American Income Life Reviews

Updated March 27, 2015
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3.1
690 Reviews
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American Income Life CEO Roger Smith
Roger Smith
386 Ratings

Pros
  • You have the opportunity to make a lot of money if you have what it takes to make the sale (in 20 reviews)

  • If you are a shark you will do well and make a lot of money off the backs of others (in 14 reviews)

Cons
  • There are not any cons that I can think of other than the long hours (in 67 reviews)

  • The only way to make a lot of money is to be dishonest (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. 109 people found this helpful

    Might Be The Longest & Hopefully the Most Honest & Balanced Review on Glassdoor Concerning AIL. Please read to the end!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Regional Director
    Current Employee - Regional Director

    I have been working at American Income Life full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    So many pros here....let's start with:

    1) Freedom & flexibility- the ability to be an independent contractor (1099 associate) who can set their own hours, work pace, and income level.

    2) Preparation for the future- It is also nice that you can utilize AIL to gain valuable knowledge about sales, marketing, business development, communications and almost any other valuable skill/trait you would normally acquire in a university/college setting before setting out into the professional world. AIL is a great place for people to develop a solid core for what may lie ahead in their future for what they ultimately want to do for the rest of their lives.

    3) A fully-vested, Union-protected 10-year renewal plan makes achieving whatever you want to do in life possible- whether it is starting your own business or a non-profit, without taking out huge small business loans. Work hard now- enjoy the financial benefits for the rest of your life.

    4) The socialization aspect: from policyholders to co-workers to the random person that opens up the door to you on a daily basis there is never a boring day @ AIL. In short, we get paid to drive, talk, and help educate people on how to be financially literate when it comes to insurance and savings. Also, we get invited to BBQ's, family functions, and many other cool events from our members. It is impossible to work @ AIL and not develop a strong social network as a result of working here!

    5) The opportunity to be given recognition and additional responsibilities based on your own results, instead of on tenure or who you know

    6) Legitimate 6-figure income reality...I've personally only had 1 year under $100,000 and I took a ton of time off that year. I had never made more than 50,000 per year working 60-70 hours per week in retail prior to AIL.

    7) Good Senior Leadership/Mentors: although rare, this company truly some fantastic individuals sitting in high-profile & decision-making positions within the company...many of whom truly live the company's mottos and operating principles to the 'T'

    8) Ability to rebound quickly in a financial crisis- whether it happens directly or indirectly to you there a very few professional opportunities where you can go make an extra 10K or so the following month, even if you are not a manager. While money is the root of all evil, it can also help you do great by and support those around when times get tough. As long as someone focuses on the beneficial aspects of the monetary opportunity at AIL they will be in a good place.

    9) Running your own business- as long as you are showing results and growth, you can run your own office(s) with nearly absolute autonomy. But, unlike running your own traditional business, you have the support of a Fortune 700 company and its senior leaders when you need it. It's the best of both world's really.

    Cons

    NOTE: Every individual AIL office is franchised and no two are exactly alike in nature...just like a fast-food chain or multiple-location gym.

    Depending on your SGA (AIL franchise-owner), RGA, MGA, and other upline managers, you may have the above-mentioned freedom & financial opportunities inhibited by several factors including:

    1) Micromanagement- many managers treat their associates like W-2 employees in their daily interactions with them and should be reminded of the 6-Point Test for Independent Contractors to help them develop a working relationship that is more true to the nature of their contract. Recommend to do something, but not require them to do something. Small but huge difference between the two.

    2) Too heavy of a focus on the scripts- teach your associates the script and it's key components but don't hold back their creativity and interpretation of the presentation- remember, you hired them because they were intelligent beings (I hope)...not script-reciting robots.

    3) Mandatory Meetings- yikes, this is a huge legal volcano waiting to bury the SGA's of this company. Recommend attendance and explain why it is important associates are there...and leave it at that.

    4) Lack of accountability from senior management- remember, you are not infallible...quit making promises you can't back up and if you fail to uphold your end of the bargain, make it right in whatever way possible!

    5) Buddy-buddy system- depending on the SGA, many are very cliquey and develop too tight of an inner-circle where the general attitude becomes very akin to a fanatic cult. Stay true to your standards and guidelines, not to who challenges you the least and edifies the very ground you walk on

    6) Chargebacks and selective underwriting- you may actually owe the money back to the company if you submit a policy that does not get issued due to health, even though sometimes the insured met the underwriting guidelines of the field guide you were issued. AIL also does not like to underwrite large policies for some reason.

