In this Symmetry Financial Group review article, we will give you some background on Symmetry Financial Group (SFG), how they help people with mortgage protection, what new life insurance agents should look at, and how we do things differently. We are both here to help you find the best mortgage protection policy possible; we just do it differently.
We are not affiliated with Symmetry Financial Group in any way and this review contains information that is gathered from public information and public website pages.
In this Symmetry Financial Group review, we will help you understand how SFG and Multi-level Marketing (MLM) insurance companies similar to SFG operate in order to provide homeowners with this very important insurance product.
Our references to other MLM marketing and operational practices mentioned in this post are for informational purposes only.
How we got started
We got our start in the insurance industry with an IMO MLM (Internet Marketing Organization Multi-Level Marketing) company. As we look back at our time with an IMO MLM company we are both grateful and disappointed.
We are grateful for the experience to learn and grow, grateful for some of the wonderful people we met along the way. We are disappointed by how we were sometimes taught to sell and what products we were told to sell to clients by our managers.
At Buy Mortgage Protection we help you find the best mortgage protection policy possible; we just do it differently than the rest of the mortgage protection Insurance Marketing Organizations (IMO’s).
Symmetry Financial Group Review
The first part of our Symmetry Financial Group review will focus on the homeowner experience in purchasing life insurance, the second part of our review will focus on the typical MLM agent experience.
All MLM type IMO’s will be variations of the Symmetry Financial Group (SFG) System (which is a variation of a previous mortgage protection IMO MLM company).
In this Symmetry Financial Group review, we will talk specifically about Symmetry with information publicly available through Symmetry’s website and through public records/internet records.
We will also talk generically about MLM type IMO’s, as these issues may apply to all MLM IMO companies.
About Symmetry Financial Group:
Symmetry Financial Group was formed in December 2008 and is owned Casey Watkins, Brandon Ellison, and Brian Pope. Casey Watkins and Brandon Ellison are prior MLM agents who left to form Symmetry Financial Group. When Casey and Brandon left their prior MLM company they recruited other fellow agents to come along with them to work at SFG (including Casey’s brother, Lynn Watkins).
Brian Pope is a long-time insurance industry veteran who founded Insurance Wholesalers, Inc. in 1992. Insurance Wholesalers, Inc. was sold in 2006 to the Fortune 500 company, Fiserv.
Brian repurchased Insurance Wholesalers, Inc. from Fiserv in December 2008 and reformed the company into what it is now called, Asurea, Inc.
Brian Pope is the owner of Asurea and part owner/investor in Symmetry Financial Group.
Symmetry Financial Group has a favorable Better Business Bureau report.
Symmetry Financial Group has favorable reviews on Glassdoor.
The Symmetry Financial Group Business Model:
Symmetry Financial Group (SFG) operates like a Multilevel Marketing (MLM) company (think Amway, Avon, Pampered Chef, etc). Individual agents contract with Symmetry Financial Group and sell insurance products approved by Symmetry Financial Group.
Symmetry Financial Group managers get a percentage of their “downline” agents (agents under them) production (commission).
Symmetry Financial Group states on their website that they offer “Agency building opportunities, tools, systems and training for those who want to build their own agency.” SFG encourages new and inexperienced agents to “build” agencies right away and have salespeople under them (much like the Amway, Avon, Pampered Chef, etc. business model).
The SFG model relies heavily on recruiting new and inexperienced agents. Individual agents/managers aggressively recruit throughout the United States through Craigslist, ZipRecruiter, Monster, Indeed, and other job posting services.
Whom do Symmetry Financial Group agents work for?
All Symmetry Financial Group insurance sales agents are 1099 contract employees. They are not employees of Symmetry Financial Group.
Symmetry Financial Group facilitates contracting the agents with the insurance companies. SFG agents are paid directly by the insurance companies.
Are SFG agents hourly, salary, or commission?
Most insurance agents are paid on 100% commission.
How does SFG contact homeowners?
Through direct mailing, telemarketing, and phone leads to people who have recently purchased a new home, refinanced a home, been approved for a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), or who have been approved for a reverse mortgage.
