This is a summary of the health insurance services I provide to financial advisors and their clients. Inevitably the question of health insurance comes up at some point in time with your clients, and whether you answer the questions, or another fully licensed life/health insurance agent does, your client is looking for answers. Here is a comprehensive listing of the benefits of partnering with our organization as opposed to another broker, or doing it internally:
1. I don’t sell any other products other than health insurance so if you do outsource, you never have to worry about the other health insurance agents trying to sell life, disability, LTC or annuities, etc. Life insurance always comes up on a health insurance application and my job is to point them back to you for their insurance needs. This provides peace of mind for you.
2. If you don’t outsource, a common benefit that is often overlooked is the elimination of your client getting upset with you when his health insurance premiums invariably go up. You have enough to manage in terms of your client’s actions and emotions related to the stock market, getting older and everything else that can impact their ability to properly plan and prepare for their future. The last thing you need to worry about is a client getting upset with a health plan, health insurance company, or even something like Obama Care that you have no control over. Some health plans may give you as little as $4/mo in commissions or less, yet if that client needs medical attention and his benefits aren’t what he thought, he will get upset with you. When the health insurance company raises rates every 6 months (it used to be every 12 months) your client is likely to get a little upset. And when the government mandates higher fees and health services such as pregnancy for all, no matter your age or sex, they will get very frustrated. Don’t let these worries impact your client’s ability to trust your with their assets or other insurance needs. By outsourcing to me you isolate all that risk to me. If a client gets upset with me because the health insurance carrier may not help his wife with Cancer the way he expected, I lose a client and maybe $100/mo commission. You may lose a $20K commission or assets fees of up to $10K/year (on $1M in assets) because he feels like you didn’t look into his plan close enough. Don’t take the risk.
3. And with commissions decreasing even further come Jan 2014, not even health insurance brokers are staying in the “individual” market. This brings me to my next point. The fact is commissions are decreasing for health insurance. They decreased about 50% across the board as of Jan 2011. I have created a business model that is unique and very cost effective that will allow me to stay in business and profitable even after the rates on “individual” insurance are lowered even further come 2014. Many successful health insurance agents are getting out of the “individual” market because the commissions structure is so low it is not profitable for them to stay in that business, which means you will have fewer agents to use. I do everything over the internet, email and phone and have a virtual office so I carry no paper records. Cost of doing business is minimal and effective and it is easier for your clients to apply on-line. You can count on me to stay in the health insurance industry long term in all three areas: individual, small group, and Medicare.
4. If you currently outsource health insurance, is your resource a captured agent? Can and do they sell all health insurance companies or can they only sell one or a select few such as in the case with most P&C guys. Are they pushing a single product or are they comparing the market place and finding the best product for the client? I am an independent agent and can work with all health insurance carriers in every state.
5. Also do you know how they make decisions internally when picking a plan? Health insurance carriers have changed the commission structures for products in the last 2 years to account for changes with Obama Care. In the past all brokers got the same commissions: 20% up front for the first year and 10% each year thereafter. Then in Jan 2011 that changed to about 10% first year commissions and 5% thereafter. But companies started giving higher commissions the more of a particular product is sold. So if an agent sells 1-5 health insurance plans a year they may get a recurring 5% commission, but if you sell over 20 you may get 8% commissions each year. So now agents are motivated to sell one company product over another. I have and continue to help clients purchase a health plan just like I would look for my own plan. I look across the market for all plans than fit the client’s needs and provide the lowest cost plans no matter the commission structure. Of course I will point out differences on service.
I am willing to get licensed in other states. So what if you have clients in other states that have a small business? Is your current broker willing to get licensed in those states for just one client? I am because my model is to serve you the advisor. If your client has to look for another health broker in their state not only does that mean you can’t provide a solution, but they have to be exposed to someone trying to sell them all other products. And when you have a business owner the other agent will also try and sell buy-sell agreements or get their hands on the 401k. I work with you to bring these products back to you the advisor.
6. Medicare experts. Are your health brokers really Medicare experts? Do they offer Medicare, part D prescription and Medicare Advantage? These last two products are really tricky as they require a broker to get licensed by EVERY health insurance carrier and by EVERY state to even discuss these products. It is the rare broker, or rather Medicare Expert, that is willing to go to these lengths to get licensed with EVERY health insurance carrier EVERY year! If they don’t get re-licensed each year they lose their commissions. And some of these commissions can be as small as a onetime $5 commission. I do not specialize in Medicare but I have found the best broker in all of California I believe to partner with when it comes to tricky Medicare related issues. He is a mature experienced broker and one of the top 5 brokers in all of California in terms of commissions/mo. He is in his 50’s, does Medicare seminars weekly to senior citizens, and is extremely familiar with all the doctors and hospitals in San Diego. This level of experience and maturity, along with his outgoing personality, make him a favorite among the 65 and over crowd. Your clients will get the best advice and service in this area. Just like you, no one broker can be the expert in all areas, hence I outsource this vital area.
