7 Habits Of Highly Efficient Agents You Should Adopt

Your habits, whether good or bad, are a huge part of how you live your everyday life; in fact, 40% of your actions throughout each day are not based on conscious decisions, but come from the force of habit. These habits can spill over into your working life, too, and affect how you conduct your business; bad habits can lower sales, and end up separating you from successful insurance agents. Becoming more successful means practicing some self-awareness, and learning to adopt the following habits.

1. Stay Organized

organized office space
Organizing your office space can help you focus and get tasks done.

Did you know that office workers waste an average of 40% of each workday because of being unorganized? When you’re busy and trying to juggle multiple things at once, it’s easy to slowly slide into being unorganized, but it’s important to stay on top of your schedule. Organize your brain by getting more sleep and taking breaks. Organize your time by prioritizing your day; to do this you should:

  • Plan a time for calls, meetings, marketing, and follow-ups.
  • Try using an app to help you stay organized, such as Shift, which can help keep you on track and on task.
  • Avoid multitasking, which will divide your attention and mean you’ll end up slacking on some tasks.
  • Organize your workspace by clearing clutter, filing correctly and immediately, and having everything important within easy reach.

2. Create Lists

Lists can be your best friends when trying to accomplish your day-to-day tasks. If you try to simply remember everything you have to do during the day, you will more than likely end up forgetting something – and that something could be very important! Instead of relying on memory, make a list – or multiple lists – so you can address the urgent tasks first, and then check off the rest of the less urgent tasks once those important issues are taken care of.

3. Focus on an End Goal

What is your end goal? Do you want to get a certain number of prospects a month? Grow your business? Retain more customers? It is easier to establish an end goal when you have your eye on the bigger picture, so focus on that, and put your daily tasks in perspective.

4. Limit Distractions

silver stopwatch
Try using the Pomodoro technique to limit distractions and get work done.

Around 44% of work distractions come from things that you have control over, like your phone and social media. While it’s ok to take a break so you don’t burn out, you might want to limit your distractions by using a timer when you engage in nonessential tasks. Consider using the Pomodoro Technique, a method that suggests you set a timer to break down work into 25 minutes intervals: you work for 25 minutes, take a short 3-5 minute break, and then reset the timer. After 4 25-minute “pomodoros”, you take a longer break of approximately 15-30 minutes.

5. Know When to Unplug

If you don’t know how to keep a healthy work-life balance, you could end up feeling like you’re drowning in your work. Learn to take breaks by creating a block of time during your day when you shut off your phone and computer, and don’t read emails or take work calls. Never unplugging will eventually lead to burn out!

6. Learn To Say No

No can be a powerful word, and oftentimes people feel awkward or even embarrassed to say it, but as Steve Jobs once said, “It’s only by saying no, that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” If you have too much on your plate, it’s okay to respectfully decline offers, whether work-related or in your social life; learning to say no can help you increase your productivity levels, and keep your relationships with your customers and new leads at the top of your list of priorities.

7. Be Positivescissors cutting the T off the word can't

Failure can happen to anyone, as can both minor and major setbacks; for example, you’re bound to lose more than one customer over the years. But when it comes to the negative parts of your job, you have the option to dwell on them, or accept the bad with the good and take it all as part of the road to success. You have to be willing to stay positive, as well as to learn, adapt, and try again. Put your positive energy into winning your clients back and then some! After all, according to one study that concentrated on the habits of millionaires, over half (54%) of those polled credited optimism as critical to their success in life.

You most likely have daily habits that you are unaware of, but they could be hindering your ability to grow your business and your success. Forming new habits is easier said than done, and it can take at least a month or more for a new way of doing things to start to feel normal; while it can be tempting to give up after a week or so, don’t give up! The habits above will make you more organized, positive, and will help you increase your success in your business. Some of these habits will also end up improving other aspects of your life, as well!

How To Set Goals To Really Grow Your Business

More than likely, you’ve got big goals for your career and your business. And that’s great: goals are important because they help trigger new behaviors and keep you focused and driven; in fact, a Harvard Business study revealed that 14% of people who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals. But let’s back up. You might have big goals, but do you have clear, detailed goals for your business? Sure, we all want to make X dollars by the end of the year, or want to sell X amount of policies in a month, but how do you plan on getting there? What are your smaller, daily goals, and do you know what will bring you closer to your long-term goals? And which goals should you focus on first? Being able to answer these questions is vital to your business’ success.