When a homeowner returns a Symmetry Financial Group mortgage protection letter they received in the mail (or answers a telemarketer phone call), their information is then entered into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and it is called a “lead.” Your information (called a “lead”) is then sold to individual SFG agents, who contact you directly by phone or door knocking with the information you have provided.
Your information (called a “lead”) is then sold to individual SFG agents, who contact you directly by phone or door knocking with the information you have provided.
How many calls will a homeowner get?
If you sent in only one mortgage protection letter and purchased a policy through an SFG agent, the phone calls from SFG agents should stop immediately (unless you mailed multiple letters in).
If you don’t purchase a policy, your information may be sold up to 5 more times to different SFG agents (and you will get more phone calls) by the Symmetry Financial Group Leads Department.
How long will a homeowner get phone calls?
You may get phone calls for up to 2+ years after you send your letter into many MLM insurance companies.
Symmetry Financial Group Mortgage Protection Letter
Here is a picture of a Symmetry Financial Group mortgage protection letter that was delivered to a homeowner. Once this form gets filled out and mailed in by the homeowner it then becomes a “lead” and is sold to an SFG agent(s).
The information on the letter is attained from public courthouse records and then mailed to the following:
- People who have recently purchased a new home, condominium, rental, or investment property.
- People who have refinanced a home.
- People who have taken a home equity line of credit (HELOC) on their home.
- People who have taken a reverse mortgage on their home.
Will your information be sold?
Yes, up to 6 times to different Symmetry Financial Group agents. Here are the different lead types offered through Symmetry. The Symmetry Financial Group cost of leads are as follows:
- A Lead: Agent pricing is from $27.00 to $43.00 depending on your contract (commission) level.
- Refer to these Promotion Guidelines for actual cost.
- Lead Age – Exclusive to a Symmetry agent for 5 weeks only.
- 5A Lead – $5.50 each
- This is an A lead that was distributed 1 time, but the customer still hasn’t been sold.
- Lead Age – 5 weeks of age up to 8 months.
- 4A Lead – Cost $4.50 each
- Distributed 2 times. (As an A lead then as a 5A lead), but the customer still hasn’t been sold.
- Lead Age – Starts at 10 weeks of age and can go up to 10 months.
- 3A Lead – $3.50 each
- Distributed 3 times. (As an A lead, then as a 5A and 4A lead), but the customer still hasn’t been sold.
- Lead Age – Starts at 15 weeks of age and can go up to 12 months.
- 2A Lead – $2.50 each
- Distributed 4 times. (As an A lead, 5A, 4A, and 3A lead), but the customer still hasn’t been sold.
- Lead Age – Starts at 20 weeks and can go to 18+ months.
- 1A Lead – $1.50 each
- Distributed 5 times. (As an A lead, 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A lead)
- Lead Age – These leads are $1.50 and are between 5 months and 35 months old.
- These are exclusive to the agent as a 1A lead for 3 months.
- .50 Cent Lead – $.50 cents each
- Distributed 6 times. (As an A lead, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A lead)
- Lead Age – Starts at 8 months and can go up to 50 months old.
- These are exclusive to the agent as a 50C lead for 3 months.
I was sold an expensive policy by another agent…how can I get a better better-priced policy?
We routinely replace expensive mortgage protection policies sold by other agents as we can often provide better pricing or higher face value policies for less money. We have access to the best priced “A Rated” insurance companies in the United States.
If you have been sold a mortgage protection policy that is too expensive or has a coverage amount lower than you would like, we can help you! Call us at (888) 760-0903.
Symmetry Financial Group Promotional Videos
This first video shows what a best case compensation plan with Symmetry may look like. This is a recruiting video intended to attract and sell potential life insurance agents on the opportunity to work for SFG. There are alternative SFG Forum discussions on the internet where people share their experiences with Symmetry.
Here is a corporate promotional video.
Here is a video that shows how leads (homeowner information) are purchased and sold in the Symmetry Financial Group CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System:
Here is how your information and mortgage protection life insurance policy is uploaded to the Symmetry Financial Group CRM system:
The MLM model – Recruiters FIRST, Insurance salespeople second
An important thing to understand about any MLM life insurance company and their agents is how they operate and recruit.
