Selling to seniors via video conferencing

The unaddressed truth behind Covid-19 is that until we get a vaccine, those of us who have an increased risk of serious health problems are going to need to remain socially distant even after the spike subsides.  While a therapy for the virus could be found as early as June, a vaccine is much further away, with most experts looking at the end of 2020.

Adjusting to the times

For a variety of reasons, many of you prefer to sell face to face, and right now you can’t, for the safety of yourself and your clients.

You are left with one of three choices:

  • Stop selling
  • Sell over the phone
  • Sell over video

Why Video Conferencing

Seniors are not as tech-illiterate as many people think.  In a study done by Amwell Health Solutions, data showed that 45% of American seniors have participated in video calls using FaceTime, Skype, and/or Google Hangout.  Some seniors are even catching up to the new Zoom movement, using it to talk to their family and friends.

73% of seniors claim that faster health related services, such as insurance consultation, are the driving reason for their willingness to use video conferencing.  Seniors have the will to participate, you just have to add this to your toolkit.

While calling could get the job done, you are missing an important layer – the visual cues.  With phone calls we miss 50% of the conversation because you can’t see how the person you are talking to is responding.  Video conferencing eliminates that limitation.

How do you do it?

So, how do you get seniors on the screen, not just on the phone?  The first secret is that you have to make it easy.  Best practice is to just have them click on a link you emailed them.  You’ll probably need to include instructions on how to find the link, but the more simple you make the process, the more success you will have.

Ask the senior if they have used to using Hangouts, FaceTime or Skype.  These popular systems are the most common, and you should adapt to their preferences.  By adapting to their preference, the success rate of your calls will be significantly higher.  While this may involve more flexibility on your end, it will undoubtedly benefit you in the long run.

The question “why you are taking meetings this way?” will come up, and be honest with them. Tell them it is to keep them safe in today’s environment.  This expresses that you care about them as a person, not just a client, helping your overall rapport.

In conclusion

By incorporating live video into your sales process you’ll be able to:

  • See your customer’s visual cues
  • Share and go over your quality presentation materials
  • Build a deeper relationship with your customer
  • Make more sales!

And if you need help matching with Medicare insurance prospects, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 866-368-0377.

What the Payroll Protection Program means for insurance agents

 

Congress recently signed the CARES Act to help relieve Americans of the economic impact COVID-19 has had in the US.  As part of this stimulus package, there has been a Small Business package included.  This $350 billion dollar program is called the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), and independent contractors can begin applying on Friday April 10th!

We put together this video and article to help guide you understand what this program is.

Are you qualified?

Most insurance agents in the US are paid as independent contractors.  You’ll know if you are one if you are given a 1099 each year or a W-2.  If you were receiving 1099’s, you are an independent contractor and are eligible under this program. 

If you are paid by a W-2, your employer, if they have less than 500 employees, can apply and pay you an average of what you earned in commissions over the last 12 months.

Here are the important details of the PPP:

  1. The maximum amount of the loan is 8 weeks of your average previous 12 months earnings (up to 100k), plus expenses for rent, mortgage interest and utility costs – which are no more than 25% of your 8 weeks earnings.
  2. You have to certify that you need the loan due to the impact of the Coronavirus.
  3. The interest rate is 1% and payments are deferred for 6 months.
  4. The loan can be forgiven based on how much you pay yourself plus your actual expenses
  5. There are no personal guarantees or collateral requirements
  6. Whatever isn’t forgiven has to be paid within 2 years

To apply for a PPP loan, you need to contact your bank.  Make sure they are a Small Business Association lender, or a SBA lender for short.  The SBA is the only association that will be writing the approval for these loans through member banks.  The total amount of these loans are limited to $350B, and while that sounds like a lot, it is expected to run out quickly.  This means you will want to take advantage of the Payroll Protection Program quickly.

Medicare: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Selling Medicare Supplement plans is a very rewarding job. Not only do you get to help seniors save money, but you get a residual income. In other words, Medicare is the gift that keeps on giving. But how?

Medicare Sales At All-Time High

man's hand with a blue marker going up in a line. the words "revenue"
Selling Medicare Supplement plans can give you a continuous revenue.

The AARP has found that each day 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 in America, a figure expected to continue well into the 2030’s. This is great news for Medicare agents. Many seniors cannot afford their Medicare Part B bills because they are on a fixed income, so they search for ways to help pay for it. This is where you come in to save the day with a Medicare Supplement plan. With the growth of the aging population, and increase in Medicare sales, there is no better time to sell Medicare!

Seven Years Of Commission

You read that right, when you make a Medicare Supplement sale, you will have a built-in commission for 7 years. This is where the residual income comes into play. Once you sell a Supplement plan, clients are commonly re-written year after year. 

