Life Settlement Agents

Life settlements also known as life insurance settlements, senior settlements, or senior life settlements have quickly become an important tool for insurance agents, financial planners, estate planners, elder law attorneys, and other financial related professionals. A life settlement is a financial transaction in which a senior citizen policy owner of an unneeded, underperforming, or unwanted…

Life settlements also known as life insurance settlements, senior settlements, or senior life settlements have quickly become an important tool for insurance agents, financial planners, estate planners, elder law attorneys, and other financial related professionals.

A life settlement is a financial transaction in which a senior citizen policy owner of an unneeded, underperforming, or unwanted life insurance policy sells the policy to a third party, as opposed to surrender or lapsing it back to the life insurance company. The senior citizen policy seller receives immediate cash for the policy from the purchaser.

Agents and financial planners are beginning to market life settlements to their current client base and to potential clients. The most current effective methods of marketing life settlements are one-on-one presentations, seminars, and client newsletters. There has also been success with direct mailing either a client base or demographic base fitting the life settlement parameters.

A life settlement broker can assist life settlement agents with marketing material, educational material, and evaluation material. Having the correct knowledge about the life settlement product and material is important for any financial planner or agent meeting with a client or potential client. Each life settlement case is looked at differently, the largest factors are the age of the insured, health of insured, policy size, premium amount, and current cash value (if any). Most life settlement brokers can provide simple qualification or evaluation forms that will quickly determine if a settlement would be available for that specific individual.

Life settlements are still a new concept for most agents and financial professionals. Many still do not understand the concept or have the right education about life settlements. It is important for these professionals to take the time to learn about life settlements so that in return they can relay this information to their clients. Many policy owners do not understand that there could be a cash settlement available for a life insurance policy that they are going to surrender or lapse. Insurance agents and financial professionals need to take the correct marketing and education steps to reach those clients in need. A life settlement can create added financial benefits for both the client and the financial professional.

Insurance Agents And Financial Planners: Do You Really Know Your Market?

If you ask a group of agents or planners what they believe their market wants, they will rattle off their opinions with conviction. But if you ask them how they know, chances are they will say they have been in the business for a number of years, and they just know. The problem is, if…

If you ask a group of agents or planners what they believe their market wants, they will rattle off their opinions with conviction. But if you ask them how they know, chances are they will say they have been in the business for a number of years, and they just know. The problem is, if these agents and planners really knew their market, they would have their agencies filled to the brim with prospects waiting to fill out applications.

Knowing your market is an essential ingredient to the success of any insurance agent or financial planner. Knowing your market allows you to craft marketing messages and close sales faster and easier than anyone else in your field. Because if you really know your market, you know how to create desire for your financial products and services by addressing your clients core needs and wants and adapting them into your presentation and promotions.

So how do you find out exactly what you market wants and needs? Here are a few tips:

A very inexpensive way to find out this valuable information is to simply ask them. If your market is seniors, or you want to target seniors, call or mail your senior clients. Explain to them that you are conducting a survey and you would appreciate their assistance. Reward them for doing so.

If you do not have any senior clients, ask your current clients for referrals to seniors. But do not ask for the referral, if your intention is to sell them something. Tell your clients that you are conducting market research in the senior / retiree market.

A second alternative is to send out a survey to a list of seniors and reward them in some way for filling out the information. You can even insert a survey in a newspaper or newsletter that caters to seniors.

The information you glean from these surveys will not only give you valuable information on your market's needs and wants, but you will also build a solid list of prospects.

A more expensive alternative is to test ads and find out which ones are getting the best response. For example you could test a product offering, like long-term care, but instead of marketing the product, offer free information on long-term care. Then test another ad that offers another product or service. Once you find out which and receives the best response and produces the best revenue, you can roll out your advertising on a larger scale.

Identifying what your market requires research. Otherwise you are just guessing, and guessing at what your market wants will not only waste your time, but you will waste a significant amount of advertising dollars.

Annuity Appointment Setting – Super Sales Techniques

When it comes to annuity appointment setting, the most effective technique by far is the Drop-By System. However, if you've totaled your car, broken both legs and must resort to a phone call, I've always taught my agents that the best way to engage your prospect on the phone is that anything but your typical…

When it comes to annuity appointment setting, the most effective technique by far is the Drop-By System. However, if you've totaled your car, broken both legs and must resort to a phone call, I've always taught my agents that the best way to engage your prospect on the phone is that anything but your typical warm fuzzy, “How are you today?” Your statement must (1) make them sweat a little and (2) pose a problem which is at the same time a benefit of owning an annuity (without saying the word 'annuity'). Note: This formula works with any product.

