- Report: #280501
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: Combined Insurance Company Of America
Combined Insurance Company Of America5050 N. Broadway Chicago, Illinois U.S.A.
Combined Insurance Company Of America Everyone prior isn't far from the truth Chicago, Illinois
Prospective agent is contacted by a company rep after their resume has been found on the internet. A date and time is set to attend a "Seminar". During the seminar you learn a brief history of the company, asked a series of questions such as "Is this the type of company you like to be associated with?" After the seminar those interested in continuing the interview process. If you are those that stay are given the "Wonderlic" test. Following a passing score (arbitrary depending on how bad they need to hire agents) and interview is done, application completed, and the prospect is told they will receive a phone later that evening to let them how they did that day. If the recruiter decides to proceed with the individual, they set what is known as a "Field Demo" where the applicant spends the day riding around with a sales manager.
Sales school is scheduled in Chicago. The agent receives a stipend of $150 for a 2 week period, the hotel is paid, and breakfast is normally available. Lunch and dinner must be paid by the agent. Sales school teaches nothing more than the products, responses for objections, and the philosophy of W. Clement Stone. After sales school the agent returns to their branch for field training also known as their PAL week.
During this week the agent receives $360 from the promised $500 (taxes are not mentioned during the interview). The next week they spend 2 days with the branch manager, 2 days with the sales manager. During this time the sales manager is urged (sic, badgered) to make sure that the new agent makes his/her bonus. If they do not it has been common practice for the sales manager to be told to take policies they have without the agent and "give" it to them so the new agent bonuses. (Opps money out of the sales managers family budget)
Yes, sales managers get over-rides on their agent of 26% but when you understand that on a typical application they receive a commission of 35%, well, you see the disparity. After agents have earned what is called the "Ruby" award they are eligible for promotion to management. Take note, I did not say capable of being a manager, some are, most aren't but if the company promotes agents to managers they can hire more agents (bottom line the all might dollar).
Typical work week for anyone other than branch managers and above. You receive an "assignment" from your branch manager via your sales manager. Now these are lead cards of current or prior policyholder that the accident division has sold policies to in the past. Most cards are not active clients although during the interview process you will be shown boxes and boxes of "Lead cards", (See we have plenty of people for you to contact!)
In my tenure with combined not unlike others that have posted here, I have been cussed at, told the previous agent had lied (and have seen printed evidence) about the coverage. Working for this company you are told we do what is in the best interest of the policyholder. But heaven help you if you replace a policy or the client cancels a policy during the 9 months following an agent having written a new policy. The agent is charged back all the commission they were paid for that sale. This whether or not they had knowledge of the client doing so.
Assignments can be as close as your own city or as far away as 100+ miles. Sometimes you get a hotel, sometimes you don't. The average people can spend $150 or more on gas in a week and if you don't sell anything well that's more money you lose. Add into the mix that you need to buy lunch and sometimes dinner out in the field and you can be spending over $200 a week or more. If you go on an "Ardmore"(working in a city in a controlled (quote/unquote) environment you spend even more.
On ardmores sales managers are expected to sell at least $5000 in annual premium for the week. If they don't they are chastised on conference calls, and during what is called a career development interview, aka "an ass chewing" by an executive usually your regional manager.
Realizing this is a commission job most understand long hours and no pay if they don't make a sale. But it happens. Don't let the higher up's know that though. All they want to know is the bottom line and how close they will be this year to earning their bonus which before taxes can range from $40K up.
Morning meetings, what a colossal waste of time, rah-rah session purported to improve you mental attitude. Good news that is you haven't done as well as other is designed to give dissatisfactional inspiration so you are motivated to work harder. Help the agent or sales manager that doesn't write business during the week and get "In-field" because that means a lost "man week". That affects everyone's bonus from the branch manager on up. Opps, gee I'm sorry I didn't ram a policy down a clients throat so you could max your bonus.
Referrals, which are the keystone of any commission job are pushed and rightly so. However, when you are recruited you will be told "there is no cold calling involved". Well b.s., combined uses the "T system" where you go across the street, and next door on both sides of the client you have just left in hopes of getting in a presentation. They there is "target marketing", focusing on like businesses, using the same get in the door pitch. Well, as they say "A rose by another name." Colds do exist in this company and they are just sugar coated to sound more palatable.
New agents are told they can make $50K in the 1st year. Things like renewals, bonuses, etc are factored into this number to sweeten it up. There are a few exceptions to the rule but most earn in the neighborhood of $20 - $25K the first year. Medical benefits are available after 6 months. What you aren't told immediately is you have to earn "X" amount of income in order to qualify and maintain it on a year to year basis.
Agents that clearly have no business being hired a shoved into the mix. When they aren't successful the blame goes squarely on the sales manager. It doesn't matter if it shown where the agent should be let go they do whatever it takes to make them productive. Give them applications, if they quit keep them on the books by giving them an application so boss can show a productive man week out of that one agent. This is company wide, has been and will be regardless of denial from the company.
Help the person the person that gets sick. The 1st day it is dismissed, anything after that forget it. People are told, well so and so was sick and worked all week, why can't you?! Vacations, well you can take them but don't try and take more than one week at a time. You can't do that! Don't plan trips with the family. And heaven help you if want to take 3 weeks off, the company computer terminates you for lack of production. We're sorry but there isn't anything we can do! Oh, wait, you are one of the people we like don't worry about it we will take care of it.
Career expectancy for those hang tough is roughly 6 months. For those that hang really, really tough it might be longer possibly years. Through the grapevine there is a list of agents that terminated/quit from the company in a particular state that over the course of 2 yrs had well over 500+ agent names on it. So much for being the great place to make your final career decision.
Within the last 18 months agents have been terminated for selling policies to people that don't exist, commingling money, reporting sales that never make it to Chicago. One particular involved in excess of $50000 in false policies.
Like all companies there are really great people working there. Unfortunately there are a lot more that aren't as great. Leaders that have the position because they are friends of someone (not uncommon anywhere), people that lost their jobs because of changes in the company and others we demoted so others could have that position.
If you ever decide you want a career in insurance sales, think long and hard about this company. When you get done thinking, go find somewhere else to work, unless of course you enjoy broken promises, selling policies to clients that don't want what you just to make a buck, being demeaned for not making sales in front of your co-workers (it is very subtle so it appears as though they are trying to build your confidence), charge backs for clients canceling policies they had before you wrote them a new one. Not necessarily the type of company most normal (yes every type "a" personalities) would want to be associated with.
All and all, unless you are exceptionally good or lucky, you will spend far more money working for this company than you will make.
Wish i could tell ya
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/23/2007 08:49 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Combined-Insurance-Company-Of-America/Chicago-Illinois-60640/Combined-Insurance-Company-Of-America-Everyone-prior-isnt-far-from-the-truth-Chicago-Ill-280501. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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