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American Income Life Insurance Company - Ail / Employment danger

1 2841 plaza place, suite 120Raleigh, NC, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 919-571-1865

My main purpose in writing this article is to inform solicited/prospective employees of AIL about the hidden risks associated with this type of company. It is a bit long but it is to INFORM you, the brief summary bullets are just below.

NOTE: Since I have quit my insurance license and resume with sales experience flags me for lots of phone calls for sales jobs. There are MANY companies that operate the exact same way, JUST BE VERY CAREFUL. I myself will never consider a job even close to that one EVER again.

BEFORE YOU OFFER YOUR CRITICAL OPINION READ WHAT I WROTE. I am not a disgruntled ex employee. I made a choice to work there got duped and never make the same mistake again.

Now in my opinion through comparison the whole life is actually a good value. The term life, accidental, cancer and hospitalization is an okay value.

Boiling it down
- The v-a-s-t majority of agents hired will never be successful.
- When I left 32 agents worked there, now only 16 are left (Jun08-Sep08).
- None of the agents and lower managers are making any money. (I know because they are writing less business than I did and have a higher cancellation rate.)
- Systems, speeches, and presentations are designed to keep you positive and ignore the fact you are bleeding (money) to death.
- You can make more money working 2 full time jobs and do less hours.
- Managers talk about their successes 5+ years ago nothing from Raleigh, NC.
- “We mass produce insurance to mass produce our income.” Managers mass produce agents to mass produce their income.
- Please be careful, I’m not saying to not work there, but the odds are incredibly stacked against you.
- The system is arranged for senior managers to profit.
- If you’re not making it and can barely provide for your family, they don’t care, because they’re making plenty off you.

Of course this is my opinion but if you have any questions, constructive criticism I would be more than happy to answer. I have done my best to describe facts I witnessed way more than a few times which takes out the doubt of isolated occurrences.

Recently relocated to Raleigh, NC my wife and I had already applied for many jobs throughout the area. My wife was actually contacted first and she went in for an interview and afterwards got me interested. We were told to come in for the Monday morning meeting, that the “regional manager and state agent would actually be in town for the meeting and we could meet them.” TRUTH: The regional manager and state agent belong to the office and are typically always there. In fact the 6 months I was there they only missed 2 meetings. Now it’s not a lie but it isn’t exactly the truth.

In a standard BORING repetitive Monday meeting managers discuss how you could be a millionaire, why you want to be one, and how if you work at a regular job you make say $55k and that’s all those people are worth. But at AIL your opportunity is only limited by you. It really is beautiful! They design a sales pitch, highlighting the good points of the job, and the bad points of your what used to be worthless life was. After all your life is meaning less without luxuries like a Ferrari, million dollar house, premium gas, organic food, private schools, private jets, letting your wife blow $10k on clothes in a day and everything else. Reality in what normally happens is so much more sedate.

Now the implications of being a 1099 (A regular job you get a W-2, and taxes are taken out. 1099 no taxes are taken out and you are responsible for paying them at the end of the year. Additionally as a 1099 the company does not have to pay for many things like unemployment, health care, etc because it is all up to you. Note: When you change industries and become a 1099 employee you may not qualify to buy a house for 2 years. The only way to get around that is to put at least 20% down.) Contractor for a company is a bit confusing if you have never experienced it. You pay for your insurance license and the week training class (now costs about $110 for health, $110 for life, and about $200 for the class) which is required by the state of NC. ALL expenses are yours alone leaving the company pretty much obligation free.

Now when I was hired a few things were briefly mentioned to me. There is no cold calling or prospecting which makes AIL unique. I have to be union because the company is 100% union, and there is a minor phone room fee for setting my appointments for me which helps me spend more time in the field so I can sell. We get lifetime renewals, and everything we do/say is scripted.

100% UNION
So the company started as providing benefits to unions. Has anybody noticed unions are on the decline especially in the South? So I can stand side by side with my union brothers I myself am union for only $28 per month. Unfortunately the vast majority of the people I saw were not union. A union provides protection and a due process to get fired, ahhh but as a 1099 most of your rights are lost. GOTCHYA!