For example, “Hello, Mrs. Jones? My name is _______, from the _____ agency down the street, and I've been trying to reach you because I find that some of my retired clients are paying income taxes on their social security, and they do not need to. I'm a financial advisor in the area and I can show you how to reduce or eliminate income taxes on your social security. There's no charge. I've got Wednesday morning at 10:00 available, or would 2:00 on thursday afternoon be better for you? ”

Your prospect's responsibility at this point is to say, “No thanks, I'm not interested,” or maybe something not so kindhearted. You've just interrupted her world. However, you'll do much better at annuity appointment setting if you understand that a 'No' is simply a latent reaction from childhood. In our formative years, the one word we heard more than any other was the dreaded, “No!” It's what we got almost every time we asked for something:

“Mommy, can I have a cookie?”

“No.”

“Daddy, can I drive the car?”

“No.”

Your job as a professional salesperson is to understand that humans are hardwired to respond to practice any proposition with the word, “No.” It's how our circuits work. Negative responses can range from a simple 'no' to a blistering harangue. Your steadfast, automatic response must be to pull the plug, short-circuit the connection, neutralize the way your prospect's mind works.

Try the old 'feel, felt, found': “I can certainly understand how you feel, mrs. Jones. A lot of people I talk to including a few of your neighbors felt the same way at first. and how simple the solution was, they found they were saving hundreds of dollars a year in unnecessary taxes. ” By pouring water on your prospect's natural resistance, you weaker their response and, at the same time, maneuver the phone call into a back-and-forth conversation.

Now you've earned the right to continue: “… You see, we find that a lot of people simply do not realize that a portion of their estate that they want to leave to their children and grandchildren will be eaten up in probate court, and it does not have to be that way. I'm a financial advisor in this area and I can show you how to fix that. no charge. I've got wednesday morning at 10:00 available, or would 2:00 this Thursday afternoon be better for you? ”

Get ready for it. Here it comes again: “No thanks,” she says, “we've already got a financial advisor who's been with us for years.” Mrs. Jones is only playing her part in this annuity appointment setting rivalry. At the same time, she's telling you exactly how she wanted you to get her to say yes. Pay attention to her words. This time you're going to, first, neutralize her objection, then use her exact words to identify “… THE PEOPLE WHO BENEFIT THE MOST FROM OUR SERVICES.”

For example, “I can certainly understand how you feel, mrs. (Neutralize). doctor, will often advise you to get a second opinion. I'm a specialist in this area and I can show you how to avoid the expense and delays of probate. There's no charge. I've got Wednesday morning at 10:00 available, or would 2:00 on thursday afternoon be better for you? ”

At this point, if you do not hear a click and a dial tone, you may hear a slight wavering in her voice. Her “We-already-have-a-financial-advisor” line worked with the last salesperson. What's up with you? Now she has to either think about her response or default to the old standby, “I'm not interested.” If she responds with anything but “I'm not interested,” she'll be telling you how she wants you to get her to say yes. These responses can include,

“I'm too busy right now.”

“Our son-in-law takes care of those things.”

“We've already got all the insurance we need.”

“I do not have any money.”

“I never accept telephone solicitations.”

You must stay one step ahead of your opponent by preparing your script for all possible scenarios. Sit down and write them out in your own words. Use the above script as an outline and insert the gist of her response in the appropriate places. Then follow up with another problem for her to worry about which is also a benefit of owning an annuity. Do not be afraid to get creative. Annuity appointment setting is a game of wits and circular logic. The more you differentiate yourself from the last three telemarketers she sent to the insane asylum, the more successful you'll be at appointment setting and, extremely, selling annuities.

Finally, if you're dealing with an indiverent, uncreative type who just can not come up with anything but, “I'm not interested,” try this:

“Mrs. Jones, it's okay if you're not interested. I just want to ask you one question. be taken away from you first thing next week. And let's say I called you just like I was doing today, and told you I could protect your financial future in a responsible way so that none of those bad things would happen. tell me you're not interested, or would you let me sit down with you and show you how it works before anything like that happens?

You see, we know that many people, maybe even you, have a lot of their life's savings sitting in the bank, or in stocks and bonds, or in real estate, where it can be attached by a jurisdiction in a civil court of law … And it does not have to be that way. I'm a financial advisor in this area and I can show you how to fix that. I'll spend 10 to 15 minutes with you without you keep me longer. There's no charge. I've got wednesday morning at 10:00 available, or would 2:00 this thursday afternoon be better for you? ”

Get the picture? You need to eat, sleep and breathe annuity appointment setting.

Annuities 101

What is a fixed annuity, a variable annuity? Simply put, both a fixed annuity and a variable annuity are amounts payable annually. More specifically, they are contracts offered by insurance companies which allow you to accumulate funds for retirement on a tax-favored basis and then, if you choose, receive a guaranteed income payable for life…

What is a fixed annuity, a variable annuity?

