Altig Orlovic Agencies with American Income Life

Phil’s Leadership Memo 9/3/2013

Phil_bio_pageNine out of ten business fail; so I came up with a foolproof plan – create ten businesses – Robert Kiyosaki; author of Rich Dad/Poor Dad.  Have you created 10 MGA-ships yet?                                               

Sometimes, you’ve just got to pat yourself on the back.   Not personally, but collectively.   You work, and work, and work.   And change, and improve, and tweak.   Not everything works as planned.  Sometimes, it’s better, sometimes it’s worse.  And sometimes there is little effect.   The nice thing is that if you keep an attitude that there is no such thing as failure; just undesirable or unexpected outcomes.  You can keep pushing what works and change directions on what doesn’t.  And things slowly come around.  And once they do, it sometimes really starts to gain momentum.   Probably the wisest statement ever made at our company came from Alan Martyn.   He was our Senior Vice President, and had wisdom and insight that you come across only a few times in your life.

When asked how he achieved his position, he could have probably boasted about his achievements, his history of success, his loyalty to labor, his people, and our company.   Elevating Ontario and Newfoundland, taking BC to new heights, mentoring top leaders, including current CEO Ilija Orlovic.   But he was wise enough to know that many of the top RGA’s around him were also very talented and loyal.   He merely answered with 6 words:  I just outlasted all of them.   And he was right.   He always kept improving himself and his agency.   He had no fear, and so he tried many new and innovative approaches.   And was never afraid to admit it when something didn’t work.  But often times they did.  And he was patient to give enough time when he was sure it was the right direction.   And he kept at it, even through tough and trying times.

We looked back this week and noted some milestones that we had hit recently.

Quality has inched up and up and up and now Altig-Orlovic blazes a trail.  A whole 4.5 points higher on persistency.  Almost 5% higher on 4 month retention than company average.   By the time you measure retention after 13 months, we are a whopping 7.7% higher than average.   That’s an extra $1 million of ALP on the books a year, compared to the average agency.   And everybody shares in the rewards of that.

Bonuses were huge and diverse.   Last month, just Altig-Orlovic Agency received $327,820.  Let me clarify that.   Altig-Orlovic leaders and producers received $327,820.   Rick Altig and Ilija Orlovic received exactly $0 in bonus money.    In fact, they paid $163,910 out of their own finances to their people.   Wherever there is a choice on what percentage or level bonus to payout, Rick and Ilija’s policy has been to pay the maximum.   Even though their accounts would have less debt if they didn’t.   That’s $4 million paying out to the field this year, for those of you keeping score at home.

They also have bought every single lead available in our territories.   The price per lead has gone from $17.50 to a whopping $26.00 per lead over the past few years.   Yea, if your manager gave you 40 response cards recently, that’s over $1,000 they just handed you.   When’s the last time you opened an envelope or gift and found $1,000 in your hand.   Most of your parents don’t even do that for you.  And yet, regularly, that happens to you here.    Sometimes, in the everyday hustle and bustle of business, you miss what really going on; and that’s dangerous.

With a sense of history, I believe this week marks a time of extraordinary importance.   We are making a monumental shift.   Let me take you back several years.   The year was 2006 or 7.   It was one of the most contentious board meetings I had ever been a part of .   Usually they are civil.   Sometimes on YouTube, I’ve watched a Middle Eastern or European parliament in session and people are punching each other, throwing shoes at each other.  Our board meetings are more like senate proceedings.   Passionate but controlled.

Not this one.   I was sitting close to the salt and pepper shakers and subtly slid them out of everybody’s reach.  People were passionate about the topic; and it was this:  Should new hires have to pay the cost of licensing school, testing, fingerprinting and all the cost associated with getting set up in the industry?   Some said no.   Make it as easy as possible on people to get on board.  Others said:  Yes; they need to have some skin in the game and understand that nothing is really free in life.  Things that are free as not respected.  And it was a heated debate, with both sides making strong arguments.  Long story short:  We ended up charging all the costs up front; and this went on for a few years.

A year or two ago, we shifted the other direction.  We essentially charged almost nothing.   We covered many of the costs.  And both sides were partially right.  When we passed on the cost, some people couldn’t afford to enter the industry.   But we did experience a committed hire that was totally on board and had great incentive to push all the way through the testing and licensing stage.   And when we DIDN’T pass on the costs, people viewed our investment in them with little regard.  It was a freebie, and sometimes, that’s the level of commitment we got back.

And so now, we’ve had a chance to experiment and experience both ways.   And the company has designed a position that takes the strengths of both positions.   We will continue to help support some of the costs of insurance school and the more challenging investments into themselves.   But we will collect the cost of their background check, exam and license up from at point of hire.    As you read in Rachel’s e-mail, people who have invested at least something in themselves and their career are much more serious and successful than people who’ve had everything given to them.  It is a stellar compromise that I believe will give your agency BOTH the benefits of low cost of entry AND having an agent with a higher level of dedication.   You will still need to lead them through the entire process to and through training and coding.  That is still the #1 influence on how successful your people are going to be.   But they will be best set up for success.  I believe you will begin seeing the benefits to in your organization almost immediately.  This is a monumental week for both you and our entire company.


Production continues to be strong.  Six offices topped $20,000 and another just missed.

#1.  Washington.   $36,180.    That’s First Six Month production.  If you want to be cool; it’s F6M.   They collected 1,200 referrals, so that secures their pole position.   55 out of 58 agents wrote business.   58 is a good number; it shows what is possible in one state. 55 is great – 95% of coded agents are committed and working.    Every office is doing something well.  Redmond has 19 writing agents.  Lynnwood is closing better than one out of 4.  Vancouver has 12 presentations per agent.  Good not great, but they’re moving in the right direction.    Nick Lorence has his agency at $1,081 ALP per sale, so that’s good.

#2.   Utah.  $30,928.   This is a hot, young agency.   Whenever you have that, it is an environment for 2 or 3 leaders to emerge from the pack.   Patrick Rieger is tearing it up.  $24,309 in MGA production out of Salt Lake City.   $1,200 a sale, so all they needed was two sales a week and they averaged $2,400 an agent.  Now when they hit 3 sales and $3,600 or 4 sales and $4,800, I’ll start shaking the cow bell.

#3.  Tennessee. $25,535.   They’ve got a strong existing client base there and it shows with 14 out of 35 on POS.   Nashville East and Knoxville lead the state with $21,000 and $19,000 in Total ALP respectively.   They’ve got Ashlynn Org, Bobby Hamilton and Hunter Houvener all sitting there; that’s an all-star cast.

#4.  British Columbia.  $24,646.   New agents in BC average $1,297 or almost $1,300 an sale.   Are you selling your clients short?  Noel Ables is tearing up Burnaby.   Seven agents writing $2,771 per agent, or almost $20,000.   Bob Gujral’s MGA-ship closed 35%, so as usual, they are the best trained in the company.

#5.  Hawaii.  $22,614.   They still lead the company with over 1,300 referrals collected.   The state wrote $77,000 altogether, so the strong core is still there.  It’s a perfect time to rev up the hiring process.    Blake Higuchi and Jonathan Emura are the one-two punch in Maui.   Their agents see 14 people a week and it all falls into place from there.

#6.  Minnesota.  $22,414.     The Stenglein brothers are bringing on the next generation of leaders.   Look for this state to make a strong move up the charts in the next quarter.

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2013 by in Phil Folkertsma.
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