Sell Your Medicare Book and Keep Selling: with John Knepper
July 2, 2024

In our latest interview, we sit down with Mr. John Knepper, a seasoned Medicare specialist from Illinois. About a year ago, he decided he didn't want to be quite so busy, but he wasn't ready to fully retire.

We worked with John to create a unique arrangement where we bought John's book of business, but he can still sell new policies with none of the admin responsibilities.

How does this unique arrangement work, and what could it mean for other agents nearing retirement? Dive in to hear John's experience and see if it could be the perfect fit for your future plans.

Related: The New Capital Calculator: Value Your Book of Business In 60 Seconds or Less


John Hockaday (New Horizons): Today, I have Mr. John Knepper from Sycamore, Illinois, with us. John, we've known each other for quite some time now. How long has it been?

John Knepper (Agent): I think it's probably been at least eight or nine years.

John Hockaday (New Horizons): At least that long. You've always been a great agent and a real self-starter, especially in the Medicare field, focusing primarily on Medicare Supplements. We've worked together with various carriers over the years. Recently, we bought your book of business, but this one has a bit of a different twist because you're not retiring, right?

John Knepper (Agent): That's right. I started this business about 12 years ago. I turned 65, was busy with family stuff, and got bored. I decided I should do something.

A fellow came over to talk to my wife about her major medical coverage. By that time, I was on Medicare. My family business taught me a lot about health insurance. He'd say something to her, she'd look at me, and I'd interpret it.

Eventually, he asked if I had ever sold insurance. I hadn't, but he said we could probably do some business together. One thing led to another, and despite him not being the most ethical guy, he got me into the business. So, I've been in this business for about 12 years now, self-taught.

At one point, I had about seven or eight different uplines. Unfortunately, I didn't meet you guys until after I had already dealt with all those others.

John Hockaday (New Horizons): Hey, now listen, we've already bought your book. You don't have to butter us up!

John Knepper (Agent): It's true! The other uplines didn't have the personal affiliation like you do, and I appreciate that.

The bottom line is, my wife is spoiled rotten because I haven't spent much time with her. So, I've decided to retire but still want to stay busy. I'm not sure what I would do if I weren't doing this. I don't play golf or go hunting, so I want to stay active.

So, what we arranged was for me to sell my existing book to you guys to take over the maintenance of those customers while I continue to be in the business, focusing on new clients turning 65. It's been a challenge to make the switch because of all those different uplines and because I continued to sell some business after our first evaluation.

But it has worked out and I've been very pleased.

Related: How to Retire Gradually Using the Hybrid Model

John Hockaday (New Horizons): Like John said, we've been talking for maybe a year or so. He decided he was ready to sell his book, but he wasn't really ready to retire. And he's still a very viable salesperson. From an FMO point of view, why wouldn't we want someone like John out there selling policies? We put our heads together and came up with this plan.

We bought John's book and transitioned him to work with us as an LOA (at same commission level as before). His commissions come through us now as opposed to directly from the carrier. Do you want to say anything about that?

John Knepper (Agent): Initially, I had a little apprehension because I like to be in control, but thinking about the future, this arrangement makes it easier for my wife to manage things if something happens to me. It avoids the hassles we've had with some carriers.

John Hockaday (New Horizons): Absolutely. It's a great model, especially for agents who do a lot of Medicare Advantage. If you pass away and don't recertify, those carriers can claw back that business. Running everything through us solves that problem and takes care of the beneficiaries.

There is one thing I want you to speak on. Even if you slow way down and don't write much business, psychologically, it's hard to end your business all at once. Can you speak to that?

John Knepper (Agent): Yes, so this week, we're up in Door County. In the past, I'd bring my laptop and be on the phone a few times a day, worrying about clients. The psychological pressure of doing the right thing was a hinderance to any kind of vacation. Now, I'm just doing this Zoom call and that's about it for the rest of the week. It's much more relaxing. If I weren't doing this, I don't know what I'd be doing. Too many people I know retired without hobbies or business to continue and just curled up and watched TV until they died.

John Hockaday (New Horizons): I hear you. We're going to fine-tune this model, but the summary is this: if you're close to retiring but not ready to fully stop, let us buy your book.

We'll take over the service and admin of your customers, allowing you to sell at your pace without the day-to-day responsibilities. You're not taking a cut in commissions, and it lets you focus on new business without the service burden.

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