Simply put, both a fixed annuity and a variable annuity are amounts payable annually. More specifically, they are contracts offered by insurance companies which allow you to accumulate funds for retirement on a tax-favored basis and then, if you choose, receive a guaranteed income payable for life or for a period certain such as five, ten or twenty years. Usually the payments are made monthly, but many companies offer to make the payments quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Most of this discussion will focus on the fixed annuity.

How do they work?

Both a fixed annuity and a variable annuity are vehicles for accumulating retirement savings. You pay a premium to an insurance company and they promise to pay you interest. Unlike other retirement savings instruments, as long as you keep your money with the insurance company, you are not required to pay income tax on your gains.

This is what is known as 'tax deferral.' Only when you decide to withdraw your funds are your gains subject to income tax. A fixed annuity also differs from other retirement savings plans in another important way. When you decide to withdraw your funds, the insurance company will give you the option to receive a guaranteed income for as long as you live.

What are the advantages?

All fixed annuity variations have three primary advantages: Tax Deferral, Avoidance of Probate, and a Guaranteed Income for Life.

Who offers fixed annuity products?

Fixed annuities are offered only by insurance companies licensed to underwrite life insurance and annuities by the state in which you stay. Most insurance companies are subject to financial requirements specifying the minimum reserves the company must maintain on its policies.

Who sells them?

Only agents licensed by the states to sell life insurance may sell you a fixed annuity. This includes every licensed life insurance agent in your state as well as most financial planners and stock brokers.

Why is Guaranteed Income for Life an advantage?

Annuities are the only savings vehicle which offer a guaranteed income for life. With every other type of accumulation plan you can never be sure your income will continue for as long as you live. The insurance company calculates a guaranteed income payment based on your age, life expectancy and interest rates it will credit. That payment is guaranteed for as long as you live.

Most insurance companies will also offer a guaranteed fixed rate of income for a specific period such as five to twenty years. The guaranteed lifetime income may be based on your life only, or based upon the life of both you and a joint annuitant, typically your spouse. In the event of a joint annuitant, the monthly income from your fixed annuity will continue until the last survivor dies.

What does Tax Deferral mean?

A tax-deferred fixed annuity receives special tax advantages. Under existing tax laws, any interest or gain is not taxable until you begin to actually receive the income, ie the tax payable on the gain is deferred. Therefore, since you pay no taxes while your money is compounding, you earn interest in three ways – interest on your principal, interest on your interest and interest on the taxes you would have paid if it had not been tax deferred. This results in increased earnings capacity of a deferred annuity over a bank CD or other fully taxable earnings.

Why is Probate Avoidance an advantage?

The other primary advantage over most other investment vehicles common to all annuities is the ability to pass on the proceeds upon your death directly to a beneficiary. Probate is a judicial process to establish the validity of a will. Assets in an estate typically can not be passed on to heirs until the probate court has established the validity of the will and authorized the executor to distribute them. Because probate is a judicial process, the process can take anywhere between six and twelve months to conclude, and the legal expenses can be significant.

Proceeds from annuities and life insurance, on the other hand, are not subject to probate and may be passed to your designated beneficiary directly without going through probate.
What is required of the insurance company in order to meet its obligations?

To secure the funds of its contract holders or policyowners, an insurance company has to meet strict financial requirements. Most importantly these requirements include the establishment of a reserve which at all times must be equal to the withdrawal or surrender value of their total block of variable and fixed annuity policies or contracts.

In other words, the insurance company must set aside funds equal to the surrender value (principal plus interest less early withdrawal or surrender charges) of every annuity contract in force. In addition to these reserve requirements, state laws also require certain levels of capital and surplus to further protect their contract holders or policyowners.

Immediate Annuity

An immediate annuity provides for fixed annuity payments to begin immediately after the date of purchase. Payments may be scheduled monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually according to prior agreement.

Often the proceeds from a life insurance policy or the sale of a home are used to fund an immediate annuity. Such annuity payments provide immediate, regular income for a period certain (5, 10, 15, 20 years) or for life, depending on the choices made by the immediate annuity owner.

Deferred Annuity

A deferred annuity provides for payments to begin on a future date known as the maturity date. A deferred annuity has an accumulation period and a payout or distribution period.
For example, a middle-aged wage earner could provide an income supplement in their retirement years by purchasing a deferred fixed annuity. Lump sum or regularly scheduled payments would be contributed to the annuity account as it accumulates, then at age 65 when the annuity matures, additional income would be available through scheduled annuity payments.

Single Premium Annuity

A fixed annuity may be purchased with a single premium in which one cash payment establishes the contract.

