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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 8184
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
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Dwayne, I am in insurance sales and am paid on a draw based

Customer Question

Hi Dwayne,
I am in insurance sales and am paid on a draw based on the revenues I bring in. When I started employment with this particular insurance agency, the principal owner told me verbally and I quote "I don't care about making money off of you for the this year as long as you brake even." This was verbal and not written down, but definitely occurred.My original draw amount was $120,000 dollars a year or $10,000 a month. I began bringing clients to this agency and the revenue was being put on the books. I was paid the $10,000 a month minus taxes and benefits, and ss blah blah, for 3 months. I WAS doing what I was expected to do as far as bringing my old clients over and writing new business. In the end of the third month, the agency owner started threatening to cut my pay because I was not "producing enough revenue" and I am paraphrasing this statement, but not a whole lot: He said to me 'I really didn't want a producer that was going to start from zero and not be able to roll all of their clients over to our agency. i need you to get the money on the books now.' He then started constantly sending me threatening emails about cutting my pay and made me send weekly reports of my sales prospecting activity. I kept the emails and they are awful. He beat me down. I have been in the business insurance business for almost 20 years and I am good at it. I was being totally emotionally abused at work. Please know I am not a drama queen or a whiner. I have been in leadership roles and I know the drill with sales people extremely well. But I was shocked and sickened by how I was being treated. He would talk with me on the phone and he would say this "I am this close to firing you. You need to get activity going and show me the revenue". He must have told me this 10 times. He beat me to an emotional pulp to the point I would see an email from him and I could barely open it or I would see a phone call and I might wait two days to listen to the message. I was more than insulted, scared, freaked out about losing my job all the time. I was bringing revenue into the agency and doing what I was supposed to do. He withheld a paycheck from me once and threatened to do it again because I didn't send in my weekly sales activity report. Now mind you, I work from my house. In the business insurance business, one goes to visit their clients at their businesses, the clients don't come to your office. And, I live almost 40 miles from the agency in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and it would be a waste of time to drive there and then home. It would require at least 3 hours of travel time every single day to simply commute to the office for no purpose. The owner was okay with this upfront. I have a Client Service Agent that does the servicing on my accounts..but I would venture to guess I do not "use" her more than a total of 10 hours a week. She works with other agents in the office as well. I do not use the office supplies that I would use if I were in the agency office. I pay for the internet myself to be hooked up to my work email. I buy the paper for the computer. They will reimburse me for the toner.
I just want you to get the whole picture.
In the fourth month, the agency owner cut my draw from $120,000 to $100,000 a year. This hurt me financially. He said he didn't care and he "wasn't hear to just give his money away to a producer that wasn't bringing in any business". I was devastated but basically have been this whole time. I would love to leave this agency, but you can't keep moving your clients around because you look unstable as an agent and they can lose trust in you and go somewhere else. Again, I know how this goes. Fast forward to today: it has been a year and I brought in $130,000 in revenue the first year. He started out paying me $120,000 then cut that to $100,000. Remember, he told me verbally as long as I break even that's all that matterts.
He called me last Friday and told me he is now going to cut my draw to $60,000 or $5000 a month. I could not even barely utter a word back to him. I am sick. He told me I could pay $130,000 for my book of clients and he would let me out of my non-compete but he remarked "no other agency will spend that money to buy your book and pay you a $100,000 as well."
I must be honest and say I have had the air totally stolen out of my sales. I am not motivated to sell now, I take care of my clients and renew business but I have no desire to place new business with this agency. I am depressed and emotionally beat down and I have lost confidence in my abilities to perform. I am a smart, intuitive agent and a natural closer. But I don't want to place any business with his agency because who knows what he will decide he can do next. He has abused me, lied to me, broken verbal contracts several times, and he doesn't care. He is a slimeball and this is so unfair and wrong. There are all kinds or employee relations best practices being violated. I want to seek legal action against him.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Is there a specific question with which I could assist?