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Final Expense Agent Failure to Success

Final expense sales success or failure rates

Final Expense Agent Failure to Success

How hard is it, to become a successful final expense agent?

Most agents that are recruited into our industry often end up failing out. The reason may not be what you think. A lot of insurance agents are recruited by marketers that are selling an idea, and use multi level marketing as the attraction. By teasing the prospect, aka the unlicensed agent, with a carrot attached to a string, it’s easy to draw an almost impossible map to success. These MLM companies stack the deck against the final expense agent right from the start, and yet they come off as very attractive.

The problem with this type of recruiting is that the dream of wealth is barely within reach, even for the most aggressive agent. That means that most recruits don’t have a chance from the start. When you add in the low commission that these type of MLM organizations offer, the chances of success drops even more. This is the main reason that most agents fail out of the industry or get into debt in their first year. Being a final expense agent with the wrong company can be detrimental. Also, most of these companies usually won’t release you, therefore, you have to go 6 months without writing them before you can be re-contracted with a new IMO.

Even worse, there of these companies have horrible products. Especially the one who’s agency owners run around showing their Form W2 as a recruiting method! They give the old, “look, you can be like me if you recruit” nonsense. They train agents to not only sell their over priced insurance policy, but to recruit. Talk about stacking the deck! Be weary of any company that parades agents in front of you, while claiming it’s easy to grow a team. Trust me it’s not. A lot of these recruiters are super unethical too!

Every Final Expense Agent Needs to Know

Where To Begin

How To Start Off Strong

About Final Expense Leads

How To Get Competitive Products

What Fair Commission Levels Are

The Importance of Training

About Building An Agency

How to Escape From Your Current IMO

Where to begin

Are you the type of final expense agent that can learn from home?

If you’re unlicensed or a brand new final expense agent, I suggest you find a place that matches your goals and personality. Here’s what I mean. Some people are great at working and learning from home. They have the ability to accomplish a structured work schedule from their house and are great self learners who can commit to a regular schedule without distraction. This type of person can learn and study webinars and training videos from home and is well disciplined. They don’t need to have someone standing over them. Unfortunately, this type of work ethic and dedication is not very common. Most people need to be managed as they get sidetracked easily. There area lot of moving parts in our industry for a new final expense agent to learn. Let’s face it, final expense sales can be difficult in the beginning.

If you’re brand new, you most likely need to be managed. This is how I learned life insurance sales and it worked for me. There are some give and takes at being a captive final expense agent. One of the pros is that you will have an office to go to for training. If you are thinking about being a captive agent, with no place to go for daily training, you are likely making a big mistake. The idea is to have someone who will work with you on a daily basis. This will in turn, help you cut through the learning curve quicker than if you worked from your own home office. Being managed is important for most as you know what is expected and are reminded on a daily basis.

The Give and Take

The negative thing about being a captive final expense agent is usually the commission level. By being a captive agent, you will be giving up a certain amount of your commission. My commission level was 60% at my first life insurance gig. We were required to buy at least 10 direct mail leads each week @ $30 each. Back then we were selling mortgage protection insurance. I saw agent after agent fail out of our office or leave because of the pressure from the owner added to the low commission levels we had. In the end I learned a lot but paid dearly for that education. Using companies like this as a stepping stone is smart, if you can get out before it’s too late. Everyone has to start somewhere and whether you start at 50% commission or 150%, it always comes down to work ethic.

Here’s the thing! I know there are successful agent that are on 60 or 70% commission levels. They are successful because they do whatever it takes to make it. Here’s an analogy that is interesting. There is an area in Florida where we’ve had 3 agents fail. I went there, ran leads, and was pretty sure the problem wasn’t the area. Six months ago, we brought another agent on board. He has this really positive, can’t fail attitude and backs it by working his butt of. This dude has been working that same area now and is our top agent in Florida. He even beat my daily application count by making 14 sales in a single day. Anyone can make it in our business by grinding through the learning curve and not giving up. It always comes down to work ethic.

How important is training?