    7) Too many traps in the bonus system- many times as a senior manager I have not earned the bonuses I projected on earning because of the several pitfalls in the bonus system, such as the quality of the downline manager (the manager you are supervising), the fact that your downline managers did not code enough new associates (even though you might have)

    8) The Peter-principle- associates are promoted to management positions to rapidly in many SGAships across AIL so they never get a chance to fully grow into their previous role and end up failing miserably at everything. Give junior associates more time to hone their skills before throwing the next task(s) at them. If you want to grow so bad, go do it yourself and stop forcing others to take on your responsibilities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Before I give advice to management (see below) I would like to give some advice to those reading reviews: 90% of the content of the negative reviews you see on this site are TRUE, to one degree or another. But remember, no one generally goes to the internet to blog about how great things are- it's usually to complain or expose what they feel is negative. However, some red flags for you (the potential job seeker) when you are reading reviews: if someone says the word "employee" in their review you can essentially disregard the rest of the review due to the actual nature of the contract they signed.

    Also, if someone complains about travelling they simply were not paying attention to the interview process (or the local office wasn't being truthful)- they were blinded by the $$ potential. And finally if anyone complains about management not being truthful, in most cases I have observed it's because they came ill-prepared for the interview and did not ask enough and/or the right questions. To expand on that, another huge reason for attrition is lack of spousal support. The new associate might not have clearly explained the opportunity & its requirements to their spouse or s/o- approx. I would put the figure of dissatisfied agents around 60% of the total % of dissatisfied agents that promise their better halves the world via this opportunity and do not prepare them for the initial 3-6 month grind required to be successful long-term.

    My advice to candidates: don't sign on the dot for the job- ask to ride along (job shadow) the person interviewing for a day or two before committing to the opportunity. Also, once you commit: do so for a minimum of 6-months. This is not a career you can gauge on a daily or weekly basis.

    Now that I have said that, I am exited to provide some valuable some advice to the management:

    1) Stop hiring everybody! This career should not be someone's first "real job"...you really do need a bit of good educational or professional experience (at minimum an internship or working entry-level at a successful company, regardless of industry) prior to joining AIL. AIL is only good for a gateway into the financial services industry, not into the general realm of employment itself! By hiring bad candidates you alienate the good candidates in your organization and the opportunity does not seem that special anymore, hurting agency culture and individual drive.

    2) Hire by necessity- not in advance to replace the inevitable turnover. If you are losing agents left and right, aggressive hiring on a weekly basis will do nothing but apply a 1-month Band-Aid to the solution and fill the pockets of your SGA!! In order to stop turnover, book a ton of interviews and only select the absolute best candidates, mentor them to obtain their license, and support them during their 1st 90 days as if they were the last agents you are ever going to hire. In short, don't hire their replacement until they give you a reason to do so.

    3) Know your territory and the opportunities/constraints it provides, don't out hire your available resources to where your agents must produce 90% of their leads by referrals just to have a weekly paycheck. Referrals are awesome, but remember- we are a UNION company, first and foremost. When those goes by the wayside, so does our niche and the business model itself will start to decay leaving us at the same level as State Farm, New York Life, Farmers, etc...just a general insurance company looking to present to anybody willing to listen to our "spiel".

    4) Educate your Agency Owners (running their own office) about business & tax legalities. Don't force them to invest their money, hire associates under the table, put agents on mandatory schedules...and then when they get in trouble hide behind the "Oh, well they are an independent contractor" guise. Step up and take ownership of the actions of those below you that you have mentored.

    5) Do more with less. Currently as a company I feel we could double our production but cutting 1/3 of our agency force and cutting recruiting efforts by over 66%...this would leave 2-3 uninterrupted weeks to devote to the proper mentoring of those associates we bring on to our respective teams and provide the time needed for managers to increase production so junior managers can afford to give away some business to a new associate once they pass their state licensing exam. If you want to recruit every week, you personally should pay for the staff to do so instead of shifting the financial & logistical burden onto managers below you w/ a fraction of your income.

    6) Be upfront and don't tell lies to people in the hiring process. Set up clear expectations (in writing) and don't be afraid to sign your name on the line of what the position will entail from day 1 - retirement.