The most common sources of such lump sums are proceeds from a life insurance death benefit, the sale of a home or winning the lottery.

Flexible Premium Annuity

A fixed annuity may be funded over time with an initial premium plus additional flexible premiums.
Both premium amounts and frequency may be flexible, so accommodating convenient funding plans such as payroll deduction over several years of employment as well as changes in the owner's financial situation.

What is a Fixed Indexed Annuity?

A fixed indexed annuity (also called an index annuity, an indexed annuity or an equity indexed annuity) is a fixed annuity with an upside consumption capacity and a guarantee against downside loss of principal. Its earnings are linked to a stock or equity market index such as the Standard & Poor's 500 Composite Stock Price Index or simply the S & P 500. Fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) have four guarantees:

1. Initial premium is guaranteed

2. Minimum rate of return

3. Take credit for increases (ups) in market, not corrects (downs)

4. Gains are locked in every year

How do they differ from other fixed annuities?

The primary difference between a fixed indexed annuity and other fixed annuities is in the way the annuity rate or earnings are credited to your account. A traditional fixed annuity credits interest with an annuity calculator that is set in the contract and may or may not be subject to market adjustments. A fixed indexed annuity leads to an interest crediting formula based on changes in the equity market to which it is linked. This formula spells out how interest is calculated, credited, how much additional interest you get, and when you get it.

The insurance carrier issuing the fixed indexed annuity also promises to pay a guaranteed minimum rate of interest. Even if the indexed earnings are lower, the minimum guarantee will apply and your account value will not fall below the guaranteed minimum. Both flexible premium and single premium deferred annuity contracts guarantee a minimum interest rate, often in the range of 1.5% to 3% based on between 90% and 100% of paid premium. The insurance company's annuity calculator will adjust account values ​​at the end of each term.

What are the contract features or 'Moving Parts'?

The amount of additional interest that may be credited to a fixed indexed annuity is affected by the Indexing Method and the Participation Rate working together like form and function.

The INDEXING METHOD is the design by which the amount of change in the index is measured. For example, a method that measures the difference in the starting index level and the level on the one-year anniversary is an annual point-to-point. If this design “ratchets” up the account value (new principal) with each annual gain, the indexing method includes an Annual Reset feature. Currently, the industry's best selling equity indexed annuity is the MasterDex Annuity series from Allianz, which incorporates the more progressive design of a “monthly” point-to-point together with an annual reset. Functional differences in indexing methods will be explained in greater detail below.

Like a faucet, the PARTICIPATION RATE determines how much of the increase in the index will flow into the annuity account value. Let's say the fixed annuity calculator shows a 12% increase in the index, but your participation rate limits you to 70% of the gain. Your annuity rate of increase would be 70% of 12%, or 8.4%. Participation rates are variable and may be guaranteed only for a specific period or guaranteed not to be adjusted below a given minimum or above a specified maximum. One of the most popular fixed indexed annuities is the Keyport Index Multipoint from Sun Life Financial, which guarantees a 100% participation rate for the full contract term.

Some fixed indexed annuities place a CAP or ceiling on the annuity rate, establishing the upper limit the annuity may earn. An annuity learning an index-linked interest rate of, say, 9% may have a cap of only 7%, which would be the amount of increase credited.

Some annuities use AVERAGING to smooth out the highs and lows of the linked equity market index. Monthly averaging, for example, would use an annuity calculator which combines each month-to-month index closing value divided by 12.

Some annuities reduce the index-linked interest rate by subtracting a SPREAD, a MARGIN, or a FEE and crediting the balance. A positive change in the index of 11%, for example, with an administrative fee of 2.5%, would yield a net increase of 8.5%. Of the carriers who sell annuity products with spreads, margins or fees, such amounts will be subtracted only if the remaining index change is a positive earnings rate.

Indexing Methods

Annual Reset: Yield is determined each year by comparing the index value at the end of the contract year with the index value when the contract year began. The positive difference, if any, is the yield your fixed indexed annuity earns for the year. Any new positive (not negative) account value resets to become the new starting point for the upcoming year. Contrast this formula to owning a variable annuity or a direct equity investment in a bear market. With variables and stocks the owner may have a deep valley to climb out of before getting back to zero.

High-Water Mark: Yield is determined by the rise in index value at the contract annual anniversary points during the term. The positive difference, if any, is determined by comparing the highest index value and the index value at the start of the term.
Point-to-Point: Yield, if any, is determined by comparing the difference between the index value at the end of the term with the index value at the beginning of the term. The positive difference is added to your annuity account value at the end of the term.

