Many people have submitted reports complaining about the insurance products PJP sells. I'm going to be a little bit different and report on what it was like to work there, suffice to say it wasn't a pleasant experience.
I responded by e-mail to a Craigslist posting seeking experienced sales professionals to close deals. One of the managers called me literally within 15 minutes of my e-mail (red flag there, I now know) to invite me to an interview the next day. At the interview, he told me that as I was a licensed insurance agent, if hired I'd be selling major medical policies and similar products to inbound callers. In other words I would be dealing with potential customers who called PJP seeking coverage. I would be paid $12 per hour plus commissions and bonuses. It sounded like a very nice deal.
The manager called me back the very next day to say that he had spoken with the other partners, and that he was happy to offer me the job. In hindsight I now see red flag #2, as the partners should have wanted to see me themselves before any offer was made. Two or more rounds of interviews are pretty much standard practice these days for non-entry-level jobs. Especially a job which would (or so I thought, ha ha) involve closing deals on sales of expensive health insurance policies.
Red flag #3 went up the pole when I arrived at the Melville office bright and early one Monday for the start of training. Several other people were starting along with me, which was a bit odd because PJP employs maybe 50 people in Melville and a somewhat smaller number in a Nassau County satellite office. Especially given the way people hold onto jobs today, a company that size normally shouldn't hire more than a couple people each month, not several per week (as far as I know PJP starts its training on Mondays). It finally started to sink into my head that maybe this company didn't offer as professional a workplace as I had been expecting. Or hoping.
Within the first hour I knew that working for PJP would be a mistake. Despite being a licensed agent I wouldn't be selling health insurance polices for quite some time. Or be dealing solely with inbound calls as I'd been promised. Instead, I'd be making outbound calls - in other words, soliciting for business rather than closing deals. Until I met a quota of closed deals, I would be earning no commissions and, for that matter, being paid a barely-above-minimum $7.50 per hour base rather than the promised $12. Perhaps the worst thing of all is that despite being licensed I wouldn't be able to sell actual health insurance policies. Just like a not-yet-licensed new hire, I would have to start out selling medical discount plans, which as amply documented elsewhere on this site are of very little or no value to buyers.
The fourth and final red flag started flying when I started on the phones, which was after less than a full day of training. The names we were to call came from "lead generation" providers, which collect information from people making online inquires into health insurance and then sell this information to insurance brokers and agents. I had had some dealings with these providers a couple years ago I found them worse than useless. Nothing had changed. Most of my calls went to voice mail, though a non-insignificant percentage of them had been disconnected. On the rare occasions an actual person answered I usually was informed - not always in a pleasant manner - that I was the 10th or 20th or even 30th insurance agent who had called within the past hour.
What actually happens, of course, is that the lead generation providers sell each potential customer's information to many, many desperate-for-business insurance agents. PJP is fully aware of this, of course, and it is my very strong suspicion that management uses this system as a way of finding out what newly hired agents might work out. Instead of carefully selecting new hires through a multi-stage interview process, making sure that most of them will succeed, it is my very strong suspicion that the company hires just about everyone who applies, and then (metaphorically) throws them against the wall to see which few of them might stick. Hence the constant need to hire new agents - the company is basically a big revolving door.
I didn't last long at PJP. Perhaps I could have met my quota of selling the useless discount plans while earning next to nothing, and moved on to selling actual insurance for actual money, but I'd say the odds were not in my favor. I'm not sorry I left.