Cover - How The One Card System For Insurance Agents Works

How The One Card System For Insurance Agents Works

By David Duford - January 03, 2023 - 5 Mins Read

Are you thinking about beginning a career selling insurance, or perhaps you already do sell insurance?

Either way, if you want to learn more about how the one card system works, you’ve found the right article!

Today’s article will detail everything you should know about the one card system to give you a better idea of how to utilize this prospecting system to your advantage.

Let’s begin!

NOTE: Are you interested in selling insurance as a business? Yes, then check out my Free Insurance Agent Resource Guide to find out more.

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What Is the One Card System?

The One Card System (OCS) is the financial services and insurance industry client building system developed in the 1960s by renowned industry expert Al Granum.

The One Card System is based on the idea that it takes ten leads (referred to as suspects) to generate three prospects who will discuss insurance products with an agent. One among those three prospects will actually become a client and buy insurance. This is the essence of what is known as the 10-3-1 ratio devised by Granum.

Who was Al Granum?

O. Alfred Granum (1922-2014) was the most successful general agent in life insurance history. Granum held a successful management post at Northwestern Mutual for 23 years. He required his agents to keep detailed records on referred leads and track all the open and closed cases as well as submitted businesses.

In ten years, Granum’s agents processed records on more than 50,000 referred leads. Using this system, they were able to build a large and active client base and use the benchmarks to determine how much activity was needed to meet their production goals.

Granum had more Million Dollar Round Table producers than any other general agent in history. Ninety-six percent of his agents achieved the Million Dollar Round Table status.

Al Granum’s research and the results he and his agents produced led to the creation of the One Card System. The system was first presented in a company sales manual. Later on, it was published in a book format by the National Underwriter Company under the name Building a Financial Services Clientele. The book is currently in its 12th edition and can be purchased from the National Underwriter and on Amazon.

One Card System File Box and Cards

The OCS was introduced before the computer era, and Granum’s agents used index cards to compile the information manually. The One Card System file box and cards are still available and can be purchased from Granum’s book publisher, the National Underwriter.

The file box has the capacity to hold around 1,000 index cards. It is used to organize the OCS Yellow Suspect Cards and White Prospect Cards and easily manage communication with both suspects, prospects, and clients. The OCS Index Tabs, containing 1-31, A-Z, and Jan-Dec tabs, help keep the file box organized.

National Underwriter also offers other related products like yearly Productivity Planners, a Success Manual, and various demonstrations and tutorials. Their comprehensive OCS Fast Start Planner Guide is available for download free of charge.

The Electronic Version of the One Card System


Since the introduction of the One Card System, there have been many attempts to convert Granum’s method into a modern and efficient software solution. However, for many years none of the attempts were successful.

In 2001, the National Underwriter Company, together with the software developer E-Z Data updated the system and introduced an electronic One Card System version integrated into the purchasing company’s Client Data System.

Once agents enter all the referral names into the new OCS system, automatic prompts are issued whenever they need to contact clients. These prompts also include the client’s birthday and the date when a policy needs renewal, for example.

In addition, the electronic version of the OCS contact management and case flow system offers line management with a comprehensive system for empowering insurance agents, executing sales plans, and quantifying activity results.

How Is One Card System Used Today

The One Card System is the only agent activity management system in the financial services and insurance industry proven to quickly grow a producer’s active client list and hence increase sales. The OCS is to this day considered being the industry’s standard method for tracking agent activity.

Many of the world’s top insurance agencies use the OCS. It is commonly employed by sales managers among career companies to assist agents with managing their practices. Thousands of agents have confirmed Granum’s theory that referrals coming from people who had already purchased a policy, rather than cold calls, are the key to successful insurance sales.

Finally, Al Granum’s 10-3-1 ratio was proven to remain the same regardless of the agent’s experience level. This is precisely why the One Card System is an indispensable tool for all insurance agents, no matter whether they are new to the industry or MDRT Top of the Table members.


Thanks for reading my article on how the one card system works and is used today. I hope you enjoyed reading and can move forward in your insurance sales career with a better understanding of how to take advantage of this prospecting system.

I recommend all of my readers get on board and learn more about how great this business of selling insurance really is.

If you’re interested, check out my Free Insurance Agent Resource Guide specifically for insurance agents. You’ll find more tips and advice plus answers to questions you may not have even realized you had.

Also, if you’d like to know more about how I’ve helped support aspiring agents become top producers in their field selling final expense and Medicare, there’s more information on my FAQ page.

Thanks for reading!

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