PHONE ROOM FEE
Now it was NOT explained to me that the fee was $100 per week, and that is a huge detail. At the height of the dynasty 28 agents paid the state agent $400 per month. That’s $11, 200 per month. Now it is a PHONE ROOM fee, with one permanent employee and a steady stream of temps flowing in and out. There is no way they cost that much. So the rest (as indirectly admitted) was to cover the costs of his secretary, recruiting manager, and verifications person. But it’s a phone room fee? At most companies the employees don’t pay for their support staff… Now in the union rules you can’t be made to pay for the leads.

LIFE TIME RENEWALS
It’s a deceptive statement. At the year employment mark you would only earn 10% of the renewals for 9 years, 4 years 40% and 9 years 90%. At 10 years 100% vested of those renewals as long as the policy remains in effect. Now if you’re conveniently fired you qualify for nothing. Oh by the way when you leave guess who really benefits regardless? Your manager...

NO COLD CALLING OR PROSPECTING LIE
Now what they operate off of is what’s called 3rd party endorsed leads. Members (i.e. nurses, firemen, credit union members, police, union, etc…) get a letter and it says basically, we work with a benefits company (AIL). You are now eligible for free $1000 of accidental death and dismemberment. Return this card to enroll. Our phone room gets the card depending on what state they belong in and they set an appointment, “you returned your card, an agent is in the area on “X” and they just need to drop by for a minute to get you to sign for it, it won’t take but a minute.” Your job is to swindle your way in to the house and turn a 1 minute appointment into a 45 minute presentation (present, rebuttal, make the sale). Now these cards called leads are bought and sold from the company (AIL) with the state agents like stocks, sometimes paying $4-$9 per card. How often do you think these cards are recycled? All the damn time!

Now it’s true the 3rd party endorsed leads set by a phone room (called the pack) do keep you from cold calling but let me further explain. It was later clarified when my production dropped, “look… the leads are for generating referrals, when you get referrals you call them, set the appointments and sell them. The only way to survive the roller coaster ride and make money is to run your referrals.” Sounds like cold calling and prospecting to me. We were expected to collect at least 15 referrals per house we visit. On top of that we had to turn in 4 of our OWN referrals per day that went in the pot for the agency.

THE APPOINTMENTS
The appointments we would go to typically we had been to before. The appointments were set under a few premises: a year has gone by and you need to resign for your $1000 beneficiary accidental policy, we have new updates to inform you of, there is a new enrollment period, and a myriad of other excuses. The beneficiary slip would be signed, beneficiary printed where it would be rubber banded into a box with no discernable filing system. Essentially a rouse, in fact they don’t even have to sign the slip to receive the death benefit. Whether they sign or not it’s theirs. There are no new updates to inform them of. The enrollment period is so we can revisit them. Either way most appointments are never on time, they are forgotten about. Most of your early evening is spent driving between your appointments 4-5-6-7 times until they’re home. You’re encouraged to knock on doors until at least 10pm.

MATHMATICAL PROOF
Now you could say, “Hey you just had a bad experience and are venting trying to talk bad about the company.” Well let me provide you with some figures including exactly what I made for the 27 weeks I was with the company. The numbers include, advances, overrides, and bonuses paid out. Now granted I could have added wrong or missed a paycheck but its pretty much spot on.

$14, 958.35 total income / 27 weeks of employment = a whopping $554.02 per week

I drove a total of 39, 935 miles for this job in the 27 weeks = 1479.07 miles per week. I was in the field 6 days per week which = 246.51 miles per day. My car averaging 26 mpg at an average cost of $3.54 per gallon, I spent $5, 437.30 on gas alone!
Now you could say well it’s a write off, well kiss my grits you only get back a percentage.

Now keep some things in mind. I was their top agent for 4 months writing the most business. As a manager I had one of the top producing teams. And this is what I have to show for it?! The Raleigh agency is one of the best agencies in the company and the agents are starving, barely scraping by. I was and I outperformed most of them having the highest quality of business ratings.

