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Being an Agent

the autonomy to run and grow your own business, in your own way

An Agent of NFU Mutual

Join us as an Agent and you’ll develop and manage your own insurance sales business, selling and introducing a wide range of insurance and financial products. From car, home and contents to commercial products for the business sector and risk management services, you’ll have a diverse portfolio to recommend from.

What makes a good Agent? What skills, experience and attributes do you need to succeed? As a self-employed Agent let’s start by saying that, more than anything, you need to be an outstanding leader. But being an outstanding leader encompasses many traits and qualities, so let’s look at what we mean in a bit more detail.

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The role of the Group Secretary

By assuming roles within the local farming unions, our Group Secretaries make meaningful, profitable connections with farmers, growers, and the rural community at large. By representing rural people, sharing expertise and standing up for the countryside, they develop relationships and play a valuable part in sustaining the UK’s agricultural industry. All of which affords more opportunities to introduce potential members to how much NFU Mutual has to offer.

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Combining the roles

You’ll combine your duties as a Group Secretary with your work as an Agent. It’s rewarding and satisfying ... you’ll make a real difference to the local farming community, all the while identifying and capitalising on opportunities for new business. How? By championing farmers’ interests; communicating union policies and services; recruiting and retaining members for the farming union you represent; arranging meetings and events for local members; and supporting members.

With the help of the local farming union, you’ll become an asset to the farming community, with our supportive, expert network behind you. Our headquarters and regional offices offer expertise, advice and specialist support. Whether you need help with marketing and media, advice from a policy specialist or a chat about membership retention and growth, we’re here to help you.

What makes a good Agent?

Managing yourself

Managing your team

Managing your business

Managing yourself

The right attitude is everything. When it comes to change, you encourage it and embrace it. You’re quick to react and adapt to changing circumstances by accepting new ideas – and making them happen. You’re also positive in front of your team when managing and implementing change.

You have strong values and beliefs, and you will be quick to understand the importance of the values of NFU Mutual; to take the time to do things right for our customers. You will uphold and champion them in everything you do – and everything your team does.

You also have a positive attitude towards the farming union you represent and their members, working with them to champion British farming and provide professional representation and services to Farmer and Grower members.

Driven and ambitious? Unquestionably. You have high levels of energy, expectation and ambition. As a self-employed Agent you’ll be constantly looking for opportunities to improve the way you work and the way your teams work, as well as exploring new ways of working. You seek out new approaches and innovative thinking and, where appropriate, you’re quick to implement them into your business.

You appreciate that you can never know everything. You encourage a learning approach, and you take positives from both successes and failures. You also appreciate the importance – and value – of customer and staff feedback.

Managing your team

Leading a team is essential to the success of any Agent. You set clear direction by sharing your vision with the team. You’ve superb delegation skills too – but delegation at the right level, with the right support.

You lead by example: your leadership style is supportive, inspiring and involving, and you go out of your way to make sure that every member of your team feels valued and actively involved in the business. You also see the importance of coaching, training and regular performance reviews.

Another key factor in the success of your business is teamwork and collaboration. You involve colleagues in problem-solving and generating new ideas. You also develop incentive schemes to ensure that all your team members are motivated.

Managing your business

You lead by example, and you’re confident setting – and achieving – ambitious goals and targets. But how do you manage your own business? How do we expect you to manage your agency?

The first thing to say is that you do everything you can to meet customer commitments and needs. You’ll also make sure that your agency’s approach is aligned to NFU Mutual strategy across all business streams. It’s about anticipating customers’ needs and encouraging the whole team to identify cross-selling opportunities.

We expect our Agents to be highly entrepreneurial. You’ll take a proactive approach to General Insurance and Financial Services new business activity, and you’ll make sure that your sellers have clearly defined roles, are ring-fenced, sales-targeted and run their own campaigns. It’s up to you to maximise the value gained from all the people and resources within your agency.

You plan your approach and are strategic in your thinking. You’ll have a clear vision for your agency – for its growth, values and behaviour. You’ll put a clearly defined structure in place too, with each team member having a specific role and specific responsibilities.

Also, like everyone here, you understand the value of relationships. After all, great customer relationships are the foundation of NFU Mutual’s success. So networking is important, not for short-term gain, but for long-term benefits. You’ll build strong and profitable relationships with customers and prospects, making the most of the support provided by NFU Mutual, regionally and nationally.