Training for a final expense agent can be tedious

Remember, the whole idea of being captive is that you are required to go into an office for training, daily. If your captive agency isn’t doing this, find somewhere else to start your career. A lot of IMO’s have their training designed so that you can do it from home. We have a very intensive program. Over a 4 week period, we give our agents weekly assignments. If you spend hours studying and working on the assignments, you can learn our business from home. Without the right attitude and discipline, this will not work for you. You must be self disciplined to learn our business on your own.

On a regular basis, we see agents come and go. They will commit thousands of dollars to buying leads, won’t study the presentation or products, andend up out in the field, bumbling around the presentation and don’t know what to do once they do close the sales. Then they want to quit, right after they start. All because they don’t have the discipline to study and work from home! Sadly, lots of agents fail out of the industry because they simply wont put in the necessary time to be a successful final expense agent.

On the other hand, we see agent that take full advantage of the tools we offer. They spend hours and hours working hard through the training and excel in our business immediately. You will always reap what you sow and get out of the business what you put into your training. The harder you study and learn the presentation, the better your presentation will look and sound. Having a mindset for success can get you far. With the right combination of training and work ethic, you can have a very lucrative career as a final expense agent.

Are some carriers better than others?

We have the best insurance companies to sell for as a final expense agent

Yes, all the carriers are different. It’s important for each final expense agent to lead with a carrier that is easy to work with and has competitive prices. Product knowledge is important too. While you are learning to lead with a specific carrier, you really want to know as much about that carriers as possible. It’s important to do your due diligence and learn the application first. Learn the underwriting, and learn how the carrier views specific health conditions, otherwise you will be in trouble from day one. Each carrier has different niche’s so try to lead with a carrier that is extremely flexible with their underwriting. You’ll also want to know what form of payments the carrier will and will not take.

Here are some of the most common ailments that we see on a daily basis.  High blood pressure, diabetes, mental health issues, depression, chronic arthritis, and folks on pain medication! You’ll want to lead with a carrier that can offer first day coverage to people with these issues as they are extremely common. Having a lineup of competitive carriers that can offer first day coverage to folks with the following ailments is important too. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, neuropathy, atrial fibrillation, angina, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and Parkinson disease, to mention a few!

Always have the underwriting phone number handy for when you are with a client because there will be times when you need an underwriting assessment. Remember, it’s important to be prepared. If you are not prepared, your chances for success will be lower than if you are prepared. Yes, this is common sense but it needs to be said. It’s important for each final expense agent to do the work necessary to learn the products or failure is imminent.

What about leads?

Final expense telemarketing leads gets you prospects which turn to sales

Without leads, you are probably not going to have anyone to sell to. Here is one thing that I know!  A final expense agent with leads will sell more than an agent without leads. Most of the guys and gals that don’t work leads, fail out of the industry in the first year. A final expense agent that works a weekly regimen of leads, has a much higher success ratio than agents without leads. Those who  work direct mail leads, do much better than agents working other forms of leads because of the difference in lead quality. The good news is that there are many types of leads available that target our final expense market. Even a new final expense agent has plenty of options and can easily find leads that are affordable.

Like many final expense IMO’s, we have a few different lead programs to offer. As a new final expense agent, it’s important to be able to have affordable leads. Not everyone can afford the high quality direct mail leads. This is why we discount our $15 telemarketing lead to agents for $9 each. With 20-30 telemarketing leads each week, even a new agent will be able to get in front of lots of prospects. When you make lots of presentations, you will likely make sales, no matter how new you are. Affordable TM leads are a great way to break into the industry as the return on investment is usually very high. We also have Facebook leads. They cost around $20 each but are usually as effective if not more effective than direct mail leads.

Do I Need Money For Leads?

broke final expense agent

Starting a new business without startup funds isn’t smart. The problem is that a lot of agents reading this fall into the category mentioned earlier in this article. You were recruited by an MLM organization and didn’t need much money to get started. Now that you’ve spent your money and are on your way to failure, you have found us and are in a financial bind. No worries! You can easily purchase a door knocking list from several companies. You can also just go out and cold door knock or walk around some neighborhoods talking with the folks that are hanging out. I don’t recommend working your warm market until you absolutely know what you are doing and are already selling with a lead program.

