What to look for (and stay away from) in carrier options when selling Final Expense over the phone

Are you considering selling final expense over the phone due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

More and more agents daily are considering shifting gears from face-to-face sales to over-the-phone sales to combat the growing difficulty of getting in-person appointments.

If you are planning on making the transition to final expense phone sales, you need to know the carrier selection process is totally different than in face-to-face sales.

In this article, I will discuss what qualities to look for in final expense telesales carriers, as well as what factors to avoid.

#1: 100% Verbal Phone Authorization Process A MUST!

David Duford

If you want to succeed in selling final expense over the phone, the only carriers you should consider using are those that allow the prospect to verbally approve her policy without the use of digital or written signatures.

Unfortunately, our clients are lucky to get their Facebook app on their smartphone turned on! Thus, asking them to work through a multi-step sequence to digitally sign their application is a surefire way to losing a big portion of your sales.

For example, I have a telesales agent in a state that is forced to write a guaranteed issue carrier that only allows written and digital signatures. The verbal authorization carrier I like using is not available in his state.

He explained to me he never receives around 1 out of 3 applications he must get written or digital signatures for. Yikes!

That’s why you need to avoid any carriers without verbal authorizations. With a 100% verbal authorization process, your clients don’t need to sign anything by hand or digitally, which means you help more people and you get paid more.

#2: Instant Decision Process

A fundamental tenet all final expense telesales agents must follow is to simplify the sales process as much as possible.

Adding unnecessary steps to your sales process decreases your profitability.

In this case, it is vital for the telesales agent to use carriers with an instant decision process that gives an immediate decision prior to ending the phone call.

Unbelievably, there are multiple final expense carriers that allow sales by phone yet do not have an instant underwriting decision. It may take hours or days before you hear back.

And what do you think happens if your client is declined after you’ve ended the phone call? Most likely, they’ll mysteriously disappear into the ethers, never to pick up the phone again!

That’s why getting instant decisions are an absolute must when selecting a final expense telesales carrier.

#3: Social Security Deposit Draft Setup

All carriers, regardless of telesales or face-to-face, should require this method of billing.

Social Security Deposit billing refers to the insurance company drafting your client based on the day they receive their Social Security check, versus using a specific numerical date.

Why does this matter?

Because the customary numerical draft date sometimes falls on weekends or holidays, delaying our draft until the following non-holiday weekday. And this is a big deal because Uncle Sam pays our clients BEFORE the bank holiday as opposed to AFTER.

For example, let’s say July 4th is on a Monday. Normally, the client is paid on the 3rd of the month.

Since it’s the weekend, the client is paid on Friday, July 1st. And since Monday is a holiday, we can NOT draft our client until Tuesday, July 5th, if we set her up on a numerical date.

That means 4 days have passed BEFORE we try collecting the premium. And the more days that passes, the higher the chances of a non-payment lapse.

However, if you used a final expense telesales carrier with Social Security Deposit billing, then the client would have been drafted on Friday, the date of her Social Security deposit.

Bottom line it’s a literal race to beat your client to the ATM! And the results for the agent in increased quality of business is huge.

I heard of one carrier that experienced a 10% increase in first-year persistency using Social Security Deposit Billing. That’s fantastic!

#4: Preferentially Work With Experienced Telesales Carriers

Last on the list, make sure you focus your sales efforts with final expense telesales carriers that have significant experience selling over the phone.

The more experience a carrier has in telesales, the higher the likelihood that they understand the nuances of the telesales process.

This is really important, since selling final expense over the phone is not the same as face-to-face sales. You need a carrier that “gets it.”

If you’re considering a transition into final expense telesales, follow these 4 tips to better improve your closing and persistency numbers.

About the author: David Duford owns DavidDuford.com, a virtual insurance agency helping new and experienced agents nationally become top producers in final expense, Medicare, and annuity sales. He is the author of 3 best-selling insurance sales and marketing books, including “The Official Guide To Selling Insurance For New Agents,” “The Official Guide To Selling Final Expense Insurance,” and “Interviews With Top Producing Insurance Agents.” David is also a YouTube Influencer in insurance sales with nearly 13,000 subscribers and more than 1.5 million total views.