Carrier Rep vs. Advisor
A couple days ago, my team and I met with Cheryl Perez, one of our clients and marketing partners. Cheryl is the President of BIG-HR, an HR consulting group located in Seven Hills, OH.
We spent the day discussing today’s life and health insurance agent, and a common theme emerged. Through Cheryl’s extensive experience in the field working with life and health agents, she’s noticed that, unfortunately, many agents are still acting simply as a carrier representative. They aren’t unlocking their full potential for their clients.
BIG-HR has tackled this topic on their own blog, as well.
An opportunity exists today for agents to look beyond their products and into the additional services they can provide their clients, no matter the lines of business they sell.
Cheryl asks agents and agency owners:
“Do your clients simply see you as a quoting machine, or are you a true insurance advisor? It is no longer enough to just bring the best priced product to the meeting. Today’s insurance professional must be a true advisor.”
“Professional advice is a simple concept but is often overlooked. Today’s broker must not only provide in-depth consulting before and after the sale, they should also offer additional services throughout the relationship that help mitigate insurance costs or streamline insurance related problems. Clients (and prospects) see your organization as a resource for solving insurance related problems. It is not being an order taker or sales person, but instead being the risk management consultant to the client. This type of service approach will produce additional revenues for your agency and will increase retention. Clients will not only appreciate the value your relationship brings to their business, they will pay you for it!”
Have you taken the time lately (or ever) to thoroughly examine all of the services you provide your clients?
Being an Advisor
Do you believe you’re acting as a true advisor? Being an advisor is akin to being an educator.
True advisers go above and beyond the sale with things like:
- Regular educational sessions with clients; this could be as simple as providing educational content in the form of PDFs or online resources
- Regular policy and benefits review, including all of the prep work before client meetings
- Benefit compliance updates and action, as necessary
- Performance reporting (more than just annually)
If you’re one of many agencies considering a fee-for-service model, you know that these things are essential.
Before you can even consider fee-for-service, you have to have services worthy of charging for. What value do you currently bring to your clients that you could eventually charge for? Your expert advice on plans is only the starting point.
Using the Right Technology
Another factor that sets a true advisor apart from a carrier rep is the technology used. Advisors who truly care about prospect and client relations make use of an industry-specific agency management system (AMS), or at the very least, a CRM.
With this system in place, contact information stays organized and important dates and tasks aren’t missed like they can be in spreadsheets or paper files.
Advisors use these systems to maintain regular communication with their clients using automation. For instance, Automated Workflow within AgencyBloc is used to send automated emails and trigger tasks to appear on dashboards. Agencies use this functionality for everything from lead follow-up to policy renewal.
An AMS is also used to help an advisor find weak spots in their clients’ portfolio or coverage. Using an AMS, cross-selling opportunities can be quickly found and acted on.
It’s All About Your Mindset
Once you stop thinking of yourself as just a carrier rep and start considering all of the areas you’re an expert in, changes can be made. When you adopt the right technology and consult with the right people, you can begin to turn your agency into the business you desire to have.
To learn more, follow our ongoing partnership with Cheryl Perez, President of BIG-HR and user of AgencyBloc. She recently wrote a guest blog for us, “3 Steps to Putting Fee-for-Service into Practice.” We also recently hosted a webinar with her on the same topic, so check out that recording!
[Recorded Webinar] 3 Steps to Implementing Fee-for-Service into Your Agency
The health and life insurance industry is changing. In order to keep up and stay competitive, agencies need to meet that change. For many agencies, this means implementing a fee-for-service model that helps them to recoup costs and stay profitable in the future.
Watch the Recording!