Category Archives: Insurance Agent

Insurance Sales Success – Build Life-Long Relationships

A foundation for insurance sales success is never built on one time sales. To have a highly successful career you must develop life-long relationships with your clients that lead to repeat business and referrals. You have to plan to make that happen from the beginning by being able to answer a few key questions that each person has on their mind.

Each person you reach out to always wonders why you are contacting them. You need a really good reason for why they are the kind of person you work with and the ultimate result you’ve helped others just like them to enjoy. Everyone has a, what’s in it for me, filter through which all communications are judged. When you can communicate a powerful ultimate result you have a better opportunity to gain their attention.

The next thing they are thinking is, why are you the person who should help me with this. You must be able to communicate that you understand them and their needs. They need to know that you’ve helped people just like them, and that helping people like them is the focus of your business. When you can communicate why you are the person they should be talking to you’ve bought yourself a little more time. They understand why you because they understand that you have more to offer people like them than your competition.

A big challenge in insurance sales success is that your now isn’t necessarily the customers now. The people who agree to meet with you are always asking themselves why they should take action now versus some other point in time. Until you can clearly communicate a value that exceeds the cost, later will always be a better choice. You can’t communicate this value until you understand the implications and value of your proposition yourself. Then you must be able to communicate both the value and the time implications in a succinct manner that clearly helps the people you meet with to understand that now is a better choice for them.

When you’ve done all these things right you’ve started a relationship that has the potential to last a life-time. Don’t drop the ball here though by thinking that’s all you have to do. A life-long relationship requires maintenance on a regular basis. When you do all these things right your reward is repeat business and high quality referrals.

- The HIC Group Executive Team

5 Tips to Get Out of an Insurance Sales Slump

You look at the sales chart and it is pretty obvious that you have not been having any new business in the last several days. You know insurance business is tough and you have been working hard yet the results are not forthcoming.

You start to have self doubt and wonder if you should continue to stay in this business. You feel you are now trapped in a slump and may even think of giving up selling all together.

So, what do you do to bring yourself out of the slump?

(a) Take time off

Your mental batteries are running low and they need to be recharged. You need an attitudinal adjustment. You may take some time off to go for a walk or enjoy your favorite Baskin Robbins.

When we are in a different environment, our perceptive can easily change. Our attention will be diverted on what happens in the surrounding. Sometimes an exciting new experience can shake unproductive emotions off our mind.

Once in a while, we need time off. However, we have to alert ourselves to get back into the driver seat and set our actions in motion.

(b) Talk to your associates

Talk to your associates. Your conversation with your associates may spark off some new ideas. New ideas have the inherent power to motivate people to jump off their seats and start working.

Chat with your associates who recently closed some cases and learn how they do their business. This may provide some insight to you about the market trend out there. Besides, it also spices up your competitive spirit.

(c) Stay positive

One effective way to defuse disappointment arising from poor sales performance is to be positive. Think positive, stay positive and you will act positive that brings you positive results.

Keep a smile on your face. Our emotions and physiological changes are interdependent. Your physiological movement has an effect on our emotions. Fake it till you make it.

(d) Visit existing clients

No other form of support is more meaningful than that from your customers. In our business pursuit, the best encouragement is none other than the answer “yes” from the customers when we ask for a purchase commitment.

The fact that they made the purchase is an indication of they have faith in you and that they believe you will continue to stay in the business to service them. Simply touch base with an existing client and you may end up closing a deal or getting a referral.

(e) Go to talk to someone in the street

Leave your office and get out and see the people! Say hello to the florist or the dobby owner down the street and strike a conversation. If they are not interested to engage in any conversation, just move on.

Talk to people in the street whom you have not met in your life. After your first conversation with them, they are no longer the strangers. Talking to strangers opens up new opportunities. They may turn up to be your best customers.

Feeling dejected is part and parcel of the life of salespeople. No matter what it is, treat this as your full time job, stay on track and don’t be swayed by distractions. In fact, many successful people anchor their darkest moments in life as spring board to bounce back to achieve even greater success.

- The HIC Group Management

 

Obamacare Is Still Divisive

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Obama administration’s healthcare reform legislation is still sparking a variety of opinions. The organization, which tends to be sympathetic to the law, recently released its final poll before the November midterm elections. It consists of 1,200 adults surveyed in early October.

What were their findings? As expected, opinions continue to be divided. However, the figures have flip-flopped. This is interesting, since the bulk of the law has yet to be implemented. The few features that came into effect in late September (i.e. forbidding health insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions) are generally popular with the American public. The ramping up of political campaigns may be to blame.

