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Insurance Business | 21 Apr 2017, 12:13 PM Agree 0
Jury says agents should be considered as employees and not independent contractors
  • | 21 Apr 2017, 03:46 PM Agree 0
    Allstate agents have been fighting this fight for years, controlled like employees, but paid as independent agents. I would love to see our fight resolved and receive the benefits withheld by Allstate.
  • Bizarre | 21 Apr 2017, 04:51 PM Agree 0
    I disagree. How about working for a W2 salary then? I have seen similar lawsuits in the past, and they were started by agents that made over $500k per year for a job that would have had a $100k base plus bonuses. What is ironic in these cases, is when the agents get the payout, they are issued a 1099 for the payment. Then they go off to another company as a 1099 contractor. I would want to see how the agents were "controlled" before I made up my mind though. If they were required to come in to an office, only sell their products, and do things one way under direct supervision, then I get it. But if that was not the case, well then I would not agree.
    • | 21 Apr 2017, 07:34 PM Agree 0
      I have an idea... Why don't you go work for them? Don't speak out of turn.
    • Former agent | 26 Apr 2017, 02:50 PM Agree 0
      Everything mentioned in the replies are accurate. I worked for Am Fam for 12 years back in the 70s-80s and intimidation and threats were common to get an agent to comply with their current objectives. Office hours, location, and staffing were all controlled by the district manager but paid by the agent. Am Fam won a similar lawsuit while I was there so I hope this one holds.
  • | 21 Apr 2017, 04:53 PM Agree 0
    I agree that Allstate and most insurance companies run independent agents as if they were employees... I'm constantly told by the company about hours that I must keep, badgered to attend company meetings, maintaining life insurance quotas, and being financially punished by for not meeting company imposed quotas. They definitely walk a fine line by telling us "what will be done and how" which falls under the definition of an employee according to the IRS.
  • Bob K Niles | 21 Apr 2017, 06:39 PM Agree 0
    As a former 17 year American Family agent this is long overdue. Control is always done by intimidation and threats to be terminate. Captive agencies have no ownership of their clients. No freedom to sell the business only a fixed buyout. Independent contractors should not have Terminations of a business for reasons unrelated to profit, legal or regulatory issues. example: In the mid 90's as part of our agents association leadership we had collected proxies. More than enough to appoint an agent to the board of directors. AmFam management found out. At first threatened, then acted terminating agents they knew for collecting proxies, intimidating the remaining 'unknown agents' with proxies before the annual meeting successfully preventing that appointment. Out of court settlement took place to avoid a public legal record. Agents were terminate for not signing unilateral contract changes. I was threatened for advertising too much and operating a separate business. terminations included not keeping the right office hours, or selling certain lines of insurance and so on. None of that is in the agreement and arbitrarily applied by the managements 'flavor of the day' agenda. This is a lot of control for what is supposed to be non-employee. although I left American Family in 1997 starting an independent insurance agency, I still have documentation in my files of dozens of examples of employee control issues that took place on a regular basis.
    • Joe Agent | 21 Apr 2017, 07:35 PM Agree 0
      As a former agent who was terminated after over 10 years with Shelter Insurance company for No reason, I want to throw in my experience. I had no profit problems, no issues at the agency, and always operated at the highest ethical standards. I would love to see Shelter get sued and lose. They definitely have life insurance quotas. You are severely frowned upon for missing a company meeting. We were even once told by execs that we were employees. They along with others rule with an iron fist. Lots and lots of stories I and I am sure other agents could tell. No doubt in my mind if these stories were to get to a jury what the outcome would be, but they will never let that happen. They will rule over with intimidation and threats of lawsuits to get what they want. I am surprised this one ever got started with American Family.
  • Sharon Robles | 21 Apr 2017, 07:28 PM Agree 0
    Mr Muth, if American family holds their agents in such high esteem, why would you not want to protect their future? Your entire marketing campaign centers around protecting your dreams. Your customers are important to you, but your agents certainly are not. Finally, we can #DREAMFEARLESSLY now that the court has made you do the right thing by your agents! Shame on you American family!
    • Bill Barnwell | 25 Apr 2017, 01:20 PM Agree 0
      Sharon, you're right. They protect dreams of clients??? But destroy the dreams of the agents who helped build the company!
  • D Williams | 21 Apr 2017, 08:05 PM Agree 0
    American Family does not let their agents sell for other companies, only theirs. They are not independent agents, they are captive agents. They are told how much they should sell and if they do not they are let go, even after many years of being successful. I have been an agent for many years and have seen this happen with American Family Agents time and time again. Shame on American Family for treating the very people that keeps them in business!
  • Steve | 21 Apr 2017, 09:11 PM Agree 0
    That is how it is. Captive agents are supervised but benefits what so ever and room to expand into other companies.
  • | 21 Apr 2017, 09:27 PM Agree 0
    I am a Independent Agent
    If I lose a Carrier the Carrier sends out Letters to all my insureds .
    Your policy will not be renewed as your Agent no longer represents us.
    It you wish to continue contact a agent who is contracted with us.
    Both the insured and the Agent are told and the Agent can place with another Carrier
    So if you are a true Independent Contractor
    Non compete or non solicitation does not exist.
