Should You Become an Insurance Agent?

The timing is right to start or move into an Insurance career. This article discusses the motivational factors and qualifications needed to be successful as a Property/ Casualty (auto, home and commercial business) agent.

The timing is right to start or move into an Insurance career. This article discusses the motivational factors and qualifications needed to be successful as a Property/ Casualty (auto, home and commercial business) agent.

Four Obligations Every Insurance Agent Has

The members of any profession, since they institute a specifically trained group of people, are looked upon to assume the responsibility of leadership in work allied to their own. The doctor is looked upon as the leader in public-health campaigns, and the lawyer in campaigns for civic betterment. You, like every other successful insurance agent,…

The members of any profession, since they institute a specifically trained group of people, are looked upon to assume the responsibility of leadership in work allied to their own. The doctor is looked upon as the leader in public-health campaigns, and the lawyer in campaigns for civic betterment.

You, like every other successful insurance agent, should be interested in any movement which works toward human betterment; but there are certain fields in which your profession enables you to do particularly valuable work:

1. As a Promoter and Teacher of Thrift.

The social significance of this function of the insurance agent should be praised. Think what the ability to reduce poverty means. At the bottom of almost every social problem there is a financial one. The elimination of poverty would certainly take with it many of our most puzzling and difficult social problems.

Many people would be well off today if they had not given up their savings plan at some time. Nearly everyone at some time begins to save, but relatively few stick to the plan until they acquire the habit. After the habit has been developed, people became prejudiced in favor of savings and it is then that we say they have developed ideas of thrift and become careful with money. In other words, an ideal is an emotionalized habit. The insurance agent is really a teacher and promoter of frugal ideals.

In the present after-the-recession period, too, thrift is not only a question of individual welfare, but of the welfare of the country.

2. As a Promoter and Teacher of Health.

The insurance companies have played a vital and important part in the betterment of public health. By their careful and collective analysis of vital statistics they have been able to make clear causal relationships between disease and social conditions. By their classification of different vocations with regard to hazard, they have brought out evils which needed correction and which have resolved in a condition of improved health. They have used their resources in combating epidemics, in enforcing sanitary regulations, in pushing bills for better working conditions, and in publishing educational literature on health and hygiene. More than that, many companies provide direct medical aid, arranging for free physical examinations and supplying free visiting-nurse service.

Of course, the amount of public-health service that the life-insurance agent can render will depend to a large extent on the amount of assistance he receives from his company. He is a connecting link, however, between his company and the community which he serves, and it may be seriously through him that the company will receive information which will enable it to render the particular type of service which would most benefit his particular community.

3. As a Promoter of Good Citizenship.

Our democracy is based on the theory that every person is entitled to an equal opportunity to develop his individual abilities. It is often only through the protection that life insurance affords, however, that this ideal is approximated in an individual case. The child who is forced by poverty to leave school before completing his high school by no means has an equal opportunity of developing his individual abilities with those who have enjoyed greater advantages. It is the life insurance agent who points out ways of making certain that individuals will have this equal chance.

The possibilities of promoting good citizenship through group insurance, too, are very great. The problem which faces the country today can be solved only through better cooperation between employer and employee, and probably few persons have done more to promote better relations in the business world than those who have established systems of group insurance through which the wage earner feels the interest of the employer in him and his affairs.

4. As a Promoter and Teacher of Ideals.

Earlier we mentioned that ideals of thrift have been thought about because of the establishment of habits of thrift. The life insurance agents are probably more nearly responsible for thrift habits in America than any other profession or business. Ideals usually start as habits. When prejudice and emotion became attached to habits ideals result.

You have a glorious opportunity to discuss with your client the most intimate of all relations-his own and his family affairs. You have the opportunity to discuss the most precious relationships which your clients have. If you are a real insurance agent, you can share with your client opinions, information, advice, and experience which may do much to develop and help him. All such sharing of experiences must be absolutely confidential.

All people are motivated by motives of some sort or other. Not many of the other professions offer quite such an opportunity to discuss a person's motives in life. Life insurance can not function properly unless it is closely related to life objectives.

No other profession offers sufficient the opportunity to share such true idealism as does the insurance profession. Of course this is all based upon the claim that the insurance agent has something to share with his clients.