Why Create Goals?

a group of people around a table looking down
Having a set of goals for your business will help your teammates focus and increase productivity.

Brings Your Agency Together

Many studies have shown that goals make employees more motivated, happier in their position, and ultimately, more productive. Having goals set in place will:

  • Keep everyone accountable to themselves and to each other
  • Help you and your employees define a vision of where they want to be
  • Encourage employees to think about the meaning of their work, and give them ways to measure their accomplishments
  • Boost performance and motivation
  • Give a feeling that you are all on the same team

Creates A Sense of Accomplishment

Meeting any goal, whether it’s a weekly sales goal, or even just a daily goal of tackling customer questions/concerns, can give you a sense of accomplishment, which will keep you motivated and working toward your larger goals.

Gives You Something to Reach for

Even goals that you don’t achieve are valuable! Not reaching a goal that you set for yourself gives you something to work towards; instead of writing off these missed goals as failures, make them your “stretch goals,” or ones that you will eventually reach, but will need to stretch yourself to do so.

How to Set Your Goals

So how do you actually go about setting the right goals for yourself and your business? The best way is by using the SMART method, meaning you should set goals that are: smart goals spelled out

  • Specific– Your goals should be well-defined and clear.
  • Measurable– There should be specific criteria that measures your progress towards accomplishment.
  • Attainable– Don’t set goals that are impossible to achieve or attain.
  • Relevant– Make sure your goals are not only realistic and within reach, but they are also relevant to what you want to accomplish.
  • Time-bound– Give yourself a clearly defined timeline to create urgency, including a start date and target end date for your goals.

Goals to Focus On

So now you’ve got the method for setting goals, what specific kind of goals should you be focusing on for your business?

  • Sales Goals- When setting sales goals, think quantity and go from there: for example, do you want to focus on daily sales? Quarterly sales? How many returning and new weekly customers you have? Make sure you are following the SMART method and setting sales goals that are both measurable and attainable.
  • Marketing Goals– You should have strategic marketing goals that are based on your sales goals. Remember, these days social media is your best friend when trying to get noticed and get more customers, so your marketing goals should include a content strategy that spells out how many times you want to post a week, and on which social media platforms.
  • Operational Goals– These goals will focus on how well your business is operating, which is based on: your customer service, process consistency, team growth, and administrative efficiency. To improve your business’ function, you will need to create goals to boost these areas.

Goal Sequence

a person's hand holding a pen and writing in a notebook
It is better to break down your goals for the year, quarterly, weekly, and daily.

To keep yourself on top of your goals, stick to a well-sequenced timeline that breaks your goals down in the following ways:

  • Annually- Breaking down your annual goals will help you get started with your sales, marketing, and operational goals.
  • Quarterly– Once you’ve gotten started on your annual goals, reassess your progress every 90 days. Are you meeting your goals? Do you need to make adjustments?
  • Monthly– Create monthly goals to lay out what you will and will not work on for the month. Base this list off your quarterly list.
  • Weekly/Daily– Now break down your monthly goals and focus on what you need to do or accomplish each week or day to reach those larger goals.

Setting goals is a must for the long-term success of your business, but you have to know how to set the right kind of goals. Not only that, but you should be consistently revisiting your goals, so you can make any necessary changes each month. As you work on your goals, evaluate how the changes you make to them impacts your business, and you’ll eventually move closer to succeeding at reaching them.

If you are looking for more leads, Benepath can help: we offer you real-time exclusive leads who are ready to purchase an insurance plan. Not only do we offer exclusive real-time leads, but we will even create a thank you page for you, so your leads will know exactly who they are about to speak to before the call is transferred! To find out more, fill out your information on the bar to the side, or call 866-368-0377.

