Business Advice

How to Choose the Right FMO/IMO

Episode Summary

The transcript discusses how independent insurance agents should go about selecting a field marketing organization (FMO), independent marketing organization (IMO), or general agency (GA) partner. These organizations act as third parties between brokers and insurance carriers.

First, some background is provided on how FMOs/IMOs/GAs emerged to meet the needs of the evolving insurance industry. As new products like Medicare Advantage entered the market and consumers shifted towards wanting unbiased guidance from brokers rather than captive agents, carriers saw an opportunity to reduce overhead and increase production by outsourcing agent support functions to third parties. These third parties now handle critical services like recruiting, contracting, licensing, training, and support for agents.

When evaluating potential FMO/IMO/GA partners, the transcript emphasizes looking beyond the marketing hype to understand how the organization operates. Key factors to examine include:

- Carrier availability - Do they represent the major plans and carriers you need access to for your region and product focus?

- Contract structure - Is the contract fully vested from day one so you keep your clients if you leave? Or do they impose vesting periods or own the clients for life?

- Service and support - Do they provide timely, responsive support via phone, email, or in-person? Are regular trainings offered? Lack of support is a common frustration.

- Technology - Do they offer robust quoting, enrollment, and other technologies to streamline your processes? Automation is great but human assistance should still be available when needed.

- Company history/reputation - Long tenure suggests strong carrier relationships, higher contracts, and accumulated expertise. Be cautious of unproven "startups."

- Release process - Make sure you can freely switch FMOs if needed without losing your clients and book of business. Some make it very difficult to transition away.

Beyond these logistics, look at company culture. Many independent, "family-style" FMOs provide a more personalized touch compared to larger, corporate FMOs that treat agents like just another number. Consider your goals and values when selecting a partner.

The transcript emphasizes taking the time upfront to thoroughly vet potential FMO/IMO partners. Making the right choice is critical for setting your business up for success over the long term. Don't just look at marketing hype - dig into the details of how the organization operates to ensure it will be a good fit.


(0:00:04) - A lot of independent brokers start looking for FMO, IMO partnerships
(0:03:51) - Check out available carriers contract structure, service and support technology
(0:10:08) - Training, service, and support are important factors when partnering with an FMO
(0:13:39) - FMOs who have been in the industry for decades have a stronger reputation
(0:15:14) - The next part is the release process. Some FMOs will not allow you to change
(0:17:16) - Almost every single one of our competitors has been acquired by larger corporations
(0:21:21) - If you're interested in partnering with the brokerage, visit

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