Learning More About Benefits ?

Discussion in 'Employee Benefits Forum' started by Tim Resnick, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. glgamerica
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    glgamerica Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure that health insurance is the best product line to get your feet wet with benefits. The ACA has made health insurance kind of tricky and while it's not impossible, it's a lot harder to make sure your groups are in compliance if you are small.

    Not only that, with the larger groups, you'll be against some stiff competition from the agencies that are in that market who because of the amount of business they submit get some preferential treatment from carriers - probably the same carriers you'd be using. Most of the time, you'd be used as a source to get a quote from to keep the current broker in line but not to switch.

    You are much better getting involved in the voluntary side of benefits first. I'm not referring to health insurance or what used to be called ancillary benefits like dental, term life and long term disability insurance.

    What I'm talking about are life, accident and critical illness coverages. It's a little easier to get started with permanent life, accident and critical illness insurance products with larger groups. In particular, the best way into a group on the voluntary side is with permanent life insurance.

    In answer to your questions, I'm not sure on the commissions. I don't work with health insurance specifically in my business model. I've heard of some agents not even getting paid but not sure if that included agents working in the small group market or just individuals. Personally, I don't feel the health insurance is worth the headache.

    Insurance is a relationship business and if you know people in positions to get you a thumbs up to do their benefits that will help you a ton. But if you don't, it will be a lot harder. With the right amount of effort and a little luck, you can still succeed in benefits, I'm just saying I've seen crap sold in groups mainly because of relationships. The best products don't always get in.

    Changes are made because decision makers change, premiums get to high or something happens where the broker didn't do what they needed to do to keep the group happy.

    I always use the rule of the number of employees is a good indicator of how many days it might take you to close it. So a 200 life group, might take you 200 days. It might be less it might be more. I had one 500 life group that took me 15 years to get into and I've had others that OK'd me working with them right away. You just never know.

    If you want to get into the voluntary business, you can always go with companies like AFLAC, Colonial or AllState which are into that but companies like AFLAC are pretty saturated in some areas and you'd find yourself locked out of certain groups.

    One thing you could do is you could also offer yourself up as an enroller to large enrollment companies to get a feel for how enrollments work and how the products work.

    I personally spend the vast majority of my time only offering permanent life insurance benefits through employers with 100 employees or more. It's simple and there isn't a lot of service work.

    The learning curve on products isn't hard on the voluntary side. Obviously, you need to know the rules but quite honestly, the skills you'll need to enroll cases properly by how well you work with employees through the enrollment process are more critical.
     
  2. leevena
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    leevena Well-Known Member

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    Michael brought up some very good points for you to consider. For the most part the Individual market is dead for brokers. Group, voluntary and ancillary are also possibilities. But what I would suggest is that you research your market first and then decide. What types of groups are in your market? How many and in what sizes do they come in? What/who is your competition? Then match the types of benefits. For example, what if you live in a market area that is mostly small groups, under 50 lives, and between 100 to 150 employers. Not very promising.

    Good luck.
     
  3. scagnt83
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    scagnt83 Well-Known Member

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    You have to start somewhere and not everyone can find someone to help. Benefits Mall can be a great resource for you as well as the book mentioned. But always take what you are told with a slight grain of salt... especially if its coming from someone who has financial incentives based on your sales.

    However, I would still encourage you to reach out to regional wholesalers for the various carriers you want to work with. Sometimes you can find guys who really do know a lot, other times they know squat. Dont take what they say as the gospel. Take their info and do your own due diligence in vetting it out.



    Groups are certainly a longer sales cycle than most individual sales. But sometimes you can get it closed in just a month. Follow up is KEY with groups. Most of your clients will come from the 3rd -6th follow up phone call from my experience.

    And you are talking about waiting at bare minimum 1 month to get paid after "closing" the group. Usually you are waiting 2-3 months to get paid. This is because you have enrollment to go through and then the combo of when the coverage goes into effect and also the payroll cycle of the business.


    This area is pretty competitive. But it depends on where you live to an extent I think. Learning curve for small groups is not that bad. The larger the group the harder everything is. A 200 life group is not an easy client to get or to take care of from an admin point of view.


    I would recommend that you start out by prospecting small groups. Stick to companies that have 50 or less employees. They are easier to land and easier to manage. Groups under 20 would really be the best place for you to start.

    Comp varies and with the HI is very state specific. Around here I get around $20 per enrolled employee for group health. (not per total insureds, per insured employee, regardless of option chosen)

    Supplemental varies. Anywhere from 10%-70% depending on carrier, product, & comp structure. Most being on the lower end of that range. Life insurance would be on the high end of that range.


    Study up on the subject and then set aside some time twice a week to do some small group prospecting. Eventually you can increase the number of prospecting days as you have more success.
     
  4. Corpuschristi
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    Corpuschristi Member

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    I agree with scagnt83, I started with very small groups of 5-20 employees. I honed my skills on these small groups and and extra benefit is the smaller groups make faster decisions and turn around time is quick. If you make mistakes (and you will) a small group is not going to cost you much. There is not much money in the under 20 market but it is invaluable in the knowledge you gain.
     
  5. rcduggan
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    rcduggan Well-Known Member

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    while everyone here has good input i've got to add a few things. i started my career over 10 years ago with my dad. he brought me in got me licensed then forced me to go work a big carrier (Hancock) as a captive agent. it was a good start but rough. after a deal went sour and my comp wasnt as expected i went to work in my dads agency. he built his agency on life but at some point in the mid 80s late 90s he was introduced to health.

    when i got started with him he showed me the individual market and this is where you should get a firm understanding of the policies (like one said earlier if you make mistake, it's not too bad). as i got stronger he introduced me to the group market. same idea but design is important and when making a suggestion it has to fit more than 1 unit plus there's a few more components. learn to walk before you run, friend. the individual health market sucks in every way now but still good to learn what people in general want and how health markets work. there's a ton to know on the back-end with health insurance. group is solid but requires underwriting. get 2 general agents that can offer you assistance, do not be afraid to call the carrier to ask anything or to complete tasks. groups also tend to make significant changes every 5 years and minor changes if at all during renewal, therefore you must be in it for the long haul.
     
  6. Kingstoninsuran
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    Kingstoninsuran Member

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    Tim,

    Did anyone answer your questions, I am wondering if I should go through Benefitmall for a large group I will be doing. Not sure what the $ split is?!?!?

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    New to group Health/Life and will be doing a large group and two smaller ones need advise on who to speak with. I am appointed with Aetna, Cigna and Blue Cross. Would anyone recc. Benefitmall? Or shall I try it on my own? What is the commission split?
     

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