Advantages of Being An Independent Agent

When you enter the world of insurance sales, you have a big decision to make: should you become an independent agent or a captive agent? While both types of agent are fully licensed to sell insurance, there is a major difference between the two: captive agents are employed by insurance companies and represent only that company, while independent agents have more freedom to work with different insurance companies, instead of working for them. Going the independent agent route will guarantee you more opportunities for success, because you will be able to offer more to your clients. But that is not the only advantage of being an independent agent.

More Optionsmany white doors lined up next to each other

As an independent agent, you can represent multiple insurance companies; doing so allows you to not only become extremely knowledgeable about different plans, but also to provide clients with more options. Captive agents can only compare insurance plans offered by the insurance company they work for, but independent agents have access to many markets, meaning you will be able to compare plans and find what is truly the best option for your customers, so you’ll end up with happier clients – and more referrals!

Freedom & Flexibility

If you become an independent agent, you will own your agency, so you will essentially be your own boss. You will not only have the freedom to decide which carriers you want to work with, but you will also have the flexibility to set your own hours and choose where and when you want to meet with or speak to clients. All of this means that you won’t have to operate around the traditional 9-5 work day; you can even meet with clients in the evenings or on weekends, so you’ll be able to attract people with tighter schedules.

Unbiased Advicewoman with a suit on smiling and holding her laptop

Clients will want to work with you if you are an independent agent because they’ll know that you’ll give them unbiased advice. Captive agents will always try to sell clients a plan from the carrier they work with, even if it is not the best option for them, but because you work with multiple carriers, you can actually find the best plan for them.

It is your choice whether you become an independent agent or a captive agent, but ultimately there are more advantages to being an independent one. Not only will you be your own boss, but you could end up as a much more successful seller: customers will choose to come to you because they know you can offer more, and save them more money.

Are You and Your Customers Vulnerable to Ransomware?

You’ve probably been hearing the term “ransomware” a lot lately; reports of this type of cyberattack have doubled in the past year alone. Any business, or even individual, can be targeted by this form of malware, with which a cyberattacker encrypts a victim’s files and then demands a fee, or ransom, to restore access to the data. Because these attacks are so widespread, one could happen to you or your clients, so it is important to learn what you can do to protect yourself from one; if you are not properly protected, you or your customer might have to pay the ransom, which is far less expensive than replacing or restoring the locked files and computer. One thing you can do is purchase cyber insurance, which will cover ransomware, and encourage your customers to do the same, but is having one of these policies good enough, or could it cause more harm than good?

How Ransomware Works

Ransomware is different from other types of malware in that, during these attacks, a cyber criminal gains administrative access to your information and takes your data hostage. The most common way these criminals get access to your data is by sending out phishing scams through emails and texts; usually, the emails will look like they are from your bank or another trusted company you work with, and will contain an attachment or link that, if clicked on, will give them full access to your files.

computer screen with a padlock on the screen

Once the cyberattacker has full administrative access to all of your information, they will encrypt your files and essentially put a lock on your computer, demanding that you pay them a ransom to be able to gain access to your data again. Some will even take it a step further and threaten to publicize the data if the ransom is not paid; this can put your business in jeopardy because, as an agent in possession of sensitive customer information, it is your duty under HIPAA to protect that information.

Cyber Insurance & Ransomware

If you’re worried about ransomware attacks, remember that almost all cyber insurance policies cover ransomware, including the cost to restore and recover your data. However, you should also know that not everyone agrees that giving in to the attackers is the best solution, and lately, insurance companies have been getting scrutinized for paying ransoms. Regulators feel that by paying these ransoms, it further incentivizes cyber attackers: because of this, some insurance companies are dropping cyber insurance from their list of policies, while others are taking the ransom payment coverage out of their policies. This will require people to either pay the ransom on their own, which is typically anywhere form $700- $1,300, or have to pay for the restoration of their computer systems. The insurance companies and regulators hope that this will slow down ransomware attacks in the long run, but it doesn’t help individuals and businesses who are attacked in the short term.

With that being said, this has not stopped many insurance companies from providing cyber insurance, including ransomware coverage. What’s more, after recent high-profile attacks such as the one on the Colonial Pipeline, there is now a greater push for ransomware legislation to support private and public sectors and to punish the criminals. Hopefully the focus will be taken off the insurance industry and put back where it belongs: on stopping the attackers.

