top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael McCormick

FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE PIG - Do Captive Agents Control Their Own Destiny?

We started Insurance Soup on December 28, 2015.

We started adding people to the group on 1/3/16.

In 5 years.

Not sure if you have noticed, but over the last couple of years...




Liberty Mutual.

MOST of the largest captives.

...have done something substantial to rock the boat with their Agents.

Reduced commissions. Forced the use of a service center. Available to independents to sell now.. Contacting your clients behind your back to "help" (move) them. Contract changes.

You name it.

The list continues.

And every single time one of these giants make an announcement like this Career Insurance Agents receives an influx of Agents FINALLY ready to make the move they have been putting off for the last 2-5 years. FINALLY ready to go independent.

You know what has NOT happened ONCE since we started CIA?

We have not lost a SINGLE Agent to a conversation about how the captives just offer a better set up.


The bottom line is this... carriers do what carriers do. They consistently look for ways to improve margins at the cost of their sales force.

How long until they realize they can put some monkeys on the phone in a call center and pay them 35% - no renewals - and continue along without the need of the local Agent?

BUT MIKE, BUT MIKE... I love (insert carrier name here) and I drink ALLLLLLL their Kool Aid and let me tell you it is DEEEEEELICIOUS.

We know.

We have watched you try and share the same Kool Aid any time your carriers name gets brought up in here in a negative light. Looks decent but honestly Kool Aid is a kid's drink being given to you because that's precisely how they treat you. Like parents who owe you no explanation for what they are doing because you're just a child and have no say.

But here's a Kool Aid.

Mystery flavor.

Guess it right and we will give you a $10 gift card to Chipotle or a free after hours pizza if your team smiles and dials for us.

But for the better part of 5 years now one... by one... by one, all these carriers who you guys are generally willing to go to war for when spoken poorly, they insult your intelligence. Mock your ambitions and roll their eyes at your dreams by making it increasingly more and more difficult to earn a good living.

And every single time they make an announcement... we obviously have conversation about it in Insurance Soup. It's kind of what we do. And there is always a solid 15% of the Agency force that reads the bad news and how corporate spins it to try and put lipstick on the massively large pig they just handed you.


They tell their peers that how these moves are AMAZING for them, and they literally never are.

Helps like 4% of the Agency force in the short term that can exploit something particular to their situation but 96% lose short term and 100% lose long term.

And every single time CIA catches dozens of Agents in the fall out.

And every single one of those Agents (we are literally at 100% conversion) go on to have way better first years independent than they did captive and then go on to have even better Agencies than they ever had captive shortly thereafter.

We have Agents that were captive for 3, 5, 8 years that wrote more their first year independent than they did their ENTIRE TIME as a captive.

And every single time we even try and point this stuff out, all the Kool Aid Kennys come to defend the mothership.

But heres the rub. They're not really there to defend the mothership. They are there because they feel as if their career choice, their career decision, the direction they chose to provide for and feed their family is being called into question. Is being painted in a bad light.

And THAT is what they are defending. The math is the math.

Higher closing percentages. Better commission rates. Better overrides. Better bonuses. More carriers. It all adds up to a significantly better situation.

And they try and compare themselves to another independent agent that they feel they're doing better than to justify their decision.

Look, I'm doing better than Haywood JaSellme down the block.

Ok cool...

You know who would stomp a mudhole in Captive you?

Independent you.

Alternate universe you is so much better than captive you and you have no idea but you're ready to defend your burning boat until it sinks. Despite the fact that the boat itself keeps setting itself on fire.

The bottom line is this - captive companies are never trying to help you earn more. They paint every correspondence as if they're hooking you up but you're an owner of an Agency. You make comp plans. When was the last time you created or changed your comp plan to directly help your team where it didn't have some kind of impact on you in a positively financial way?

Probably never.

Owners of businesses are typically not in the business of cutting margins to pass out higher pay.

I am not even going to throw a link for CIA on this post because I'm not actively trying to push traffic our way right now.

Our team is ALWAYS super busy bringing on new Agents and this long-ass post isn't to push traffic.

The point I am making on this post is that none of these companies are thinking about you. Your dreams. Your career. Your finances. Your ANYTHING. Not even a LITTLE BIT.

And you defend them to the core even when they are out of bounds and directly impacting you in a negative way. And ultimately, eventually they do something that impacts you directly and then you go independent. And we catch you.

And while we don't have the "told you so" conversations with you guys too often here in Soup, every time they make an announcement that impacts the Agency Force, privately we say to one another, "Told them so."

Independent Agents control their destiny.

They push their book towards the right carriers for their clients and the right carriers to help them build a financially sound business.

Carrier makes a change they don't like? They move the book to a different carrier.

Carrier makes a change a captive doesn't like? They have to deal with it or sell.

But year in and year out at least one company announces something that send Agents running into CIA's arms. And Agents that would have, could have, should have, opened up independent 1, 3, 5 years ago, are starting their journey at a point where they already could have had a bigger book than they ever had captive if they had just gone independent when they first had the thought.

Your captive carriers aren't improving any of your situations any time soon.

If you're happy there, stay there.

But if you're even having the SLIGHTEST of doubts, or you're waiting for just ONE MORE ANNOUNCEMENT that you don't like. Get out.

They're going to piss in your Cheerios again.

You're not going to like it again.

And you will have put off a decision that is ultimately inevitable given the fact that all your captive carriers have many more announcements on the horizon that will frustrate you, reduce your chances for success, and leave you questioning your decision.

Don't wait another day to make a decision that's best for you and your family.

Your captive carriers are not taking you, your family, your staff, or your Agency into account when they make any of their decisions.

Make 2022 the year that you take control of your career instead of playing 1099 branch manager.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page