Highlights of the poll:

  • 44 percent of the respondents are opposed to the law. This is an increase from 40 percent last month.
  • 42 percent support the legislation, down from 49 percent in September.
  • Just 10 percent of the respondents consider health insurance reform to be the most important issue in the November 2nd elections–jobs and the economy are more pressing concerns for the majority.

However, the most likely voters polled by Kaiser are leaning towards having negative views. Still, they were not found to be significantly likely to base their votes for Congress solely on that issue.

Those against the law have several reasons for their opposition:

  • The federal government recieves too much control over health care.
  • The law costs too much and will add to the budget deficit.
  • It is unfair to the middle class, in favor of the poor.

Supporters have their own view.   According to them, the most significant benefits are:

  • That health insurance plan reform will make coverage more affordable.
  • It is an improvement over the current system.
  • Previously uninsured people will be able to get health coverage.

The last Kaiser Health Tracking poll prior to the close of the 2010 election season proves that the battle over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will not end soon.

- The HIC Group executive team

Full Coverage Dental Insurance

Cavities, braces, gum disease, sports accidents, car accidents, tooth erosion and even oral cancer…you name it, it can happen to you.

Although you may not feel that full coverage is really worth it since you don’t really need to go to the dentist unless you want to…would you be willing to live with the pain, discomfort and even complete loss if you have dental problems in your future?

Choosing not to have this coverage could be one of the biggest regrets down the line should something go wrong with a bodily asset that many take for granted. Many oral problems start out with very subtle signs that we can often and easily ignore. What we are really doing is putting off the one step that can save us from bigger issues down the line.

By maintaining your regular six month appointments with your dentist you can catch many issues even before the subtle signs begin to surface. This supports overall dental care before more serious issues can occur.

Without insurance, even going for a simple cleaning or checkup is certainly not cheap. This is why many avoid going altogether and hence, the cycle begins. By having insurance you can have those cleanings and checkups at a low price and are also eligible for certain reimbursements and cash payouts making it financially worth it in the end even having just one dental issue!

Even if your oral health seems to be in perfect condition now, avoiding this simple step of safeguarding your mouth will not help you after any issues begin. Obtaining thousands of dollars for one procedure will definitely be more challenging then the research it will take to get you the coverage now.

Pre-existing conditions such as the common gingivitis will not be covered if you have not already obtained this necessary coverage. Just like any other step we take in life to ensure our longevity and daily health, full coverage dental insurance is a smart choice that you should consider…today.

- The HIC Group executive team

Individual Health Insurance – The Difference Between HMOs and PPOs

If you are searching for an individual health insurance plan, you will undoubtedly encounter both Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs).

Both HMOs and PPOs are types of “managed care” insurance.  Managed care plans are structured around concept of a network, which refers to a group of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.

Now that the definitions are out of the way, let’s look at the differences between an HMO and PPO.

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)

HMOs are offer good care at a low cost.

Under an HMO plan, healthcare is provided by doctors who are members of the HMO network.  From a coverage standpoint, the defining feature of an HMO is the concept of a primary care physician.  This doctor is the primary point of contact for all medical needs, and is required to provide a referral prior to patients seeing a specialist.  While this referral system is in place to more efficiently manage costs, limits your flexibility to see a specialist directly.

From a cost perspective, HMOs are more affordable relative to PPOs.  They generally carry a very low deductible, if any at all.  A low deductible can meaningfully reduce your medical costs in a scenario where you are in need of significant medical care.  HMOs will typically have a small co-payment for both doctor visits and prescription drugs.

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs)

PPOs are offer greater flexibility in terms of patient care, but have a higher cost when compared with HMOs.

You may have a general physician under a PPO plan, but the plan does not require a referral prior seeking the attention of a specialist.  In addition, PPOs provide some insurance coverage for out-of-network doctor visits, which are not covered at all in an HMO plan.

The increased range of options associated with a PPO leads these plans to be somewhat more expensive relative to HMOs.  These higher costs come in the form of higher deductibles, as well as higher co-payments.

Bottom Line  

When looking for individual health insurance, both HMOs and PPOs are good coverage alternatives.  To minimize costs, go with an HMO.  To maximize choices, sign up for a PPO.

- The HIC Group executive team

How to Make the Most of your Insurance Leads

So you’ve just started your insurance business and you’ve learned how important it is to have insurance leads knocking on your door on a daily basis. But what are insurance agent leads really? You’ll be shocked to learn what the real answer is behind the names, phone numbers and email addresses, and mastering this will help you master your business.

