From Portland Metro, OR — 07/29/2010
**You want the BOTTOM LINE, here it is**
I have been with Aflac for 10 years. Many have been here longer, but many more not so long. I have been in management and a basic associate for about 5 years each. Contrary to popular belief, I have made more money as an associate these past 5 years than I did as a manager in the first 5. Below are some of the things I have personally experienced or observed. I will try to be unbiased and truthful. Whether you love the duck or not, I apologize ahead of time.
YES, Aflac is a good company with good products, service, claims, compensation, and a good name brand. Any company that uses a duck to advertise themselves and pushes hard to makes it a household name, is either crazy or has something really good to offer. Aflac has something really good to offer. But if you don't truly believe in it or see how it can personally benefit yourself, you will find it very difficult to convince others to feel that way and sales will suffer..
NO, Aflac is not a pyramid scheme. Aflac is a business. Successful businesses, in general, have an individual(or group) that started the company. Those guys hire people to operate different territories. Those guys then hire people to oversee their part of the business, like supervisors, managers, assistants, sales people, etc. So when the salesperson closes a deal, everyone above them reaps the benefits. When you buy a can of pop for $.75 there are a lot of people that get a piece. In Aflac, when an associate makes a sale, the guys above them get paid also. It's commission and that's how commissions work. Coordinators (Regions, Districts, States, Trainers,) only get paid when you are successful and make sales. More sales, everybody wins. As the associate you get the biggest chunk of the commission. Coordinators might get a meager contest bonus for contracting new associates, but the bulk of their compensation comes from when new and old associates are successful, make a lot of sales and stay with Aflac for a lifelong career. Coordinators need a lot of producing associates to make money and meet their quotas. Look up Pyramid Scheme and you will see how this is very different. Pyramid schemes hurt people while just a few take all the money. Aflac has thousands of successful sales teams around the world.
YES, the recruiters sometimes use the best experiences of others to relate to individuals interviewing for a job. Sometimes the numbers they use are not quite the average. Not everyone makes 50-100K their first year. Most will quit or go inactive within 3-12 months for a variety of reasons. They continue to recruit people because this is how they replace the ones that go away and how businesses grow. They don't talk about all the negative pieces of the business. Why would they fill the heads and hearts of new recruits with every potential objection and failure story.
YES, it is a commission sales job and you own your own business. I see on the recruiting adds "no nights, no weekends" all the time. But, how many successful business owners do you know that never work a night or a weekend. The truth is, if you want to be successful and have a long term career with Aflac you will need to put in some hours after 5pm and on the weekends. This does not mean that you are out making cold calls or sales at these times (even though I have made some of my single largest sales in the evenings) , but you will need to plan ahead for the upcoming day or week. Its a business and YOU have to run it. 40 hours isn't enough many times.
YES, some regional and district offices are holes in the wall, not by choice. Most are nice and well maintained. Aflac corporate does not purchase the office space for individual sales locations. Since the Region or District has to pay for the space themselves they may not have the resources to lease new associates "Class A" office space for token a $50 or $100 a month contribution. They may be new themselves and trying to build and grow a business. In order to do this you have to keep your overhead as low as possible without working out of a van or a garage. Since the vast majority of sales are made at businesses, as long as the office is functional I am sure this won't hinder growth and potential in sales. However, nice well maintained office conditions are strongly advised and recommended as soon as possible.
YES, sometimes you have to pay back commissions. Aflac sales is not a salaried position. Aflac will pay advanced commissions usually within 2 days of a policy being processed. These are ADVANCED. That means that you are being paid commissions that you have not earned yet. The advance is based on the annual sum of what you just sold ($50/month equals $600 annual sale). This system is really a gift to associates to help them get off the ground and keep them excited to sell more. However, if you sell a policy and the person you sold to does not keep their policy for a year, you will likely have to pay back some of the unearned commission. As long as a person continues to sell this will likely be absorbed with renewal commission. If a person has no or not enough renewal commissions they will see a debit balance on their statement rather than a credit. Eventually a person will have to pay this back if it is not corrected with payment from the policyholder or new sales. The Aflac managers are not responsible for paying back commissions for associates, even if they are no longer representing Aflac. Whoever got paid is responsible for the payback.
It's NOT for everyone, it's really HARD sometimes, you can have your best day and your worst day all in the same 5 minute span. I don't agree with every decision that has been made but its not my company. Overall it's been a good experience. Complaining won't reverse a bad experience but you might ruin it for someone else. And maybe, just maybe its our own fault when we don't succeed. Just try something else.