What you can expect as an Agent

Join us as an Agent and you’ll develop and manage your own insurance sales business, selling and introducing a wide range of insurance and financial products. From car, home and contents to commercial products for the business sector and risk management services, you’ll have a diverse portfolio to recommend from.

And as we’re rural insurance specialists you can be confident that you’ll find the right fit for the community you’ll quickly become a part of. Last but certainly not least, you’ll lead your team by inspiring example, ensuring that targets are met, service is exceptional and regulatory compliance is complete.

Relationship development and management

To ensure that your agency flourishes, you’ll need to ensure first rate customer service at all times. You’ll inspire your team to exceed expectations on a day-to-day basis, though you’ll retain certain key relationships - such as large businesses (commercial and farming) accounts - yourself.

Defining and delivering business strategy

A key part of your role will be mapping out the future activities of your business into a strong plan - the ‘keystone’ for the future growth of your agency. To succeed you’ll need to articulate these plans well, so that every member of the team is aware of your agency’s short, medium and long-term objectives, so they can help you plan and deliver them. Commercial acumen and a strong understanding of the industry as a whole will help with this.

Realising sustainable profitable growth

NFU Mutual has enjoyed sustainable success since its inception over a century ago. Why? Because we’re observant, adaptable and committed to meeting the needs of our members. You’ll need to assume these values. By cross selling on life products and risk management services you’ll supplement your General Insurance business and, you’ll boost your income delivering better service to your clients.

Managing your team, budgets and business

Becoming self-employed is an incredibly exciting proposition, and it comes with new responsibilities. It’s a great opportunity to gain new skills, as you’ll deal with team management, contracts, budgeting and expenses (such as vehicles), plus tax matters (PAYE for your team and tax returns for yourself). Of course, we’ll point you in the right direction, though the final responsibility will need to sit with you, so you’ll need to be prepared to deal with these elements of the business with the support of your accountant and solicitor.

Staff management and development is also a major element of your role. As an employer you'll need to make sure you nurture your team and ensure that standards - and targets - are met. To help you with this, NFU Mutual provides a Training and Competence scheme and on-going Consultancy support.

Working in a regulated environment

NFU Mutual is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA. This means that as an NFU Mutual Agent you’ll be working in - and managing - a regulated environment. The agency you operate on NFU Mutual’s behalf is known as an ‘Appointed Representative’, and NFU Mutual takes full legal responsibility for your agency’s regulatory compliance. However, we will expect you to ensure that you - and your team - work to all relevant regulations and standards of compliance.

For you to be eligible to sell NFU Mutual's range of insurance, you'll need to become an Approved Person (APER) - someone who is approved to perform a controlled function for us, the Appointed Representative. We will help you obtain this status, applying on your behalf to the FCA. During the process we will need to prove that you meet criteria for authorisation (the fit and proper test) and can comply with the standards required in carrying out your controlled function (the Statements of Principle and Code of Practice for Approved Persons).

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What we look for in an Agent

It’s important that, as well as the role being right for you, you’re right for the role and are aware of the personal qualities and attributes that a great Agent has. Additionally, there are a series of checks which all Approved Persons and Agents of NFU Mutual need to go through. This is a legal and regulatory requirement of the FCA to make sure NFU Mutual Agents are solvent and fit to give insurance advice to our customers.

Everyone that applies to work as an Approved Person or Agent is assessed individually. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

We must be confident, that:

You are honest, with integrity and a good reputation. You must be open and honest in your dealings with customers and be able to comply with all regulatory and legal requirements.

You are competent and capable. You’ll need to have all the necessary skills to carry out the role in full.

You are financially sound. You'll have evidence your current financial position e.g., Bank / Building Society statements, Loan statements and Credit Card statements.

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So, before applying, please take the time to consider how you might be measured against the following areas:

Fitness and propriety. Can you demonstrate the criteria listed above?

Credit check. We will investigate and review any IVA’s or CCJ’s agreements you have and the history behind these. If you have been made bankrupt or are moving through the bankruptcy process, then we cannot take your application further forward.

Cash flow, personal assets and liabilities. Before you give financial advice can you demonstrate that you can manage your own financial matters effectively.

Of course, if you have any questions about the application process, please feel free to contact us at agentrecruitment@nfumutual.co.uk and we’ll happily advise and guide you.