By Erika Winston
Do you aspire to own a business? Is uncertainty keeping you from pursuing that dream?
State Farm Insurance wants you to consider a career opportunity where you can “go into business for yourself, but not by yourself.” Jessie Bell is a State Farm recruiter in the Richmond metropolitan area. She explained the unique opportunity and what the insurance company provides for the right candidates.
“Most people are not aware of what State Farm offers for someone who is considering starting a business,” stated Bell. “We are looking for people who want to make a lot of money while helping people. They don’t have to buy their way into the business. If they meet the criteria, we will give them a business, rather than paying thousands of dollars to start their own.”
According to Bell, State Farm works differently from its competitors. New agents will not walk blindly into an isolated operation with little assistance. Instead, State Farm operates more like a franchise, providing more agent support than most insurance companies.
The process begins with a 9 month internship of paid training. “Interns receive a $30,000 sign on bonus – $12,000 after the internship and $18,000 after the probation period is completed,” explained Bell. “We pay someone to go through the internship training, so they can maintain their current standard of living while learning the business.” Training is virtual for the first 8 weeks, with online instruction and assistance to earn insurance licensing. Bell explained that the company offers about 100 different products and they work hard to ensure that new agents can market and sell each one of them.
Most of the second segment of the internship takes place in Charlottesville, with travel expenses paid by State Farm. During this time, agent candidates learn more about the company’s individual services and products. They complete the education needed to start an agency.
The last phase is field development, where candidates will spend time “working for an agent, while getting experience and doing the legwork to launch their agency,” according to Bell. “They will teach you how to sell and market the products.” She went on to explain how State Farm even assists in the office start-up, providing new agents with loans, a line of credit, a credit card and wage assistance for the hiring of a support staff.
“Selected candidates for agency can receive a book of business worth over a million dollars,” stated Bell, “or agents can choose to start a New Market/scratch agency. State Farm will supplement the income of a New Market Agent for the first five years through our Premium Builder Program, so they have the opportunity to earn the same level of income as an agent who inherits a book of business.” She went on to say that State Farm also pays relocation fees, when applicable, and offers retirement assistance for agents. “It’s a career you can’t outgrow.”
When asked what skills are necessary to take advantage of this opportunity, Bell emphasized that insurance industry experience is not required. Instead, she advised that she is looking for someone who possesses customer service, leadership skills, and business acumen. The ability to work within a team is also necessary, as well as some familiarity with computer usage. “They should also know how to communicate,” added Bell.
Interested parties can learn more about this exciting career opportunity by visiting Bell’s website at www.jessieb.sfagentcareers.com. She is also accessible by telephone at 804-912-5573.