    7) Make a commitment to yourself that you will help this company be great again- yes we are making more $$ than ever before and our company's growth is nothing short of admirable....let's just leave a smaller "trail of blood" in the process and not build OUR dreams on the obliterated ones of wide-eyed newbies who often entrust us with the last bit of money, time, and trust they have left during these rough times. Let's be a positive example for labor and not a thorn in its side.

    8) Create a more formal business structure by creating roles for key associates and assisting junior managers with their investments in the structure of their business...instead of giving away thousands of dollars of I-pads, vacations and other ridiculous prizes that only benefit the top 10% of the company. It's time to stop making a non-MLM company appear like one.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. Be your own boss!

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at American Income Life

    Pros

    Ability to work at my own pace. Get to meet all kinds of new people. Be my own boss.

    Cons

    Weekly Mandatory meetings with ego building.

  3. Amazing opportunity for not only professional growth, but personal growth, even starting with no experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Supervising Agent in State College, PA
    Current Contractor - Supervising Agent in State College, PA

    I have been working at American Income Life as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Promotions based on results, everyone in the company past and future starts at the same position, hard work actually pays off, great leadership because they've been in your shoes.

    Cons

    Getting through the learning curve can take some discipline, but well worth it as long as you know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Compared to other opportunities, the learning curve can be overcome quickly as long as you focus in training.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to what people are saying on sites like these, always learning and growing from positive and negative feedback so we can keep giving opportunities to people in the communities we work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. The leads provided are a one step removed from being the phone book.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Life Insurance Agent in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Life Insurance Agent in San Diego, CA

    I worked at American Income Life

    Pros

    Sharif, Craig, and a few others (limited to upper mgmt in the furer whittinghill agency are amazing. I respect Craig more than I could ever tell him. American Income Life is not a pyramid scheme, or a multi level marketing scheme. It's a legitimate company

    Cons

    Those that are one step above entry level are absolute jerks. Incentives for recruiting, the bonus structure etc are features of pyramid and multi level schemes. They destroy morale and leave only those who thrive on drama. itt's unsustainable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay for licensing. Pay for mileage during training. Offer food.
    It's hard to defend the company from silly allegations when the company features silly features...

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful

    This is a 1099 Job and Multi-Level Management company. Used to be Supervisory Agent.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Supervisory Agent
    Former Employee - Supervisory Agent

    I worked at American Income Life full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Income control - If you are talented and can talk with a silver tongue, be willing to put in 60+ hours of work a week, be willing to "invest" in your "business," you have the ability to make quite a lot of money.

    Great to build experience - really get a sense of what you are willing to do for your paycheck.

    The people there are all starry-eyed and dreamers. Tend to be very supportive of each other.

    Promotions are sometimes very quick.

    Cons

    Where to begin...

    1. You ARE a 1099. Taxes will not be withheld. Uncle Sam will want his cut and AIL, at least the office I was at did not train or teach rookies how to handle being an independent contractor. You are responsible for your travel (gas), your business expenses (cards, yes, your business cards), paying any recruiter/administrator to work for you, PAY FOR NEW AGENTS' TRAINING AND LICENSE WHEN THEY GET ASSIGNED TO YOU, travel to conferences are on YOUR DIME (yes, you pay for flights to conferences you "qualify" for), and more. More importantly, because taxes are not withheld, that means that the income, which is 100% commission, isn't truly all yours. You need to put at least about 20%-30% to the side for taxes. You must be a good bookkeeper.

    2. This is multi-level management. My office even admitted, "We are a recruiting agency that happens to sell life insurance." Instead of trying to perfect hires brought on, the pressure is to always have newbies coming in. There are bonuses for the first six months, then it hits the fan and the company really restricts its bonuses; as if the company stopped caring (which is almost true since agency retention is based on six month tenures).

    3. You will be traveling. Live near a city, you will be ghetto crawling. Live in the middle of nowhere, get driving! You see potential clients at their residence.

    4. Just as in many other MLM companies, the atmosphere is very cult-ish. Ra-ra sessions and "kool-aid" drinking is a major part of meetings and conferences. Plenty of "if I can do it, so can you" figureheads speak at leadership meetings. Also, any deviation from "the path" is met with harsh criticism, dismissed instantly, or "stirs the hornets' nest." They want sheep, not shepherds.