Let’s take a look at an example to simplify things. When you first make a sale, you spend $400 on leads to make that sale, and make a commission of $400.  But because the consumer will likely sign (on average) for 8 years, there are 7 years worth of profits that can be made on that one sale. That equates to a $2800 profit for the life of that sale. So even though you have spent money on marketing and buying the lead, you still make that money back and more. You’re constantly winning.

The example below represents the residual income you could make over the years, assuming that  you’re making $30,000 in new commissions each year:

Maintain Your Relationships!

Although you can keep earning a commission for 7 years, you can’t just forget about your customers. People are more willing to buy from someone they know and trust. Be sure to follow up with your clients to make sure they are happy with your product, and  keep the relationship going. Some may want to make changes to their plans or enroll in a new plan. You want to make sure you are the one they turn to when this happens, so that you get the commission. 

Do not snooze on Medicare Supplement sales or on your current clients. Medicare sales are through the roof because of the aging population. If done right, you will earn a 7 year commission on just one sale. Medicare leads are the gifts that keep on giving even after you spend your marketing dollars to acquire them.

Why Trust is Hard to Come By

Trust is the way to sell yourself. People won’t buy from you if they don’t trust that your services are good, or that your product will improve their lives. That being said, trust is relatively easy to build as long as you follow a solid formula.

For insurance agents, this formula is about the same as other sales-focused jobs, but it must come off naturally. It takes a little more work on your end to master this but once done, you’ll see a huge shift in your interactions with people. They’ll buy easier, spread positive reviews, and increase your sales in the long run.

man on phone building trust with customer
It’s all about how you talk to people. Be professional, knowledgeable, and courteous.

Do Reputable Work

The baseline of any trust building is to show that you provide consistent value with your work. This is why bigger sites rely so much on positive reviews of their customers; it demonstrates hard evidence that people like what they do.

If you don’t have a profile that allows for reviews, then just word-of-mouth will do. Building strong trust with your customers comes from honest hard work. Also, to support this concept, make sure you’re giving yourself deliverable goals, i.e. if you say you’ll have someone signed up with a new policy within a week, you must do everything you can to accomplish this. If it’s not reasonable, don’t promise it.

Be Personable

They say you’re underdressed without a smile. Being a friendly, courteous person will get you far with any customer interactions. Of course, don’t pile on the cheese or be overly complimentary. People are more aware now of those that seem overly friendly as it comes off as manipulative. Steer clear of anything that makes you seem fishy.

This means genuine compliments only. If you like someone’s car or their new scarf, then by all means, openly share your admiration. It can spark a conversation as well as the possibility of connecting with shared stories. Did you both buy your car at the same dealership?

These personal connections get you far in building trust. It also works on social media. If you have a welcoming profile with visible content, people can examine your page and make decisions based on them. This means being meticulous with the content you share or allow posted. 

The last note on personability is consistency. Like your work, your personal profile needs to be on par with who you are in real life. Red flags will be set off if someone expects a particular detail they found online, and then you’re completely different in real life. 

Emphasize Security

Every day, tons of people are subjected to scams. Whether they fall for them or not, it can leave people on edge in who they deal with.

people having a meeting about trust
People want to trust you because they need to purchase coverage. Go into each meeting with a positive mindset.

Simple actions like mentioning you keep information confidential or placing a security certificate in your profile (or a physical one on your desk) can put people’s minds at ease. This is especially needed in an information trading industry like insurance.

People release detailed personal info when they purchase insurance. They need to be reminded, subtly, at every turn that they can trust you with their address, phone number, and email addresses.

One last note before we leave you is availability. None of these trust-building tactics will work if you’re not available to implement them. This means taking the time to answer phone calls, emails, or even text messages if you see fit. 

A trusting customer is a loyal one. At the first sign of deception, a person will view everything you say or offer as negative like you’re trying to take advantage of them. And once lost, trust is the hardest to win back. Start off on the right foot with these tips, and you’ll build a solid, reliable reputation that places you on a higher tier.

 

America’s Best Insurance Agencies to Work For

Competition between workplaces means good things for employees. Not only are the best agencies more visible, but they’re also having to step up their game to keep their staff. For insurance agents just now coming to the field, we have a comprehensive list of the best agencies to seek employment from, and exactly why you’d want to work for them.

For an overview, this list reflects the working conditions in these agencies. Overall, they scored high because they focused on benefits, wellness programs, and flexible work hours.

person playing chess for the best insurance
Choosing the right place to work is a strategic career move.

Higginbotham

This agency features an employee-first attitude, which probably was the biggest factor in Higginbotham topping the list. The company started 70 years ago, and since then has grown into one of the most influential independent insurance agencies in the US.

