Applying to become an Agent
We want you to be sure that this is right opportunity for you
Making an application
It’s important that, as well as the role being right for you, you’re 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 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to make sure Agents of NFU Mutual 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. Of course, if you have any questions about the application process, please feel free to contact us and we’ll happily advise and guide you through it.
Your route to becoming an Agent
Step 1. Application
This is your opportunity to shine. Remember, you only get one opportunity to apply for each vacancy – applications can’t be reviewed or edited once submitted. So, please make sure you provide as much relevant information as possible. We want to know about you and your achievements.
Step 2. Interviews
If your application is shortlisted, you’ll be invited to an interview with exercises to demonstrate your skills – it also gives us the chance to see what position best suits your talents, whether it’s the role you applied for or another that you may not have considered yet.
Interviews are held locally to the particular vacancy and give you the chance to show us your skills and knowledge along with the opportunity to find out more about us and meet people within the organisation that support the Agency Network.
Step 3. Exercises
The process will involve competency-based exercises, so we’d highly recommend reviewing our Agency Success Factors. It’s worth remembering that you are being assessed against the competencies for the role so it will pay to do your research before the day. We’ll advise you of the specific exercise process via conversations and emails.
Step 4. Post-interview
Shortly after the interview (which will include exercises) we’ll be in touch with an offer of verbal feedback. If successful, you’ll be invited to a further stage. Throughout the process the recruitment team and local contacts are available to support your application and discuss additional questions that you may have about the business.
Step 5. Offer of an agency agreement
Shortly after the process is complete, we’ll be in touch with verbal feedback. If successful, an offer will be discussed. On verbal acceptance, we’ll proceed with the recruitment check process below. We understand moving to a new role can be daunting, but you won’t be on your own as there’s a dedicated team to guide you through each step of the process.
Step 6. Recruitment checks
If you progress to interview stage or offer, you should be aware that we undertake screening for all prospective employees which includes criminal records. We therefore encourage you to disclose this information as early as possible in the recruitment process. In some cases, we also undertake financial checks, which may remain on your record. Security Watchdog carries out our criminal record checks.
Step 7. FCA approval
Once our internal recruitment checks are complete, we’ll place you forward for FCA approval. We’ll update you once this is received and discuss a suitable start date.
Frequently asked questions
Can I still apply if I don’t have a farming background?
Experience of – or an affinity with – farming and rural matters puts you at a distinct advantage, especially when it comes to Agent roles that include a Farming Union Representative position. However, if you feel you’ve the right skills and experience, why not apply? We’re happy to consider applications from candidates who don’t have a farming background. If you’re ready to join the rural community and can demonstrate your conviction, our comprehensive training and support programme will help you find your feet. Of course, you’ll need to show that you’ve got the right combination of skills and experience for the role, and how you plan to maintain your knowledge of the farming sector. After all, the role is centred on the farming industry and so a genuine understanding of how the industry operates is essential.
Is it worth applying if I have no insurance experience?
Experience in insurance gives you a head start and will make you stand out from the crowd. However, what’s more important is your ability to build strong relationships and manage your team. We welcome candidates with sales and sales management experience from any industry, as full insurance training will be provided.
I am already an insurance intermediary. Can I run an NFU Mutual Agency?
No. NFU Mutual operates via a Tied Agency Network through which our products and services are sold, and NFU Mutual customers are supported.
Can I work part-time?
As you’ll be running your own business, how you manage your time is your own decision. However, running your own business is inherently a full-time commitment. Please note, where relevant you will be expected to work a minimum of 20 hours per month for the relevant farming union.
Why does NFU Mutual operate through a self-employed commissioned network?
We believe that in order to drive our business forward, Agents need to be in control of investing into growing and developing a valuable local business in an entrepreneurial way. Your income will come from the commission earned by the agency and as this is unlimited you can increase your income in accordance with the growth of the agency business.
In simple terms, what are the implications of being self-employed?
Self-employment means that your contractual relationship with NFU Mutual will be through an Agency Agreement. This clearly sets out both your responsibilities and those of NFU Mutual. Essentially you will be running your own business and be responsible for your tax liabilities. We would recommend that you discuss these aspects with a qualified accountant.
Is my level of income guaranteed?
No, as you would be self-employed, we cannot guarantee your income. The starting income advertised indicates the level of profit that NFU Mutual would reasonably project you to be able to draw in the first year, based on the current renewal income of the agency. After this, your income will be as great as your ambition. It’s worth noting that the advertised income for Group Secretary roles includes the relevant farming union salary, which is based on working 20 hours per month at National Minimum Wage.
What about absences such as sickness, maternity or paternity?
As a self-employed person you will not receive maternity rights or sickness benefit. The way in which you deal with commission entitlements during periods of sickness or maternity/paternity is therefore a matter to be agreed with your business partners. We recommend that all Agents consider making adequate arrangements and that a plan for managing all aspects of absence is something that is discussed and agreed as a partnership from the outset.
What is the regulatory position under FCA?
As a commissioned Agent your agency business would be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Appointed Representative of NFU Mutual. You will be required to be registered with the FCA as an Approved Person. As such you would be required to meet the FCA Fit and Proper requirements of Integrity, Competency and Solvency. Before your appointment can be confirmed you will need to fill in an FCA questionnaire and complete a solvency check to ensure that your assets exceed your liabilities.
Will I need to recruit and be responsible for my own staff?
Most of NFU Mutual’s agencies are fully established offices with a current team of staff. When you’re appointed as an Agent, you take over the position as their employer under TUPE regulations. Going forward you’ll be responsible for recruiting and managing your team as their employer, including performance management and financial arrangements such as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and National Insurance (NI). We recommend that you discuss these aspects with a qualified accountant.
How does the role of Agent and Farming Union Representative fit together?
Alongside your appointment as a self-employed Agent of NFU Mutual, in which you manage your Agency and sell insurance products and introduce financial services, many of our Agents also represent and champion British farming locally for the farming unions – it’s a partnership that is beneficial to farmers, to the unions and to NFU Mutual. You’ll be employed by the farming union to support its members – informing, organising and acting as a champion for your local farming community.
What will be my farming union responsibilities?
You’ll ensure that the farming union connects in a relevant way with farmers, growers, stakeholders and the rural community. Building the farming union’s profile, you’ll manage membership and the related potential membership income, attend meetings and events, and provide assistance and direction for members to help solve their farm business problems. You’ll gain and share knowledge and provide information on the farming union’s policy priorities and membership services.