the contracts and products you want to offer? This could include broad product types, like Medicare products, group plans, life insurance, or annuities for example. But it can also include the specific carriers that are competitive in your area.
Here at Ritter, we contract with over eighty insurance carriers who offer Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, ancillary insurance products, long-term care insurance plans, and more! We’re always looking for strong, competitive products to offer our agents. Not only do we partner with many preferred carriers in the industry, we also offer contracting at full commission levels.
Next up on our list of considerations when choosing an FMO. Do their tools enhance your business? Ask yourself if the tools are focused on the products you sell? If an organization’s focus is life insurance and you sell Medicare Supplements, that might not be the FMO for you.
Consider if they mesh well with your business strategy, too. If they’re focused on getting you in the door but can’t tell you how they’ll help you when you’re an agent under them, you should probably keep looking.
When choosing an FMO, you should look for one that invests seventy-five percent of its resources into providing agents with sales tools and services and twenty-five percent into recruiting new agents.
What about their marketing support? Does it meet your current needs and give you room to grow? Don’t forget to ask about co-op marketing dollars and lead opportunities. Better to know that information up front than be surprised later. Let’s touch on marketing opportunities that may be available dependent on the carrier and the FMO.
Carriers are more likely to offer marketing allowances, co-op dollars, lead programs, and sales opportunities to Field Marketing Organizations to manage, rather than working directly with agents.
Finally, make sure you understand the business practices of your potential FMO. What is their release policy? Here at Ritter, we have an open release policy that we’ll link to on the resources page.
For some FMOs, you must either get a written release from your upline, or refrain from writing business for six months. That’s information you want to know before you join a field marketing organization.
It’s also wise to find out if your commissions are fully vested. That means that if you write a policy that renews or remains with a carrier past the initial policy term, the renewal commissions come to you, even if you stop working with that carrier.
Keep in mind, too, that while the government does regulate commissions, overrides, and renewal payments for Medicare Advantage and PDP products through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS for short.
Insurance companies can set their own commissions and overrides for non-CMS regulated products like Medicare Supplements, Ancillary products and Life and Annuity products, except in New York state.
It’s a lot to consider but choosing an FMO is one of the most important decisions for your insurance business. I’ll be honest, we would love for you to join our Ritter family of insurance agents.
At the end of the day though, the choice is yours.
Be sure to use these guidelines as you search and ask questions. The answers you find should help point you in the right direction.