Two Types of Objections When Selling Insurance

It would be out of the question, of course, to assign any objection to a definite group and to prescribe a way of meeting that object. When your prospect says, “I can not afford it,” he may mean, “I do not want to waste time talking to you” – in other words, your prospect can…

It would be out of the question, of course, to assign any objection to a definite group and to prescribe a way of meeting that object. When your prospect says, “I can not afford it,” he may mean, “I do not want to waste time talking to you” – in other words, your prospect can use this statement as a way of ending the conversation with you either over the phone or when you meet them face to face.

He may, on the other hand, wish the insurance, but raise the objection because of a mortgage on his home which must be lifted, not realizing the important part insurance would play in covering the mortgage if anything happened to him.

Then, too, he may be just “dead broke” and his financial condition will obviously determine a hindrance to the sale of any kind of insurance.

It is only through experience, from what has been said previously over the phone or in the meeting with your prospect, and from the behavior of the prospect, that the insurance agent can determine how to classify a given objection.

Objections as they occur in the sale may be grouped roughly as:

  1. Excuses
  2. Reasons
    • a. Imagined
    • b. Real

Excuses

Excuses occur most frequently as “put-offs” at the beginning of the phone call or appointment, or if they interrupt the sales talk later, they are offered to cover up the prospect's actual reason. If you walk into your prospect's home or office and “off the bat” he says, “No, can not afford it,” “Do not need any insurance, thank you,” “Too busy to think about it now, he has not really considered the subject at all; the observations are part of his defense reaction against the intrusion. It's much better not to argument about these excuses if you can help it.

The prospect himself realizes that they are only partly true, but if you bring up reasons to show him that they are not, he feet bound to bring up reasons to defend his stand and ends by believing the statements himself. Go around them.

One clever agent states that he can overcome most trumped-up objections by writing the most common ones each on an index card, with an answer to the objection on the same card. When the prospect hurls out an objection he smiles and says: “Let's see. That's objection number four and here's the answer.”

For example, a written answer to the ever-recurring, “I do not need any insurance,” like, “You do not, but your widow will,” serves to divert the mind of the prospect rather than attack his statement and switches the line of conversation to the track where you want it.

If he says he is “too busy,” for instance, do not argu the question of whether he is really too busy or not. Get around the objection by, “When will you be ready?” and from his reply you can usually tell whether to put him in the class of “worth-while-spending-time-on” or “not-worth-having.” If he is in the “worth-while” class he will usually react to a little friendly courtesy and give you an appointment at least.

Excuses of the more general type, such as, “I do not need it,” “I do not want it,” “I can not afford it,” if they occur in the to-be-or-not- to-be point in the sale, where actual opposition would be indicated by a specific reason, usually indicate that the prospect is covering his reason by this excuse.

If, for example, you quote the premium and he thinks the charge excess, the objection that he offers is a statement of his opinion. But if your prospect comes out with a “No, I can not afford it,” after listening to you, he probably has an unstated reason for not taking the insurance which he is covering with this excuse, and it's up to you to find out what the real reason is.

Of course, you can ask him the reason, but do this only as a last resort, for, having made a statement, he will probably insist that it is a statement of fact. It is much better to employ the “suppose” method and trust to luck to find out the actual reason.

“Suppose, Mr. Prospect, you had a mortgage on your house, would not it be a tremendous relief to you to know that the obligation would be met if anything happened to you? And the same applies to any kind of financial obligation. ” “If you wish, we could arrange to postpone your payment for a certain period of time, in case you can not have this added expense just now.”

In both cases you have answered a possible objection before it has gained force by actual statement on the part of the prospect.

In Part 2 read about other reasons why people object to you when selling insurance.

How To Think Like An Underwriter – Part 3

Underwriting a prospective risk involves several thought processes that once mastered can lead to moving your expertise to becoming a true “Insurance Professional.” In addition to what was discussed in the previous article, consider the following when working with a carrier to place an account: – Underwriters can only evaluate a prospective risk based on…

Underwriting a prospective risk involves several thought processes that once mastered can lead to moving your expertise to becoming a true “Insurance Professional.” In addition to what was discussed in the previous article, consider the following when working with a carrier to place an account:

– Underwriters can only evaluate a prospective risk based on what information they have or are given. Do you kindly leave out factors that might be viewed as unfavorable hop that no one will find out? If so, that is a very short sighted mentality and will lead to a relationship with your underwriter built on a lack of trust. Trust is the most critical element in determining whether an underwriter will make exceptions or compromises with an agency. Agencies that are better front line underwriters and honestly portrait prospects “win” in every way. They win the respect of the underwriter; they maintain long-term relationships with carriers and their clients are properly insured.

