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.

So, How Are Your Writing Skills When It Comes to Marketing Campaigns?

If you’re groaning out loud at this question, then writing is likely something you struggle with every time you go to write a blog or marketing piece. The words seem wooden or they are too big and jargon-like. The end result is “you” understand what you wrote, because you sell insurance, but those who are going to receive and try to read it won’t “get it.”

Put yourself into the position of your customer who knows nothing about Medicare or isn’t familiar with Medigap or final expense insurance – whatever the product is you want to promote. Now write in the simplest manner possible and explain what they need to know – leaving out the legalese – as you can explain more in detail when they call or meet with you.

It’s not always an easy thing to do, thinking like a potential customer, but if you want customers to buy insurance, they have to understand what you are selling and how it directly benefits them. Straight, clean, simple concepts using points or short sentences to get across the benefits of supplemental insurance or Medicare.

Can’t do it? Comes out not making sense? Then, hire a writer to do it for you. How you communicate with your existing and potential clients is one of the “foundation” must-dos in building your insurance agency. Hiring a good writer is well worth the investment of marketing dollars to attract more business.

Blog About Personal Insurance Stories and Interviews With Other Insurance Experts

In the insurance industry there is always a lot of competition. However, at the same time, there are a whole lot of chances to learn new things from others that may help boost business at your agency. Know your competition for sure, but also be willing to trade what you know that they do not and vice versa. It is one of the best ways to gain insight from other industry experts.

Use the information other industry experts provide you to learn on your blog. It sets you apart from others and indicates to readers that you do your homework and are ready and willing to bring them the best information in the industry. It makes your credibility rating soar.

Use personal stories because they are valuable additions to any blog. They capture people’s attention and some may even identify with the story as told. It is about reaching a human level of communication – a one-on-one kind of feeling that people appreciate. Sharing personal stories gives readers a chance to relate to you and your business on a personal level and helps build your brand.

Creating Free Guides For Your Readers

People looking for tips on buying the right kind of insurance for their particular needs are always looking for credible guides to help them choose. You are an expert in insurance. You can blog about the subject with authority and can also package that knowledge as a free guide for your readers to download.

Instead of calling it the Ultimate Guide though, you might want to give it another name that conveys the same idea – a must-have guide for those needing health, final expense insurance, Medicare information all in one place. Perhaps try the “Complete Guide” or the “Essential Guide” to buying insurance. If you have a sense of humor you might also want to zip the title up a bit and name it the Very Last Guide You Will Ever Want or Need to buying Medicare supplements etc.

Each portion or section of your “Guide” can be the subject of multiple blogs posts. Talk about good exposure and marketing. It is worth a try.

Still Do Not Know What to Blog About?

For a company, such as an insurance agency the question is easy enough to answer. You need to understand: 1) what you are selling, 2) to whom you want to sell, and 3) what blog topics are relevant to both.

One way to do this with insurance statistics and information is to use a listicle – blogging with a purpose. Many bloggers and insurance agency marketers are not so much in love with listicles. However, they’re among the most popular articles online, provided they are well done, and clear and clever in how the information being conveyed is laid out. Sure, they have their pros and cons. All forms of content marketing do have pros and cons.

A listicle is shareable, visual, brief, fun and trendy. Just make sure it is done professionally and contains key information you want to share with your clients. Cater to your niche audience, and to their curiosities about insurance, what it does cover, what it does not cover, why it is important, and give them helpful answers. Common sense answers using real life experiences from your insurance customers help you to create a popular blog.

The more popular your blog is, the more business you get a chance to convert. Win-win!

Stuck For Blogging Ideas?

Have you felt like you run out of ideas for blogs? Not to worry, here are some ideas: What are the most often asked questions in your line of work? Do you get tons of questions about Medicare, Medicare supplements, group insurance, family insurance, or health insurance? What do you get asked over and over again? Here are the topics of blog posts, or likely more than one blog post.

While you may have a great FAQ page, the fact is not everyone takes the time to read it. It is easier to just ask questions and gets answers from the agent. Thus you could even take a FAQ and turn it into a longer item to blog about. There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to knowing what you are buying when you purchase insurance.

Technology is ingrained in our day-to-day lives, so the benefits of blogging on your website or as a standalone blog become impossible to ignore. It is a good platform to educate people about the value of insurance in their lives.

Make Sure Your Blogs are Well Constructed

Blogging is not simple, you have to make sure that each blog post you write is properly written, supported, researched and informative. There is nothing worse than not doing proper research before posting a blog. Always do your research and cross reference to make sure you have your facts right. You do not ever want to get caught plagiarizing or not crediting your sources. If you do, you will lose credibility and readership.

While you may write a fantastic piece on final expense insurance, you also need to make sure your groundwork is solid and you can explain to anyone asking questions what they need to know. In other words, stick to plain English when you write a good blog about insurance products. Avoid insurance jargon because most readers do not understand it and it frustrates them. If you want to keep your readers and inform them, make your blog easy to read, entertaining, and filled with good information. Always include a link for readers to get in touch with you if they have any questions.

Blogging is about providing good information in an easy to read and understand format. No one wants to read the legalese in insurance policies. Cut to the chase. Explain what things mean clearly and simply. You’ll stand out above the crowd.

Do You Have An Insurance Blog?

Sure, blogging takes time, but it also happens to be free and a good venue to inform existing and potential customers about your products and let them get to know you. Find it difficult to write? Hire it out. Blogs are one of the fastest and best ways to reach a large number of people via your website and other social media platforms.

In fact, here are some good reasons to blog your passion for selling insurance:

  • Expressing your passion to others shows existing and potential customers who you are and offers a good opportunity to connect online by answering questions or sharing links and information
  • Making a difference in the world begins with blogging about what you know and care about. It builds awareness.
  • Sharing knowledge is another reason why blogging is good. It teaches others about what you do and builds trust with those reading your posts.
  • Writing about your business and how important insurance is refines your focus and writing skills.
  • Building a professional network. Clients are not the only people who read your blog. So does the competition. Professional networks offer many benefits such as seminars, workshops and useful tools of the trade.
  • The more you blog the more of an online presence you get. The more people see and read your posts, the more they remember you and your product.
  • Blogging about insurance can showcase your expertise and knowledge. You become a thought leader and an authoritative source for insurance information.
  • Start blogging today. It is one of the best things you can do to showcase your insurance agency and products.

    Want to be Successful Selling Insurance? You Need a Consistent Way to Market Product

    Selling insurance can be a challenge. No one would really argue with you on that point. That said, if you have the right attitude, the requisite training and stellar leads, nothing is going to hold you back on your way to the top.

    What do you need to get to the pinnacle achieve success? One of the things is a blog and not a blog that only gets posts sporadically, if at all. You want a blog that is current, relevant, in plain English, filled with up-to-the-minute news about the insurance industry and how it affects various customers.

    Say you sell Medicare supplements. Your blog needs to be right on point, contain the best information you have that is current, a way to contact you with questions and links to pertinent information for readers. Use short videos and clear, eye-catching photos. Make the content shine and have it written from the viewpoint of the consumer, because, after all, they are the ones who need your product.

    This is your chance to stand out from the competition and provide the kind of information older Americans need and want prior to making a decision about what Medicare supplement is right for them. Market educationally on a consistent basis and success is yours.

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