Behind every lead is a person. This person has just submitted their personal information to a person or company that they don’t know in order to get more information on insurance policies. While this may seem mundane and a non-event for an insurance agent, in order to increase your sales rate dramatically, you have to fully appreciate what this means.

The insurance agent lead is probably asking for more information because they’re in the middle of some kind of transition in their life. Unfortunately, people don’t think about insurance when they’re perfectly fine and nothing is happening. They think about their family, hobbies and work, but they don’t think about insurance.

So it’s safe to say that when you get an insurance lead, this person or family is in a pretty dramatic transition in their life. Perhaps they just lost their job, or maybe someone close to them in their family just passed away and they’re starting to think about their own mortality. Maybe they just had a minor break-in and want to add more coverage to their homeowner’s policy to be ready for the major break-in that they think is coming.

We go into depth about this because it’s the key to making the most from your insurance agent leads. Each one of these people has their own fears, worries and concerns – it’s your job to find out what these concerns are by asking questions and finding out exactly what the prospect is looking for.

Once you know what the prospect wants, closing the sale is just as simple as offering it to them in a clear and concise manner that they understand, and making them feel comfortable with you and your company.

It may seem trivial, but so very few insurance agents do this before they talk to a lead.

This puts them at a huge disadvantage when it comes time to add these people to their customer list.

If you approach every lead that comes across your desk like they have a problem that you absolutely have to solve and make it your mission to solve their problem, not only will you increase your business tenfold, your customers will thank you for all of your help while you close the sale.

Lastly, you have to realize a difference in expectations when it comes to leads that are generated via different mediums. For example, internet insurance agent leads expect a completely different level of service than mail order leads do, and vice versa. Keep this in mind the next time you want to call up a lead and have a serious conversation and save the heavy marketing strategies for leads that have sought you out via more “hands-on” means.

Thank you for visiting our Blog.  If what you read was helpful or if you have any questions, please leave a comment and we will be sure to respond in a timely manner.

- The HIC Group executive team

Top 7 Reasons New Insurance Agents Fail to Reach Success

I would like to offer some insights as to why I believe such a high percentage of Insurance Agents fail in their first couple years in the insurance business.

There can be multiple reasons that contribute to a new insurance agents failure. Here are the most common reasons I have found that lead to failure.

1.  Most Insurance Agents have a Limited product portfolio and are unable to cross sell other insurance products.
2.  Agents don’t have a proven sales track or sales system to follow which most new insurance agents need to get results quickly.
3.  They don’t create consistent cash flow from insurance sales quick enough and must leave the insurance business to go back to an hourly paying job just to survive.
4.  New Insurance Agents start out in the insurance business with little or no reserves to fall back on. Most businesses require some upfront capital or reserves to get started.
5.  A lot of agents do not get enough training (Product or Sales) to give them a fair chance of making it in the insurance business.
6.  Insurance Agents are not taught effective prospecting and marketing techniques that generate a consistent flow of sales prospects.
7.  Some people simply don’t have the drive, work habits, persistence, self motivation or ability to handle rejection that it’s takes to survive in an insurance sales career.

From my experience of hiring and training insurance agents over the past 15 years, I have found the following items need to be present in order to maximize a new agent’s chances for success long term in the insurance industry.
A quality multi-product portfolio to offer multiple insurance solutions when different needs are uncovered during the initial fact finding process with a potential client.
A proven sales track and presentation that can be taught and implemented very quickly. One that gets sales results but also generates a generous flow of new prospects and referrals.
An advance commission system that provides weekly cash flow so the new agent can focus on their training and sales, not their bills that are due.
Tools that make learning and growing in the insurance business fun and automatic. (I.e. Archived Training Videos, Live Product and Sales Training Webinars, etc.)
Quality contracts that provide immediate 100% vesting rights and commission growth opportunities to General Agent commission levels.

At The HIC Group we have learned over the years the essential pieces that new agents need to not only survive but thrive in the insurance industry. Our mission statement says it all. “First, to offer the Independent Insurance Agent a support system that provides a platform for success in Insurance Sales. Second, to build long term relationships through a foundation of trust and commitment.”

We sincerely believe the 80%-90% failure rate of new insurance sales agents entering the insurance industry can be significantly reduced when the right agent support system is in place. We encourage you and invite you to join us in this very exciting and rewarding career opportunity. Hope to hear from you soon!

Thank you for visiting our Blog.  If what you read was helpful or if you have any questions, please leave a comment and we will be sure to respond in a timely manner.

