How do I begin as a Independent Agent in CA

Feb 16, 2008

  1. the do
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    the do Expert

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    I'm a newbie in CA at Life and Health. I don't have any appointments with anyone yet. I'm looking for advice on who might offer appointments to new licensees with no exp. or book of business. I'm seeking to become an independent agent. i know this isn't the easiest way to begin but i still would like to give it a concerted effort. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated
     
    the do, Feb 16, 2008
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  2. Dave020
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    Dave020 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Welcome to the insurance business.

    If you are doing life and health, here are my recommendations......

    For Health Insurance contract directly with:
    Blue Cross CA 1-800-678-4466
    Blue Shield CA 1-800-559-5905
    Health Net CA - 1-800-909-3447
    Kaiser 1-800-789-4661

    On individual & family health, write it direct on your own--most of these carriers will appoint you when you submit your first application. Your local regional sales manager can help you get started with each carrier. I would contact the RSM in your area for each carrier to find out how to get appointed and for help in selling intially. RSM gets paid on your individual sales so they will be glad to help you. Don't use a GA for individual sales since there is no GA override for IFP business.

    For group health insurance, contract with a good general agency since group pays an override to GAs in California (no override on individual which is why you don't want to write it through a GA). Good group GA to look at are:

    Word & Brown (Word & Brown Group Health Insurance Administrators, Inc.)
    Benefitmall (www.benefitmall.com)
    Dickerson (Dickerson Employee Benefits)
    Warner Pacific (Redirect to: WARNER PACIFIC Home Page)

    On the life insurance side, I work with a good GA called Brokers Allliance out of Fountain Hills Arizona. They can get you contracted with all of the major term houses. You might also want to get a broker contract with MassMutual to have access to good permanent products, DI and LTC.

    BrokersAlliance.com - Providing Life Insurance and Annuity products to Agents in all 50 states.
    MassMutual Financial Group


    If you do that, you should be rolling in no time.

    You can decide whether or not you want to add Aetna and/or UHC/Pacificare for health insurance later. Watch out for UHC/Pacificare, they have a non-vested contract which means at some point you could lose your entire book of business with them.

    Good luck!

    Dave
     
    Dave020, Feb 16, 2008
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  3. the do
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    the do Expert

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    thanks Dave I appreciate the feedback
     
    the do, Feb 16, 2008
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  4. Guest
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    I don't see what HN brings to the table because their agent and customer service is so horrible. From 1 pm to 2pm or after 4 pm call their agent support number and see how long it takes to reach a real person. This is their (everyone's) "slow" call-center times. If a carrier won't support it's agents by picking up the phone in slow periods, how well will it support customers? HN has a few good plans (that they got from NationWide,) but they are a nightmare to deal with as they are so disorganized. Of course, YMMV.


    I've learned that like politics, all GAs are "local." For example I get horrible service in Sacramento from W&B but friends in San Jose and Southern CA get great service. Same for WP. I've received the best service from BM... they have an office close to me and they answer the phone!

    I've also had great service from BA for my life cases. I just wrote a 100K term with West Coast and BA did it ALL... scheduled the paramed, kept track of what APS docs were missing and received, sent me computer generated updates when things were done or needed attention, etc. I don't think BA gives the best contracts but I'm willing to give up a few points to someone who answers their phone and returns email in an hour or less.

    Aetna will only pay you 15% until you have 11 or so cases under your belt. A year ago they had "aggressive" UW but not so anymore... and the word on the street is that they are going to do a major (like in HUGE) across-board rate increase. (I've learned not to believe everything you hear in this biz... but when it comes to rumored rate-hikes the gossip is usually accurate!)

    If you are going to do small group (under 50), learn about the California Choice and KP Choice products from Choice Administrators. Also, check out the new Blue Shield of CA "Suite Deal" plan.

    Personally I don't sell Kaiser individual because the commission is not worth it, nor do I sell Kaiser group direct for same reason ($14.67 pm/pm is a joke when it comes to small group.) I sell KP Choice instead for 7% flat.

    You also might look into how MRMIP works. You only get $50 but there are some agents who do two or three a day... before lunch! (You do these for the referrals, not the cash.) Same with HIPAA where I think the commish is $100... but I've not done one so I don't know for sure (Dave?)

    Yes. If you are in the Sacramento area I'll be happy to sit with you and give you the benefit of what I know (and don't know!) You buy the coffee.

    Al
    InsuranceSolutions123 Agency
     
    Guest, Feb 16, 2008
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  5. Dave020
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    Dave020 Super Moderator Moderator

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    You're welcome, always glad to try and help. One thing I forgot to mention in previous post was Aetna--they have a vested contract but left the market in CA about 5 years ago dumping 1000s onto MRMIP or scrambling with other carriers to get underwritten. If they did it once, what's to stop them from doing it again if the risk gets to high?

    A little history for newer CA agents....

    The only carrier leaving the IFP market in CA that ever did it right was the Principal Financial Group. Before they pulled up stakes, they made a "deal" with Blue Cross CA to take on all of the IFP clients either GI at +50% or underwritten if they could get a better rate. Everyone was able to migrate onto BCC plans from Principal with no hassles. When both Aetna and Cigna pulled out more recently, they made no such provisions for any of their insured.

    Dave
     
    Dave020, Feb 16, 2008
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  6. Crabcake Johnny
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    Crabcake Johnny Guru

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    Dave that's a great pic of you on your site but what's that white curly thing that's attached to your phone?
     
  7. Dave020
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    Dave020 Super Moderator Moderator

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    LOL...Old School phone cord. I bought a new Plantronics headset not long after that and use that so I can type while I am talking. I had an old one and it died about 2 years ago.
     
    Dave020, Feb 16, 2008
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  8. rawannam
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    rawannam Expert

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    Hi, I'm new as well and trying to decide who to get appointed with so I wanted to find out what commision brokers alliance is paying on their life products.

    Thanks!

    Ryan
     
    rawannam, Feb 23, 2008
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  9. Dave020
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    Dave020 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Depends on carrier, but usually around 80-90% FYC. It is decided by the carrier, not Brokers Alliance--they just get an override.
     
    Dave020, Feb 24, 2008
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  10. the do
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    the do Expert

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    Does any company offer appointments and training to new life and health agents with no books of business? I would like to offer individual and group health as well as life and annuities. It seems every agency or company is unwilling to take a chance right now. Any insight would be appreciated tremendously! thanx for all your help
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
    the do, Feb 27, 2008
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