The MLM life insurance agent that helps you with a mortgage protection policy is likely to ask you if you want to join their “team” in the future and work for them as a life insurance agent. They do this to build their “team” so they can make money off the life insurance policies you sell.
Your MLM agent visiting you in your home selling you life insurance may say something like this: “Would you, or anyone you know, like to make an extra $1,000 to $2,000 a month by working on a part-time basis?”
Keep in mind that with most MLM life insurance companies you are a recruiter FIRST, and a life insurance agent SECOND.
Because MLM’s focus on revenue (commissions) from their “downline” agents (the agents they have recruited), most MLM life insurance agencies focus on selling more expensive life insurance policies that cover a wide range of medical impairments and illnesses.
You will likely be sold the same life insurance policy if you are healthy than if you have medical impairments that require you to take high blood pressure medications, thyroid medication, depression medication, and diabetes medications.
If you are healthy, an MLM agent will often present to you a more expensive life insurance policy then you qualify for rather than a less expensive life insurance policy. They do this because the application and approval process is easier for them, and they make more money on these policies.
How much do agents earn at Symmetry?
No Symmetry Financial Group review would be complete without talking about how much SFG agents earn.
According to Symmetry financial group’s website, you can earn commissions from 60% to 110%. However, the maximum an individual producer can receive is 80% commission.
There is no Symmetry Financial Group salary; a Symmetry Financial Group career is a 100% commission income opportunity.
If you want to receive higher than 80% commission, Symmetry financial group will require you to start to ‘build a team’ or “build an agency” and find other licensed agents to work underneath you (according to the SFG Promotional Guidelines). This is where the MLM aspect of this business comes into play.
You will get a percentage commission on any agent’s production (sales) that is working underneath you; these are called “overrides.” Your manager above you will also get a percentage of your and your downline’s commission.
As with all MLM type IMO’s, the best predictor of your financial performance is the financial performance of your mentor or “upline” manager; if your manager cannot earn six figures, how are they going to train and mentor you to earn six figures?
The MLM manager may tell you to “trust the system”, but you may want to ask about the actual results of your manager and their team.
Don’t be afraid to ask your manager what they earn yearly…and prove it. Insist on seeing your manager’s personal and team production reports, placement percentages, persistency rates, and W-2 statement to verify their claimed income.
Once my Geographic Mailing Request (GMR) is producing leads, will I get my leads?
Not necessarily. Let’s say you have a GMR of 10 leads and 10 letters come in that week. In most MLM’s your 10 leads will be delivered to your up-line manager to distribute. If the lead flow in your area is high that week, you may get all 10 A leads.
If the lead flow in your area is low, your manager may give you a portion of your A leads and give your other A leads to other agents (even if their GMR was placed long after yours).
Your lead flow will always be determined by your up-line manager because they distribute the leads to everyone underneath them.
Does Symmetry financial group have “protected” regions for salespeople to work?
No. Symmetry encourages hiring new agents in all areas of the country, regardless of how many agents are in the area. If an area is saturated with agents, new agents and agency managers will still hire in this area.
From day one, Symmetry agents are encouraged to “build a team” or “build an agency.” Agents are encouraged to hire warm market (friends and family) and cold market (craigslist ads, newspaper ads, zipper critter, etc.).
Because cities and geographical areas only have so many homes sold each month, the number of new leads an area can produce is restricted. This is one reason why many MLM insurance companies rely heavily on reselling leads as bonus leads.
“As earned” vs. “Advanced” Commission
If a client purchases a life insurance policy that costs $100 a month, you can receive the commission in one of two ways – “as earned” or “advanced” commission. If you choose “as earned” commission, each month the client paid insurance policies, you would receive a commission on the $100 a month premium.
Advances are loans against future commissions (this is very important!). Advances are directly related to chargebacks as mentioned in this article.
If you choose the advanced commission option, you would receive a specified percentage of the annual APV (annual policy value) upfront, and the remaining percentage later.
If you have a 75% advance commission, you will receive 75% of the policy APV immediately and the remaining 25% APV and months 10, 11, and 12 of the insurance policy contract (approximately 8% in each month).
- $100 monthly premium (approved and drafted on January 1st) X 12 months = $1,200 APV.