    Reason you procure and pay for those policyholders NOT THE Carrier
  • Michael dean | 23 Apr 2017, 07:21 AM Agree 0
    My wife worked for American family for about thirteen years. She was required to maintain particular hours, attend meetings or else. She had to,pay for her own office rent and overhead, but told what signage to use, what type of employee to hire and what products to promote. She was told where her office needed to be located, required to submit reports by certain deadlines. When she was given an occasional award, she was 1099ed for the value, whether she wanted it or not. And f a client ever complained, she was threatened with dismissal. She was told to take on new hires and help train them without compensation. And when she decided to retire, she had to,pay off the existing lease then allow another company agent move into the same location! I hope this holds up with judge because she will be in one to finally get her due.
  • Irritated | 25 Apr 2017, 01:15 PM Agree 0
    As a former AF agent of almost 35 yeas I can tell you that toward the end agents were threatened and let go for not going to their office. We only had AF products to sell which were not all bad but when they began using credit the company miscalculated and then spent 6 or 7 years going backwards in their policy count. So their way to fix it was not reconsider their rates it was to blame the agent and begin to put pressure on them, many of us were long time agents. They told us a way to write more business is to quote someone using state minimums and higher deductibles (mislead them) because their idea was to get in front of the prospect and up sell them to the correct coverage's. Wow! I took pride in doing things correctly! They began giving us quotas and threats of losing our agency if we didn't turn things around. Now for most of my career we were told by managers and other executives that we should work hard build an agency and then enjoy our rewards during the later years of our agency, well that attitude sure changed! I feel they were looking for agents under age 60 because if you leave under 60 your buyout was limited to 5 years if you were over you could get lifetime benefits. We'll I was 57 when I lost my battle so I will collect until age 62 wow what a great retirement I will enjoy because of dumb company decisions! So sorry to ramble!
  • | 25 Apr 2017, 10:03 PM Agree 0
    I'm an amfam agent for 30 years still working and selling their products. I want to be independent and not an employee. here is where I have an issue. the company walks a hair thin line when calling us independent contractors. when it's in their best interest we're employees, when it's in their best interest were independent contractors. I get so confused!!!! Can't have it both ways, something has to give! the control the company has on us in incredible. their management style is to talk nice but carry a big stick. threatening termination, telling us to report on sales some everyday (mostly life). asking why we weren't at a meeting and saying I expect to see you there next month. ETC. ETC. a lot of bullying. the district managers think we work for the company and there, there to manage us as the company sees fit. that doesn't add up to the independent contractor status. amfam, lets treat the agents like the independent contractors we where hired to be.
  • Bagent | 26 Apr 2017, 09:51 PM Agree 0
    As a prior AmFam agent or puppet as some would say I agree that we agents were treated poorly as so called sub contractors.. my district manager and his side kick assistant controlled everything in my agency even told me who I could hire and refused to let me fire a staff member for issues I was having with him. This went on for 5 years until I realized the truth with this company and decided to resign. I hope we get a decent settlement from this company and they learn how to treat people right and respect the people who make them such a tremendous amount of money.
  • Lauren A. Chamberlain | 28 Apr 2017, 08:29 PM Agree 0
    I consider myself as a franchisee. I have to do the branding as Farmers lays out and understand it completely. I have to sell the products they allow me to sell. I appreciate the boundaries they put me in because it makes the agents equal. Really we are in control of our own destinies. Think of McDonalds Proprietors who are independent owners, however they would never put jack cheese on a Big Mac. We must follow the rules of our branding captive companies. Otherwise we can go independent and follow tons of rules/quotas put out by each insurer we would sell for.
    • LT Lied | 01 May 2017, 07:36 AM Agree 0
      Congratulations on falling into their trap. However, the other 6000 rationally thinking agents are certain, as was the jury, that we are independent contractors, but were treated like employees for decades. Amfam is going to pay dearly for their arrogance.
  • Hot Stuff in desert. | 11 Jul 2017, 06:37 PM Agree 0
    Do you have a FARMERS Franchisee Contract? Or a Changing Commissions and Rules of your Agent Contract varied for Flavor of the month Corporate Programs. Bonus Structure replacing commissions. Bonus structure based on moving targets. Bonus structure based on hours of opperation & Look of office. Staff requirements hours of opperation requirements for your Office. Not accounting for your work from home???
  • doingokwithoutamfam | 12 Mar 2018, 10:38 PM Agree 0
    AMFAM is a crap company. I was an Agent for nearly 20 years and was lied to from the beginning. I was recruited by a DM that told me I was my own business owner, an independent contractor and would not be told how to run my business. Early on a small group of us were brought in for training by the DM, he provided pizza and pop, and before you could take the first bite he announced, anyone not planning on being AFLIC this year should leave! I saw a DM in training using a dead agents name and address in quote examples, encouraging us to quote with every added discount possible, and then telling us to explain quote isn't accurate until you purchase all these other lines of policies. I also discovered an Agent forged a signature of an insured, was caught, fined by the division of insurance, AMFAM was fully aware of it, and yet to this day he is still an AMFAM agent, all because he consistently writes a lot of life insurance for AMFAM.
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