WORK HOURS TWIST OF TRUTH
As with any entrepreneurial job a lot of time and effort must be put in. Their argument was that you’re only working when you’re in front of a client (hopefully making money). However, when I became a manager I had to be in the office at 8:30am and never got home until after midnight. On Saturdays I had to be in the office at 9:00am and never got home until 6:00pm. But I’m an independent contractor you say? Let’s put it this way. If you didn’t play by the rules you couldn’t be a manager, and they would threaten to take your set appointments that you’re paying $100 per week for. Granted these rules weren’t written but you definitely felt the pressure, and of course were ignored let’s say chastised. Back up: if I HAD to be in at 8:30am and was in the field (not driving home yet) till 10:30pm even 5 days per week… This excludes the 1.5-2.5 hour drive back to Raleigh.
Now $554.02 divided by 79 hours per week minimum = $7.01 per hour. This excludes things like gas… Now the managers say you only actually work 3-4 hours per day and somehow come up with we make $70 something per hour. Bit of a twist?

THE MOVE TO MANAGEMENT
Now of course who wants to put in 80-90 hours per week forever? Management tells you if you can recruit to replace yourself by hiring more people then you can get out of the field. Makes sense right?

RESUME CALLING
At a point the agency wasn’t growing at all. The managers were made to come in at 8:00am handed a stack of contacts and made to call. Our script was simple, “Hello my name is “X” your resume was passed to me from my regional manager and he was very impressed with your resume. Currently we’re looking for benefits representatives in the Raleigh area and are interviewing on “X” day at “X” time and “Y” time which is best for you?” At NO time did anybody EVER look at your resume. What we see: your name, phone # and maybe email, the list has 50-60 names per page. I hate to break it to you but nobody looked at your skills, we want to get you in to SELL you on the job. How do they sell you on the job? They only bring up things you just can’t say NO to, that’s the key in sales never ask a NO question. Who would say no to: You want to make money, you want to make a better life for your family, you want to afford a nice car, and you can get renewals paying you for the rest of your life without ever having to work again. Out of 54 calls you can make in an hour you might set 1 interview. There is only a 23% chance they will show up.

MANAGEMENT INCENTIVE
To keep your bonuses on the agents you have under you, you need a certain amount of new agent codes in a given time frame. To code a new agent you have to sell a client over a certain amount and while the new agent watches you place the policy in their name. I have personally witnessed recruits that would never have been successful duped into getting licensed so managers could keep their bonuses. After all “we mass produce insurance to mass produce our income.”

Dr
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Comments

  • Dr
      28th of Sep, 2008
    +3 Votes

    Now already in my post did I receive a bit of badgering from an upper manager (regional director) from the Raleigh office in text messages. He did call leaving a message (around Sep 23, 2008) and I called him back. He did not answer and never called back. He did state that most of what I said was a lie. However, I assure you I did not, and if by chance there is something inaccurate I will be more than happy to review it.

    But I offer this. So many people go through their revolving system that it MAKES ME SICK! They aren't bad people but if you saw hundreds of people come and go would you not be a bit numb about how many are hurt?

    In an agency meeting the state agent said that they needed to hire 1000 people to become a millionaire (possibly 500 on todays figures). Now tell me it's not about how many people you can get in to use...

  • Sa
      4th of Nov, 2008
    +2 Votes

    I didn't work for them, but they called me for an interview, since I had nothing to do I went to see what they had to offer, I also did my research about them before showing up, so I knew what to expect and what kind of questions to ask.