7. Does your current health broker market and prospect or only serve you? Very few health agents have the model I employ. I have meet zero. Most health brokers spend a large amount of time and money on marketing and sales. They get really good at throwing seminars, choosing and running marketing systems such as “Bill Good,” and convincing a prospect to work with them. That is time that is taken away from you the advisor and your clients. Since 100% of my business is referrals from advisors like you, I have a unique client base to be familiar with. For one, my clients, yours as well, all have prepared well for their future and are saving money toward their long term goals just by having an advisor. They believe in getting professional advice and not doing it themselves. They have been referred to me from their trusted advisor (you) and are glad for the referral and just want help looking for the best plan. So while other brokers get good at sales and marketing (Probably 30-50% of their time), I get good at picking and choosing the best health plans for your clients. It is just a matter of where a broker spends their time. All my time is helping clients choose the best health insurance plan or calling and talking to advisors like you about your worries and concerns.
8. Along these lines I have not had to get good at being “salesly.” The last thing you need to do is send your clients, who are already committed to following your advice, to another broker who may not “get it” and continue with the “sales talk” that is easy to annoy your clients. If you are successful and have to actually spend time “unlearning” your sales training you understand what I am talking about. There is a complete difference between trying to win your client’s confidence and gain his trust versus finding the best product for them. I have spent too much time unlearning damaging “sales” skills that can negatively affect trust with a client, so I focus on what I am good at. I am not talking about common courtesy or professionalism, but that certain something that screams at clients “I want you to trust me and I need your business.” Since my ideal financial advisor partner prepares a comprehensive financial plan for all their client’s needs, hopefully you will understand exactly what I am talking about.
9. Professionalism: Having worked in Corporate America for 10 years in the area of operations management working directly for such Fortune 50 companies as IBM, Intel and Oracle I am quite familiar with professional aptitude. After getting my MBA from ASU in 1999, I went into consulting for Oracle working daily with the CEOs and executives of the companies we were brought in to work with. Getting into the financial services industry in 2001 and learning how to conduct 100% of my business over the phone over the last 11 years has given me certain phone skills that help your clients have the best experience. I do everything by appointment only over the phone and never make random calls to your clients, unless we have a scheduled appointment. I respect their time and they appreciate this. This doesn’t mean I don’t accept their incoming calls. I always communicate the purpose of the telephone meeting, expected length, and agenda and follow up with an email summarizing our call. If I call more than 3 minutes late I have been rude and offended your client. All conversations and emails are documented in outlook. Hopefully you can tell by your experience with me over the phone on our initial interview that I am true to my word.
10. I would suggest doing business over the phone is best for your clients. If you have a broker that is still meeting with your clients in person I would suggest he is not busy enough and doesn’t value his time. If you consider how much time it takes to drive to a client’s house, meet, fill out the application, and drive home, the chances are not likely that the agent is going to be able to spend a whole lot of time on follow up. What I have found is that clients get overwhelmed with health insurance easy. What I do is help them only as far as I can tell they are getting full of information, so no long information speeches to do “edu-sell.” “Edu-sell” is a sales technique to try and win someone’s trust by showing them you can teach them all about the product, in hopes they will buy from you. Well I would suggest most of your clients have no interest in learning all about health insurance but just want the best product. So if your client can only digest so much information that usually means there will be multiple phone calls and emails back and forth between them and I answering quick questions. I am happy to work with clients like this and most health agents are too busy marketing, doing sales related activities, or driving to Starbucks to see a client, to be able to respond quickly to their client’s current needs. It is normal for me to respond to a client within 5 minutes of their email, call or text and different clients like to do business in different modes of communication.
11. Some advisors have expressed concern that if I get too busy how will they know if my service level will remain high? I have addressed this. I only need 30 dedicated advisors to build my business. Once I get to 30 dedicated advisors I will stop taking on new advisors. Also my wife is fully licensed to do health insurance so if we need to expand production capacity that will be easy.
12. Customized operating procedures. Finally, I am happy to work with you the Advisor to follow a procedure to keep you in the loop as much as you’d like. Some advisors just want to know when the client is insured, others want to get cc’d in on every email. I will work with you to build a system you are happy with based on your clients various needs.