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On the Fence About a Partnership? Consider These 5 Questions.

Apr 20, 2022

By Patrick Nichols, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development

You’ve spent years building your marketing organization. You’ve worked countless hours and made unprecedented sacrifices to achieve the successes you’re seeing today. You’ve assembled a loyal team with a steadfast commitment to your mission and your clients’ accomplishments,

Thanks to your dedication, you are now in a place to accelerate your business. But to properly scale and grow to new heights, you need a distribution partner that will be your advocate and a champion for your growth. Where do you go from here?

Rest assured, you’re not the first business owner to ask yourself this question.

Countless business owners across the country have experienced a similar challenge. However, many FMOs and IMOs have found renewed success by affiliating with larger, more-established distributors like us.

But before going all in with a new partner, it’s important to remember that not all distributors are the same.

In fact, we encourage all FMO and IMO owners to ask themselves these five questions before making the leap to sell a stake in their business:

  1. Does the distributor share a common mission with my company? A company’s mission is its promise to its employees, clients and community. You need to look for evidence that your potential partner’s mission aligns with yours. Does the distributor demonstrate honest actions and deeds? You can see firsthand when a distributor lives its mission. The office is staffed with engaged employees who are fulfilled by their work, are proud of their company, and willing to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of their clients – you.
  2. Does the distributor have a commitment to customer service? The relationships you’ve built with your clients are priceless and are the cornerstone of your success. Your team makes them the focus of their work days and considers many clients as their family. When considering an affiliation, you want to work with a distribution partner that values your clients as much as you do. A potential partner should have the kind of back-office support that lets you work smarter and focus on what you do best: selling high-quality insurance and financial products while still providing exceptional customer service.
  3. Will the distributor displace my existing employees? To the contrary, a successful distributor-affiliate relationship has the ability to create a more lucrative work environment for existing employees that celebrates successes and offers competitive benefit packages, including health, dental and vision coverage, a competitive 401(k) plan, monthly recognitions, and no-cost training and certifications. In addition, a well-functioning distributor has the resources to understand the challenges of today’s job market and offer unique, enterprise-level opportunities for the star performers and ambitious talent that an affiliate is eager to retain and reward.
  4. Will the distributor make significant changes to my established day-to-day operations? A mutually beneficial partnership between a distributor and an FMO/IMO allows you to retain the day-to-day operational controls of the business and the ability to continue to make important decisions. A successful affiliation fuels a business to accelerate growth with the distributor taking on functions that can weigh down a smaller company’s productivity, such as accounting, human resources, IT infrastructure, marketing support, and compliance. Business owners considering a partnership should find a distributor with high-functioning support systems already in place that have been proven with its established portfolio of companies.
  5. Does the distributor collaborate with reputable and innovative carriers to give me the products to move my business to the next level? Successful distributors have established relationships with a variety of carriers, which gives affiliates access to a diverse assortment of popular and highly rated products. In addition, effective distributors use their industry knowledge to work with carriers to develop state-of-the-art financial products that appeal to a wide range of consumers. To sustain those important bonds with the carriers, a potential distributor partner should have the resources and staff to maintain the carrier relationships for the long term. With these types of relationships in place, affiliates can be assured they have access to both the traditional and inventive products that meet the needs of today’s consumers and supercharge sales.

For more than 50 years, AmeriLife has been an innovative, industry leader that provides answers to all of the questions above – and more. We have been recognized as a national leader in developing, marketing, and distributing life and health insurance, annuities, and retirement-planning solutions across the United States.

Just as importantly, AmeriLife is deeply committed to its affiliates’ growth and efficiency. We were the first distributor to build a true acquisition and integration platform by investing in technology that can unlock new frontiers while directing an intense focus on delivering innovative, holistic product designs that address consumers’ total health and financial wellbeing.

While we have more than 50 organizations in our portfolio of companies, our partnerships are anything but cookie cutter arrangements. We have created a flexible transaction structure that allows business owners to provide input on how they imagine the configuration of an ideal and individualized partnership arrangement that drives their companies to the next chapter of sales and success.

Whether you market Medicare or financial products, worksite benefits, or other types of solutions, the right partnership with the right distributor can help you accomplish more than you could ever do on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions; your business – and the success you’ve built for you, your agents and your clients – deserves them.

Interested in discussing a partnership with AmeriLife?

Please reach out to me directly at or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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