Seminar vs. Informational Meeting

Nov 16, 2007

  1. Bob_The_Insurance_Guy
    Offline

    Bob_The_Insurance_Guy Guru

    Posts:
    1,908
    Likes Received:
    14
    State:
    Georgia
    This might be helpful to those of you who do "seminars".

    I was at the Humana certification class on Wednesday, and I asked,

    If I'm doing a seminar in a library or YMCA, and I discuss Medicare Supplements, Medicare, and Medicare Advantage Plans - but I don't get company or product specific - do I still need to inform CMS the 15th of the month before?

    The response:

    If you hold/conduct a Medicare Information Meeting then you do not need to contact CMS for prior approval. Informational meetings are simply held to inform the general public of the changes in Medicare for the upcoming year. Seminars, on the other hand, talk about plan design, carrier information, and the enrollment process.

    I immediately contacted the location I am holding my next "Medicare Informational Meeting", and told them to promote it using that verbage.

    Hope this helps others, as it did me.
     
  2. Winter_123
    Offline

    Winter_123 Guru

    Posts:
    2,908
    Likes Received:
    15
    What are the rules there as far as soliciting business. What can you do and not do. I mean you arehoping to get business somehow roundabout eventually anyway. Can you hand out cards and tell people to call if they have specific questions or interest in a plan, or how does that piece work.

    Winter


     
  3. somarco
    Offline

    somarco GA Medicare Expert

    Posts:
    29,408
    Likes Received:
    3,249
    State:
    Georgia
    Personally, I don't work the senior/Medicare market so I cannot comment on CMS rules (which seem to change almost daily). As for seminars (or informational meetings), here is a suggestion.

    I have orchestrated meetings in the past with dismal turn out. I never put a lot of my own money in the meeting but, based on past results, would not put even a small amount in the pot.

    I have had much better results conducting 10 minute (or less) Q&A sessions by getting on the docket at established meetings. It takes a while to get known in the meeting circuit because everyone thinks you are just another salesman coming to pitch your wares. When you have done this for a while on a regular basis your name will eventually be passed around as someone who knows what they are doing and respects the organization that has invited/permitted you to speak by not making it an obvious commercial.

    You (Bob #2) have done enough of these to know the way the game is played but there may be others who are toying with the idea of mass meetings and would appreciate a few pointers.

    My business model is mostly phone, email, internet but I have considered getting back into self promotion as a speaker to generate other streams of prospects. If you know what you are doing, are able to effectively communicate to a crowd, and can stimulate the listener in 3 minutes or less you can become a dynamo at prospecting.

    It takes time to generate a positive reputation. This is not a fast moving process. But it can be very rewarding if you have the time, patience and skill to let it evolve.
     
    somarco, Nov 16, 2007
    #3
  4. midwestbroker
    Offline

    midwestbroker Guru

    Posts:
    2,372
    Likes Received:
    49
    State:
    Missouri
    Working the Medicare market it tricky. There is a lot of gray area but no a lot of leeway when it comes to CMS.

    From what I understand, an informational meeting does not cover any benefits of any plan. You can talk about MA plans but you cannot discuss a particular plans premium, co-pays, and you cannot take applications.

    Basically, you are planting a seed for you to water later with a regular seminar or home appointment.

    90% of my sales come from home appointments.
     
  5. Bob_The_Insurance_Guy
    Offline

    Bob_The_Insurance_Guy Guru

    Posts:
    1,908
    Likes Received:
    14
    State:
    Georgia
    80% of the people that attend each "meeting" call me back to discuss not only Medicare, but Long Term Care and retirement planning as well.

    You are right #1, it does take time to build. I've been doing "meetings" at libraries and ALF's now for three years, and INTENTIONALLY keep it generic. I always follow up with a phone call, just to see if they need more information, and to get their approval to invite them to any upcoming meetings.

    Not surprising, these people, who are visited by other agents, stay with me, year after year. They also provide me with referrals.

    For me, it's very profitable, because no one else wants to fool with it. So it limits my competition.

    The way I get around not being able to ask the Medicare beneficiary what doctors they see or what medication they are on is simple. 98% of my Medicare Supplement and Advantage business comes from referrals. I tell the person that is referring to me that they need to have the referral TELL me what doctors they see, and what medications they take. I explain that, according to CMS, I can't ask them, but they can provide the information to me, either before our meeting, or at the beginning.

    Problem solved.

    I am smarter than CMS. They are government employees, who couldn't sell ice to eskimos. ;)
     
  6. Winter_123
    Offline

    Winter_123 Guru

    Posts:
    2,908
    Likes Received:
    15
    I am not savvy enough to understand this yet. I can understand that you can't get into meds and doctors at informational meetings but if you are having a follow up phone conversation or face to face with a referral why can this not be discussed and how the heck do you do business without it if a person is considering Part D or a PPO plan etc.

    Also what are the rules on getting contact info at informational meetings. Do you just pass around an attendance sheet or you ask those who wish to have a follow up contact to sign up or what. How is that handled and what is compliant there.

    Thanks for any help, anyone.

    Winter
     
  7. midwestbroker
    Offline

    midwestbroker Guru

    Posts:
    2,372
    Likes Received:
    49
    State:
    Missouri
    When you are at a seminar or an info meeting, I am not sure there are rules to getting their names. Some will willingly give you their info, others will not.

    I use a sign in sheet that I fill out when I greet them.
     
  8. policy doctor
    Offline

    policy doctor Guru

    Posts:
    1,704
    Likes Received:
    3
    State:
    Georgia
    CMS has PMS.......moods change daily, new ideas just spring up, and everybody gets irritated.
     
  9. retread
    Offline

    retread Guru

    Posts:
    1,932
    Likes Received:
    7
    State:
    Kansas
    I don't sell Humana, so I don't need to follow their terminology. That being the case, my seminars are called "Educational" if I can't make the deadline for submission for a "Sales Event" to Coventry, or whomever.

    My educational seminars speak in general terms about Medicare and I do not get plan specific. I have my wife pass around sign up sheets for personal appointments, and when I call to confirm the appointment, probe to find their interests and needs to begin a determination process on which plan to present.

    My sales events provide complete coverage of the plan announced and I use compliant flyers downloaded from the company site, along with compliant Powerpoints and scripts.

    I also conduct seminars at ALFs. You have to know the residents to have an idea of what approach to use. For those whose adult children make the important decisions, I ask for them to be present and focus on them with info about Medicaid and LTC. For indepenent and active groups I speak more directly to Medicare Supplements, because most of them have them, and for a long time.

    If you are an independent insurance agent, think like one, and conduct your business like one. I don't let the carriers lead me around by the nose, and I know the CMS rules as how they apply to Med Sups vs MAs and conduct myself accordingly.
     
    retread, Nov 20, 2007
    #9
Loading...