Profitable Affinity Partnerships

This is a guest blog post by Nic West over at  I’ve asked him to write an article about his successful property and casualty affinity relationships.

A life insurance agent’s business is heavily based on first year commissions, and to stay in business an agent needs a steady stream of referral leads and new prospects.  This is not new news.

I try to diversify new business among purchased leads, website leads (SEO, Media Buys, PPC), referrals and affinity relationships.

This article will focus on affinity relationships as they are profitable due to NO upfront lead cost.  I’ll also show you how I earned a $40k commission check through an affinity partnership recently.

Affinity partnerships are not like buying leads, it takes time to cultivate a trusting and mutually rewarding relationship.

I identify an affinity partner as a producer of a different line of insurance or financial services with clients that are prospects for life insurance.  Affinity partners can be property and casualty agents, health agents, medicare agents and investment advisors.  These producers are already doing business with their client and have established a trusting business relationship.

Hands down, there is NO better lead than a warm referral from a trusted advisor.

But working with these affinity partners is not as easy as it sounds.

Affinity Parterships with a P/C Agency

Property and Casualty agents are usually life licensed but rarely write life insurance on any regularity.  Based on my experience there’s a couple reasons why they don’t – they don’t know how to quote, how to fill out applications and they don’t want to screw it up.  Remember these producers are paid on renewals and that is a completely different mindset than the first year commissions we are all used too.

I spent 2 years trying to find ways to get property and casualty producers to refer life insurance clients.  The sale was “listen, you will make so much money and I will do all the work I will treat your client like my own and will keep you in the loop always.”  Never. Worked.

In speaking to a property and casualty producer recently, I had an epiphany.

These producers do want the commission but more so they wanted to distance themselves from the sale, so they didn’t look bad if it went south.

From that point on I realized that distance is key.

My new tactic in working with affinity partners was to be a “fall guy.”  Meaning the producer could refer the client to me and completely wash their hands of the process– that way if anything went south it was all Nic West’s fault not the producer.

Recent P/C Partnership Case Study

I had a property and casualty agent call me several months back explaining that he had just lost a commercial account over a botched life insurance sale processed through another firm.  And, now another client was pressing him to come see him about business related life insurance.

Golden opportunity for a life agent—pure fear for a P&C guy.

He explained that the previous client had been declined for something that a simple phone call to an underwriter would have resolved.  That client went to another local life insurance agent and got the policy no problem.  The client then pulled their commercial insurance from this producer costing this producer over 12,000 dollars a year in renewal income.

Needless to say –  trying to sell life insurance hurt this guy’s business.

Property and casualty producers get inquiries for life insurance all the time… and often times screw them up.  Knowing I have written several thousand policies over the years, this particular producer reached out to me to ask me about how to make this case go as smooth as possible.

We discuss the case and with it being business life insurance related insurance and very outside this producers realm of knowledge, it was agreed that I would handle all the point of sale communication.  I would be his “fall guy.”

At an in person meeting, this property and casualty agent recommended to his clients that they work with me because of my past experience and he bowed out of the entire process.

After some phone conversations with his client, I flew out there confident they needed a life insurance problem solved immediately.  I flew back the same day with $144,000 worth of life insurance applications for a simple stock redemption buy sell on 19 employees.  This producer had no idea that he was sitting on 1 account worth so much commission.

After 3 months of underwriting, policy design and delivery – all policies have placed with favorable underwriting outcomes and the business owner was more than happy to pay for all policies annually.

(Sales tip: “Mr. Client, what is your cash in savings getting? 1%?  You know, instead of paying monthly you should consider paying annual and saving 5% on your premiums.)

Cha Ching.

This was a success story… but life insurance applications do go south.  Had this producer referred his previous life case to me that was declined, he would still be earning that 12,000 dollars per year in renewal income all for doing zero work.  This works well for both parties.

Needless to say this P/C producer is a believer in life insurance after receiving over $50,000 in commissions for a referral.  My commission at the end of it all was $42,000.

Bottom line here is that affinity partnerships are very profitable.  Try positioning yourself as the “fall guy” and have the referring advisor distance himself from the process.  Property and Casualty agents with commercial accounts are a great target for this approach.   Keep an eye out for these.