Insurance Companies and Telephone Marketing

Have you ever wondered how insurance companies go about marketing their insurance policies? Aside from a company Web site, advertisements in the classifieds, and commercials? Many insurance companies get leads – prospective clients – by telephone marketing. Many insurance companies use what are known as call center phone systems. These systems call prospect clients in…

Have you ever wondered how insurance companies go about marketing their insurance policies? Aside from a company Web site, advertisements in the classifieds, and commercials? Many insurance companies get leads – prospective clients – by telephone marketing.

Many insurance companies use what are known as call center phone systems. These systems call prospect clients in various different ways. There are five basic call center phone systems that insurance companies can use when marketing their insurance policies, but they cover two main ways of marketing to prospective clients. Insurance companies can use auto-dialing systems when an actual insurance agent is calling prospective clients but uses the phone system to dial the client's number. Insurance companies also use broadcast marketing methods, when prospective clients are called but are not addressed by an actual insurance agent; rather, they are play a prerecorded message.

While these telephone calls may sometimes feel like telemarketer harassment, they're really great marketing tools for insurance companies. Using these marketing tools can help insurance companies gather information about people residing in a certain area, ie, demographic information, which will help them better plan their marketing strategies for that region.

These telephone calls can be beneficial to the prospective client, as well. Prospective clients who receive these telephone calls are not being harassed; they're being given the opportunity to find more information about a particular insurance company, more information about how that particular insurance company can help with their insurance needs, and even schedule call backs for the times when they really are interested, but just don 't have the time to talk on the telephone.

So, the next time you get a telephone call from an insurance company, do not be so quick to hang up. Remember, they are simply marketing their product – insurance policies – just as other businesses market their products. If you are not interested, let the insurance agent know; Egypt, if you're in the middle of dinner, schedule a call back.

Strike Gold with Effective Prospecting

Whether you're looking for new agents or new clients, the key to finding them is effective prospecting. There are numerous ways to go about prospecting. Some of them are active methods, while others are passive. Active prospecting methods are things like Personal Observation, Public Speaking, Agent and Client Referrals, Networking, and Centers of Influence, while…

Whether you're looking for new agents or new clients, the key to finding them is effective prospecting. There are numerous ways to go about prospecting. Some of them are active methods, while others are passive. Active prospecting methods are things like Personal Observation, Public Speaking, Agent and Client Referrals, Networking, and Centers of Influence, while passive methods including using the internet, newspaper advertising and direct mail campaigns. Both passive and active prospecting will produce results, however they differ in efficiency and effectiveness – and understanding those differences will make all the difference to you and your results.

Passive methods are easy to implement, but are actually pretty inefficient. They attract 1) “tire kickers”, 2) people looking for a job, 3) price shoppers, and 4) people simply looking for a way to make money. Please understand, these methods do produce results and can unforgettable fantastic people who become great agents or clients, but generally the quality of results is poor. When these methods are implemented, plenty of activity is generated, but few prospects become agents or clients. The passive methods appear to be very efficient, but they produce so much worthless activity that they become extremely inefficient.

Active methods, on the other hand, take more time on the front end, but because they are so much more effective end up being much more efficient. They are so much more effective because interviews / meetings are only generated with people who have an interest in working with you, and share your purpose and passion. Agents often coming on board because they identify with you and what you stand for, they see it as a good opportunity to build a future, and they see the opportunity as one that offers unlimited financial growth. Clients decide to work with you because they see who you are, and identify and respect you and what you believe in. Not only are active methods more effective, but agents who are recruited through active methods are historically better producers and clients created this way are more loyal.

Why Active Prospecting Is More Effective

For Recruiting:

– A key to a successful recruiting program is to effectively identify candidates with an “owner” mindset. Candidates with an owner mindset are better at taking initiative while candidates with an employee mindset are better at taking instruction. Candidates with an owner mindset are self-starters who recognize the correlation between their success and the amount of effort that they put forth – in fact, they thrive on this. They take initiative, they think independently and they tend to succeed when they're given the freedom to do things their own way. These are the kind of candidates that make up the foundation of any winning sales force. Active recruiting allows you to better identify candidates right from the start who are inclined to be owners rather than employees.

– People who respond to recruitment advertising are generally looking for something better than what they have. Either they're happy with their current situation or they have no job at all. Now … think about whether you've rather have a prospective agent who is happy and productive where they are or someone who is unhappy and maybe even unproductive where they are? Most territory builders would always prefer a candidate who is already productive and happy. They want someone who has a positive attitude and good work habits. By seeking out candidates who are closer to your ideal with respect to productivity, attitude and drive, you end up with agents who are productive, positive and successful

– Ever get frustrated with the production of your agents and wonder how to motivate them? This is a prevalent challenge within the industry. The cause for this issue comes from how the agents were recruited. Not only are many agents recruited through advertising, but, often what the manager is passionate about is not communicated. Without a worthy purpose, it's pretty difficult to attract and keep the right kind of people – people who are happy, energetic and highly productive. In case you doubt the validity of this observation about the power of personal attraction, look over your agents and see who the highest producers are and / or the ones who are most responsive. Typically they're the agents you personally enrolled rather than the agents you “inherited”. When you actively recruit, you create the opportunity to let a candidate see what you're about – what matters to you. You end up attracting like-minded people.