- $1,200 APV X 60% contract/commission rate = $720
- $720 X 75% advance rate = $540 (this is what you would get paid up front)
- January 1 commission payment to agent – $540*
- October 1 comission payment to agent – $60**
- November 1 commission payment to agent – $60**
- December 1 commission payment to agent – $60**
*This assumes that the policy stays in force for nine months.
**This assumes that the policy stays in force for a full year.
What is APV, and what does it mean to me and my income?
APV is annual policy value. If a client purchased a mortgage protection policy for $100 a month, this would be $1,200 APV ($100 X 12 months = $1,200).
If you selected advanced commissions, you will earn 75% immediately of your annual policy APV right away, and the remaining 25% in months 10, 11, and 12 (assuming the policy is in force for a full 12 months). On $60,000 annual APV, you would earn $27,000 immediately upon issue, and the remaining $9,000 in months 10, 11, and 12 following the issue dates of your policies throughout the year (assuming the policies stay in force).
So, if you submitted $100,000 APV with a 60% placement ratio, you would earn around $27,000-$35,000 the first year, and the remaining $9,000 would be paid later (assuming the policy stayed in force for a full 12 months).
What About Those High APV Producers?
Many IMOs celebrate their agents and agency managers that produce enormous APV numbers. It is not uncommon to hear of agents writing $400,000+ in APV.
If these agents have a 60% placement rate, they are only getting paid on $240,000 APV. If they have a 70% persistency rate, their APV would be $180,000 (they would have to pay back the chargebacks on the $60,000 APV difference).
With a 70% contract rate, this would result in an income of $126,000, not including lead costs. Lead costs for this amount of production would be in the $20,000-$30,000 price range.
So, if your lead costs were $25,000, your income would be $101,000. This does not include your mileage cost for driving to people’s homes and wear and tear on your vehicle. It does not include licenses, office supplies, conference travel costs (about $2,000 a year), or other associated costs.
$400,000 APV can quickly lead to a sub-six-figure income. A top 10% rookie producer would do well to place $175,000+ APV business in their first year.
What counts in the insurance business is what gets issued, placed, and paid over a 12-month period. APV is an indicator of performance, but it is never an indicator of an agent’s paid commissions over a year.
What is a chargeback?
If your client policies did not remain in force for nine months (they canceled it or stopped making payments), you will owe the insurance company the initial 75% commission they advanced to you; this is called a chargeback.
You will either have to sell another policy to make up for this “debit balance” to the insurance company or write a check to the insurance company to reimburse them for this advance commission.
If you have any agents underneath you who have chargebacks they do not pay, you may be responsible for paying their chargebacks. If you had an agent, who left the company and is no longer working underneath you, who refuses or is unable to pay back the advanced commissions, you would be responsible to pay these chargebacks to the insurance company.
If you don't pay chargebacks, a number of things may happen:
- The insurance company may issue a "Vector" on you for your unpaid chargeback balance. This will make it difficult to get additional insurance company appointments and advances.
- The insurance companies may report this and have this information put on your credit report.
- The insurance company may also turn the outstanding balance over to a collection agency to collect this money.
- The insurance company may seek a judgment to garnish future wages.
This is a number that reflects the policies that stay in force over a year. If you write $100,000 in APV, with the 60% placement ratio, you will earn $36,000 in commission at a 60% contract level.
$100,000 issued APV X 60% commission = $60,000 paid
$60,000 paid X 75% advance rate = $45,000 earned (the other $15,000 comes in months 10-12 after policy issue)
If you have a 70% persistency ratio, 30% of your clients cancel or stop paying for the policies in the nine-month advance. This means you would earn 70% of the $33,750 in commission on $100,000 APV production.
$45,000 earned X 70% persistency ratio = $33,750
Don't be afraid to ask what your manager’s or mentor’s individual and team APV, chargeback, and persistency ratio are for the past last year(s). Be bold.... ask to see their W-2 form to verify how much they are earning!
If your upline or manager will be giving you advice on how to succeed in the insurance industry, you want to make sure they are succeeding in the insurance industry.
