Preparing for OE/AEP
Are you ready?
Many agents keep themselves busy this time of the year studying the new plans, getting certified with carriers, gathering their marketing materials, and planning their season. These are all great and necessary steps to take, but today we’ll discuss some other things you should be keeping in mind to help you have the most productive and profitable OE/AEP season you can.
Staying organized is crucial to having a productive OE/AEP season and having a successful business. Your clients and prospects care dearly about the relationship they form with you and will choose the agent that gives them the most personable and helpful business. To achieve this you must be organized.
This means you need quick and simple access to all of your notes, client and prospect information, and your list of to-dos in one place. A great way to achieve this is with a cloud-based industry-specific agency management system (AMS) like AgencyBloc.
There are some agents who still using Excel spreadsheets and paper files, but the honest truth is that if you want to grow, these channels will not help facilitate that growth for you. It can be difficult to quickly pull pertinent data from them, you’re never 100% sure you’re working off the correct or most up-to-date information, and you can’t take them everywhere you go.
Bottom line: for a growing and thriving agency that’s interested in improving their operations, spreadsheets just don’t make the cut.
Client Detail Screen in AgencyBloc
A cloud-based AMS gives you quick, on-the-go access to all of your files and necessary information whenever you need it. Say a prospect calls you at a coffee shop or a client needs help while you’re at a conference, you can service both of them at that moment rather than taking notes about their questions and promising to call back later.
Having your client’s and prospect’s information close at hand will help you stand out from your competition. When it comes to insurance, what really sets you apart from your fellow agents is the service you provide your clients, prospects, and leads. Provide optimal service, and you’re more likely to keep your clients, grow your book, and bring in referrals.
2. Communication—Policy Renewals
Communication is paramount to building successful agent-client relationships. Remember, your clients are relationship buyers and are looking for the agent in whom they can put their trust.
During Open Enrollment and Annual Election Period, communication is critical—especially since the government recently cut funding for the marketing of OE/AEP to the masses. So, it’s your job to communicate the upcoming season and coverage/carrier changes to your clients!
Even if they’re sticking with the same/similar plan, it’s still necessary to give them a heads up that the season is approaching and give them instructions as to what they need to do if they want to change their plan.
With an AMS like AgencyBloc, you can set up an automated workflow that alerts each of your clients individually when their policy is up for renewal. Another tip to make these emails more successful is to add in the expiration date of the the policy so your clients have a better handle on their timeline. As for when to send them, here’s a schedule we recommend:
- 3 months before expiration: Have an email triggered to send to the client to let them know their policy will be expiring soon.
- 2 months before expiration: Have an email triggered to send to the client to remind them of the expiration date and steps they should be taking.
- 1 month before expiration: Have an email triggered to send to the client to remind them of the quickly approaching expiration date and steps they should be taking.
- 2 weeks before expiration: Have an email triggered to send to the client to remind them of the renewal deadline and what they need to do.
With AgencyBloc’s Automated Workflows, you can set up whatever timeline works best for you to notify your clients of upcoming deadlines. Create emails and tasks assignments to be sent to you, your clients, prospects, or leads so no one falls between the cracks. For more ideas, check out our free downloadable email templates for insurance agents to use this upcoming OE Season.
Following the 2019 CMS Medicare Communication and Marketing guidelines, agents and agencies are not allowed to market AEP prior to OCTOBER 1, 2018. This includes using the verbiage Annual Election Period and AEP. You may reach out to clients and alert them that their policy renewal date is approaching but you cannot include anything AEP related. This does not apply to Open Enrollment or OE.
3. Communication—Policy/Carrier Changes
But what if their plan is changing or being eliminated, or the carrier they’re with is no longer available to them? How would they know? Yes, they may have heard it on their local news station or read it in the paper, but you still need to communicate!
They are relying on you to keep them informed of those changes and how can you do that if you’re not aware of the makeup of plans and carriers within your book of business?
Going back to the Excel spreadsheets and paper files, this would be annoying. You’d have to set filters and perform searches to make sure you have everyone. Then, you’d have to collect all of their emails or mailing addresses to send them word about the upcoming changes.
That sounds time-consuming.
Email Campaign Builder in AgencyBloc
It would be far easier to run the search and have those parameters instantly applied in your email builder so you’re only emailing those who will be affected. With an industry-specific AMS like AgencyBloc, you can run this search one of two ways: in a saved search or in the email campaign builder.
For the saved search, all you’d have to do is go in, put your parameters (which carrier, which type of plan, which state/county), and press search. This will pop up a list of all those within your book of business who will be affected. You can then decide, based on the amount and the makeup of the contact list, if you should call, email, or send a letter.
If you decide email is the best course of action, you can set up those same search parameters within the email builder inside of AgencyBloc to pull the exact same list AND email them. You can set up the email and then press send. This will alert all of those within your book of business with a specific carrier and/or plan in a specific place about the upcoming changes and the steps they need to be taking.
OE/AEP also presents a great opportunity for you to review your clients’ coverages and discuss with them where gaps may be. Sit down and discuss with your clients while you’re already discussing their renewal to make the most out of your one-on-one time.
Another option would be to run a quick report that identifies those within your book who have X-insurance with you but don’t have Y. Using this report, you’ll have a better understanding of the cross-sell opportunities within your book of business and places you could explore.
5. Lead Generation
Lastly, lead generation. OE/AEP is a great time to cross-sell your clients, improve retention, and increase your likelihood of referrals. It’s also a fantastic time to build your book by bringing in new business.
However, with all of the other stuff on your plate like quoting, enrolling, meeting with current clients, answering calls, onboarding, finding a moment to eat lunch, etc., it can be difficult to effectively generate, warm, and convert new leads.
This is another time where having an industry-specific AMS is handy because it helps you stay on top of your new business even when you’re focusing on other aspects of your book. When it comes to lead conversion, speed-to-contact is crucial for improving your chances of converting that lead. Consider the following stats:
Being the first to the lead is the most important thing. But when you’re busy, you can’t just sit there and wait for leads to come in. So how do you do this?
By combining the powers of automated workflow with a basic lead form on your website, you can have leads coming and receive alerts instantly. The trick, however, is having all of this working in tandem with your industry-specific AMS.
Activity List in AgencyBloc
AgencyBloc offers a custom lead form builder within the system that you copy and paste onto your website. You then set up an automated workflow to alert you instantly via task assignment or email of the new lead while also sending an email to the lead which lets them know that you received their information and will be in contact shortly. Make sure to include your contact information in the email should they choose to reach out to you.
Then, it’s what you do best: you work the leads. If you’re the first one to contact them, then you’ve already got a great opportunity to land that sale. When it comes to insurance, responsiveness matters. Insurance is a human-to-human industry, and your leads, prospects, and clients are looking to work with a human.
Using the right technology can help you have your most productive and profitable OE/AEP to date. It can help you streamline your client communications, improve lead distribution to your agents, allow you to be more organized, and, most importantly, it can help you work smarter, not harder.
With the right technology on your side, your agency can save a considerable amount of time and money, make smarter business decisions, and allow you to focus on the heart of your business—your clients. By utilizing an industry-specific AMS during OE/AEP, agencies have saved:
Open Enrollment and Annual Election Period are quickly approaching, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for you to get set up with the right AMS for your agency. Give us a call today and we can discuss how soon you can be up and running in a more organized and efficient fashion!
Are you ready for OE/AEP?
Watch our on-demand webinar discussing all the ways AgencyBloc can help your agency get organized and setup automations to make this OE/AEP season your most productive and prosperous yet!