Career Path....?

Feb 1, 2008

  1. TonyC
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    TonyC Guru

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    Hi All,

    I am newly licensed as a Life/health agent and was glancing at this part of the forum.

    I am considering Group Health and Benifits as a career. From what i'm reading....it looks "pretty tough."

    However, i thought i would ask a couple of questions...and maybe i could get lucky and have a knowledgable person answer.
    :)

    1) If someone where looking at group benifits as a career, where would recommend he start at?

    2) How do you go about landing the business?

    3) What are some of the obstacles to making it in this area?

    4) What books/publications do you recommend?

    thanks very much in advance....
     
    TonyC, Feb 1, 2008
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  2. somarco
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    somarco That Medicare Expert Guy

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    Well . . .

    Here is how I did it. You may take a different track.

    Majored in insurance in college, which led to . . .

    an intro from one of my profs to . . .

    an employee benefits consulting firm in Chattanooga.

    From there I went to work for a succession of carriers as a group & pension rep, calling on agents & alphabet houses, which led to . . .

    a phone call from a former business associate who wanted me to open up new territory for his company, calling on TPA's to peddle stop loss.

    That company was later sold, I lost my job, went out on my own as a stop loss intermediary. That lasted until . . .

    my primary source for stop loss went belly up and I found myself in a financial hole like you cannot imagine.

    So I did what anyone in their right mind would do . . .

    I left the industry, only to discover I could make more money and call my own shots in the insurance business in personal production.

    So . . . I rejoined the industry a little over 3 years ago, building on my knowledge of carriers, underwriting, actuarial pricing, reinsurance and opened my own shop catering to individuals & small businesses.

    This has been a wild ride for me. Made good money, made so-so money and lost close to $1M. All in all I have made much more than I lost so that is what matters.

    Your mileage may vary . . .
     
    somarco, Feb 1, 2008
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  3. djs
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    djs Super Moderator Moderator

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    In general, I recommend a slightly different path. Actually, this wasn't bad till you get down to the 'lost close to $1M' part. At that point in your career, I highly recommend doing something different! :D


    Actually, the greatest thing is there is no secret to success in this business, no assured path to success. As Frank says, success should be spelled W-O-R-K. You have to find something your comfortable with, something your passionate about, and go to work.

    Group anything can be tough, but people can make good money at it. It is hard to get started in, you'll need a good mentor to teach you the tricks. Small group is easier, but the competition is pretty fierce (as if it's not in large group).

    Pick a destination, and start working at getting there. Nobody can really tell you what is best for you, other than yourself.

    Dan
     
    djs, Feb 1, 2008
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  4. somarco
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    somarco That Medicare Expert Guy

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    Yeah, that was a bummer for me too. Money I will never see again. Oh well.

    Also left out the part about spending $20k in legal fees to fight a non-compete.

    I mean, why be so morose?
     
    somarco, Feb 1, 2008
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  5. Delta76
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    Delta76 Guru

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    I started by finding an independent broker with a one man shop and learned the business through joint work. My income was slow starting, but I made it.
     
    Delta76, Feb 1, 2008
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  6. salpro22
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    salpro22 Guru

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    I've got some connections over in the Philippines (don't start John) if you're willing to pay :) Not as good as the Jersey men, but cheaper.
     
  7. TonyC
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    TonyC Guru

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    Thanks for the comments so far....

    Please...keep them coming.

    1) If someone where looking at group benifits as a career, where would recommend he start at?

    2) How do you go about landing the business?

    3) What are some of the obstacles to making it in this area?

    4) What books/publications do you recommend?

    thanks again....
     
    TonyC, Feb 2, 2008
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  8. LGilmore
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    LGilmore Guru

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    Different path as Dan, similar outcomes. In this business ya can't get too high or too low. As time goes by if you stick at it you will write some impressive business and as time goes by you will lose some impressive business. Ya just got to plug away.

    ) If someone where looking at group benifits as a career, where would recommend he start at?

    Find a brokerage and learn the business for several years. Then figure out if you want to go out on your own or stay inhouse.

    2) How do you go about landing the business?
    acient chinese secret...... prospect, prospect, prospect.

    Then have something to actually offer the business that will improve them. If you can't make it better, you don't usually have a client.


    3) What are some of the obstacles to making it in this area?
    too many to list. everything from employees (hr) with their hands out. to competition "buying" their way in. and everything inbetween. In the bigger groups arena, I found alot of things that challenge your character. How you choose to handle them is your business. I can say doing the right thing ethics wise has cost me as much money as Dan lost. Paying your bills vs. a clear conscience is something each person has to decide for themselves. There are days when I kick myself for not playing the game. I'd have a hellava lot more money and all I'd have to worry about is getting caught.


    4) What books/publications do you recommend?
    everything, be a knowledge sponge.
     
  9. Delta76
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    Delta76 Guru

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    As far as number two, how to land business, the above is correct, prospect, prospect,.....

    I got going from cold calling and walking into businesses to introduce myself. I would start out in the under 20 market as you get going and learn the business. After each new meeting, bring a list of the neighboring businesses and ask your prospect if he knows any of them. "Would you mind if I mention we're looking at options for your business?"

    If you called 60 businesses a day, x-date those where the timing isn't right and give good follow-up, along with walking into neighboring businesses while your in the area on meetings, you won't fail.d

    As far as pitfalls, make sure you have enough saved to survive. The group business is painfully slow moving. It can sometimes take 3 to 4 months, or longer, to get paid on submitted business.
     
    Delta76, Feb 2, 2008
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  10. Delta76
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    Delta76 Guru

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    As far as reading material, I can't think of anything in particular. That is why a mentor is so important. Start learning about HSAs, HRAs, and Section 125 plans. Start searching the internet to get a base knowledge, that's what I did.
     
    Delta76, Feb 2, 2008
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