As of now, if you are looking to protect your business and your clients’ businesses, there are still affordable cyber insurance plans, but there are some precautionary steps you and your customers can take as well.

How To Prevent Ransomware

black USB
To prevent ransomware, back up your files and keep your system up-to-date.

A cyber insurance policy will help you restore your encrypted data if you are attacked, but there are other steps you can take to help prevent attacks on your computer and files:

  • Keep your system up-to-date.
  • Do NOT install software unless you are completely sure it is from a trusted source, and do NOT give administrative access to anyone else unless absolutely necessary (and safe).
  • Install antivirus and whitelisting software to prevent unauthorized applications.
  • Backup your files as often as possible.

Ransomware can destroy your business and cost you – or your customers – thousands of dollars. Cyber insurance is a great way to protect you and your customers’ businesses, but this type of coverage is becoming controversial, meaning that some insurance companies are no longer offering it. So, not only should you make sure you follow the steps above to prevent ransomware, and share the information with your clients, you should also compare cyber insurance plans from different companies to make sure they still cover ransomware.

What To Know When Switching An Existing Medicare Supplement Plan For Your Customers

When it comes to health insurance plans, not everyone is going to end up happy with their choice, and this can include seniors and their Medicare Supplement Plans. A plan might seem perfect for someone initially, but situations, budgets or other variables can change, which can mean that your customer will want to change their plan. It’s more than likely that, at some point, a Medicare beneficiary will request your services to change their Medicare Supplement Plan, so you will need to be prepared – switching Medicare Supplement Plans takes some planning, digging, and explaining.

Reasons Why a Medicare Beneficiary Might Want to Switch Plans

illustration of a blue wallet with money sticking out of it
Sometimes a Medicare beneficiary wants to change their Medicare Supplement Plan so they can save money.

Many seniors are overwhelmed and under informed when they first enroll in Medicare, and in the midst of all the confusion, they decide on a Medicare Supplement Plan that they think will work for them, only to realize later it doesn’t. Some of the reasons that they might want to switch Medicare Supplement Plans include:

  • They do not need all the benefits they are paying for.
  • They need more benefits.
  • They are not happy with their insurance company and want to switch companies.
  • They want a cheaper plan.

When They Can Switch Plans

In many cases, once a Medicare beneficiary purchases a Medicare Supplement Plan, they are locked into that plan. Very rarely will they have the opportunity to easily switch plans, since Medicare Supplement insurance companies have the option to deny or charge more if applicants do not pass underwriting.

However, your customer can switch plans without any problems if:

  • They have guaranteed issue rights.
  • Are in good enough health to pass underwriting.
  • Are within their 7-month Medicare Supplement Initial Enrollment Period.
  • Are still in the 30-day “free look period” of their current plan.

Switching Plans

many boxes on one side of a scale and one box on the other side.

Once you’ve determined whether your customer can easily switch plans, you will need to understand exactly what your client is looking for so you can find the right plan for their needs. After you’ve spoken with them about this, take down all of their information and fill out an application for a new Medicare Supplement Plan, making sure to be clear that the plan will be a replacement for a current plan. During this process, it is important to ensure that your client won’t have a gap in coverage, so when applying, choose a start date for the first day of the following month. After the application is accepted, you can help your customer cancel the current policy effective the first day of the month.

If your client is thinking of switching plans during the “free look period” (30 days) of their current Medicare Supplement Plan, there are a few things to note. First, if your client decides to switch plans, they will need to pay the premiums of both plans for the free look period. Second, do not cancel the first Medicare Supplement Plan until they decide they want to keep the new one!

During your career, you will come across many Medicare beneficiaries who are not happy with their Medicare Supplement Plans, but you can help them switch to a plan that better suits their specific needs, as long as you know the rules surrounding how to do so. It’s as simple as gathering information, signing them up for a new plan, making sure to cancel their previous plan, and following up with your customer. After all, making sure they are satisfied with your service is the best way to grow your business! If you are interested in getting reliable, exclusive Medicare leads, call 866-368-0377.

Is TikTok A Good Idea For Insurance Agents?