- The HIC Group executive team

Independent Insurance Agent Vs Captive Insurance Agents

Hello fellow agents and prospective Insurance Agents! If you are currently in Insurance Sales or are considering a career in Insurance Sales, the following insights may be helpful in making sure you are on the right path for a long and rewarding insurance Career. It should also help you decide what type of contracts, Independent or Captive, you feel better fit your needs and objectives right now at this point and time in your career.

When I started in Insurance Sales 15 years ago, I was recruited by a Company that only offered Captive Sales Contracts. I did not know that Independent Contracts existed let alone the pros and con’s between them. I spent the first years of my career selling, recruiting and training under a captive contract.

One of the big concerns I experienced over time working under a captive contract with one company was not having enough product selection. There were several periods of time when certain products we offered were simply not competitive in the marketplace.

This severely limited our ability to provide solutions to many prospective customers. I have found over the years that most captive companies usually only have two or three competitive products at a time. They usually are focused on one or two niche markets. This limits your cross selling opportunities when your not allowed to pick up other contracts. As an Independent Agent you are free to contract with many different companies. This can be a problem though because many insurance agents that contract with to many companies at a time begin to lose focus. There will be times, however, when you may want to change markets or add another company that has a very competitive product.

You will need to be an Independent Agent to do that.

The other big concern I had working under a Captive Contract was that I did not own my block of business. Another phrase for ownership of your block of business would be “having vesting rights on your block of business.” The company I worked for required you to be their 15 years before you had 100% vesting rights on your block of business!

When I left after many years I was only 40% vested. That means I did not receive 60% of my renewals on my in-force policies when I left and became an Independent Agent. Again, I did not know nor was I told that there were other opportunities to sell Insurance and have 100% vesting rights all your sales from day one! I learned the hard way. This is also why it took me a long time to get up the nerve to make the move because I knew I would lose a big chunk of my renewal income. There are a lot of agents that work for Independent Agencies that sell multiple companies that don’t offer vesting rights. So when the agent leaves the Agency still gets all the renewals on the business. This may not be all bad depending on the other support and services that Agency may be offering the Agent.

Generally speaking, another difference you will notice is that Independent Agents commission schedules are usually higher then that of Captive Insurance Agents. For example, when I sold as a Captive Agent I earned 20% commission our Health Insurance products and 55%-65% commission on our Life Insurance products. When I moved over to the Independent Agent Contracts I started earning 25% commission on my Health Insurance Sales and 90%-100% commission on my Life Insurance Sales.

Traditionally one of the advantages with Captive Companies was that they offered more training and support for a new agent entering the business. But nowadays there are many great MGA, NMO, IMO and FMO Agencies that offer all the training and support that traditional Captive Companies offer. Plus you still get top commission contracts, Immediate vesting rights, multiple company portfolios, Lead support systems, etc.

The HIC Group is one of the fastest growing MGA’s in the country and we will be happy to help navigate all agents through these uncertain times.

Thank you for visiting our Blog.  If what you read was helpful or if you have any questions, please leave a comment and we will be sure to respond in a timely manner.

- The HIC Group executive team

 

 

Good Insurance Agents Are Easy to Find

Good Insurance Agents Are Easy to Find

You need insurance to protect you against unforeseen losses. When shopping for insurance you want to find an insurance agent that is knowledgeable about the type of insurance policies you need. An insurance agent may deal in many different types of policies such as those for automobiles, homes, motorcycles and recreational vehicles. Many agents are also familiar with selling life and health insurance policies. Other insurance agents specialize in business and commercial insurance policies. You should find an insurance agent that can help you with several, if not all of, your insurance needs.

Finding a good insurance agent is not difficult if you take a little time. You have a variety of resources available to you to help find a good agent. First, you can ask family and friends to recommend an insurance agent that they find knowledgeable. You want to find an agent that will take the time to listen to your needs and sell you the proper insurance policies based on those needs, not the needs of the agent. Many insurance agents receive a commission from the sale of a particular insurance product and may be biased towards those products. This applies to both independent agents and contract agents that work for an insurance company.

The internet is a great tool to use when searching for an insurance agent. Many online companies serve as sort of an insurance brokerage house where you can shop and compare many insurance companies and agents at the same time. You can easily find an agent and find information about his education and experience in the insurance industry.

You can also find an agent based on the type of insurance policy you need. Many insurance websites allow you to search for insurance by categories. With a quick internet search you can easily find an agent that can handle all of your insurance needs.

Remember that selling the insurance policy is only part of the agent’s job. An insurance agent also helps you when there is a problem. Take the time to find an agent that provides good service if you file a claim or have any other issues with your policy.

Thank you for visiting our Blog.  If what you read was helpful or if you have any questions, please leave a comment and we will be sure to respond in a timely manner.

- The HIC Group executive team