– Once an underwriter receives written documentation on a risk, be it a CLUE report, MVR, loss run or inspection; they must act on that information until they have other reliable documentation to prove otherwise. Underwriters are regularly audited and have large losses routinely re-evaluated as to whether the risk should have been written. They are charged with documenting a file to justify a decision they have made. If you find you are getting a lot of risks denied, look no further than yourself for not providing the means to justify the decision being made.

– Underwriters tend (not always- of course) to be “analytical” personality types whereas agents (producers) tend to be more people oriented. Have you ever found it difficult to present a proposal and sell to an Engineer? Different personality types make decisions based on different criteria. Some like facts and figures and some prefer what's popular or liked by other people. You may need to think “outside of your box” to bridge your way of thinking and the information you need to make a decision versus what information an underwriter will need to make a decision.

– Agencies with large profitable books of business that have been doing business with a carrier for years are going to get more access to an underwriters time and effort in order to be able to present a risk (ie: commercial) and more consideration for exceptions than agencies that are small and newer. It's a fact of life. Get over it! This is one of the reasons “Aggregators” and “Clusters” have been so popular with agencies in the past few years. Be respectful, knowledgeable about your client and knowledgeable of the carriers' appetite for that type of risk (Do not waste your underwriters time!) These factors will go a long way to developing the rapport you want to create with your underwriter much more quickly .

– Carriers have short memories. When they are profitable, underwriting loosens to try to write more business. It's called “underwriting cycles.” That does not mean your agency can not set its' own criteria of risk you will allow to be written by your staff. Stop blaming carriers for your lack of underwriting standards.

All of the technology in the world has still not replaced the personal interactions that are still so critical to an account being properly analyzed and placed. It's in your best interest to start thinking like an underwriter no matter what your job is in insurance.

Meeting Objections When Selling Insurance

The average insurance agent can remark that he or she can never launch forth into a presentation without fear of encountering some opposition, and that no sale is made without meeting objections. If there were no objections it wasn’t a sale at all; it was an order. The big question, then, is how to meet…

The average insurance agent can remark that he or she can never launch forth into a presentation without fear of encountering some opposition, and that no sale is made without meeting objections. If there were no objections it wasn’t a sale at all; it was an order. The big question, then, is how to meet objections.

Why You Need an Insurance Broker

Whether you own your own business and need group health and other insurance benefits for your employees, or you want or need health, life, accident or other insurance for yourself and / or your family, finding an insurance broker is a wise decision. An insurance broker does not add to your cost of insurance, yet…

Whether you own your own business and need group health and other insurance benefits for your employees, or you want or need health, life, accident or other insurance for yourself and / or your family, finding an insurance broker is a wise decision. An insurance broker does not add to your cost of insurance, yet an insurance broker does guide you through the maze of information that you need to know to purchase insurance. How much insurance do you need? What is a fair price? Do I really need this particular insurance? Should I buy term or whole life insurance?

To start, an insurance broker is appointed with a number of different insurance carriers, so your broker can shop each of the carriers for benefits and pricing of each of the carriers. A broker does not work for the insurance carriers, they work for you and your interests. They will shop each of the carriers for the protection and benefits you need and want as well as the price. A good broker will find you the insurance you need at a price you are willing to pay. An insurance broker does not cost you any more money, since they are paid by the carrier through which you purchase your insurance.

Another benefit of purchasing insurance through a broker is that you will get to know the person who is selling you your insurance, and you will benefit from their knowledge and experience. You will receive personalized service from a person that you get to know and trust. Generally, an insurance company will guide you to their “one-size-fits-all” policies. A broker will work with you to determine your individual or group needs and show you several options from different insurance carriers that best fit your needs or the needs of your business. You also get an unbiased professional opinion from a broker, not the corporate marketing “speak” from an insurance carrier that point out their benefits and avoids their weaknesses.

A broker can also help you and your employees with processing claims, often saving you valuable time trying to find the right person at the insurance carrier that can assist you with your claim or answer your question.

A broker is also a member of your community, they shop the same businesses (including yours), go to the same churches and know the same people. An insurance broker will be more in tune with your local circumstances including local economic issues and other factors that may have an impact on your insurance needs. Ultimately, a good insurance broker will become a lifelong friend as well as a consultant and broker.