With many IMOs encouraging brand-new agents with no insurance experience to start building agencies right away. Your quality of mentorship, instruction, and guidance may vary widely (this applies to all IMOs).
Celebrating APV only
If the IMO celebrates and proclaims the greatness of their writers on their "leader boards," who have enormous APV totals, without talking about placement and persistency, you need to ask more questions or look elsewhere for a company to work with.
Writing $400,000 APV is an amazing accomplishment and requires a great deal of skill and effort. Only getting paid on 60% that gets placed (not including cancellations, chargebacks) is poor business. To do all the work required to write $400,000 APV and have 40% not get placed is bad business and a waste of time and effort.
Many IMOs pay higher percentage amounts for simplified issue, nonmedical mortgage protection, and life insurance policies.
Why do IMOs do this? Simplified issue and nonmedical policies have higher placement ratios. The monthly premium is also greater, so more commissions are earned by the agent AND the upline manager.
The customer benefits because they get policies issued quicker and with no required medical exam. The customer may not, however, get the best pricing available to them if they are healthy.
On a fully underwritten life insurance policy with a monthly premium of $100 ($1,200 APV) the agent would only earn $360 at a 60% contract rate and a 50% commission level. If the monthly premium were $50 ($600 APV), the agent would only earn $180 at a 60% contract level and 50% commission level.
Frequent Questions About Symmetry Financial Group
Here are some questions that pop up on the internet about SFG:
- Is Symmetry Financial Group MLM? – Some people say yes, and some people say no.
- Is Symmetry Financial Group a scam? – Definitely not.
- Is Symmetry Financial Group legit? – Definitely yes.
- Is Symmetry Financial Group a pyramid scheme? – No, they are not.
- Is Symmetry Financial Group a good company to work for? – Like any other company, it depends on who you talk with and who you work for within the company.
Symmetry Financial Group is a fine company, but is it the right company for you? Do your research and make a choice that you are comfortable with.
What we like about Symmetry Financial Group:
Symmetry Financial Group is committed to protecting homes and families with life insurance products. They help clients with final expense protection, disability protection, annuities, and IUL's. They also offer some of the best life insurance companies available.
What many MLM's could do better:
Insurance Policy Pricing:
Because agents are encouraged to purchase expensive leads (homeowner personal information is called a "lead"), their cost of business is higher. There may be a temptation or incentive for an individual agent to sell you more expensive (higher commission) insurance products.
Agents may be trained and encouraged to sell more expensive non-medical policies by their "upline" managers and mentors. Thes non-medical policies offer quick approval and higher commission to the agent.
Having an experienced agent helping you will assure your policy gets approved the first time. Newer agents have lower policy approval ratios than more experienced agents. As a homeowner, you don't want to get declined for a life insurance policy, as this will negatively impact your ability to get more life insurance coverage in the future.
Although most MLM's have great training, there is no guarantee the agent that visits with you is not in his/her first week of business (this is true of all IMO's). If you are a new agent, there is no guarantee that your "Upline" manager will not be a brand new agent, as most MLM insurance companies encourage new and inexperienced agents to start "building" their agency immediately.
As a homeowner, it always benefits you to have an experienced agent helping you get the best service, the best policy, and the best price. You are guaranteed to get that experience at Buy Mortgage Protection.
Leadership monitoring and mentoring in MLM's
To become an agency owner or "upline manager" with most MLM's you must have achieved specific revenue targets and hiring quotas. If you hit a monthly revenue (commission) target and have a certain number of insurance policy writers, you are promoted to an "agency owner" position.
Having an experienced mentor to get you started and guide you in the insurance business is the key to your success in the insurance industry. Being an agency owner does not mean you will be a great leader, manager, or mentor to those on your team.
If your manager or mentor started in the insurance business three months ago, you will be at a significant disadvantage versus another agent working under a more qualified insurance producer with many years of experience.
You have no guarantee that your mentor or manager can help you attain the level of success you desire. Your success in the insurance industry is directly related to the quality of instruction, knowledge, and mentorship you receive (and your hard work, of course).
Always ask your manager or upline about what experience they have, what financial results they have produced. Have them provide names of other agents in the team they have helped develop into excellent producers. Many MLM insurance companies have an "always edify your upline" mantra, so you will likely never hear any negative comments about anyone in these MLM insurance companies.