    The system is set-up like this

    one interview, where they ask dumb questions about your personality, just so they know what to highlight on you, you don't get to ask any questions, and nor are you given a description of what's coming

    a presentation, where a " senior manager " talks about " MONEY " and how he's making 185, 000 with just 2 years on the company. again, vital information is not given, they just highlight how miserable is your life without a Maserati or an expensive house and that with your effort they can give you the oportunity to get all these and more.

    after the presentation they have another 1 to 1 interview, again, dumb personalities questions that lead nowhere are asked, no vital information is shared with you, and they say they'll call you in the next few days for you to sign your " contract "

    the school where they send you the get the licensed is owned by AIL lol, it's actually located in the same building and they charge you for all these.


    something about me, I'm a Chemist lol, what the hell they though I was gonna do as an insurance agent ? with all the respect to those professionals on this field, but this is not a career for me, I didn't chose to study anything even close that. so why did they call a chemist nerd to sell insurance policies ? lol

    oh and they had a M&M's bending machine on the front desk, that strike me as funny.

    this was in Raritan NJ

  • Fr
      17th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    Thank you soooo much for validating my suspicion on AIL.
    My wife has experience in the health field with a masters degree.

    They made her feel in her first interview as if she was just what they we're looking for and only highly qualified select candidates like her. Made her believe in first interview that she would be getting forgiven high base salary. My wife was not happy with me when I guessed anyone with a pulse would be hired for that job. She is happy with me now after sending your review to her and reading your revelation of the truth.

    They even wanted me to take time out of my business work day to come down to meet them during second interview for my wife when I'm sure it was to come down and try hook me into it too.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you,
    Frank Clarkson

  • Jo
      22nd of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    I went through the whole interview process just yesterday, and when I left I noticed some things that were a little out of place. First of all, I give a lot of presentations in the job that I am currently in, and I noticed that the interviewer who then became the presenter as well presented in a very unprofessionals manner. He had his hands in his pockets, talked in a condesending way, and the overall presentation was very amatuer. The interview as well was very disapointing. When I left I had doubts but I just couldnt piece things together, but then that night when the lady called me and told me that I was what they wanted, and that I needed to pay $322 I figured it out. What a scam!!! This site also helped me know what was going on because it seems like everyones story is the same.

  • Vo
      2nd of Nov, 2009
    -1 Votes

    thank you for the very detailed description. The process is slightly different here in Canada but the basics are the same.

    I practically committed interview suicide by highlighting my total lack of insurance experience and my general skepticism. I told them that they were the 3rd insurance company to contact me in the last 2 months using the same M.O. which is the truth. I even told them it reminded me of the time I was contacted by Primerica.
    Guess what... they called me back and I'm perfect for the job! They want $700 for the licence course and test, which I will naturally earn back with my first sale.

    The Power-Point presentation was lame, the "managers" quite young.

    I too was a bit confused how being self employed and the union comes together.

    thanks again!

  • Du
      14th of Nov, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I could just sit down and cry after reading these posts...I have paid them $525 and am "hired, pending outcome of the insurance test". I will try to get my money back and respectfully decline their offer.

  • Ai
      11th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    I have read the above report and felt compelled to add my point of view. I work for AIL and agree that it is hard work to make money. Be warned this is not a 9-5 job you need to be willing to put in the hours and work to make it worth wild. I thought dot points might be easier to understand the parts that I agree and disagree with.
    - The script is true. You are getting into their homes and trying to sell. However people can say NO. We're not monsters they have a right to say no and we respect that. The referrals part is what spun me. We only ask for 3 but if they don't want to give any fine! These are the agents referrals and do not get thrown into a 'bit pot' for agents. You get the referrals you get to work them – fair.
    - The phone room fee is bull. I agree with you I would never pay that. We don't have anything like that here. I don’t even understand what you’re paying them for.
    - Running back and forth for appointment with union members, to me this is poor organization. I always call and confirm the night before so I am not wasting my time and gas.
    - Licensing. Is required for any providence. You should get a receipt from the external course provider for the same sum you paid. LLQP course providers do not work for AIL – not here and I can’t imagine they can legally.
    - True AIL does go through employees like no tomorrow. The average employee will be hired with AIL for 30 days before they quit or get fired. Research the job. If you are willing to put in the hard work you will be able to stay long term and it will work for you. If you have an interview etc and are still not sure if it is for you then it probably isn’t so its best that you say no now.
    - They do interview anyone. TRUE. They hire anyone with a pulse. NOT TRUE. People come in for interviews. We weed out the people who we can tell will not fit with the company. The ones we think will fit well we ask to stay for an orientation where we explain the company, the licensing charges, and the pay structure. This is their opportunity to see if we fit with what they are after in a career – this is a ‘two way street’ process.

