Looking for the Best Life Insurance Companies for Independent Agents?

Mike Miller | February 17, 2022

The Smart Choice Life Program Is Where Your Search Ends.

Just a couple of years ago, many of Smart Choice’s Personal Lines agents were reluctant to sell life insurance policies because of their unfamiliarity with it or their concern that it was a time-consuming task that didn’t have recurring revenue to justify the effort. So much has changed in the past two years, and selling life policies has never been easier.

A Q&A with Choco Harwell on the Smart Choice Life Program

Choco Harwell has been part of the Smart Choice® brand since 1994. He has spent 40+ years working in the insurance industry, with previous experience as a life insurance agent, sales manager, and independent agency manager. He currently manages the life insurance program offered through Smart Choice®.

As Smart Choice’s life insurance expert, Choco Harwell, sat down with me to talk about the Smart Choice Life program and why it’s the best opportunity independent insurance agents have to grow their book of business through it.

What is Smart Choice Life all about? Can agents write personal and business life insurance?

Choco: Smart Choice Life is a robust platform with three different options. Just as you look at Smart Choice on the P&C side, you have multiple companies you can write life with. They are:

  1. Rohrer and Associates
  2. Smart Choice Quick Life and Smart Start Life, which is powered by Crump Financial
  3. Back Nine, a life platform from EZLynx

Agents can fully immerse themselves in life policies — whether doing the work themselves or handing it off to our team. We certainly have the right fit for each agency’s needs. We can do the same for business life insurance — which can be a complicated part of business and estate planning. All our platforms have an account manager. The agents will have access to the account manager to answer questions. And I’m always here in the home office to field those questions.

Which carriers participate in Smart Choice Life? 

Choco: We have over 80 different life companies that participate in the three platforms that we have, providing access to some of the best life insurance companies for independent agents such as Banner, Prudential, Lincoln Financial, North American, Protective, and Cincinnati to do term, guaranteed universal life, whole life, indexed UL, annuities, and final expense for both personal insurance and the business insurance. 

The InsurTech we have in place means that whether the agent is face-to-face or on the phone, they can quote and write somebody and be done in 12 to 15 minutes. And if they want to hand it off to Smart Start Life or the white-glove approach, that’s just a one-minute process followed up by a quick call.

Logos of carriers agents have access to through the Smart Choice Life program, including Smart Choice Quick Life, BackNine Insurance, Kansas City Life, Lincoln Financial Group, and Rohrer and Associates.

Do agents have to be appointed with all 80 life carriers to use the platform?

Choco: Not at all! Getting appointed is a straightforward process, and you only need to get appointed with companies you write through.

In today’s world — with everything going on and interest rates being so low — life companies appoint in what they call “just in time.” If an agent writes with a company they’ve never been appointed with, they’ll have to answer a short list of questions that are typical of life insurance companies to ask. The appointment process takes about ten minutes and is done via email.

How do independent agents get appointed to quote and write that policy through a Smart Choice Life carrier?

Choco: The agents can usually get same-day appointments with many carriers. A couple of states like Pennsylvania (and maybe the state of Washington) may require pre-appointment. That’s usually done in a day or so.

How do the agents get paid for life insurance policies, and what are the commission rates?

Choco: Commissions range from 70 to 95% on term and 55 to 70% on permanent life insurance. The neat thing about Smart Choice is that independent agents are set up directly with the life companies you write with. If you write a case with Prudential, Prudential will pay you. If you write a case with Banner, Banner will pay you, and so on. That way, your commissions come to you directly from the company. It does not pass through Smart Choice.

Can agents access an instant-issue term life insurance product through Smart Choice Life?

Choco: They sure can! A link that agents can get through Smart Choice and Rohrer and Associates gives them the ability to send a link to a client. The client can then — at any time or on any day and on any smartphone, tablet, or computer — answer five or six lifestyle questions and receive a quote in a minute or less. There are no doctor appointments, medical tests, or needles required.

If the client is satisfied with the quote, they can bind the policy with a credit or debit card or Apple, Android, or Google Pay. Their policy is delivered to them in just minutes. Artificial intelligence drives this process with coverage anywhere from $50,000 to $1.5 million of term in increments of 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-year level terms. This is strictly a term policy — you can’t add riders, and it’s not convertible. The prices are very, very competitive. The link can be put on their website, email salutation, or sent directly to clients, along with approved flyers targeting different live events.

Selling life insurance is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to increase revenues. The Smart Choice® Life Program offers independent agents access to 80 carriers and some of the most simple appointment processes in the industry. See how much you can grow your book of business through personal and business life insurance!

Get Started with Smart Choice Life

E&S: Clutch Coverage in a Changing Market

E&S business has surged in the last one to two years due to the firming market as a result of economic uncertainty, inflation, low interest rates, and more. And now is the time to seize
the opportunity to bring on more clients by offering diverse and custom solutions through these types of markets. Check out the 2022 Issue 2 of Smart Choice Magazine for tips on how.

Read the Magazine