Growing your business requires a solid marketing strategy, and nowadays that means heading online: you’ll need great content, a professional-looking website, and a strong presence on social media. But when it comes to social media, you have to keep up with the trends and know which demographic you should be speaking to on each platform; for example, Facebook tends to appeal to older users. So where should you go if you want to connect with a younger market? TikTok!

This platform, started in 2016, has taken the social media world by storm, with 5.5 million daily users, and over 800 million monthly active users – it’s so popular that some believe it will simply replace other social media networks someday. But before you jump on the TikTok bandwagon, you should know the ins and outs of using it to market your business: if you use it incorrectly, you could harm your brand, but if you use it correctly, you could significantly increase your revenue. So, where do you start?

Why Get on TikTok?illustratio an of a man in a suit walking up a green arrow going upwards

Multiple companies have reported how beneficial TikTok has been for their business: they’ve been able to reach thousands of followers, get millions of views, and achieve a higher conversion rate as compared to other social media platforms, simply because it is so wildly popular. For example, Rooster Insurance, which is a car insurance company, went viral on TikTok for how much they can save users on car insurance. Their app was downloaded more than 6,500 times, in just 48 hours due to the exposure! Insurance expert Robin Kiera worked with a German insurer, and tested TikTok for insurance sales. They found that focusing on business and relationship topics helped them reach almost 70,000 views a day. If this is not reason enough for you, here are some other reasons why you should consider using it:

Your Audience Is There

The breakdown of TikTok users by age is as follows:

  • 25% of users are aged 10-19
  • 22.4% of users are aged 20-29
  • 21.7% of users are aged 30-39
  • 20.3% of users are aged 40-49

We don’t have to tell you that these are the prime ages to target for health insurance leads! In fact, if you scroll through TikTok or type #healthinsurance in the search bar, you will find people posting content about their issues regarding health insurance, what they are looking for/need, and more. This is the perfect opportunity for you to learn what people on the app are looking for, and create content or ads that work towards a solution for them.

1k written with hearts above it
People are more likely to watch your short videos and react to them on TikTok than any other social media network.

You Can Get More Views and Go Viral More Quickly

Because the videos you post to TikTok are short (usually 15-60 seconds), people are more likely to watch them in their entirety than they are to watch a full YouTube video – remember, people have short attention spans! Users on this platform are also highly engaged and very likely to comment on and “like” videos they see. Because of all this, TikTok has an algorithm that makes it easier for videos to quickly go viral than do other social media platforms.

Tips For Using TikTok

TikTok can seem intimidating, but you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone if you want to use it to help grow your business. When making videos, you have to know what is trending, be tactical and create content that is engaging, funny, and helpful.

Be Authentic

The videos that do the best on TikTok are the ones in which the creator is doing something that feels authentic, and is showing their real side. This includes being fun, showing your true personality, and not only talking about your business and what you can do for customers. You first need to catch people’s eye by creating content that is engaging and trendy, and then throw in some information about your business and how you can help people save. Show some short clips explaining how insurance works or fun facts about insurance, or take part in hashtag challenges, which will surely get you noticed!

Connect With Influencers

illustration of a woman on a screen with speech bubble and hearts all around
Connecting with influencers is a great way to spread your content more.

As with all social media platforms, TikTok has its own influencers who have thousands of followers, and to whom other users look to for the latest trends. To get yourself noticed, you should try to connect with these influencers so they can spread your content to their followers. Make sure to find one who is willing to market your brand, has a few thousand followers, and will talk about the importance of health insurance or how they saved so much money by working with your business. Everyone loves saving money!

TikTok is the latest social media trend, with clips from the app being shared all over Instagram and Facebook – so you should get on board, create some meaningful yet fun content, take part in some of the challenges, and get in touch with influencers. If you use TikTok correctly, you can reach thousands of people with only a little effort and grow your brand and sales!

What Are Agents Responsible For Under HIPAA?

Before you begin selling insurance, you will need to become familiar with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, more commonly known as HIPAA. This federal law created standards for protecting a patient’s health information from being disclosed without their consent or knowledge. In 2013, the HIPAA Omnibus Rule expanded the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) ability to enforce the requirements not just in regards to “covered entities,” which are defined as health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers who transmit records electronically, but also to “business associates” that help these covered entities carry out their health care activities. What does that all mean? It means that independent agencies like yours must comply with HIPAA rules; as an agent, you are just as responsible for protecting your customer’s health information as medical professionals and insurance companies. But what are you responsible for exactly?