    My advise to people who are contacted by AIL is if you are concerned ASK QUESTIONS.
    Make sure they have seen your resume - ask them 'What previous employment of mine interested you in my resume'. 'I think I posted an incorrect resume on line - what year does it say I work there?' - Those thoughts of things.
    Tell them you read reports - ask them about the licensing fee, ask them what their staff retention rate is - how many people they have employed last month, how many they are interviewing. Ask them if they have a phone room fee.
    Each branch has a different director and, by the sounds of the above report, some work differently than others. I enjoy working for AIL but it’s not a job I would recommend for some of my friends. This job is not for everyone! If you are open to new opportunities and can spare 1 hours research and 1 hour for an interview, then you have nothing to lose.

  • Un
      23rd of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    they just called me for an interview. I wont be going tuesday, for sure!

  • Ju
      9th of Feb, 2010
    -1 Votes

    I was just contacted by email saying they found my resume online and I have been pre-selected for an interview as a Customer Care Rep/Entry level Management position. Well I have just graduated with a Human Resources Management degree, and have just begun my job search not having any luck, so I emailed back and said I was not interested in a Sales position, but if they had ssomething in the HR field then I would gladly come in for an interview (thinking that would be the end of that). Well they emailed me back and said they DID have openings also for HR Reps and that the same time is available for an interview. I was a little surprised to hear back and was very excited at first about this interview coming up day after tomorrow. All afternoon I have been sitting here thinking something doesn't seem right, that this can't be that easy to get an interview for an HR position (since I have had no responses to any other applications due to lack of experience) and that I'm betting that once I get there they are going to try to tell me that there is some reason I need an insurance license or that it would be a commission position, or that in some way this will turn into a Sales or strictly recruiting position. After reading this, I am starting to think I would be wasting my time if I go Thursday, and that my suspicions are correct. What do you think??

  • Ze
      27th of Feb, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Yeah. I've also been contacted by a local AIL office and told I was a fine fit for the position. However, although I do have some sales experience, I have none in the insurance industry, as I have spent the last 35 + years working in theater and entertainment. This offer has made me suspicious, and a quick search for posts like these confirm my suspicions. I will not even put myself through this process - I've got to find a real job, and I could never be this desperate.

    Thanks to all for the valuable information!

  • Ho
      15th of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    I had my interview today and my god 100% verbatim. All I know is that between Matt Hendersons Group at AIL and Katherine Blanco at Liberty National that Torchmark is a proud representative of both, my second interview in a new office was FRIDAY. They had a great laugh I DROVE 500 MILES ROUND TRIP I thought that there was sill some good in people, TAMPA beware. Thank You Drew, the old saying is true, If it sounds to good to be true it usually is. Honest Injun

  • Ge
      12th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    Does anyone have experience with the office in Raleigh, NC? I can't imagine it would be much different. I was contacted by Slav Bitman. Just the name struck me at odd, but I could be making a bad assumption.

    With my sales experience, a solid company should be willing to train me at their cost as long as I stay long enough & perform in order to make it worth their while. I've only found one such company, so I might get back in touch with them.

    I've done medical device sales, but the budget for capital equipment is still not what it was before the market fell. Healthcare used to be a safe job - insulated from the economy. Not so much anymore. I hurt my back and now, even as a disabled veteran, my best bet is to get some type of computer certifications or start my own business. Tough to do with no capital.

    I appreciate all the honest information and good advice. Doesn't sound like too much has changed since 2008.

    Best wishes to all of you (like me) looking to provide for your families or just get by in this economy. God bless you all. One thing that's helped me substantially is finding a good church. I been to several not so good churches, but the right one can make a big difference. Don't worry, I won't start preaching. If you're a good person, find other good people. In time, you might meet someone looking for somebody just like you or refer you for a good job. Keep the faith.

