I’ve read several articles
recently bashing the need for and value of working with IMOs, and warning agents and advisors of the oncoming “extinction”
of said IMOs. And while I agree that there are undeniably a number of marketing organizations who may not practice what they preach, I don’t believe that as a whole, a few bad apples spoil the bunch.
Having worked in and around marketing organizations for most of my adult life, here's my two cents based on almost 30 years in this industry.
Quality independent marketing organizations
provide many needed services to the independent producer/advisor channel, carriers,
the insurance industry as a whole and the ultimate end user, the consumer.
Here's a list of some of the benefits IMOs provide, in no particular:
IMOs provide the field with high-quality, effective business building strategies, practice management infrastructure tools, professional coaching options, asset management advisory services, and prospecting models that consistently get quality results.
IMOs serve as an intermediary for carriers and agents to ensure the business submitted meets the suitability and regulatory guidelines. They act as an educational entity in regard to industry regulatory guidelines and changes in suitability standards.
If a case is not in good order, the IMO can assist the producer in gathering the needed information and facts to ensure the case passes the suitability review in proper fashion. If there is an issue, the IMO can make suitable recommendations.
Independent marketing organizations
also serve as product filtering specialists. Not only should your IMO be a product expert, they should own those same products. Override/spread should not dictate what product you are being offered. How often do producers call an IMO only to have Product A recommended for every case? The question that should be asked is, “Is this IMO truly independent?”
A key function of any quality IMO is case design. A producer should be confident that the assistance being provided by the IMO is rock solid and the proposed solutions meet the needs of the consumer and are easy to comprehend.
Top quality IMOs provide tools that, when used, assist in making the producer better organized and more efficient. This allows that producer to spend more time with prospects and less time performing administrative functions that ultimately cost money.
Any IMO worth their salt will offer a comprehensive co-op that rewards your production in cash. Not based on the IMO's profit, or some other subjective formula, but production — period. Trips are an incentive, and an opportunity for camaraderie with your peers. If you prefer not to go, the IMO should offer some form of compensation, such as a co-op.
Experience is important, as is the credibility of the owner and staff. A top IMO that conducts webinars and conference calls for the benefit of the industry as a whole will post those on their website for all to access. No password or login should be required.
A high-quality IMO stays abreast of industry changes, fights for the integrity of our business, and is a pioneer in developing solutions for the benefit of you, the producer.
Integrity and honesty
are the cornerstones every producer and advisor should look for in an IMO. Sometimes, what you’re not
told is more important than what you are told.