What Does HIPAA Mean for Insurance Agents?confidential in red with a red rectangle around it

For insurance agents, the rules of HIPAA are in place to make sure that the information you gather on customers for underwriting and claims processing is kept safe and only accessible to others with the permission of your customer. In order to do this, you need to comply with two different categories of HIPAA guidelines: HIPAA privacy and HIPAA security. Both categories of guidelines address procedures for protecting your customer’s data, but there is a big difference between them that you need to be aware of.

HIPAA Privacy

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is meant to keep your customers’ health information safe from others when it is being used in an administrative or contractual way. You are responsible for protecting their Personal Health Information (PHI), which is any personal health information that was created or used during your customers’ treatment or diagnosis; you are also responsible for maintaining the security of your customers’ basic information, or anything that could identify them, like their name, address, birthday, and Social Security number. Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, you can only disclose or give access to this information to specific entities, and if you fail to comply, you could face a fine, loss of your license to sell, or even jail time.

HIPAA Security

illustration of a person in a suit with a laptop and shields around it
HIPPA security is meant to protect your customer’s information from hackers or electronic theft.

The HIPAA Security Rule is meant to protect any health information that is in electronic form, such as that which is stored on computers, secured VPNs, software with encryption, or that is sent via email, from hackers and electronic theft. There’s no doubt that you rely on your computer, tablet, laptop and phone for work, so the HIPAA Security Rule means that you will need to go the extra mile to protect your customers’ information. To make sure you are complying with the Security Rule, you’ll need to make sure your computers or whatever technology you are using to store your customers’ info are absolutely secure and as protected as possible from any potential cyber threats.

When working with customers’ important and confidential information, you have to be diligent and prevent any breaches that could result in their information being leaked to people who do not have permission to access it. Something as simple as sending an email that includes a customer’s PHI to the wrong person, or leaving a voicemail with your customer’s information, could end up getting you in trouble. If something like this happens, you would most likely be audited by the Office for Civil Rights, who oversee compliance with HIPAA rules. In order to be prepared, make sure you (and anyone else in your agency) are trained in and thoroughly understand HIPAA guidelines; you need to be very careful with customer’s information – one mistake could cost you your business!

Selling To Medicare Beneficiaries With Different Budgets

As an insurance agent, you know that some customers are on a tight budget – and seniors can have even less extra money than others to put towards their healthcare. The majority of seniors live on a fixed income, because they are no longer working and have to rely on their retirement savings to last for the rest of their lives. For this reason, they have to budget wisely; this is especially important when it comes to their healthcare expenses, since Medicare does not cover everything, and the cost of it continues to rise every year. That means that if you’re working with Medicare beneficiaries, they will be looking for ways to save as much money as they can! Medicare Supplement Plans will help them, but before you make your sales pitch to a Medicare beneficiary, you first have to understand how to work with customers who have different budgets.

Gather Information

silhouette of two people sitting down at a table talking closely
When trying to find out a client’s budget, bring it up casually in conversation so they feel comfortable.

No two clients will have the same needs or budget, so in order to best help your Medicare client, you will need to know what they can and cannot afford. It can be awkward to discuss their finances and budget, so you need to keep the conversation going in a professional manner: instead of hounding them with questions about it, casually bring it up in conversation and let them know that they can feel comfortable discussing their finances with you. Once you get a better understanding of what their finances look like, you can suggest either a more comprehensive Medicare Supplement Plan, like Plan N or G, or a more basic plan, like Plan A.

Compare Quotes

Everyone loves a deal, but everyone also loves to see side-by-side comparisons and breakdowns of their options. Once you’ve established what kind of budget your customer is working with, you can dive into comparing Medicare Supplement Plans and providing them with quotes. Remember, don’t make the mistake of only providing your customer with the top few plans that you think will work for them; provide them with all of their options and help them figure out which plan will fit into their specific budget.

Explain What Expenses To Expect

hand pointing at a calculator and the other pointing at a graph on a paper.
Go over all expenses of the Medicare Supplement Plan before signing them up.