For Prospecting:

– People do business with people they like. The only way for others to get to know you is by getting out and meeting people. When you do your prospectively passively, they do not get to know you at all. They are simply responding to something they read.

– People are attracted to someone who stands for something and has a purpose. When you spend time clarifying what sets you apart from everyone else and spend time refining your purpose, and then communicate them effectively, you will attract like-minded clients who identify with you and become loyal to you.

– The best way to keep clients is to build a relationship with them. Without a relationship, they simply become price-shopping customers. With a relationship, they become clients who will stay with you and become clients who refer others to you. It perpetuates success.

Active prospecting allows you to attract the kind of people you want, allows you to meet with only those people who are likely to succeed and stay with you, and allows you to build a team of loyal, professional, hard-working, responsive and successful agents or a solid book of loyal clients.

Break out of the internet and advertising routine. Start powering up your prospecting and boosting your success!

Copyright 2006 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.

Internet Lead Generation For Insurance Agents

Insurance agents have two sources of leads when it comes to Internet lead generation. An agent can buy leads from an Internet lead generation company, or they can build a lead generation web site and create their own leads. Buying Leads It's important to buy leads from a company that has experience generating Internet insurance…

Insurance agents have two sources of leads when it comes to Internet lead generation. An agent can buy leads from an Internet lead generation company, or they can build a lead generation web site and create their own leads.

Buying Leads

It's important to buy leads from a company that has experience generating Internet insurance leads. New Internet lead generation companies have a tendency to rely upon questionable marketing tactics, and this can affect the quality of your leads.

Internet insurance leads can range from $ 5- $ 30 each, depending on what kind of lead it is (life insurance, annuity, auto, etc.), and whether it's an exclusive lead or not. An agent should verify if the leads are exclusive because some lead generation companies sell the same leads to multiple agents.

Also, legitimate Internet lead generation companies will credit you back for bad leads. You should be able to call into the lead generation company and speak with a service representative on the phone in case you need to discuss a bad lead so that you can get credited for it.

Building a Lead Generation Web Site

There is a good opportunity for agents to build a quality lead generation web site of their own. An agent can create a web site in their local market and build pages based upon what people are typing into the search engines. For example, if an agent lives in California, he / she can research keywords like 'insurance', and 'California', as well as specific towns or counties in his / her area ('keywords' is a term used to describe what people are typing into the search engines). So if an agent discovers that people are searching for 'California insurance broker', and 'San Francisco insurance agents', he / she can create one page for each of these keyword phrases.

As an agent digs deeper into their keyword research, they may lack quite a few keywords and keyword phrases. But one page is not going to do it. You need a combination of dozens of pages because each page will get a few searches per month, and this can add up. Plus the more pages you build, the better chance you have getting ranked in the search engines. Web sites with multiple pages of content are called 'content' based web sites.

The key to success in building a successful content based web site is to focus on quality content first. The reason that content is important is because you do not want your web site to look like you're trying to sell something. You want to build pages that relay good quality information in order to build trust with your prospect.

The second mechanism that is needed is an 'opt-in' lead generation system. For example, offer a free quality newsletter, and / or a free course that your prospect can subscribe to via an autoresponder (an autoresponder is a simple web based marketing tool that automatically sends information to people who 'opt-in' for your information) . This way, you capture names and e-mail addresses (as well as mailing addresses) for your Internet direct marketing and direct mail efforts. But if you do not have quality content and you ask for someone's e-mail address or mailing address to sign up for your newsletter or auto responder, you may not get good results.

Fortunately, the time you spend building this web site can pay off because big responsibilities can come from just one lead, paying for the time and money you have invested.

An alternative to the content based web site is a 'landing page' web site. A landing page is basically a one-page web site and its main goal is to get the prospect to subscribe to a free report, mini-course, or newsletter. Instead of relying on your content to build credibility and trust, you will have to rely upon your copywriting ability to get your prospect to give up their contact information on your landing page.

A landing page web site usually does not get good placement in the search engines, so in order to generate Internet insurance leads, an agent will have to rely on 'pay per click' advertising (where you pay for traffic to your web site), and other advertising mediums.

