Life In The Fast Lane

Life in the Fast Lane By: Pat Wedeking

Life insurance is important…we all know that.  Life insurance rates have gone down significantly over the past 10 years as people live longer…many of us know that. Now life insurance is easier to transact… I know some of us might even challenge that one.  This article seeks to update you on the latest advancements in life insurance underwriting and how Smart Choice® is embracing this change making life insurance easy.

Americans are dangerously underinsured when it comes to life insurance; the opportunity to do the right thing for your clients and earn a significant income doing so has never been greater than it is today.  One of the largest life insurance growth markets in the world is the U.S. middle market and companies across the globe are recognizing this and investing in the effort to deliver life insurance to the masses.  As a result, there is more competition and prices have come down consistently for a decade. Recently, more and more companies are introducing new, better ways to get life insurance in force quickly.

Accelerated Underwriting Programs are hitting the market in a big way right now with different carriers introducing their version of Accelerated Underwriting each month.  These programs rely on data to assess risk as opposed to what used to be invasive bodily fluid draws asking your clients to give blood and urine to a medical professional they’ve never met in order to determine the proper underwriting class.  “What kind of data?” you ask, the list includes driving records, prescription data, credit scores, lifestyle index scores and the life insurance industry’s centralized database they call the medical information bureau (MIB.)  Add it all up and many actuaries are saying this is an equivalent way of assessing risk.

What was a 6, 8 or 10-week process can now be done in a matter of moments. Policies that used to be issued quickly at rates that are 200% to 500% of fully underwritten rates are now being issued at the same lowest rates available.

This is an evolution – or a revolution – so still most policies are underwritten the “old way” but more and more we are seeing products and processes that accelerate the process.

One of the carriers on the Smart Choice Quick Life platform, for example, has eliminated the need for blood and urine for all cases with face amounts of $500,000 and under.   Another carrier on this platform is offering some applicants the chance at the best prices without blood and urine up to $1 million and still another is reviewing all cases that fit a certain profile and giving us pleasant surprises with “Issued as applied for, underwriting requirements waived” messages often within hours of submitting the case to underwriting.

Yet another carrier has gone one-step further… the furthest of any carrier in the market today.  This carrier is instantly issuing policies up to $1 Million in face amount for all applicants who fit a certain profile and where data is available for consideration.  These are policies are issued on the spot, delivered electronically, with electronic payment and at a price that is most competitive.

Smart Choice has embraced this evolution and offers access to instant coverage through the expansion of the Smart Start program that we call Smart Start Life.  This makes Smart Choice among the select few in the country to have access to this product.  In partnership with InsureNOW, part of the largest distributor of life insurance in the United States, this program is available to Smart Choice offices nationwide.

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How to Sell (More) Life Insurance:

  1. Create awareness that you offer this type of insurance. We call this one “State Farm Sells Life Insurance” because this company is one of the top sellers of life insurance in the country simply by letting it be known that life insurance is available to their policy holders. No commercials, no pushing or pressing, just awareness.  Let your clients know that you offer life insurance.  Ask us, we can help you with email signatures, announcement letters and emails and even a customer friendly shopping mechanism you can link from your website.

Life Happens Pro ( https://lifehappenspro.org/ ) offers a simple, cost effective way to leverage best-in-class life insurance marketing resources to drive business to you.

  1. The one sentence that works. “Life insurance rates have gone down. Part of our service is to see if we can save you money so I am going to have our life insurance expert give you a call. Okay?”     When you get a “yes” to that simply enter the name and contact information into the Smart Start Life online form and you will hear from our life insurance expert that will act on your behalf.  Wait for commissions to arrive.
  2. Offer a Policy Review. “When is the last time you reviewed your life insurance progam?”  is another great question to ask.  They either say “Recently” in which case you can ask if you can review to see that they got the best price available – or they say, “It’s been a while” to which you can respond with an offer to do it right away – or they say, “I don’t have life insurance” which is your queue to help that family.
  3. Ask all Business Owners about Life Insurance. What can be an emotional, slow decision for families becomes a simple economic decision for most business owners. Buy Sell agreements and Key Person policies are some of the easiest life insurance sales you will ever make.
  4. Use a Quick Entry Process. Make your life easier with a new breed of processes that take the processing burden off your task list.  Smart Choice Quick Life and Smart Start Life are two of the best available.

