Is Harvard Risk Management Corporation a scam?
People all over have been getting contacted by this company for sales positions, and this is a question that has been coming up quite a bit.
After doing a quick Google search you will find many people calling it everything from a SCAM that you should stay far away from to a "cleverly disguised pyramid scheme".
BUT, you do have some people claiming it's the real deal... and the fact that jobs with this company are usually advertised as requiring no experience is a big plus.
So is it a scam? Is it a good opportunity?
In this review I did a lot of digging around to get to the bottom of this somewhat shady looking opportunity.
Beware of the FAKE Job Postings
There have been job postings on Craigslist, people getting emailed about the opportunity where the recruiters supposedly "found my resume online" and are interested in hiring them.
There have been job postings on places like Flex Jobs...
... and I was also able to find a bunch of job postings on spammy looking job-boards like "Get Telecommuting Jobs" and "Get Customer Service Jobs"...
The reason I bring this up is because there is a good chance you came across a job posting or were contacted by someone trying to get you to join... BUT these job postings are often very misleading... as you will see.
What Is Harvard Risk Management Corporation?
- Website: harvardbenefits.com
- Founder: Mark Riches
- Opportunity Type: MLM
Harvard Risk Management Corporation is a privately held employee benefits broker headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
In a nutshell, they partner with other companies as a broker and help sell various insurances, legal plans, risk protection services and more. The company was started in 1993 by Mark Riches and originally only sold legal plans, but as since broadened their offerings.
According to the BBB's website, where Harvard Risk Management Corporation is accredited by the way, the company has been in business since the year 2000 (I know, the dates don't make sense). However, a quick WHOIS search shows that the harvardbenefits.com website wasn't started until 2007.
Anyone can join the company as a member and have the opportunity to become an agent (aka "certified risk management consultant"), in which you can make money selling their products/services (which aren't really theirs of course). Currently they claim to have over 5,000 agents in the US, with agents in every major city.
Note: This job posting is also a bit misleading.
As a member of the HRMC you will have quite a few different products/services that you can sell to make money with, including:
- Identity theft solutions
- Legal access plans
- Voluntary employee benefits
- Document destruction and shredding
- Pre-employee investigation and security services
- Risk management consulting
- Data break recovery services
- Individual life & annuities
- Retirement plans
But the two main product categories you will be dealing with are identity theft solutions and legal access plans. These are at the core of what HRCM offers.
Remember, these products are not products of the HRMC themselves.
As mentioned, HRMC is a 3rd party broker... and they are currently partnered with the companies Legal Shield and Iron Mountain. The products come from these companies. When you join Harvard you have access to these companies' products/services which you are able to monetize
Legal Shield - This company was originally founded in 1972 as Prepaid Legal. They provide on-call legal advice and counseling from qualified lawyers. Additionally, it provides a MLM business opportunity anyone can join to earn money selling their services and recruiting in new associates.
They also have a product called ID Shield, which is their ID theft protection service. This is one of the biggest products that members of HRMC sell and more information can be found at the website https://www.idshield.com.
Iron Mountain - This company provides data security and storage solutions. They are not a MLM opportunity and have a different kind of partnership with HRMC.
HRMC originally started out just marketing Legal Shield legal plans but added life insurance plans to their portfolio in 2009 and partnered with Iron Mountain in 2012 to bring document destruction and shredding services. They were also partnered with OneCall Health Access to provide telemedicine services and Kroll to provide ID theft protection, but it appears they have done away with these partnerships.
The Business Opportunity
This is independent contractor work, meaning that you work on your own schedule without a boss.
The Legal Shield compensation plan is the main opportunity here, but the point of joining HRMC is to get all the training and tools they provide to help you get going.
*Note: If you were to join Legal Shield directly you would still be provided with training, tools, and support... just not nearly as much.
Supplies, business cards, new agent training... you get all of this by joining through HRMC.
They have over 300 hours of video and audio training available along with a very helpful staff.
And because you are selling legal plans and such, some states will require that you are licensed, in which HRMC will help you with.
Cost to Join
There is no cost to join HRMC, but you will be encouraged to purchase an "Agent Start-up Package" (Basic, Standard, or Premium).
However, there is a cost to doing business even if you don't purchase one.
In order to join the Legal Shield business opportunity you normally have to purchase a Legal Shield customer plan yourself and pay a $149 enrollment fee to become an associate.
Legal Shield legal plans start at $24.95/mo.
However, since HRMC is partnered with Legal Shield as a broker, the cost may differ from if you were to just go sign up at Legal Shield directly.
There are no educational requirements or certificates needed to join, but there are some requirements when it comes to selling certain products/services, which will differ depending on where you live.
For example, if you join HRMC and want to sell legal plans (from LegalShield), you may need to be licensed. This depends on your state laws and HRMC can help you find out more on this.
Legal Shield's compensation plan is typical of a MLM. Associates are encouraged to sell legal and ID protection plans to customers as well as new associates, helping to build a team in which commissions can be earned from.
MLM stands for "multi-level marketing", and the "multi-level" part of it comes from recruiting in associates, which then recruit in other associates and so on...
*No, this is not an illegal pyramid scheme. You can learn the difference here.
