Life in the 'get rich fast' lane: Network marketers are pushing an insurance scheme to lure prospective sales staff

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The Independent Online
'EARN pounds 5,000 plus per month - in 90 days]]' The opportunity is yours. Just join a scheme that two distributors say they 'firmly believe will generate the biggest incomes ever seen in networking within the UK'.

And what is this big money- spinning product? Is it diet supplements or slimming pills? No - you will be extolling to others the virtues of buying life insurance. The patter is promoting a company called Protect Marketing.

The initial tempter to find out more about the company was an advertisement in a Sunday newspaper: 'A Blue Chip UK Life Assurance company expands into MLM (Multi Level Marketing). . .' it said.

'Bonus cheques set to break all records.'

When you reply to the telephone number in the advertisement, you get a Protect promotional pack sent by an organisation called The Trinity Group from Southend, Essex. The letter from Trinity, signed by Nick Giannotti and Trevor Angel, extols the benefits of joining Protect. It says earnings will be pounds 5,000 and more a month and that they believe the scheme will generate the biggest incomes ever seen in networking. Furthermore, the concept has 'produced more millionaires than any other network marketing company anywhere in the world'.

Basically, the scheme involves persuading people to buy term insurance. Term insurance is purely for protection, and contains no investment element. It pays out only if you die. You get nothing if you are alive at the end of the term. Your main concern when choosing a policy is to find the cheapest.

Protect's sales pitch is that you should 'buy term and invest the rest'. The concept has some merit. Insurance salesmen, banks and building societies are all too keen to sell endowment policies, not least because of the hefty commissions they earn.

For many people, young families in particular who are strapped for cash, term insurance is often a more sensible solution. But no particular company is the best buy for every person; you need to compare quotes. Whether network marketing is an ideal sales vehicle to sell life insurance, only time will tell.

Protect's promotional literature claims to prospective sales personnelthat they will be giving the public a much needed service and will make money in the process. It is the 'most rewarding network marketing programme in the UK'.

Protect reckons that during your initial training you can expect to earn between pounds 8 and pounds 12 an hour. Then, it says, 'as your knowledge of networking and your confidence grows, you will begin to realise the power of networking'.

The commission you earn if you sell a policy is not huge. The way to make money is to recruit others. When they sell a policy, you get a bonus.

The more people you get on board who sell, the more money you make.

Mr Angel says he has been involved with Protect for three to four weeks, but is already convinced that 'it is taking off'. He believes the earnings figures he quoted can be achieved.

According to the letter sent from Trinity, Protect has negotiated 'a superb package with Royal Life'. Examples of Royal Life's premium rates were enclosed.

Stuart Nesbitt, one of the directors of Protect, said: 'At the moment, in the main, we are tied to Royal,' but he added that there may be special circumstances in which Protect uses other companies. Protect says it 'switched to Royal (from another company) at the end of February'.

Don Shore, deputy managing director of Royal Life, said: 'We have had some discussions with Protect but we do not have an agency agreement with them.' When asked whether it was aware that Protect was marketing its policies, Royal had no comment.

Protect has a very impressive line-up of directors and non-executive directors. Mr Nesbitt, one of the directors of Protect, was at pains to point out that the advertisement by Trinity was placed without the company's permission and will never appear again.

However, with any networking scheme, particularly one selling financial services, the reputation of the company depends on the networkers.

You do not need to belong to any of the financial regulatory schemes to sell term insurance. It is a non-regulated product. You could be networking diet pills today and term insurance tomorrow.

The networkers cannot give financial advice. They purely sell term insurance. If someone wants investment advice, they are referred to an independent financial adviser.

Protect has plans to branch out into selling other non-regulated products. Mr Nesbitt says: 'We started in August last year but we got the networking side completely and utterly wrong. We relaunched in December and January and have started again from scratch. There are strict guidelines on what the networkers can and cannot do. We vet every insurance application we receive.'

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