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Brief Bio

Pat Wedeking is the Founding President of the Life Insurance Direct Marketing Association (LIDMA.org) and the Chair of the Life Happens. He is the founder of two life insurance distribution companies and now operates Crump’s InsureNOW platform.  Pat lives in

The Art of the Close: Ask Questions to Get Insurance Clients to Buy on Value, Not Cost

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The Art of the Close: Ask Questions to Get Insurance Clients to Buy on Value, Not Cost
By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director

Most of the time, “all people are created equal” is true. But unfortunately, not everyone enjoys a natural talent for sales. Some agents struggle to make $35,000 to $50,000 per year, while others make earning $1 million a year look easy.

When I asked the top agents in my region what made them such successful salespeople, they shared with me that a professional sales presentation is their top priority. “Ad libbing is for amateurs,” they say. They rehearse every presentation for every client.

For an artful close, ask the right questions

Focus on making your presentation the most valuable and comprehensive it can possibly be for your clients. You’re not just selling insurance, you’re consulting with your clients on the amount of risk they’re willing to accept. Your job before and during the presentation is to determine your client’s current coverages and current needs based on their risk tolerance.

How you determine what your clients need sets you apart from the typical insurance agent. I encourage agents to use a presentation template that prompts them to ask questions about what’s important to their clients. How much risk are they willing to accept with their auto and homeowners insurance coverages? Life? Health? Business? If you design an effective presentation template, by the end of your meeting, you’ll have:

  • set high expectations for the level of customer service your agency offers.
  • determined appropriate coverage for auto and homeowners or renters insurance.
  • assessed your client’s interest in life, health, and retirement products.
  • discovered if your client requires business insurance.

An example of closing on value vs. cost

Asking questions about acceptable risk and offering solutions tailored to your client’s answers eliminate the price objection almost every time because you’re selling on value, not cost. Their own answers to your questions make them aware that they need much more than basic liability.

If your sales presentation had not uncovered their needs, all you’ve done is compete with their current agent on cost. An effective presentation identifies risk tolerance and offers solutions. It allows you to compete on value. It earns you the right to ask them to pay a little more each month for insurance because it explains where the extra cost is coming from: a more comprehensive insurance program.

5 Ways for New Insurance Agents to Gain Customers

5 Ways for New Insurance Agents to Gain Customers

 

It can be difficult for an agent just starting out with his or her own office to know where to start finding customers – and it’ll take a lot of hard work to get to a point where you have a steady flow of customers coming in the door. Here are some tips for getting off to a great start and creating lasting practices to help you achieve success.

1) Look Professional

If your office looks shabby and so do you, you’ll lose trust of potential customers almost immediately. Dress the part of a professional by wearing a suit. Keep a clean and tidy office. Post pamphlets, education tools, posters and window labels from your carrier partners. Have a designated waiting area that’s bright, comfortable, and separate from where you speak with clients. If you want people to buy from you, you want them to feel at ease and comfortable in your presence.

2) Partner with as many carriers as possible

This can be difficult when you’re first starting out, because you are likely a smaller agency and may not yet have a relationship with your local carrier representatives. To gain recognition and trust with carriers, you can partner with an “agency cluster group” which will help you gain appointments. Don’t be afraid to reach out and network with your local reps either. Set a meeting and buy them lunch. Interact with them on LinkedIn and other social media networking sites.

3) Use your customers for referrals

Starting a book of business from scratch will require you to build on your successes, and that includes not being afraid to ask for referrals from the customers you win. When you write insurance for someone for the first time, send them a “care package” welcoming them to the agency. Provide a folder with information on their carrier, information on how to file a claim should they need to (a great idea is to have a wallet sized or glove-box sized card for them to keep with step-by-step instructions on who to call first when claims arise), a small giveaway like a key chain or pen with your agency’s information on it, and 4 or 5 business cards for them to “refer a friend.”

4) Sell multiple products

Don’t limit yourself here. You should offer personal, commercial and life insurance products if you can. This will broaden your potential customer base exponentially. Not sure how to sell commercial and life? Smart Choice has programs that will enable you to submit your customers’ information and have the business written FOR you, and you’ll still reap the commissions. Click here to find out more about these programs (Commercial and Life).

5) Partner with a local real estate agent or office

Real estate agents are fantastic networkers. They also spend a lot of face time with their clients, and usually keep lists of recommended resource providers for all kinds of things for new homeowners. If you can become the preferred agent of a real estate professional, you’ll get steady stream of new customers coming in the door each month.