    5. The amount of times I had to bail out someone struggling with finances was astonishing. Just because you are doing well, does not mean in the slightest that your agency is. Many power suit-wearing folks in these agencies are past broke and in the red.

    6. Pressure/impulse sales result in cancellations and charge backs. That's right, that money you earned is technically an "advance." If a customer cancels before, I believe, six months of their policies have been accepted, you will be charged back the difference. In many cases, money is owed to AIL with this system.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Train your employees on what it truly means in both the company's views and in the words of the IRS.

    Try to resist using the MLM ideology and focus on perfecting a team.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful

    A great place to learn selling techniques and advance quickly within a company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Insurance Sales Agent
    Current Employee - Insurance Sales Agent

    I have been working at American Income Life

    Pros

    Pay, there is really an unlimited earning potential, flexible hours, excellent training and continued support offered from the start.

    Cons

    Commission, high quotas, unrealistic expectations, forced to invest into "your business" which is really investing into your managers business at your expense.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to the employees more to gain an understanding of the current problems .

  8. 1 person found this helpful

    Hard work pays but lots of b.s. comes with the work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Insurance Agent in Lombard, IL
    Current Contractor - Insurance Agent in Lombard, IL

    I have been working at American Income Life as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Always made money. Anyone who has good people and speaking skills can make a min. of $4K a month.

    Cons

    The amount of crap and ego driven b.s. is amazing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Tried giving advice. Was told "don't swat a hornet's nest".

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. Ups and Downs

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at American Income Life

    Pros

    Potential to make a lot of money if you work extremely hard. Great way to meet a lot of people and establish relationships with clients.

    Cons

    Sometimes you can work extremely hard and do everything right and still not make any money. It is outside sales so if you are comfortable with strangers, you will struggle.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When things are going well for agents and they are having a lot of success, do not change the way they have to present to clients.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. Excuses will always be there for you. Opportunity won't. Entitlement holds me back. My manager/trainer doesn't.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Hiring Manager in Eau Claire, WI
    Current Employee - Hiring Manager in Eau Claire, WI

    I have been working at American Income Life full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    I have worked at AIL Eau Claire for about half a year. I have experience in so many professions to education, corrections, social work, customer service, hotel management, the list goes on. I can honestly say that out of all the experiences I have been through, joining AmeriCorps National Service and becoming a Hiring Manager at AIL Eau Claire have been two of the highlights in my life, other than my marriage and the birth of my children. I have never been part of a team that is so positive. I can be having the most rotten day or worst luck, and my managers and team members will be right there smiling at me and cheering me along. They criticize me constructively and NEVER boss me around. They invite my new ideas and encourage my artistry. It's fun. Who doesn't like fun?

    Cons

    I feel like I have really brought some great people in to this facility. I have worked hard to find driven and self-directed people. I have seen a handful pass through the doors and for whatever their reason, it has saddened me. I don't think that any of these people have anyone to blame. The career wasn't for them, they didn't try hard enough or they simply did not have the at home support this profession needs. I can't say that anyone at AIL Eau Claire has ever left because they weren't wanted. We work as a team and we can only train you so much. You have to be able to pick up on things and be independent. If you can't follow directions and fly your own plane so to speak after months of training, then it isn't for you. But a loss is for those who do not commit to the plan. You can't possibly know that you will not succeed when you leave after a bad week. I feel bad for the entitled. You are unfortunate and will always spell team with an "I". I read all these reviews about having to pay for class. Seriously? Did any of you go to college? Did you pay for credits? You have to be willing to invest in yourself and your success. Unfortunately that costs some green. If you are worth it, so is the money you invest. Notice I said, "invest". This is not the breadline. You have to earn your way - it's how you stand proud. After all, you can't bartend without a bartending license and you can't teach without a teaching license. Can you be a doctor without a license?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    AIL Eau Claire is exploring new ways to recruit candidates that understand the commitment and time management that it takes to make this opportunity unlimited. Our Managers work as hard as the agents we hire and step up. invest time in their growing business and an over all team setting to boost moral. We want our teams to grow. The associates want to be successful. I think we are doing everything right. I think as long as we keep taking in feedback and keep growing and listening to the changes we need as they come, our reputation will precede us.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful

    careful what you ask for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at American Income Life

    Pros

    can make good money, room to move up quick, nice people to work with and fun environment for a difficult domain to work within

    Cons

    long hours - misleading job description

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    be more straight forward to employees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

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