They also have a robust charity, with $1.8 million donated so far. Their CEO, Rusty Reid, emphasizes the service quality of the insurance industry, and that people should always be put first.

Ironside Insurance Group

While younger than the previous agency, Ironside has a reputation for growth. Employees pushed this company forward on the list through anonymous surveys. From the start, Ironside is a company focused on filling a need. The founders, Ryan Kent and Joshua Shotts, saw an opportunity in the insurance industry and leaped on it.

Prioritization here comes from two things: empowering employees and encouraging feedback. Without them, the company founders don’t think they would have gotten very far.

The Bulow Group

The Bulow Group believes in going against the grain. With a small group of 13 employees, every person can get their voice heard. Besides this, the company puts emphasis on communication so that every person gets a chance to succeed. These values are also encouraged with their customer interactions.

The Bulow Group has a reputation for thinking outside the box and strong teamwork. Stemming from a work/life balance and a focus on support, all the employees here feel the community. 

team of coworkers at best insurance agency
You want to work with a team that supports you. Don’t stop looking until you find that.

Hotchkiss Insurance

Hotchkiss’ employees enthusiastically nominated their company. These positive thoughts center on the agency’s focus on career growth and providing an engaging atmosphere.

“When our employees grow, we grow,” is the sentiment felt from the CEO’s words. They even have their own structure for employee behavior called “The Hotchkiss Way.” Employees have a weekly meeting, and they all address concerns and update their behavior to provide a solid system for interaction. 

Acentria Insurance

Like most of the other agencies on this list, Acentria works hard to have the employees feel like family. Most employees cite that their managing team members show genuine care for them as people.

This is amazing considering how large the company is, with over 500 employees in 50 locations. With a commitment to growth and open doors, it’s no wonder Acentria claims its “small business” feel. 

Snapp & Associates Insurance Services

The people at Snapp & Associates don’t mess around when it comes to excellent benefits. The company provides full education reimbursement and medical assistance. 

This agency’s claim to a top spot is hiring fresh eyes to the industry and one hundred percent supporting their growth as agents. Agents claim they had no experience before, and within a few years, became competent, successful employees

All of these places had a few things in common: support, encouragement, and most had community service. It goes to show that supporting your employees and communication truly sets a company apart. When one succeeds, all succeed.

 

NFL Players in Health Insurance Fraud

Bending the knee isn’t the only contention facing the NFL; this time, there’s health insurance fraud thrown into the mix. For those that don’t know, health insurance fraud is any act done specifically to defraud the insurance process. If you try to get something from the system you’re not owed (or even when someone denies you a benefit), this is insurance fraud.

lock on a jail cell for nfl insurance fraud
So far, not many of the players are seeing jail time, but that might change in the future.

The most common types in America are premium diversion, fee churning, asset diversion, and fraud involving worker’s compensation. In 2006, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, close to $100 billion was lost in the United States from these cases. That’s a massive number considering only several million was involved in this sports scandal.

Professional sports in America has a reputation for wealthy players, high-stakes games, and sometimes controversial acts. However, in this case, a pretty clear-cut alleged case of fraud surfaced from ten NFL players.

Here’s what we know.

These ten individuals used an HRA plan (more on those here) to receive a payout. The numbers we have so far are that the fraudulent charges total a little under $4 million. From June 2017 to December 2018, their total cut from this plan skimming netted $3.4 million in claims payments.

According to U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr., and from the FBI’s evidence, the defendants in this case planned “and executed a fraudulent scheme to undermine a health care benefit plan established by the NFL – one established to help their former teammates and colleagues pay for legitimate medical expenses.”

This is in the East District of Kentucky, and the list of players involved.

Each is Charged with Various Counts of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud/Health Care Fraud 

nfl player with football and insurance fraud
Be wary with the people you work with. Anyone can try to get more than they are owed.
  • Robert McCune, of Riverdale, Georgia
  • John Eubanks, of Cleveland, Mississippi
  • Tamarick Vanover, of Tallahassee, Florida
  • Carlos Rogers, of Alpharetta, Georgia, 
  • Clinton Portis, of McLean, Virginia
  • Ceandris Brown, of Fresno, Texas
  • James Butler, of Atlanta, Georgia; and 
  • Fredrick Bennett, Port Wentworth, Georgia, 
  • Correll Buckhalter,  Colleyville, Texas, and
  • Etric Pruitt, Theodore, Alabama, 

More players will be notified of charges in the future, but these core ten have a more solid sentence awaiting them. It’s unfortunate, but in the healthcare world, both agents and insurance firms must be careful in dealing with everyone, including star athletes.

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