Brokers can write cases with a direct insurance company marketing department. An independent marketing department is also a viable brokerage source. The broker’s best value with insurance company providers or independents is road mapped 10 directions in this report.
As a broker, you must prioritize your values in the direct order of the best reasons for using which services. The services when dealing with an insurance company marketing department are very different that those of insurance marketing independents in areas of significance. The topics of substance are in the following brokerage areas.
1. Leads There are very few insurance agency departments let alone brokerage operations, company or independent, that provide true leads to brokers. Be wary when free leads are mentioned, as these so-called leads are of suspects with a few buyer characteristics rather than leads with full buyer traits. The best value is always leads; you cannot waste time on suspects. Look for the marketing department to assist with a cost co-op, where costs are split, and you have control of the lead style, location, and qualification process. Remember however that in either this direct company or independent choice, that a substantial amount of your business will be required if leads are involved.
2. Commissions & Renewals Look not only at first year commissions, but also at renewals. Some products are being offered with virtually zero renewals or production requirements, while a few offer second year policy payouts closer to the rate of the first year commission rate. You have to be able to sell the policy though, as 100% of nothing is nothing.
3. Ratings & Brand Name Unless you are previously brainwashed, do not think your customer is getting the best value because of an insurance company rating or its brand name. Right now, it is more obvious, but there is always constantly rating department changes occurring on a dozen or more top tier companies. If the customer pays a reasonable, price and receives quality benefits that is their main concern. Top rated companies waste millions on promoting their brand name. Part of that expenditure is often acquired from higher premiums, lower commissions, or tougher claim payments.
4. Policy Portfolio Producing all your brokerage business with one direct insurance company marketing department might be a wise choice if the portfolio of products meet your needs. However most brokers find they need alternative policies even in the same product line. Therefore, you might want to use a combo of direct company and independent connections to put your personal lineup together.
5. Minimal Production This is where many brokers are burned further down the road. They never read the contract they are signing to produce business. Your contract of receiving first year and renewal commissions can be suddenly stopped by the company if minimum production is not produced. Always remember that companies are continuously selling off product lines, or discontinuing products. These actions can suck your money in the sewer.
6. Personal Service Both insurance marketing departments and independent marketers have a tradition of providing little or no service after you are contracted. Find out what they are willing to do for you, legwork wise, when you have a problem case held up. If they do not go to bat for you, do not let them make money off you any longer.
7. Product Knowledge Often you have an unusual situation demanding some answers you do not know. Sometimes the staff at the insurance company or independent brokerage firm is made up of underpaid rookies unqualified for their position. If you know more than they do, it is time to place your cases elsewhere.
8. Policy Benefits Make sure that the policies you offer have the benefits and riders that your clients demand. There is no reason to bluff or sell an inferior plan without their best needs in mind. There are too many great direct insurance providers and independent marketers that have a solution of value for you.
9. Comfort Zone Do not get caught in the trap of being thrown outside your comfort zone. Product selling concepts that a marketing department offers can make you a tremendous amount of money. However, many times the products are very difficult to sell and the clientele are hard to make appointments with. If you are stuck where you suddenly cannot comfortable sell prospects your income will plummet to minimum wage or less.
10. Plan “B” Always expect the unexpected. You can get notice by mail that effectively immediately your main company is no longer offering your meat and potatoes insurance plan. Have a plan “B” as an emergency backup plan. You might add an additional carrier or two that you provide a little business to right now. That way if the lights go out, you have immediate backup recovery.
In the insurance business, if you are a quality broker remember that there are more direct insurance marketing company departments and independent firms that need you than you need them. Their number one concern is making a profit off you. Be a little leery, but keep looking out for opportunities to provide a big plus to you. For the best value, look at these 10 points before you leap.