    If you want free help with your resume, e-mail me at: PittmanG745@aol.com. I can send you my resume, and if you like the layout, I can help you with the content as well as preparation for the interview(s). Not bragging, but I've never missed a job I didn't want once I got the interview. I'm christian, an ex-green beret & good man. If you need help, I'll do my best to help you.

    There is no catch and no charge. If I help you, all I ask in return is that you pay it forward (help somebody else who is worthy of your time).

    Respectfully,

    George

  • Da
      16th of May, 2010
    -1 Votes

    This was a very thoughtful and thorough review of what working for the company entails. But what I have been searching the internet for is a review of the company itself and whether it is a worthwhile product they are offering.

    I have spent the last hour since their agent left trying to find information about the company and it's practices but I am running across tons of stuff and how badly their employees are treated.

  • An
      18th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    My husband works for this company. He has been there a months. Not only does he work 6 days a week he puts in 80+ hours and he is hardly bringing in any money. His first check was 68.00$ for two weeks and his second check was 90.00$ for two weeks. If he is supposed to be a contractor and work under a 1099 form, he sure has to come to work when they tell him to. On top of that he has to help with training and/or paper work with out getting payed. That company ( agency) makes me very angry. It seems they take advantage of honest hard working people.

  • An
      23rd of May, 2010
    +2 Votes

    For anyone who might be interested in working for (an agency) AIL. They say you work under 1099 form, which means you an independent contractor. Yet they treat you like an employee. They tell you what to wear, when to start work, what to say. They want you to help out in the office, help with recruiting and interviewing. I would advise people to check out the IRS web page and find out for themselves what it means do be an independent contractor.


    The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if you, the person for whom the services are performed, have the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result.


    http://www.irs.gov/index.html

  • Ou
      29th of Jun, 2010
    -1 Votes

    I am planning to set up an interview just because I am bored. Going to show up with my motorcycle, sleeveless t-shirt, tattoos, ragged jeans, leather vest with patches and biker boots. Lets just see what happens...LOL

    This should be fun. I will post my experience. Insurance party time!!!

  • Bu
      27th of Jul, 2010
    +1 Votes

    That is an excellent objective post without slamming them. If only some of their own salesforce had your couth. I wish I was there to see outfctrl. Dude, you're sposed to dress nice! How bout posting a follow up? As for the union end of it, suntin shady is allowed to go on in the name of the almighty dollar.

  • Br
      29th of Sep, 2010
    0 Votes

    i had got a email stating that they saw my resume online which was a very much story. after reading all the bad and horrible things above me about ail i certainly will not be going to my interview friday. and plus its like 30mins from my house its jus too far and a waist of gas if im not going to be fortunate on how much i will be getting paid no matter how many hours i do.. i am glad that i researched first then waisting my time and missing work friday,


    thank you all tatonya

  • Ih
      25th of May, 2011
    0 Votes

    All I have to say is just about everyone here has absolutely no real knowledge of what goes on within this company. You do have to work very hard to be successful but nothing worth having is easy. Far too many people are looking for the easy, lazy route and that just doesn't exist. We were never misled about the hours or the pay.
    Google 'Geico scam' or 'allstate scam' and you'll find just as much negative attention as you do positive. Have some brains, don't believe everything you read on the internet. Form your own opinions, don't take on those of ignorant people.

  • Te
      7th of Jun, 2012
    0 Votes

    It would be different if there wasn't hundreds of the same stories. It happened almost word for word the same way to me as well. They are liars, and will gladly tell you whatever you want to hear, especially when it comes to salary. I did everything, and I mean EVERYTHING correctly and was told I was guaranteed a 2, 000 check as my first paycheck. To my surprise it was a whopping 68.00. When I called and asked, they said, and I quote " well that's not my problem, sorry ma'am." Click. Sure enough when I called, the woman who answered did not provide her name, yet when she answered my paycheck question, it seemed as no surprise to her and was as if she gave me a response that was off a note card.

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