After you’ve reviewed all plan options with your customer, make sure to go over all the expenses they should expect with their plan before they make their decision. You already know that each Medicare Supplement Plan offers different levels of coverage at different price points, but these plans are new to your customer, so it is important that you take the time to go over what they can expect to pay throughout the year. Remember to explain how much Medicare’s Part A and Part B deductibles, premiums, and coinsurance will cost them, so they can add these expenses to the price of the plan they’ve chosen; this will give them a better idea of how much they should budget for healthcare for the year. This is good for your customer and good for you – a customer who knows exactly what to expect is less likely to be unhappy with their plan.

It’s not always easy to talk to a customer about their finances, but it is important to do so, so that you can help them find a plan that fits their budget. If you don’t take the time to do this, you could end up losing a customer through disenrollment, which would also mean losing the commission for that sale. Instead, through conversations with your client, make it clear that by understanding their expenses for the year, you will both be better equipped to choose a budget-friendly plan. Just remember to go over what they can expect, and go that extra mile to make sure the plan is right for them, so you don’t both lose out in the end.

Selling Insurance Before & After A Storm

Hurricanes and other types of storms can be a problem for people in many areas of our country; those who are directly affected by them, especially multiple times a year, will want to protect their home, business, and assets. In order to do this, they will want to buy property insurance, flood insurance, and homeowners insurance. While insurance companies will not sell policies right before a storm, during a storm, or directly after a storm, there are multiple opportunities for you to sell insurance products and help customers who are affected by major weather events.

Flood Insurance

houses with water rising in a large red triangle sign
Homeowner’s insurance does not cover floods, clients will need a separate policy for that.

Floods can happen almost anywhere in the U.S. at any time, even in houses that have never flooded before. Homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, which is why your customers will need a separate flood insurance policy. The problem is, though, that you cannot sell a flood insurance policy right before a storm because the policy will take 30 days to go into effect. If your clients are interested in flood insurance, make it clear to them that the policy will not cover any damage until the 30 days have passed.

Selling Before A Storm

There is one thing you can do for your customers before a storm. If your customers have any existing policies before a storm hits, you can increase their limits and help them save money that way. As long as you are compassionate and tactful, you can use this time to upsell and help your customers get through the tough time after the storm. If a major storm hits, the damages could exceed their limits, meaning they’ll have to pay more money out-of-pocket to make repairs and replace damaged items. If you upsell their policy, they would end up saving money because their increased limits would cover them if they needed to go to a hotel while their house is being repaired, or if they needed to temporarily close or relocate their business.

Keep in mind, though, that insurers will stop selling additional coverage if there’s a hurricane watch, which will typically be announced 48 hours prior to the storm.

Another way you can help customers is by cross-selling in order to make sure they have comprehensive coverage for all types of damage. For example, if they have homeowners insurance, check if they have coverage for wind damage; if they do not, add it, and increase their coverage limits for their home and belongings. The same goes for a business: make sure they have enough property insurance in their BOP, and add professional liability in case they are unable to render their services or need to break contracts because of a storm.

Be Transparent

two hands shaking Your customers will be dealing with many emotions with a storm coming their way, especially if it looks like a major storm. In order to keep your customers, and win new ones, you have to be transparent with them. Tell them what they can expect with any new policies, and if you cannot sign them up in time, make sure they know that. Make sure they know if a policy will not go into effect immediately. And most importantly, show them that you have their best interest at heart by providing them with the coverage they really need, and that you are not just trying to make a commission. You know the insurance companies’ rules and regulations surrounding storms, so make sure you provide your customers with all the correct and truthful information.

Selling After A Storm

Some states will not sell certain policies weeks after a catastrophe happens, so you need to be clear with your customers about this. When the time comes that you can add insurance to their policy again, you can discuss options and price, and help guide them to what they will need should another storm or flood hit. Offer to bundle flood or wind damage insurance and add it to their homeowners policy to help them save money. If their current carrier won’t do this, take the opportunity to find another insurance company for them with the same plans and better rates.

