Life and Health Insurance agents, Insurance Company and Services
An Insurance Agents’ Duty is Service
I am proud to be a member of the life and health insurance profession. It is not just a job or sales career; it is a profession akin to an attorney or accountant. There is no other professional in when someone dies or is disabled who walks in with money. Not to mention, who can assist retirees who need retirement income they will not outlive. All of these issues are addressed vis-à-vis the purchase of insurance.
Let us not forget the most rebuked sale of all – health insurance. Those agents who sell health insurance have been portrayed as pariahs – simply because we earn a commission for every sale. As a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (www.NAIFA.org) and the National Association of Health Underwriters (www.NAHU.org), I believe I am held (and hold myself) to a higher standard. I find it imperative to know my client from as many perspectives as possible. In that manner, I am best prepared to help secure the family and/or business. Without getting to know my client, all I am is an order taker and, as such, have not earned my living.
What this means is having a conversation about what is important – not what I, as an agent not the insurance company thinks is important. In the health insurance arena, it means understanding the health and family history of my clients, their immediate family or, if they are employers, the health of their employees. Uncovering important issues, what the client really thinks, and what is not a priority, is not a five-minute conversation. Explaining the options and reasons to select one over another, though time consuming, is essential to both the clients and the sales process. Without knowing the options, how can anyone make a refined decision? Otherwise, one might just as well throw a dart at a board and select the plan in that manner.
So why is it that when the Medical Loss Ratio is discussed everyone thinks that an agent’s earnings should be a part of the calculation. Do you know what your health insurance agent did to sell your group or individual policy? If you are not happy, you need to speak up and ask your agent for help or advice.
There are additional areas would I like to discuss and perhaps, if allowed, could continue at another time. For now, knowledge and application can never be free or cheap; otherwise, “you get what you pay for.”
Block is a partner in Pine street Insurance Services, LLC, and the current federal law and legislative co-chair for the N.C. Association of Health Underwriters