HOWEVER, the way you get paid as a member of HRMC will differ from regular Legal Shield associates. This is because they are a broker of Legal Shield services.
That said, the basics of the comp plan are still the same:
- Level Compensation - This consists of commissions paid on membership fees. It ranges from 12 - 16%
- Advanced Compensation - These are commissions paid in advance based on how much a customer/associate will pay for the entire year.
- Incentive Programs - Cash prizes and trips are also available through different incentive programs
Since you will be working as an independent contractor there is no salary. You will earn based on your performance.
How much can you actually earn? And how much do members actually earn?
The giant job board/job review site, Indeed.com, shows the average salaries for HRMC sales workers here:
*Note: Indeed gets its data from people posting their salaries and, as stated, from "job advertisements" which can be misleading as I will discuss.
Now if you do the math here, the average of all these salaries equals out to $69,933/yr. The only reason there are many different titles reported above is because these salaries come mainly from people posting how much they have earned... and while one person may consider their title as "salesperson" another worker for HRMC may call themselves a "sales consultant"... but it's all the same thing they are referring to, which is selling the products we talked about above.
Considering that most participants who join MLM business opportunities actually lose money, as discussed in a post I wrote here, the salaries that people who work with HRMC are posting are pretty darn impressive. After all, the main revenue stream here is from the MLM Legal Shield, and according to their income disclosure:
- Associates with 0 - 2 years of experience who made at least 1 sales earned an average of $504 in 2018
- About 76% of all associates earned less than $1,000 in 2018
Legal Shield isn't too bad compared to others. Some estimates have been made that as much as 99% of people who get involved with MLMs lose money... yet the salaries from HRMC tell a different story.
This is likely due to 2 main reasons:
1) The Training that Harvard Risk Management Corporation Provides
One of the biggest benefits to joining HRMC is the training. It's like joining a separate community that gives you an extra boost, and it seems logical it would increase chances of success.
As we discussed, they have over 300 hours of video/audio training and a very supportive agent support team.
2) The Salaries Are Inaccurate
While most of the salaries posted are from sales reps posting what they have earned themselves, some of the data may come from job advertisements on Indeed... which causes a problem.
The problem is that job advertisements for HRMC are posted by sales reps looking to recruit new people onto their team (this is MLM, remember). This often brings about misleading earning representations to lure in new members... which is commonplace in the world of MLM recruitment.
So the real salaries may be lower than shown.
While you certainly can't trust everything you read on job review sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, etc... they do provide some valuable information at times.
Overall I've found that the reviews are positive, with both sites having average ratings of over 3.7 out of 5.
One thing that many of the positive reviews have in common is that they mention the training as being one of the main pros to HRMC, which I was expecting to see.
But of course not everyone likes this place and there are some complaints, such as this one left by a disappointed member who worked for months and didn't make any money...
*Note: This isn't HRMC's fault. It is just the way the Legal Shield compensation plan works.
There are also quite a few people who seem to be upset with the fake job postings and how members go about recruiting people in.
I was able to find this on the Anti MLM subReddit...
... along with a warning on the job search forum Better Jobs Faster that basically says the same thing...
Most Complaints Come from Misleading Recruitment Tactics and the MLM Part of It
Fake job postings are a problem with many MLM opportunities.
The problem comes from associates, agents, consultants, whatever you want to call them, going out and trying to recruit people in underneath them via posting jobs on various job boards.
This often leads to people joining thinking that they will earn some salary like a "normal" job, but it is far from that.
Couple this with the fact that MLM's are typically extremely difficult to make money in and you have a recipe for future complaints.
Pros v Cons of Joining
- Training and support
- Flexible schedule
- Legal Shield is not such a bad MLM (associates earn more than with most other MLMs)
- 100% commission dependent
- No health benefits
- Can be a misleading opportunity
Is Harvard Risk Management Corporation a Scam?
No, this place is definitely not a scam, although you will find some people calling it one.
- They are BBB accredited
- They are a partnered broker of Legal Shield, ID Shield and Iron Mountain... all good and legitimate companies
There's really no good reason to call them a scam.
Just be aware that there are some misleading job ads for it, as discussed. These come from members of HRMC, not HRMC the company itself.
Final Thoughts - Should You Join?
Hopefully this review has given you a better understanding of how HRMC works and the opportunity they have.
The question of whether or not you should join this opportunity is completely up to you. MLMs, generally speaking, are horrible opportunities if you look at the statistics and failure rates, but with the extra training and support that HRMC provides you should have a better chance at making good money selling Legal Shield products and recruiting others in.
Overall I would say that HRMC is a pretty good company that holds itself to high standards. I started this review thinking I was going to be exposing some scam but have been pleasantly surprised.
However... it's still a MLM opportunity at its core. So you decide.
Another good option you may be interested in, if you aren't a fan of MLMs, is affiliate marketing. This is what I do to earn an online income. The good news: there is no recruitment and you keep all of your commissions, instead of passing them up to those above you.
If interested then I suggest taking a look at Wealthy Affiliate, which took me from $0 to over $6k/mo online.
Your Turn: What do you think of Harvard Risk Management Corporation? Are you a member? I would love to hear any comments/questions/feedback below 🙂