Depending on where you live, storms can be catastrophic. Some customers might be unprepared for a major storm that causes damage to their home or business. This can leave them feeling lost and hopeless, but as a good agent, you can change that. You can provide your clients with enough coverage so they are prepared before a storm happens. Make sure you convey to your clients the importance of having enough insurance before a storm actually hits, so they can save money and not lose everything they worked so hard for. Remember, it’s not about the commission, but about compassion.

Strategies To Prevent Medicare Disenrollments

Medicare clients are arguably the best clients because of the residual income they give you when they renew their plan each year. You definitely want to hang onto these customers! But once in a while you’ll have a Medicare client disenroll from their plan, which can hurt you financially, and maybe even emotionally. After all, you put in a lot of hard work to turn that lead into a customer, and if they disenroll, it can feel like a punch to the gut. But, there are some strategies that can help you prevent Medicare disenrollments.

How Medicare Disenrollments Affect Your Commission

man in a suit standing away from a group of people and dollar bills in between them.
If your Medicare client disenrolls, then you lose the commission you made.

When a Medicare customer signs up for a plan, you get a commission for that enrollment from the carrier. When a Medicare disenrollment happens, you guessed it: you will lose that commission. But losing your commission is not the only downside. If you have too many disenrollments, the carriers that you work with will begin to question your practices and whether you are signing clients up for the right reasons, or just chasing commissions. You could also run into compliance issues with carriers, which could mean losing the ability to work with those carriers.

Preventing Medicare Disenrollments

Be Clear About Prescription Coverage

Medicare Supplement Plans do not cover prescription medications, and you need to make that clear to your client so there is no confusion later on. If you do sell them a Medicare drug plan, make sure that their medications are in the plan’s formulary, preferably in lower tiers in the formulary. If their prescriptions are in higher tiers, they will have to pay more for their drugs, so make sure to go over their medications and check the formularies of each plan to help find them the most coverage and savings.

Check for In-Network Providers

One of the main reasons that Medicare customers disenroll from their plans is dissatisfaction with their plan’s network. Most Medicare beneficiaries have been going to the same doctor for a very long time, and they want to continue to do so. If the plan that you offer them does not cover their doctor or the specialists their doctor refers them to, they will most likely disenroll from the plan and use another agent to find them a plan with a better network. If you don’t take the time to find out important details like this, you can expect to lose the sale later.

Go Over All Options & Discuss Costs & Benefitsoptions written on pieces of paper in different fonts and colors

When you connect with a Medicare lead, they will expect you to discuss ALL the different Medicare options that they can choose from. Do not simply offer them the top 3 plans that you think suit their needs; go over all of the plans available to them and explain what each one covers and how much it costs. Give them the option to choose a plan that suits their needs; they are probably living on a fixed income and will want to find a plan that truly fits their budget. Make sure they are comfortable with the price, including how much they will end up paying on premiums, copays and deductibles.

Make Sure They Are Aware Of OEV Calls

It might slip your mind during the sales process, but if you forget to tell your Medicare customer that they will get a follow-up call from the carrier, or an outbound education and verification (OEV) call, they could end up disenrolling from their new plan because they might be confused by the unexpected call. Make sure to prepare your client for the upcoming call and tell them what to expect from it, such as what the carrier will ask them to do.

Follow Up!

man with a dress shirt on with a phone up to his ear.
Make sure to follow up with your client to build a relationship, and help with any questions they might have.

Every good agent knows that the best way to keep your customer is to make sure they are happy, and the best way to do this is to keep a relationship going with them. Follow up with your customer to make sure they are satisfied with their plan and that they understand it. If they do not, ask how you can help, and continue to follow up with them, making sure they know they can contact you whenever they have any questions. The more questions they have that are left unanswered, the more likely they are to begin worrying that they have a bad plan. Check on your clients and answer all questions, address any concerns, and make it known they can reach out to you at any time.

If you play it right, you can have a Medicare client for a long time, meaning you’ll have a great commission for a number of years. But if you do not take the time to sell them the right plan and are too focused on the commission, you can kiss that commission goodbye later. Medicare disenrollments happen more often than you think, but they can be prevented by using the strategies we have outlined above. In the end, truly caring about your clients, and working with and for them, will lead to more success.

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