Insurance agents have a plethora of choices when it comes to how they can sell insurance, and what organizations they can partner with to make that happen. One of those options is an Insurance Marketing Organization, or IMO.
But, what is an IMO, how do they operate and are they a good fit for you and your goals? Let’s take a closer look.
What is an IMO?
An IMO is a large organization that holds licenses to sell various insurance products in most states. These organizations work with a large pool of insurance agents and insurance companies, from both small to big carriers.
An IMO typically has contracts directly with the insurance carriers themselves, which allows them to offer contracts to the agents they work with at better terms than the agents could get on their own.
What an IMO Offers
An IMO does a lot more than just offer insurance products. They offer services to help support agents, similar to what local brokerages do. These services allow agents to remain independent, while still getting support they need to make their jobs easier.
Each IMO will offer a different suite of services and support to their agents. Some examples of services they may offer include easy quoting tools, educational materials, ongoing training and even direct support with difficult cases.
One of the most valuable things an IMO can provide independent insurance agents is access to programs and training that helps support finding and nurturing prospects. IMOs are well-versed on how to create and run successful marketing programs that can attract new clients to your practice.
Other Benefits an IMO Provides
Many independent insurance agents, especially newer ones, struggle with selling. When insurance agents work directly with a local brokerage, they get training and support to help them build their sales skills. When they work independently, though, they’re often forced to figure this out on their own.
An IMO can help provide this sales training that is invaluable to all insurance agents. What’s more, the IMO can provide the sales training independent of the product. In other words, they will train you on how to actually sell, not how to sell a specific product or a specific brand.
Speaking of branding, IMOs can be extremely helpful in assisting independent insurance agents build their brand. This can be a huge boon, as branding is one of the most challenging aspects of being an independent insurance agent.
When agents work with a local brokerage, they benefit from the immense power of national insurance brands. This built-in name recognition doesn’t exist for independent agents, though. IMOs can help agents elevate their practice to compete with some of these firms that will have that brand recognition.
IMOs also have established long-term partnerships with some valuable resources from which independent agents can benefit. This could be with a Registered Investment Advisor or a Broker/Dealer. These two partnerships, for instance, could help independent agents expand their roles so they can assist clients with wrapping insurance products into their big-picture financial plan.
Finally, IMOs do provide product support as well. Every reputable IMO will have product experts that can help answer questions and provide direction on any number of insurance products, such as life insurance, auto insurance and homeowners insurance.
This product support can help independent agents become well-versed in a wide variety of insurance products, allowing them to expand their product offerings to their own clients.
How IMOs Benefit
IMOs benefit when their agents perform well. They get paid directly from the insurance carriers when agents sell their products. This is why IMOs work hard to make sure that all the agents they work with are successful at what they do.
In essence, this is a mutually-beneficial relationship for agents and IMOs. Agents benefit from all the immense services and support they receive from the IMO, and the IMO benefits by getting paid when their agents do well.
One thing independent agents need to realize is that many of the top insurance carriers will no longer work directly with them. Instead, they force agents to work with some type of umbrella organization — be it a local brokerage or an IMO, for instance. This is yet another reason why IMOs are so beneficial to agents who like the freedom of remaining independent.
The IMOs will pay commissions directly to the agents when they sell products, as they are receiving the payments directly from the insurance carriers themselves.