4 Qualities of a Successful Insurance Broker

Whether you are running a business or having your own restaurant, it is your duty to protect it from liabilities. The public who are coming to the office premises can face several problems or accidents due to negligence of employees who are working in office. These results in liability claims and situations come when you…

Whether you are running a business or having your own restaurant, it is your duty to protect it from liabilities. The public who are coming to the office premises can face several problems or accidents due to negligence of employees who are working in office. These results in liability claims and situations come when you have to pay huge sum of money to the sufferer. This affects brand name and popularity. In the time of crisis, if you have to spend a lot for the claims, nothing will be remaining in the bank account. Thus, it is very important to have insurance policies.

However, choosing the right type of policy is quite confusing at times. If you are not able to know what type of policy your company wants, you are not able to secure your business. Thus, it is better to take help of the insurance broker who has many years of experience and knowledge in this field.

Here Are Some Of The Traits That A Successful Insurance Broker Possess-

1. Passionate To Work-

It is one of the major trains of a successful business insurance agent or broker. Dedication and passion for work are very important to bring out the best results. Almost all the successful insurance agents are passionate about what they do and provide. They make their clients totally understand what the policies and the amount as well. The services that broker provide have the huge impact on the life of clients and their families.

2. Organizing nature-

Doing the job in an organized way is very important for a broker. If the expert is not organized enough, he or she will be not able to clear all the doubts about the policies. Almost all the successful insurance agent has the administrative tracking system to keep the details of current and previous clients. Staying systematic in nature is one of the best features of a professional.

3. Have Experience And Knowledge-

When you are hiring the professional, checking of the qualification is mandatory. It is very important to see that the expert is having more than 5 years of experience and knowledge in this field. Checking of the qualification certificate is a must.

4. Good Communication Skills-

Good communication skill is very important to deal with the clients. Most of the insurance broker is able to communicate with the clients can make them understand all the claims and rights.

These are some of the features that you find in a successful broker. However, it is better to take an interview of at least 5 experts and check their client testimonials. It will help in hiring the right one for your business.

Top Tips To Leverage LinkedIn For Insurance Agency Web Marketing

If your target market includes businesses, then you need to add LinkedIn to your Insurance Marketing strategy. With LinkedIn you can connect and network with business professionals in your target markets, and better determine the decision makers for these companies. LinkedIn differs from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it's a business centric social media platform requiring…

If your target market includes businesses, then you need to add LinkedIn to your Insurance Marketing strategy. With LinkedIn you can connect and network with business professionals in your target markets, and better determine the decision makers for these companies. LinkedIn differs from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it's a business centric social media platform requiring a different approach to be successful. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

  • Professional Picture: You need a professional picture for your LinkedIn profile. Smile and look friendly but do not use a selfie, a low res (blurry) image or a picture which is too casual.
  • Explain How You Help Your Customers: Do not just copy and paste information from your resume on LinkedIn. Use the Summary and Experience sections to show what you can do for your customers and how you can help your ideal prospects.
  • Skills and Endorsements: Include all relevant skills on your profile and ask current customers who are on LinkedIn to endorse you so that connections will see you are an expert.
  • Make It Easy To Communicate With You: In your profile, include your contact information (address, phone number and a link to your Website) to make it easy for prospects to reach out to you.
  • Post Articles – Long Form Publishing: Posting articles which is called long form publishing is another great way to share your knowledge and reach out to potential prospects.
  • Do not Just Join Groups In Your Profession: LinkedIn Groups is a great way to network with other agents, brokers and wholesalers but it is also a great way to communicate with prospects. Join groups which are applicable to your target prospects.
  • Do not Sell In Groups: When you do join groups that contain your prospects do not post messages that sell your services. Most groups forbid selling by members in the group and the other members will believe you are only there to find customers. Instead post relative content and communicate with group members in order to network with them.
  • Message Occasionally: You are allowed to message 1 st degree connections, but you do not want to bombard people with marketing messages. Instead message them occasionally with helpful information or just to let them know you are there to help them if they are interested.

As a professional network, LinkedIn is a great way to communicate with business prospects. As a part of a digital insurance marketing strategy, LinkedIn is an effective tool to locate potential prospects and engage with them in a professional manner.

Top Ten Tips For A Successful Insurance Agency Blog

Why take the time to create and maintain an insurance agency blog? There are many benefits to blogging, from showcasing agency expertise, to improving insurance agency search engine optimization. Suffice it to say, an insurance agency website is missing a vital component if it lacks a blog. Here are ten important tips to ensure your…

Why take the time to create and maintain an insurance agency blog? There are many benefits to blogging, from showcasing agency expertise, to improving insurance agency search engine optimization. Suffice it to say, an insurance agency website is missing a vital component if it lacks a blog. Here are ten important tips to ensure your agency deploys a successful insurance agency blog:

1. Be Consistent – Publish at least one blog a week, and do it every week. Gaps impact credibility for both your readers and your insurance search engine optimization.