An insurance agent can build a significant clientele buying leads from reputable insurance lead generation companies and building a quality web site. All it takes is a little bit of due diligence and patience.

Copyright 2006 Brian Maroevich

Finding your Prospects is only the Beginning: Advice for Insurance Agents

Coveting leads for prospective clients Phillip joined our captive company for two reasons-and was soon asked to leave. One, we have products that are better than anything he could offer through his privately owned agency. Two, we have a lead system (for which we pay 7% of our contracts) that eliminates some of the work…

Coveting leads for prospective clients

Phillip joined our captive company for two reasons-and was soon asked to leave. One, we have products that are better than anything he could offer through his privately owned agency. Two, we have a lead system (for which we pay 7% of our contracts) that eliminates some of the work of finding prospects. Unfortunately, he continued to operate his own agency as well which was a violation of his contract.

Whether Phillip was right or wrong, his action illustrated a truth known to all insurance agents. Finding people to talk to is the most difficult part of the insurance business. References and call-backs are the secret to success. But getting the clients who will do the marketing for you involves a lot more than just selling them a policy.

Keeping clients once you get them

Developing a lead into a long term client can be summed up with one question. How much time are you willing to spend, and how much service are you willing to provide for which you will not get a commission in terms of dollars?

Getting the appointment with your prospect is the first step in getting the business. Without that appointment, you have no business. However, it is only the first of many steps towards getting and keeping the business.

Being seen as a “real” person

We are living in a day when trust is dangerous. Numerous scam artists lurk in the streets, watching for an opportunity to take advantage of the unwary. With that in mind, it is important to let your prospect see you as a real person-someone with a phone number, an address, a family, perhaps some interests in common. I tell my prospects why I am in insurance, what I did before that, and where I live. I also give them a small written bio in the form of a bookmark that has pictures of me, my kids, and my grand kids. We engage in a five or ten minute exchange where they tell me a bit about themselves as well. It breaks the ice, as I'm not likely to scam a person who has enough information to put me in jail.

Getting to the need

Within a few minutes, we transition to business. I usually ask if they know anything about my company. Even if they do, I have a bit more information ready to give them such as the kinds of service we provide, the speedy claim payment for which the company is known, and the assets that support the company as a whole.

Even when I know what product the client is probably interested in, I begin with a simple questionnaire that we call a “needs assessment.” I have a couple of variations, depending on the situation. For example, I find out very quickly what health insurance a person has; if she has Medicare and Medicaid, I know that I do not need to waste time on Long Term Care, or any kind of health product other than prescription drug plan. The only thing I can help such a person with is their life insurance.

Understanding the prospect

Once I have determined what my approach should be, I simply explain that my purpose is to give them information followed by some options tailor their unique situation. To do that, I must ask a few questions. The next step will be a decision which will be up to them to make. That decision will be to either take action on one or more of the options, or to do nothing.

Then I simply ask questions about the areas that have the most impact on a person's future regarding life and health. If they have life insurance, what kind is it, and when was it last reviewed. If possible, I will ask them to get their policy and let me take a look at it. Doing so has turned up policies that were Term Life about to expire-or universals with premiums about to increase. Nearly everyone thinks he has “whole life.” In my experience, at least 60% are sadly incorrect.

If a client has health insurance which is currently serving his needs appropriately, I inquire first about his health, and then about Long Term Care. If a person is already using a walker or wheelchair, or has serious illnesses like diabetes requiring insulin, for example, there is little point in discussing Long Term Care as he will not qualify for it. If his health is good, however, I will simply engage him in a discussion about family members or friends who have needed extended care. The point is, we have to establish the possibility that at some point in the future, extended care is likely to be necessary, and that putting the burden on family members strains the emotional, physical and financial health of the family along with putting the life long savings and family home at risk.

Educating the prospect

The underlying purpose in all this discussion-which can take from 20 minutes to an hour-is not sales. It is education. Many people -not versed in insurance language-are confused about what they already have. Insurance is something people buy because they have to; then they put it in a closet and forget about it, believing they have everything they need, and locking the mental door against anything new. An agent who can open that door and either verify or clarify their understanding about their insurance holdings stands a much better chance of making a new sale.

Sometimes opening that closet is like opening a can of worms. Recently a client shared two 15 year old life insurance policies- $ 50,000 each-on himself and his wife. The policies were both labeled “whole life” both on the cover sheet and on the deck page. His also said “payable for life” beside the premium. This year he received a notice saying that if he wants to keep the $ 50,000 his premium goes from $ 60 per month to $ 308! His wife's premium would go to about $ 290. He had already called the company and had been told that regardless of what the deck page says, the policy is actually a Term policy and that the promotions will continue to increase. Nothing on that policy says Term. However, there is a paragraph which he had never noticed and did not understand, which said that the premium was subject to “periodic recalculation.”

