What if your upline agency no longer meets your needs? It may be time to break up and explore other options. Before you can do that, however, you need to request a release. Here are the steps …
1. Check Your Contracts.
Different carriers have different policies regarding releases, including when they can be made and other requirements. Likewise, different Field Marketing Organizations (FMOs) have different policies regarding release requests. Read your contracts carefully so you know what’s allowed and what your obligations are.
2. Time Your Request.
Getting a release and switching your upline agency can be a disruptive process – and that’s assuming everything goes smoothly. To minimize the disruption as much as possible, avoid acting during your busiest time of the year – like during the Annual Election Period for Medicare. In fact, some contracts prohibit releases around AEP. Be mindful of this when initiating a change.
Also consider other issues, such as how long you’ve been with your upline agency, as this could impact the process. Once again, check your contracts and the relevant policies for details.
3. Consider Your Upline and Downline.
If you are operating under an upline agent, you may need to secure a release from your immediate upline before your FMO can grant a release or hierarchy transfer.
Likewise, if you have agents operating downline and are requesting a release from your FMO, you will need to determine whether you are also requesting a release for everyone in your downline and include this information in your request.
4. Make the Request.
When asking for a release, keep the request simple and direct, and make sure you get everything in writing. See if your FMO has a standard form to use, and have the release put on your upline’s official letterhead.
If your request is approved, you will need to send the release form with your old upline’s signature to your new upline. You should be able to do this via email.
Your carrier may have additional requirements; talk to your upline about this.
If Your Request Is Denied …
If your upline denies your release request, you will need to contact the carriers you are contracted with to see their policies. Most will make you wait six months to get released without the approval of your upline. During this time, you may not be able to write new business, depending on the carrier’s policies.
Email the carrier a Notice of Intent that clearly states your intent to switch your upline. Include all pertinent information, including the names of both FMOs, your name, your agent number, and whether downline agents are included. See if the carrier has a standard form to use.
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