Advice for Enrollment Season From Insurance Health, Medicare, and Group Benefits Experts
Previously, we’ve held panel webinars with industry experts, brokers, and agents to share their tips and tricks for a productive enrollment season. These panel webinars include:
We’ve compiled tips and best practices from those sessions into this comprehensive article.
Open Enrollment (OEP) and Annual Election Period (AEP) are busy times for life and health insurance agencies. The more tools your agency has in your tool kit for productivity and profitability, the better. Scroll below to read these experts’ answers to questions about how to prepare for your agency’s next enrollment season, best practices for recertifying, tips for marketing to and gathering leads, and more!
Meet the experts:
- Amy Evans, Associate Vice PresidentAssociate Vice President at Acrisure
- David Ireland, Regional Marketing Director of The Brokerage, Inc.
- Jennifer Zimmerman, Owner of Medicare Healthcare WE CARE
- Jim Morrison, President at Morrison Insurance Services, Inc.
- Lacey Robertson, Executive Assistant & Customer Service Manager at Hovis & Associates
- Marcie Strouse, Benefits Consultant, Insurance Advisor, & Business Owner at Capitol Benefits Group
- Verlee Bishop, Employee Benefits Account Manager at SIMA
- Zachary Tinsley, Agency Director at Swisher Insurance
How does your agency prepare for enrollment season?
Jim: We run a post-mortem to discuss what went well and what didn’t go well the previous year. Then, we use that information to plan for the coming season.
Marcie: For ourselves, it’s a lot of training. We get educated on all of the new carrier products and complete our certifications. For our clients, we put together all of our materials for renewals, like cost comparisons. Having these ready helps us go a little faster.
Verlee: For us, it’s communication. Communication is essential. Our team meets to review our clients and find cross-sell opportunities, which we use AgencyBloc to do. We also host pre-renewal meetings with groups to get them set up.
What are your tips for certifying with carriers?
David: Don’t wait. Some carriers require you to do certs before you can schedule meetings or seminars, so make sure you get them in early. On top of that, be organized. Have a list of the carriers you’re certified with so you know which ones to recertify with the next year.
Jennifer: Put all of your carrier docs and login information in your agency management system. I keep all of mine in AgencyBloc. I keep track of who I’m credentialed with each year and when they’re opening certifications, and then I do the certification immediately.
Lacey: We do them as soon as they come out. Then I put together step-by-step procedures for our agents. They’re usually the same each year, so try not to get stressed out about them.
When do you finish your continuing education credits for the year?
David: I knock them out at the last minute. I’d recommend going to events, like ones from NABIP, that give you credit. Look for those events throughout the year.
Jennifer: I do them the month before my birthday. I lock up my calendar and get it all done.
How do you use marketing to gather more prospects/leads?
Verlee: A lot of our marketing is directed at referrals. We use AgencyBloc to manage those opportunities and convert them.
Zachary: I have a relationship with many different carriers and highlight every area each carrier is expanding into. Then, we utilize lead lists of people in those areas and run mailer campaigns. We use AgencyBloc to do a deep dive into the ROI of our leads and learn the value of them.
What is your process to effectively track and manage both renewals and new business?
Amy: I use Saved Searches in AgencyBloc to see which renewals are coming up in the next quarter and my open prospective clients. I track all of the information for all contacts, leads, prospects, and clients, so it’s easy to find their information and track where I’m at.
Verlee: We use Custom Reports in AgencyBloc to identify the renewal dates for our clients. Some have multiple, some have one. Then, we use the sales tools to manage the sales process, and we have a workflow set up that notifies us of upcoming renewals.
Zachary: We’re big on that. We’re all about renewals. If a policy doesn’t renew, we have it flagged so we can follow up and convert. Then I run production reports to see how we’ve grown and how we’ve retained.
What are your tips for client retention?
Jennifer: I keep notes on my clients. I use AgencyBloc’s pinned notes to add personal notes from conversations, and then all of my staff can see those notes whenever they work with that client.
Jim: We listen to our clients and get feedback. Using that feedback, we make changes, like hosting seminars they care about, and use that as a tool to keep our clients.
Marcie: We use workflows like mad. It could be for an enrollment change or that a renewal is complete – staying in touch with clients constantly makes a difference. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from our clients regarding how communicative we are.
Which tools do you leverage for productivity?
David: We use AgencyBloc as our internal CRM to manage everything—our agency, downline partners, contracting, notes, etc. On the agent side, you need a good CRM for organization. There are so many tools out there and you need to be organized. A tool like that can be worth its weight in gold. It’s also beneficial to have something for quoting. We use Sunfire Matrix. It gives us access to all of the enrollment information and drug calculators.
Jim: I find a lot of satisfaction in using my AgencyBloc Dashboard. I can see how many Activities I’ve checked off and how many I still have. I also use it to manage my entire team to see what they’re working on and how they’re doing.
Verlee: We use the workflows in AgencyBloc to ensure everything is automatic. It’s a huge help for us. We don’t have time to think about if we did this. We have an AgencyBloc Activity and we know it’s done. Then, we use quoting tools to take some of the stress of quoting off our shoulders.
What is your favorite way to destress during enrollment season?
David: Bourbon. But whatever it is for you that says “time to stop working,” do it. When you do get home, try to shut it off and focus on your family.
Lacey: I like to read. I try really hard during AEP to take lunch breaks. It’s hard, but the time away is good for me. My advice is to try and take a few 5-minute breaks throughout the day.
Verlee: Spa days.
What is your #1 piece of advice for brokers and advisors this year?
Amy: I have two: be adaptable and systematize what you can. Things change all of the time. You have to be adaptable. And, you need to have systems in place that help you know what your next steps are. The more systematized you are, the better you can serve your clients.
David: Stay focused and stay organized. It’s a marathon. Be aware of what you’re doing each day. If it’s not moving towards a sale, then readjust.
Jennifer: Make sure you have an email and phone number for every single one of your clients.
Jim: Communicate. If you’re not communicating with your clients, someone else is.
Lacey: Take it day by day. Slow down. Focus on the person you’re meeting with, document your calls, and follow your procedures.
Marcie: Outsource what you need to outsource. You’re not failing if you’re outsourcing. Use your talents to be in front of clients, but use tools to help you do your job better. Use your resources and spend your time on the things that show your true value.
Verlee: You can never be too prepared. Try to think of all of the things you can get done before enrollment season.
Zachary: Goal setting and preparation. I like to know the number I want to hit. I want to make it achievable, but I also make my “shoot for the moon” goal. But that all comes with preparation.
Ready to automate your enrollment season?
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by Allison Babberl on Thursday, September 14, 2023