Local Agent Advantage

Aug 28, 2007

  1. somarco
    Offline

    somarco GA Medicare Expert

    Posts:
    29,417
    Likes Received:
    3,258
    State:
    Georgia
    I am a local agent. I have lived in the south all my life. I know most of the college teams and at least some of the pro teams. I know the terrain, the politics and the best places to eat.

    I also know the health insurance business very well . . . at least within the confines of the state of Georgia. I know the players, who is hot and who isn't. I know the weaknesses & strengths of each carrier especially as they rank in different parts of the state.

    I compete with agents in their own back yard and some from other parts of the country. I have clients who looked at eHealth but never bought and others who looked and bought then later regretted it. I have clients who bought the first thing that was pitched to them from a boiler room call center only to find out the plan they bought wasn't exactly as described on the phone.

    My clients can find me 7 days a week by email and most of the time by phone. They don't get a recorded message (unless I am out or on the phone) nor are they screened. They email me at 11 PM and many times get a response within a few minutes or at the least, early the next AM.

    Most of my clients have a high deductible, at least $2000 and many more than that. Most do not have copays even though that is what they thought they wanted before they talked with me.

    About half own HSA's. I have no idea how many fund them.

    I have never met 99% of my clients other than on the phone & email. But they know who I am and refer friends & family on a regular basis.

    I wonder how many referrals eHealth gets?

    At one time I tried branching outside of my state and wrote a little bit of business in neighboring SC. The hassle factor of keeping up with who was hot regionally and who was not just wasn't worth it.

    I figure there are about 200,000 folks in Georgia who currently own individual health insurance and most are paying too much because they have not yet met me.

    I am not putting down the folks who work in multiple states. My hat is off to them. I can't figure out how they do it and don't really want to.

    But I will tell them if they come to Georgia they are going to have a hard time competing with this transplanted Tennessee hillbilly.

    I don't take prisoners.
     
    somarco, Aug 28, 2007
    #1
  2. CHUMPS FROM OXFORD
    Offline

    CHUMPS FROM OXFORD Guru

    Posts:
    10,261
    Likes Received:
    50
    State:
    Ohio
    Bob

    Maybe that's why I like you so much. You could substitute Ohio for Georgia and I'm with ya.

    Of course...I'm not a transplanted Tennessee hillbilly. I'm a refugee from war-torn Lebanon fighting radical Islam. Ok...I'm really from Harrisburg (Pa).
     
  3. schoolofhardknocks2
    Offline

    schoolofhardknocks2 Expert

    Posts:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    GREAT POST!!

    I'm not knocking the agents that market in multiple states either. In fact, I respect the multi tasking ability of those who do it right. I do think that a good majority of licensed agents would be better served by your model, myself included.
     
  4. SC Local LAH Agent
    Offline

    SC Local LAH Agent Expert

    Posts:
    61
    Likes Received:
    1
    When it comes to the value of a plan never let them forget that you as their local agent are part of the equation. But I do meet all of my clients in person, that's just me I guess. Good post !! I agree totally!!
     
  5. midwestbroker
    Offline

    midwestbroker Guru

    Posts:
    2,372
    Likes Received:
    49
    State:
    Missouri
    While being a local agent in the individual market, it holds more value in the senior market. To know that they have a live person to call and not a 800 number is worth its weight in gold.

    I have seen many people who have various packets from agents and carriers. The ones who buy usually sign up with the person across the table from them.
     
  6. Crabcake Johnny
    Offline

    Crabcake Johnny Guru

    Posts:
    14,811
    Likes Received:
    19
    State:
    South Carolina
    I find I get a lot of instant credibility when I'm talking to prospects in my local area. It's a noticeable difference. Unless you're in a state where you can't sell health insurance, such as a GI state, I really don't understand the concept of selling in other states. I could see a possible issue if you have a great lead source that doesn't provide enough leads in your state.
     
  7. midwestbroker
    Offline

    midwestbroker Guru

    Posts:
    2,372
    Likes Received:
    49
    State:
    Missouri
    Being local and staying in the business.

    I have talked to people who had an agent that now is out of the insurance biz. They are very reassured when they can call you and you are still their agent, or if you are not their agent they now know that they can rely on you.

    I too do not see the need to sell in other states. There are enough people in the metro to handle. There is a big Mega office out here that has been here for years. So, if they are busy, you know that there are people out there to help.

    With the senior market, most carriers want a face to face with MA's to avoid any CMS violations. So, it is not practical to sell a few states over.
     
  8. Crabcake Johnny
    Offline

    Crabcake Johnny Guru

    Posts:
    14,811
    Likes Received:
    19
    State:
    South Carolina
    I also want to ability to meet with my clients. I just use my better judgement on whether or not to sign someone up online but I'm not too lazy to drive 10 minutes to sit down with a local business owner. Older families are difficult at best to sign up over the phone.
     
  9. TXINSURANCE
    Offline

    TXINSURANCE Guru

    Posts:
    3,858
    Likes Received:
    28
    All I do all day is correct problems from the 'LOCAL AGENT EXPERTS'

    There are some good folks out there but I see NO local advantage - if you are good that is the bottom line. Our non-local advantage:

    -We ONLY do individual health
    -We are open 12 hours per day, 6 days per week
    -We have two dedicated client services that check status, track down APS, etc.,
    -We send out INSTANT email confirmations, updates weekly
    -We track all late pays and most carriers allow us to pass through payments by phone
    -We quote ALL major carriers not just the one that pays us the most commission
    -We are all HIGHLY educated on EVERY carriers u/w guidelines to NOT waste a clients time or money in the first place



    Here is an actual email from one of my prospects today...


    have been trying to work with an agent here in Ft. worth. I made an online application answered a question wrong to get the online application to go forward to the next page, and all that has resulted in a rejection of coverage.

    I have filed an appeal, meanwhile have been informed by my agent that i will now have to get a three year medical records from two doctors I listed, at my expense, and fax or mail to xxxx. I am not sure that having a "local agent" has been my best choice.

    I started this process in July, my local agent won't even call me back I get his cell voice mail.


    I would have had this corrected in one hour... Or we would have moved to another carrier if we had to. I have NO pending cases from JULY at this point in late August.

    Clearly we have advantages the "I am down the street thing" holds no value in my book - the value is in the service and knowledge level.
     
  10. Crabcake Johnny
    Offline

    Crabcake Johnny Guru

    Posts:
    14,811
    Likes Received:
    19
    State:
    South Carolina
    We both buy a shared lead in my town, Odenton and I'll give you first crack. After I call they'll never return another one of yours. Guaranteed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2007
Loading...