Case Study - US National Insurance Company

Insurance Sales Agent Position

Background

The aim of the research was to determine the traits that make successful sales agents within a major U.S. Life Insurance company. Another aim was to determine the relative accuracy of Harrison Assessments' to predict success based upon the 'job template' that incorporates those traits. The Life Insurance company provided 67 profiles of current Sales Agents from three different agencies, each in a different region of the country.

This case study compares the performance of the employees when rated by their supervisors with the results of the Harrison Assessments' job templates. All the employees in the sample were rated according to job performance by supervisors, using the performance ratings model below. The performance rating was primarily based upon sales, but other performance factors were included. The profiles of the employees were then analyzed in relationship to performance in order to determine the factors that relate to success.

Performance Scoring

Each employee was given a rating by his/her supervisor. The rating was based upon a scale between 0 and 100 according to the following:

90-100
Excellent to Best
80-89
Very Good
70-79
Average to Good
60-69
Below average
40-59
Poor
0-39
Extremely poor

The Harrison Assessments' template methodology

The template methodology formulates the traits that correlate with success for a particular position into 'traits to have' as well as 'traits to avoid'. The template is then used to measure future applicants and serve as a developmental guide for current employees. The template is formatted as a table showing how employees (or applicants) score against each of the required traits. The table includes a 'bottom line' job suitability score between zero and one hundred that represents the individual's level of 'total suitability' for a particular position. (It can also be shown as a bar graph indicating how well an individual person meets each of the job requirements.) A score of one hundred represents a person who is completely suitable for that position. Assuming the person is eligible for a position (has the education, experience and technical skills), a suitability score of 75 or greater represents a person who has a good probability of performing effectively in that position. A score of 74 or less represents a person who is considered to be unlikely to perform well in that position.

Template results

The results showed that out of 130 traits, twenty-six had a correlation with performance. Nine traits correlated with good performance and seventeen traits correlated with poor performance.

The traits that correlated with good performance(listed in order of importance)

• Wants challenge
• Takes initiative
• Interpersonal skills
• Influencing (persuasive)
• Finance/business interest
• Self-acceptance
• Optimistic
• Enthusiastic
• Self improving

The traits that correlated with poor performance(listed in order of importance)

• Pressure Intolerance
• Harsh - (or punitive)
• Lacking Warmth/empathy
• Lacking Diplomacy (or tact)
• Lacking Authoritative (the lack of willingness to make decisions)
• Analytical disinterest
• Self Sacrificing - (the tendency to neglect one's own needs while helping others)
• Defensive
• Blunt
• Manages stress poorly
• Dogmatic
• Intolerance of Bluntness
• Disorganized
• Lacking Frankness
• Authoritarian
• Tense
• Lacking Tempo (works slowly)

Accuracy level of results

The results showed a high predictive accuracy (82%) and a strong correlation between the Harrison Assessments' suitability score and the actual job performance. The results also showed that the agents with a high Harrison Assessments' suitability score had more than three times the sales than the agents with a low suitability score This indicates that the template includes a fairly comprehensive set of traits related to suitability for this position.

Predictive accuracy

A prediction is considered accurate if one or more of the following conditions are met:

a) The suitability score is 75 or greater and the performance score is 75 or greater

b) The suitability score is less than 75 and the performance score is less than 75.

c) The suitability score is within 6 points of the performance score.

The logic behind this definition is that, if the suitability score were 75 or above and the person were eligible for the position, it would indicate a prediction that the person would probably succeed in the position. If the suitability score were less than 75 and the person was moderately eligible (not highly eligible) for the position then this would indicate a prediction of below average performance. Also, if the suitability score were within 6 points of the performance score it would indicate a very close prediction and thus should also be considered accurate. The suitability score for each person appears on the template in the far right-hand column of the table.

From the research sample, 55 of the 67 Salespersons (82%) showed a correlation between the Harrison Assessments' suitability score and performance to be accurate, according to the definition above.

Sales volumes

Those who had a suitability score of 90 and above had an average first year commission of $162,550. Those who had a suitability score of 80 and above had an average first year commission of $91,770. Those who had a suitability score of 75 and above had an average first year commission of $83,310. Those who had a suitability score of 74 and below had an average first year commission of $25,370

Suitability score
Average first year commission
90 and above
$162,550
80 and above
$91,770
75 and above
$83,310
74 and below
$25,370

Therefore, the agents who scored 75 or greater (predicted to succeed) earned more than three times the volumes of first year commissions than the agents with a suitability score of 74 or below (predicted to perform below average).