Why New Horizons?

Whether you’re a brand new agent and you just got your license or you’re an experienced agent looking to grow your business, you’ve come to the right place.

New Horizons is a Field Marketing Organization (FMO) located in the heart of central Illinois. We serve agents in the senior market and represent products such as Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage, Life Insurance, Annuities, and more.

With almost 40 years in the industry and more than 10,000 producers as part of the New Horizons family, we’re confident that you’ll find a home with us.

What makes New Horizons different?

Jeff Sams and John Hockaday
John Hockaday & Jeff Sams

Myself (John Hockaday, COO & Principal) and Jeff Sams, CEO & Principal, have been business partners since 1981. We understand what agents and agencies are going through, because we’ve been there. We’ve had to pave our way and make a living on commission sales.

We’ve been in the trenches – we’ve started out as new agents going door to door and cold calling. We then started an agency, grew it to a staff of 30+ people, and then started this marketing company.

Regardless of what level an agent or agency is at, we’ve been there and know exactly what they’re dealing with firsthand. Jeff and I feel that this really sets us apart from some of the other great FMOs out there.

What does customer service mean to us?

We hear it all the time: “We have the best customer service!” But what does that actually mean?

None of us know what we’re going to run into when we're in the field selling. Maybe you have a person who had cancer 5 years ago and now has mild diabetes. Where we really shine is helping you place business effectively.

We’ll find the company that best fits your client’s needs so that you’re not wasting a lot of your time when you’re trying to make a living.

Everyone is on commission sales, so the idea of losing a sale because you don’t know your options is just ridiculous.

Jeff Sams New Horizons Insurance Marketing
Jeff Sams

Jeff here – I just want to interject and say that this is where John shines above all of us. Nobody knows underwriting better than John. He knows what an underwriter will take and won’t take, so it ends up saving the agent a lot of heartache.

When some people talk about service, they’re talking about how fast contracting gets done or how fast you hear back from them, and all of that is important, but if you can’t get the sale or know where to put the sale… what good is that?

Customer service goes further than paperwork, and that’s where we really differentiate ourselves.

John Hockaday and Jeff Sams shooting a training video for short-term care
John Hockaday and Jeff Sams shooting a training video for short-term care

Can agents come to the office?

John Hockaday New Horizons Insurance Marketing
John Hockaday

Jeff and I find that most independent agents who come in to our newly renovated office say that they’ve never been invited to other offices.

We love people to see our operation and to meet who they’ve talked to over the phone. Many of our agents have great relationships with our office staff, so actually getting to meet those people face-to-face is really great.

We also host trainings throughout the year, so whether you’re wanting to come meet everyone or you’d like to learn a thing or two, we’re here for you.

Do you offer a comprehensive training program?

After being approached time and time again by both new and existing agents, we’ve decided to create a comprehensive training program that will transform the way you sell insurance. This is called the All-Star Program.

The All-Star Program is an on-demand online video course combined with hands-on mentorship that will give you the knowledge, skillsets, and motivation to succeed.

This program is incredibly hands-on, so we only accept 10 people into the All-Star program at a time. This program is for both new and experienced agents who are looking to grow their business. If you’re interested in learning more or applying for a spot, click the link below.  

Learn more

Do you offer lead programs?

There’s no doubt that FMOs are offering lead programs left and right. While this sounds nice in theory, we’ve done lead programs, and we’ve decided to leave that up to the agent.

There are tons of lead companies in the country, and everyone has access to them. Since we have no control over the quality of those leads, what can happen is that the agent gets a bad batch of leads, but we have no way of fixing that situation.

We’d rather pay you all the commission we can pay you, and you choose which lead source you like the best. If I give you one, and the first lead you get is a bad lead… well, I’d rather you buy your own leads so that we can pay you all that we can pay you.

We can steer you in the right direction when it comes to buying leads, but we’ve decided against offering a lead program so that your comp is as high as possible. This is also great for agents who don’t have an interest in a lead program, because you’re not taking a commission cut for something you’re not going to use.

Do you offer any trips or incentives?

We’ve always looking for ways to add more value and build better relationships with our agents.

We like to do trips where as much time as possible is spent doing fun things. We’ve been on trips where the entire morning is a meeting, and that’s not what we’re about. We like building relationships – not taking all our time “in the classroom” per say.

What about a quote engine?

We recently revamped our entire quote engine, so the usability and functionality is better than ever.