You will have to ask specific questions from your hiring manager and read between the lines to get a feel for the right direction to go with your career.
To help you get better answers about your opportunity from your hiring manager, ask to see your manager’s production reports, persistency reports, chargebacks, and W-2 statements from them and their team before accepting a position.
What happens when you want to leave and IMO or MLM insurance company?
We all hope things go right when we choose a company to work with. Sometimes things just don’t work out as planned and you decide to leave a company. Here are reasons you might leave your current IMO:
- You have decided the insurance industry isn’t right for you.
- You decide that commission sales is not your ideal career.
- Your upline manager doesn’t give you the training or support you need.
- Your manager has been untruthful or tells you to do things that are dishonest, illegal, or unethical (say you work for the banks or mortgage companies, fill out applications incorrectly, not complete replacement forms correctly & honestly etc.).
- Your upline manager is new to the business and is just learning insurance too.
- Your upline manager is part-time only.
- You can’t afford the lead costs.
- You prefer the more stable income of an hourly or salary job.
Whatever your reason, you may leave your IMO; here are a few important considerations:
- If you have any policies that cancel that you have been paid for (in advanced commission), you will be responsible for this debt (this can be multiple thousands of dollars).
- If you have any policies agents under you have written that cancel that you have been paid for (in advanced commission), you will be responsible for this debt…this can be multiple thousands of dollars.
- You may have to sign a carrier appointment release that places you at significant legal and financial risk.
It should be a simple form to transfer your agent contracts from Symmetry Financial Group to another IMO if you decide to leave. Symmetry may ask you to sign a complex release if you want to go to another IMO and write business with the insurance companies with whom you are contracted.
Here is an example of Symmetry's insurance company appointment release:
It is advised to seek a legal opinion from a lawyer before signing any legal documents. You can either sign a release like this or just wait six months to be able to re-contract with your current insurance companies.
If you want to leave your current IMO
If you want to leave your current IMO, most new IMO's will require that you have not written business with the prior IMO for the last six months.
If you leave your current IMO and have a commission level of 70% and your new IMO has a commission level of 95%, you will have to wait six months to earn the higher commission level (unless you get a release by your IMO).
Most IMO's do not release agents, so you will likely have to wait six months before writing with these companies with your new IMO. This is a good reason not to get appointed to too many insurance companies when joining an IMO. It will limit your options if you decide to leave your current IMO in the future.
What we do differently
We only work with people who have contacted us. We don't purchase "leads" or "letters", or sell your information. Because we don't purchase your information as "leads", we don't have to worry about large marketing and lead overhead costs. This way we can better focus on your needs and budget.
We will be in business 10 to 20 years when you need help with your policy. Most agents at MLM based companies are gone within a year. We are here to help you and your family for life, not just one policy.
MLM companies primarily focus on mortgage protection only. We look at the big picture; if mortgage protection is what you need, we will help you with that. If traditional life insurance is a better fit for you, that is what we will recommend.
How do we know we can trust Buy Mortgage Protection?
Look at our mission statement to see how we do business. No other insurance agency will offer you these guarantees. No other agents will offer you these guarantees. We are unbiased and work for you, not the insurance company, or an MLM company!
I was sold an expensive policy by another agent...how can I get a better better-priced policy?
We routinely replace expensive mortgage protection policies with better priced or higher face value policies. We have access to the best priced "A Rated" insurance companies in the United States.
If you have been sold a mortgage protection policy that is too expensive or has a coverage amount lower than you would like, we can help you! Call us at (888) 760-0903.
We hope this Symmetry Financial Group review is beneficial to you. From what we know, Symmetry Financial Group is a fine company with fine people. They help a lot of people get their homes protected...we love that about them!
Symmetry Financial Group and Buy Mortgage Protection both want to help you protect your home and family; we just do things differently. SFG agents will want to visit you in your home to sell you mortgage protection; meanwhile, we do everything online.
Working online is more convenient for our clients, lowers our overhead costs, and allows us to sell you the best policy you qualify for, not just a "one size fits all" expensive mortgage protection policy.