ED Magedson – Founder
Oak Tree Advisors, LLCSalt Lake City, Select State/Province USA
Oak Tree Advisors, LLC O.T.A. Management Response Salt Lake City Utah
My name is Matthew Ford and I am a principal owner and the director of our insurance agency/firm. I am writing today to provide a response to a Rip-Off Report recently filed by an "anonymous" consumer against my/our company. Please note that I am writing and posting my OWN Rip-Off Report against my OWN company because the Rip-Off Report, the company itself, does NOT allow or provide an area for businesses to reply to complaints as visibly as they do for "anonymous" consumers. Further, the Rip-Off Report does NOT notify a business prior to posting these reports, nor do they provide businesses an opportunity to either respond or even provide a potential remedy. The Rip-Off Report allows anyone to "anonymously" slander/libel any business in 5 minutes or less, immediately puts the report out on the web with absolutely NO notification and then charges businesses up to $5,000 to go through their own "arbitration process" to "try" to get the report removed. The ONLY way a business finds out about these reports is either by proactively searching about your own company to ensure your reputation is not being attacked OR by being contacted by one of your current or potential customers who's kind enough to inform you, AFTER your reputation has already been damaged. I found out about this report because within 24 hours of the report being posted, I was contacted by two different companies who specialize in "Rip-Off Report Removal", it even has a name, for a nominal fee, obviously. I know that "scam" is the popular word these days and I don't know about you, but THIS forum sure sounds like a pretty good one to me. I guess "anonymously" slandering/libeling reputable businesses is "big business" in and of itself.
Addressing my customers concerns:
#1 The leads we provided this agent were NOT "2+ years old". That is completely and totally false. What he also neglected to mention is that we gave him 75+ leads of varying type... direct mail leads, internet leads AND even existing and recent lapse client leads of our firm. Please allow me to explain our basic practice. The $500 he gave us is a deposit for his ongoing leads. We provide 75+ leads a week EVERY week to an agent for eternity, as long as he/she is producing business. ALL of the leads given are provided entirely at OUR cost and the $500 deposit is refundable, once the agent hits a very simple production target. The first week on the phones, the agent is obviously very new. It's a new system to them, after all. And, it's expected that an agent would naturally make mistakes. So, the first lead file we send is usually a mixture of some new leads and some not so new leads. That first batch is intended to let an agent "cut" his/her "teeth" and make those mistakes. The following batches of leads will certainly improve in quality within a brief period of time and some production. But, the agent has to prove him/herself as well. The better producing agents get the best lead quality with us and ANY other insurance firm out there. In short, this is an extremely common industry practice and we certainly follow it as well. I want to point out a couple of things, though. This agent, while he claims to be "anonymous", I know exactly who he is. Just so you know, he has to this moment NOT contacted me and expressed NO discontent or issues of any kind. He expects to "anonymously" slander/libel our business and he'll be right there first in line to receive his weekly lead file this coming Monday. And, he WILL receive it and I will NOT discuss my response to his complaint, unless he chooses to mature to the level of actually deciding to bring his complaint(s) to me directly. I can't bring it up to him, of course. After all, his complaint is "anonymous". My point, though... This gentleman received only his FIRST lead file consisting of 75 qualified leads. This complaint suggests the following. Although agents cold-call, knock doors and cold-canvass every day and makes sales, this agent seems not to be able to produce out of 75 people who actually expressed a direct interest in the purchase of insurance. Additionally, he suggests to struggle talking with customers who currently have INFORCE policies with us to discuss the possibility of coverage upgrades and coverage adds. This method has been used successfully by insurance agents for the last hundred or so years, by the way. AND, he seems unable to communicate with customers who have had recent lapses in coverage to put their policy back in place. Some of these customers aren't even aware their policy has just lapsed and the easiest thing in the world is to call these customers and put their insurance back in-force. This agent received ALL of the lead types I described and is "anonymously" complaining on the Rip-Off Report? I question his aptitude to be in sales at all, if he's unable to produce a single piece of business out of the lead types I described. Again though, NONE of the leads he was given were "2+ years old" or even a year old, for that matter.
#2 Yes, we did NOT submit his contracts to the insurance carriers yet. Actually, we don't have to. In fact, several carriers will NOT appoint you, in most states, unless you have your first piece of business written to submit with your contracts. It's called "appointment on first submission". The reason the carriers do this is to keep themselves from paying appointment fees and costs for agents who might never write a single piece of business. These costs can certainly add up quickly, ESPECIALLY if an agent may be seeking appointment in multiple states, which is precisely how WE do business. For these same reasons, our practice, which is again a very common industry practice, is not to submit a contract until an agent has written his/her first piece of business. We like to be able to review and scrub the first applications to ensure accuracy and the proper completion of the application process. Then, we will promptly submit the agent's contracts, obtain his/her individual writing number, ensure the case(s) is properly coded to the agent and commissions paid directly to the agent by the insurance carrier. There is another reason why we observe this practice, however. Basically, it keeps us from having to worry about releases and the associated headache if for some reason an agent fails to produce with us and wishes to go to work for another firm. Unlike far too many other insurance agencies, we choose NOT to contract an agent with multiple carriers and have a "strangle hold" on those carrier appointments if they choose to work elsewhere. While I think our practice is the best and most fair to the AGENT, releases, delayed appointments, etc., etc is just more headache for us. Bottom line, if/when this agent produces a single piece of business, we will promptly submit his contracts ONLY for the carrier(s) he has written business. One again, this is an extremely common industry practice and I stand by it.
#3 Yes, we are NOT an insurance company. We never claimed to be. We ARE however an MGA/IMO firm.
Thank you sincerely for your time reviewing this response. And, I guess we have officially joined the ranks of the truly great businesses out there, as we now have our own Rip-Off Report. As you may or may not know, you're nobody until you have a Rip-Off Report these days. Everybody has them. From Google to General Motors, Toys R Us to Kaiser Permanente... there's always someone complaining. "Anonymously", of course.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/20/2013 01:05 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/oak-tree-advisors-llc/salt-lake-city-select-stateprovince-8411/oak-tree-advisors-llc-ota-management-response-salt-lake-city-utah-1068712. 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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