Using either the online portal or the mobile app, you can now quote:

  1. Medicare Supplements
  2. Medicare Advantage
  3. Final Expense
  4. Hospital Indemnity
  5. Dental
New Horizons Quote Engine
Jason Ferguson giving a quick tour of the quote engine.

There’s a lot of really cool features that are now a part of the quote engine as well. For example, you can:

  • Compare quotes: Easily compare different Medicare Supplement plans (ex: Plan F vs. Plan G) to give your customers options.
  • Universal Compare: You can now package two types of insurance using the Universal Compare feature. For example, show a client a Medicare Supplement alongside a Final Expense plan, or a Medicare Advantage plan alongside a Hospital Indemnity plan.
  • Customize your print-outs: You can put in your contact information along with a photo so that when you print off quotes, every handout is personalized to your business. Market Analytics: Toggle
  • Market Analytics on or off to show your clients age increases for the next 4 years, rate increase histories, and market data such as national lives and premium.
  • Condensed quoting: You can eliminate companies from your quoting list along with the extra quoting information in order to show the premium and company name only. This way, you can present an easy-to-read handout to your client showing only the companies you want.  
  • Health question filtering: Have a client with health conditions? Easily filter out carriers using the Health Questions filter. Any carrier that doesn’t accept those conditions will be eliminated from your list. Tip: Need extra help? Call our office and ask for John.
  • Pair a Medicare Advantage plan with a Hospital Indemnity plan: There is a built-in tool specifically for adding a HIP plan to your MA quotes. It shows the client exactly how a HIP plan can fill in the gaps.
  • Quote on the go: Use the mobile app for iPhone or Android (and tablets) to quote on the go!
  • Free trial for new agents: Not contracted with us? You can still test out our quote engine for 14 days. After the 14 days, you need at least 1 contract with us to continue using it.

Do you provide any marketing materials I can use?

Jason Ferguson and the rest of the marketing department are constantly curating marketing materials that you can download and use, and they’re always up for suggestions if you need something special.

Insurance carriers do often provide flyers and brochures, but it’s only for their products. You would never get access to marketing materials that are not carrier-specific.

In fact, on many of the pieces Jason and his team have created, they’ll even go so far as to customize it for you, including your contact info, photos, and logo — at no extra cost to you.

Some of the marketing materials you might enjoy include:

  1. "Final Expenses Explained" Client Leave Behind
  2. Client Guide to Medicare Parts A & B
  3. "Why Is Cancer Insurance Important?" Handout
  4. Intern Phone Call Scripts

Would I be getting top contracts and commissions?

We know that if we don’t have great contracts, you won’t sign with us! So, good ole’ Jeff Sams — I like to call him the deals man — works tirelessly to get the highest contracts with the best, most relevant carriers.

We also do everything we can to maximize the commission you get, such as opting out of any expensive lead programs like we mentioned earlier. For specific commission information, simply give us a call and we’ll verify what level you’d be at.

John Hockaday and Jeff Sams

How do you communicate with agents?

Beyond reaching out to you on occasion to make sure you’re doing well, we also do text announcements and a weekly newsletter every single Wednesday.

Don’t worry – we don’t go crazy on the text announcements. It’s generally one text every 7-10 days or so with only the most pertinent announcements. For example, if there’s a new carrier or a massive bonus, we’ll let you know right away.

Also, we’ve become somewhat famous for our weekly newsletters. A lot of companies in this industry do email newsletters, and they’re stuffed full with boring info and irrelevant content. We take pride in our weekly newsletter and we spend a good amount of time each week crafting it so that you get the most value out of it as possible.

Our newsletters always include:

  1. A featured, original article of the week
  2. Any super-important announcements
  3. Medicare Supplement rate changes
  4. Annuity rates

This is our way of not only providing you with value very week, but of making sure you’re always in the know.

That brings us to another quick point – we do maintain a lively blog with original content from our staff here at New Horizons. We post articles that cover everything from products to marketing advice. You’re bound to pick out some useful stuff, and we’re always open to suggestions!

Some of our most popular articles include:

  1. Do Independent Agents Really Need a Field Marketing Organization (FMO)?
  2. The Beginner's Guide to Selling Medicare Supplements
  3. The Ultimate Tax Deductions Checklist for Independent Insurance Agents
  4. Succession Planning 101: How to Retire as an Independent Insurance Agent
  5. Facts Tell, Stories Sell: Real-Life Stories Agents Give During Insurance Presentations
  6. How Do FMOs Get Paid?