Edward Karram is a renowned public speaker, entrepreneur, and business coach, and has used his uncompromising ambition to transform the insurance landscape. Having successfully run construction companies and martial arts studios, the businessman has curated quite the resume.
He is the mastermind of SELL-U, the #1 life insurance training platform in the country that instills up-to-date techniques in sales, marketing, social media, lead generation and insurance fundamentals. To date, Karram has trained over 1,000 agents in the field and helped them own a wildly successful book of business.
The businessman entered the financial world with no training to rely on, eventually burning through three different Insurance Marketing Organization (IMOs) in the span of 12 months alone after witnessing multiple agents quit because of their poor earnings. Today, Edward Karram has some insights to share regarding IMOs and independent vs captive life insurance agents.
“An IMO is essentially a company that offers insurance products and services to agents,” says the businessman. “The level of services varies from one company to the next, and these IMOs act as the middlemen between the carrier and the agent.”
The business coach goes on to explain that while agents can access carrier contracts directly, the majority of competitive insurance carriers require them to work through an IMO to get their products. IMOs typically offer some form of training to help agents reach profitability and performance objectives.
Per Edward Karram, “As the very name suggests, an independent agent is not tied to any agency. They are completely free to enter into a contract with any firm they feel is good for business. This typically enables them to enjoy a higher commission on their contracts.”
On the other hand,” Edward Karram explains, “a captive agent is tied to an agency or company and is required to handle only the products chosen by that company. They earn a reduced commission as a tradeoff for the added training they receive from their agency.”
The business coach urges agents to carefully peruse the IMO’s Release Policy before signing on the dotted line.
“There are some IMOs that contract agents on the understanding of an Open Release. This means agents are free to walk at any time and take their book of business with them,” Karram elaborates. “Other IMOs have certain strings attached to their Release Policies. One such caveat could be that the agent’s book of business belongs to the IMO even if the agent chooses to leave.”
Edward Karram stresses the importance of doing comparative research before settling in with an IMO of choice.
“Be sure to cast your lot with an IMO that isn’t afraid to give credit where it’s due,” says Karram. “What do I mean by this? Well, for starters, make sure that the company is willing to provide a commission that rises as your performance rises. You work hard to grow your business, and the IMO must reward that effort with upper-level contracts for you to tackle down the road.”
What does the future have in store for IMOs, according to the businessman?
“The IMO distribution channel is seeing its fair share of changes,” Edward Karram muses. “Banks, for instance, are witnessing staggering growth, as they’re making the switch from variable products to indexed products, seizing a large slice of the pie.”
The businessman isn’t wrong. In 2017, studies showed that 60% of the FIA market was attributed to IMOs, but these numbers have been in rapid decline since.
“I have to point out though,” Karram says, “that IMOs aren’t down and out yet. We may see a number of mergers and acquisitions in the IMO industry so as to solidify their long-term viability.”
In light of these dramatic changes taking place on the insurance stage, Edward Karram has positioned SELL-U to offer registered agents the training they need to master their niche, whether that is retirement planning, final expense or mortgage protection.
SELL-U seeks to empower agents to own their book of business by connecting them with affiliate IMOs that offer top-level carrier contracts. Karram’s vision is to infuse trust and transparency in the life insurance realm, and help agents generate 7-figure income streams.