Medicare, Popular

Insurance FMO: What Do Independent Agents Need to Know?

By Gillan Boyer

Choosing

Whether you‘re brand new to the insurance industry or a seasoned agent, you’ve probably heard the term FMO or Field Marketing Organization.

You might be asking questions like:

  • What does an Insurance FMO do?
  • Why do independent agents need an FMO?
  • What are the benefits of working with an FMO?
  • How do I decide which FMO is right for me?

Continue reading to get the answers to your FMO questions. At the end of the article, you can download a free FMO decision guide.

What does an Insurance FMO do?

An Insurance Field Marketing Organization (FMO), synonymous with Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO) and Medicare FMO, is a specialized company that provides insurance products, services, and assistance tailored for independent insurance agents or agencies.

The specific services and products FMOs offer can vary among companies but typically include tools and support to help agents effectively market and sell insurance products.

Training & Support
Pictures of The Brokerage Inc.

FMOs play a crucial role in the success of independent agents by providing them with the necessary resources and guidance to excel within the competitive insurance market. 

FMO services typically include credentialing, certification, contracting, carrier alignment, Errors and Omissions, cost assistance, and personal support. 

They also offer training programs that help agents become skilled at selling and representing their carriers.

Many even provide access to technology, such as quote engines, enrollment tools, and even personal shopping sites.

Why do independent agents need an FMO?

New agents often ask, “Why can’t I just work directly with the insurance carriers?”

To answer the question of whether you need an Insurance FMO to get contracted through a carrier, it’s important to note that while some carriers may allow direct contracting with agents, most reputable insurance carriers typically require agents to work through an FMO (Field Marketing Organization).

Tbi Carriers
Some of the carriers offered by The Brokerage Inc.

Working with an FMO can bring several benefits to agents in this process. FMOs have established strong relationships with insurance carriers, allowing them to offer contracts that individual agents may be unable to access independently.

This relationship allows FMOs to provide agents with diverse quality products from top companies. A reliable FMO will continuously negotiate and secure favorable contracts, providing valuable support to agents of all sizes.

By partnering with an FMO, agents can streamline the contracting process, access a broader range of products, and receive ongoing support to enhance their business efforts.

Think of it this way: Why would a national insurance carrier want to handle thousands of agents’ back office and training support when they can delegate this role to a handful of national FMOs instead?

Another factor to consider is production requirements. Even if you can obtain a direct carrier contract, you will be held to a higher standard. If you cannot produce accordingly, you might be at risk of termination.

What are the benefits of working with an Insurance FMO?

There are many opportunities to be successful in the insurance industry, but running a business is no simple task. The support of a quality FMO allows you to prospect, market, and execute your plans for residual income!   

Whether you work in a major city or are a rural-bound agent, a Field Marketing Organization has the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you succeed.

By providing a diverse range of high-quality insurance products, FMOs ensure that agents can create an ideal portfolio that positions them effectively in their market.

Brokerage Bucks
Brokerage Bucks

Beyond products, training, and support, agents partnered with an FMO like The Brokerage Inc. can earn up to $5,400 annually in leads and marketing support through our exclusive Brokerage Bucks program.

They also receive industry-leading tools such as The Broker Link, our Health, Life, and Medicare Quote Engines, Online Enrollment Tools, and more.

Most importantly, a quality FMO teaches its agents to offer their clients the best products for their unique needs. 

How do I decide which FMO is right for me?

Now that you know more about FMOs, here are some questions to help you choose which one you will partner with:

  • How long has the FMO been in the insurance business?
  • What is their reputation? What do others say about them?
  • Does the FMO have expedited contracting?
  • Will you be vested from day 1 in your business and commission?
  • Does the FMO offer an open-release policy?
  • Will they respond promptly when you ask for assistance?
  • What quoting and CRM tools do they offer?

How long has the FMO been in the insurance business?

The experience and longevity of an Insurance FMO in the industry is crucial when selecting a partner. It is essential to partner with an FMO that has a proven track record and significant years of experience in the insurance business.

What is their reputation? What do others say about them?

Ask other insurance agents if they’ve heard of the FMO. Post questions in Facebook groups. Read online reviews and testimonials.

Does the FMO have expedited contracting?

You shouldn’t have to wait weeks and months to obtain a contract. Ask the FMO how long it takes to get contracted on average, and make sure they are efficient.

Will you be vested from day 1?

Some FMOs require you to sell for a certain number of years before you fully own your business. Unless you want to be a captive agent, make sure you have full ownership from day 1.

Does the FMO offer an open-release policy?

Sometimes, things don’t work out – that’s just business. Make sure your FMO will release your contract if you ever decide to part ways.

Will they respond promptly when you ask for assistance?

A quality FMO exists to serve the independent insurance agent, yet many don’t even answer the phone when their agents call. This is completely unacceptable, and you need to weed out these organizations from your search.

What quoting and CRM tools do they offer?

We live in a tech-enabled world, and many tools can help you streamline your business today. Make sure the FMO offers top-notch technology solutions.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it is a good start in helping you filter out which ones will not be a good fit. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few FMOs, interview them to see whether they would be a good partner.

You can also check out our article on choosing the best insurance FMO, and if you have questions, we are here to help!

Gillan Boyer

About Gillan Boyer

Gillan leads The Brokerage Inc.'s marketing and business development initiatives. When he's not working, he's probably playing with his kids, making music, or reading a good book.