2. Speak To Your Audience – It's about them, not you. What topics interest them? What impacts their businesses?

3. Vary Content Fulfillment – Blogs should include complimentary digital content when possible. This may include a link to a video, and infographic, a webinar, a case study, or new regulations (ACA, OSHA, etc.).

4. Do not Make It About Insurance – I can save you money on your commercial insurance is not the type of blog that agencies should publish. As noted in Tip # 2, stick with topics that will interest your target market.

5. Educational, Timely, Elucidating – The more educational your content, the better your insurance agency blog. Focus on regulations, updates, news and interesting topics relating to your readers. Make sure each blog includes a “knowledge nugget”, a valuable take away that your reader will remember.

6. Leverage Social Media – Whenever you post a blog, make sure you share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+.

7. Include Social Media Sharing Icons – Make it easy to share your blogs by including “chiclets” (sharing icons) at the bottom of every blog.

8. Do not Just Blog, Vlog – A short video or recorded webinar can be used to make a great blog. These look very professional when sharing on social media.

9. Include Images – Blogs always look more professional when an image is included. Images make blogs more likely to be read.

10. Make It Easy To Find – Make sure your blog is easy to find on your insurance website. At a minimum, have your blog accessible from your main navigation, but it's even better if it's also accessible from a Call To Action button on your home page.

An insurance blog provides owners, agents and producers with a great opportunity to showcase expertise. Many agencies can blog on their own, utilizing their internal staff. Those that lack the time or resources, can outsource their blogging to a profitable insurance agency marketing firm.

Insurance Lead Generation in a Changing Marketplace

One of the most critical activities for an insurance producer is “filling the sales pipeline” with prospects to whom you can discuss their insurance program. Did you notice that I did not say “to what you can sell insurance?” You are in a unique position to positively impact lives. You know what can happen when…

One of the most critical activities for an insurance producer is “filling the sales pipeline” with prospects to whom you can discuss their insurance program. Did you notice that I did not say “to what you can sell insurance?” You are in a unique position to positively impact lives. You know what can happen when people are not properly insured, typically your prospects do not!

Lead generation has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Here are a few areas that used to be the mainstay of producers that may not even be worth your time anymore:

Lead purchase . This information has become extremely expensive for what you now get. The quality of the information generally available has eroded to the point that I really can not recommend it.

Direct mail . The effectiveness of direct mail is limited without you can tailor information specifically to a prospect or have a compelling “call to action” proposal. Oversized postcards tend to get more attention than letters and you will need to mail to the same prospect multiple times to gain any transaction.

Cold calling . This is still somewhat effective for commercial prospects but a complete waste of time for personal lines accounts. You also need to be careful complying with “do not call” requirements.

In this information age where people like to do their own research online, it can be much more compelling to try these tactics:

Create an online presence . What will people find if they research you? Write articles, speak at local rotary clubs or Homeowner Associations to develop a reputation as an “expert.”

Use your consulting skills . Most of us have degrees or expertise in areas other than insurance. Provide tips to prospects that work in businesses where you have knowledge. Prospects will be very receptive to getting good information and would like to do business with someone who can “speak their language.”

Offer value added services . For example, everyone should have a “personal inventory” in case the unthinkable happens and everything is lost, but very few ever do it. Even those of us in the insurance business rarely get around to it. Offer to make a video walking around a clients' house opening drawers and closets. This tool will allow them to recover much more financially than if they did not have it. Offer to keep it for them in case they do not have a safe deposit box or fire-proof safe.

Make a list of prospects . Pick prospects you would like to do business with and learn about them through their website. Walk into their business and bring them useful information they will want to keep with your contact information included.

Pay attention to your current clients . Strong retention is the key to growing your business. If your retention of clients is only 80%, you are churning your entire book every 5 years as you are losing 20% ​​per year! Contact clients especially spheres of influence or clients that generate a predetermined level of revenue at least 4-6 times per year. Send them for example surveys regarding your service to find out if their expectations are being met. If they like you and trust you, they will refer others to you.

Producers bring so much value to the equation. Insurance is complicated, has its own language and honestly, prospects' insurance programs that I see on a regular basis are typically poorly thought out. The goal should not be find your prospect “cheaper” insurance. The goal is to properly insure people to protect their assets and their particular situation. If you choose to do the right thing for all parties, you can be extremely successful and feel really good about the career you have chosen.