Easy Money – A True Story

Easy Money is a health insurance broker in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas who makes his living bidding on public entities from the comfort of his living room couch. He’s a lone operator with no staff of his own and no office overhead to speak of.

His “staff” is supplied at no cost by the insurance companies he represents when a sale is made. Salaried group account reps. take over the minute that happens.

Easy is highly successful at his trade, consistently earning six figures each year in new sales plus renewal commissions. Life is good.

About five years ago I was consulting for a political subdivision somewhere deep in the heart of Texas, assisting in a public bid process for their group medical plan. The RFP indicated brokers could bid, however insurance companies were welcomed to bid direct with no broker involvement.

The decision to allow brokers to participate in the bid process was driven by a board member. “The more competition the better! Local brokers deserve a chance at our business!” said an influential board member.

Sure enough, Easy got wind of the RFP opportunity and sent an email requesting a copy of the RFP. Then he forwarded the RFP to every carrier he could think of with a note “Please quote this, I have connections at the board level and well positioned to sell this!”

One of the carrier reps. called to ask if he should bid through Easy or bid direct. I told him it was up to him and wished him the best of luck.

At this point Easy had done nothing but forward an email with attachments to every market on the planet with a short two or three sentence note describing the opportunity that came with a better than 50/50 chance of success because of his relationships within the Board of Trustees.

One of the BUCAs decided to play both sides of the fence, issuing two identical proposals, one direct without a broker and one with Easy. Benefits were equal, but the annual cost differential between the two was $87,000.

Easy was set to earn an easy $87,000 for doing exactly nothing from the comfort of his couch.

Did he have the relationships with board members he said he did? Not in this instance because the carrier he quoted was awarded the business without him.

When you go fishing you don’t always catch fish. Setting a three hundred foot trout line increases your odds. Put out enough hooks and you will bound to get a lucky strike once in a while. That’s Easy.


Easy reminds me of Milton Godwin, affectionately known by those of us in the trade as Uncle Miltie. An aging Houston insurance agent back in the 80’s, Uncle Miltie would go down to the Houston public library and read all the newspapers from across the state looking for advertisements for RFP’s. He would then contact the group, request they send the RFP overnight which he would pre-pay for them. Then he would send the RFP to every carrier active in the market in an attempt to lock up as many markets as he could.

His time and investment was substantially more than Easy’s as Uncle Miltie would attend every RFP opening no matter where it was in Texas. He would drive in the day before in his late model station wagon, find an appropriate parking place, then settle in for the night in the back of his “mobile” office.

I can’t count the number of times I would arrive for an RFP opening and find Uncle Miltie brushing his teeth and combing his hair in the parking lot after a restful night in the back of his mobile office.

Uncle Miltie’s shotgun approach paid off big for him. He even got a large state insurance contract. Once a sale was made his job was over and the mailbox money rolled in like clock work.

The Uncle Miltie approach to insurance sales continues to this day………………….How sweet it is!