There are several reasons that I am against newly licensed agents selling friends and family. First off, you are new and really don’t know the products. You’ll likely sell the wrong products to your own family members. The next thing you know, you’re twisting your business. This is a great way to go into debt and lose your license. Remember, 9 months advanced money is exactly that. You are being advanced money that is not yet earned. Cancelling a policy after you get paid and reselling the same person a different policy is unethical. This behavior can result in fines, losing your license, and potentially can land you in front of a judge. This is why it’s a bad idea to sell insurance to friends and family until you are a professional in the business.

How do I know if my commission level is fair?

final expense agents get lied to all the time

Strong carrier contracts and fair commission levels can make or break a final expense agent.! There are times when it makes sense to have sub 100% first year commission levels.  If your agency is discounting your leads, or giving subsidizing leads, it makes sense. If you are getting hands on training, it makes sense. As far as I’m concerned, this is a fair exchange in a lot of cases. There are a lot of final expense companies that recruit agents to discounted or aged lead programs and give them hands on training. You have to do the research and decide what commission level is too low for what you are receiving in return. The problem with being new is that you have no real way of determining a fair commission exchange.

Any final expense agent with commission levels below 70% better be getting free leads! If you’re not getting free leads and your commission levels is at 60 or 70%, I think you’re probably getting ripped off therefore, I suggest shopping around for another IMO. For a brand new agent that is going into an office for training, it makes sense to have a lower commission. Either way, we think that every final expense agent should be treated fair and have normal commission levels! If you don’t know what normal commission levels are, then feel free to contact us. I will gladly go over our commission schedule with anyone that asks me. Keep this in mind. There are a lot of old school, unscrupulous recruiters out there that are good at making things seem different than what they really are. You need to follow your heart.

What if I want to have my own insurance agency one day?

There is nothing wrong with building a final expense agent team if you're a leader

Great! In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with building an insurance agency as long as you do it from the ground up. In other words, learn the business. Become a talented and professional final expense agent first. Once you are successful at selling final expense, you have something attractive to offer. Not only that but you need to know the products and industry before you try to build an insurance agency. I see new agents come and go that try to “build a team” without knowing what they are doing. Think about it. If you don’t know what you’re doing, who in their right mind will follow or want to work with you? Only a moron will want to learn a business from someone who is not successful at that business.

On the other hand, if you’re successful and know all the ins and outs of the business, people will want to follow you. You will be able to take prospective agents on ride along’s so they can see what you do. When they see you sell, the idea of selling life insurance products might be attractive to them. They will also get to see what the market we target is like. Selling to fixed income seniors is not for everyone. When we first got into this industry, I remember having my doubts. One of the things I didn’t care for, was selling life insurance to people that were barely able to pay their bills. This reminds me of something that a friend said to me once. “It’s easier to sell to the poor than it is to the rich, especially if it’s something they actually need”.

What if I am already with a Multi Level Marketing company and would like to escape?

If you're a final expense agent, you need to escape

There are a few things you can do. Consider speaking to me first. I know that every situation is unique therefore, your situation will be different than the next agent. You may be contracted with an agency that will release you. If this is the case, there are other options. You might actually be very lucky. Some companies have their own products. If they have their own final expense product, then you only have 1 product to learn. Unfortunately, most of these companies over price their products. A final expense agent without competitive products has the cards stacked against him.

In most cases, you will be able to contract with great carriers and not worry about a release. This is the idea scenario but it doesn’t always work out this way. Either way, I will be happy to guide you. Even if it is to one of my competitors! We do not want to recruit everyone. Need to get a release from your current IMO? Check out the video below! If you would like to contact me directly, just shoot me an email at I have no problem with giving you some direction. It’s tough when you’re new. The last thing you need is to try to figure this all out on your own, without help. Working with an all in one, final expense IMO can be priceless, and finding the right one, doesn’t always come easy. Happy Hunting!


Douglas Massi

Douglas Massi has written more than $400,000 of AP in a single year. Accolades include Top Agent 2014 5 Star, Top Producer 2015 Security National Life, Top Producer 2016 Security National Life, Top Producer 2017 Security National Life