Does the client have grounds for a complaint and return of premium? I would think so. But whether he does or not, he knows, that even though it will cost him more now than it would have 15 years ago, he wants a policy that will have no increase in premium and will not decrease in benefit-guaranteed whole life. If I had not discussed his complete life / health insurance package with him, he would never have known.

Delivering the policy

Once a policy has been issued, our company requires personal delivery and entertainment of a delivery receipt. It has been said that every minute spent with a client upon delivery of a policy is equal to a year that the client will stay with the company. Furthermore, many more policies are sold at the time of delivery than are sold on a first visit. The client has trusted you enough to take the first one. Take the needs assessment with you and review it before getting to the house. A completed needs assessment will have possibilities between the lines. Are children getting married, grandchildren being born? Who is the beneficiary on the life policy you are delivering. Offer to visit that person, give them a business card with the policy number written on the back, and let them know that in the event a claim needs to be made, you will be available to help or answer questions.

Generating repeat business possibilities

Once the business is complete, generate more business by doing the unexpected. You can drop in when you are in the area, deliver a small box of Russell Stover chocolates (at less than $ 2.00 out of your pocket), or some other small gift that simply says “thank you for your business.” A small gift or card-for no reason whatever except to say thank you-will go a long way in keeping your clients and finding new ones.

Independent Insurance Agents

Insurance companies employ thousands of agents who operate across the country to reach as many clients as possible. Agents also allow insurance companies to cater to the specific needs of the clients on a more personal level. These insurance agents are called “producers?” They are the ones who interview you. From the details they get…

Insurance companies employ thousands of agents who operate across the country to reach as many clients as possible. Agents also allow insurance companies to cater to the specific needs of the clients on a more personal level.

These insurance agents are called “producers?” They are the ones who interview you. From the details they get about your lifestyle and preferences, they prepare an insurance plan and policy for you. Like personal shoppers, they help you choose the best deals in insurance coverage and help customize the product to better suit your needs and budget.

As you may know, there are different kinds of insurance. There is insurance for real property, health, death, automobiles, assets, retirement planning, estate planning, or assistance in setting up pension plans for businesses, to name a few. Insurance agents also specialize in each area and aspect of the insurance products they offer. To get the best products in the market, you must employ the services of the most efficient and well-versed insurance agents.

There are two kinds of insurance agents. One is the captive agent who works for only one insurance company and can not give you information on the other alternatives. And the other is the independent agent who offers and sells policies for more than one insurance agency.

If you are an individual or business with multiple insurance needs, you may find the services of an independent insurance agent helpful. He or she can offer you a list of insurance providers and their products, prepare comprehensive comparative analyzes, and help you decide on the best deals. This can be advantageous for you since you will get balanced information on all insurance companies and will be able to choose from among the vast policy programs available out there. There is also a great chance that the independent insurance agent can zero in on the policy best suited for you or business.

Insurance Carrier Broker Agents

Uncertainties surround all of us. No one knows when disaster or illness will strike. For some professionals and companies, there is no telling when a client will lodge a complaint. Surprises like these can easily deplete anyone's financial resources, as suits can amount to thousands of dollars in lawyers' fees and claims. For things that…

Uncertainties surround all of us. No one knows when disaster or illness will strike. For some professionals and companies, there is no telling when a client will lodge a complaint. Surprises like these can easily deplete anyone's financial resources, as suits can amount to thousands of dollars in lawyers' fees and claims. For things that are unexpected, there are insurance policies that can help you. And the right kind of insurance carrier broker agent can assist you in making sure you are properly covered against such claims.

But choosing the right kind of insurance carrier is imperative for having a worry-free business. Insurance carriers are companies that assume the risk on behalf of a client. And they offer several insurance products that cater to specific client needs, whether it is renters insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, accident insurance, malpractice and liability insurance, real property insurance, among many others. They also offer free consultative advice for clients who would want a thorough coverage of their businesses and individual needs. Some insurance brokers do not work for just one insurance carrier. They carry the portfolio of different carriers. This kind of broker agent gives their clients a wide range of choices when it comes to coverage and prices.

There are different kinds of insurance carriers: They are stock, mutual, or reciprocal companies. The difference lies in the kind of ownership that constituents each kind. A carrier must seek approval and accreditation from the government to legitimately be able to provide insurance services and products.

Insurance carriers have brokers to sell their policies and cultivate relationships with clients. Insurance carrier broker agents talk with potential customers and prepare products that best suit their needs.

An insurance carrier broker agent is the client's partner when it comes to choosing the right kind of insurance policy and the person that personally takes care of insurance processing and payments should the need arise.