2020 has been an interesting year in terms of business in the insurance industry. Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. Working remotely and meeting people virtually have been some of the biggest changes as to how we go about doing business. Zoom and Google Meet sessions are commonplace now. Seniors are more adept at using technology than ever before. With a vaccine now available, the question we all want to know is "Will 2021 return to the way we did things BC (Before Corona)?" Doubtful. Now that we've incorporated more technology into our daily lives, it's only natural that we will continue to rely on these tools - especially given the fact that we're not out of the woods in terms of this pandemic.
Seniors use Facebook, order groceries and prescriptions online, FaceTime with family and use tele-health features to meet with their physicians.
Although many agents did meet with clients face-to-face this past year, it's in everyone's best interest to avoid doing so if at all possible. Some older clients may not have access to technology, making traditional meetings the only way to review coverage and issue new business. If you find you have older clients in this situation, it's sometimes advantageous to find out if they have children or friends who can assist them with a virtual meeting. Seniors continue to be a high risk group for COVID-19 and minimizing their exposure is essential even with a vaccine now available.
Among the marketing tools we recommend using, we still have some old fashioned methods that can target those who prefer getting advertisements the old fashioned way. Prospecting with mailers or door hangers is still a viable way to let potential clients know about your services. Utilizing our T65 Prospecting tool can help with this form of marketing. And of course we offer all of our appointed agents free prospects, so the tried and true method of cold calling, albeit tiresome, can still be fruitful.
Implementing as many marketing tools as possible is the best way to grow your book of business. It doesn't have to be a daunting task either. We can provide you with marketing materials, advice and support in your efforts.
We've added several new technology tools this past year, and we hope you've taken advantage of them. Our biggest tool, was the launch of our new MedicareCENTER. It boasts one universal login to access an array of Medicare tools accessible on any device (MedicareAPP, MedicareLINK and Medicare Supplement quoting via CSG Actuarial). This tool also includes a Learning Center, as well as a built-in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to manage your clients.
We also brought our new T65 Prospecting tool to the table which allows you to prospect for Medicare-eligibles in any geographic area you're licensed to sell in. It's a quick registration form and you get immediate access to prospects' names, addresses and dates of birth. This tool also includes a quoting feature.
Lastly, we encouraged and worked with our agents to use Zoom to hold virtual client meetings and webinars. This free tool has made the need for face-to-face meetings obsolete. We held countless meetings with our agents via Zoom this past year. If you haven't used it, it's a quick download and it's very user-friendly.
As each new year approaches, we look for new ideas, strategies and ways to grow. Below is a list of marketing concepts you can implement in the coming year to grow your business and make 2021 more profitable than ever.
If you're just starting to sell Medicare Supplements and have questions about who you should sell to, let's review our list of ideal candidates who would benefit from purchasing a Medicare Supplement policy from you.
When you're talking to your clients about Medicare Supplements it's important to ask them questions about their health and lifestyle. Ideal candidates for Medicare Supplements don’t want to use network doctors, and they want the freedom to go to any hospital or doctor that accepts traditional Medicare. They typically want to know their costs every year, and don’t want to deal with copays and coinsurance.*
Many ideal customers live in rural areas where Medicare Advantage plans and networks are limited. Having the ability to go to any doctor or hospital that accepts traditional Medicare is a huge draw for many people, which in turn makes them great Medicare Supplement candidates. Typical Medicare Supplement policy holders prefer having original Medicare, and would like to save money on their prescription drug plans.
Some of your clients may have health issues, but if they purchase a Medicare Supplement policy during their open enrollment period, they have the choice to pick and choose which plan they'd like without having to go through any underwriting. This open enrollment period occurs three months before they turn 65, the month of their 65th birthday and three months after they've turned 65.
Many typical Medicare Supplement policy holders have higher incomes and enjoy traveling. They want to have flexibility with their coverage, and enjoy having the ability to take their policy with them while traveling.
*Some Medicare Supplements do have copays and coinsurance.
Some of your clients may receive lower premiums.
Your clients may receive lower premiums if they:
What is MACRA? And how does that effect Medicare Supplement sales?
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) is a bipartisan legislation signed into law on April 16, 2015. This legislation changes how Medicare pays physicians who provide care to traditional Medicare beneficiaries. And what does that mean for you, the insurance agent?
It means Medicare Supplement Plans C, F and High Deductible F are no longer available for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries. However, clients who already have these plans will be grandfathered in, and will continue to be able to use their existing policies or even change their policy to another Plan C or F in the future, if they choose.
Newly-eligible clients are those who first become eligible for Medicare due to age 65, disability, or end-stage renal disease on or after January 1, 2020. Newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries will have to choose from other Medicare Supplement plans which include: A, B, D, G, K, L, M and N.
Plan G continues to remain a popular Medicare Supplement plan, but you can review the differences below.
Plans C and F will NOT be options for Medicare beneficiaries who turn 65 on or after January 1, 2020.
*Plans F and G have high-deductible options in some states. If your client chooses this option, they must pay for Medicare covered costs (coinsurance, copayments, deductibles) up to the deductible amount of $2,340 in 2020 before the policy pays anything.
**After your client meets the out-of-pocket yearly limit and yearly Part B deductible, the Medigap plan pays 100% of covered services for the rest of the calendar year.
***Plan N pays 100% of the Part B coinsurance, except for a copayment of up to $20 for some office visits and up to a $50 copayment for emergency room visits that don’t result in admission.
Nearly 11,000 people turn 65 every, single day. Clearly, there is no shortage of Medicare Supplement prospects. Before discussing different plans with your clients, be sure to ask them questions about where they plan to live if they're retiring, if they have health issues, whether or not they're still working and have employer based coverage or spousal coverage. Asking these important questions will help you when you review the different plans available to them, guaranteeing a Medicare Supplement that provides the best coverage and price for their needs.
Need more info? Download our Medicare Supplement Kit to learn more!
How many times have you said to yourself "How do I get more leads without paying for them?" It's the never ending question that plagues insurance agents. You want your business to grow and don't know how to get more clients calling you. The reality is, if you're servicing your existing clients properly, they will do the marketing for you. Calling, mailing, emailing and even door knocking (yes some agents still do this) are all forms of outbound marketing. It's time to review your strategy.
How will your existing clients market for you, you ask? It's a process of nurturing them and educating them. Keep in touch with them, inform them of new products and services you offer. In essence, be their teacher. And what does this do for you? It lets your clients know that you're keeping abreast of market trends and products. You're coming to them with the latest in industry news and solutions. Bringing your A game to the table resonates with clients.
Word of mouth and influencers are two forms of marketing. But the reality is, they're both the same. Influencers typically work online and via social media. Word of mouth extends into the digital space and offline as well. If you take care of your clients, they become your influencers and spread the word that you are THE agent to work with.
Building your brand and your credibility comes from within. If you exemplify professionalism, integrity and wisdom, your clients will talk about you.
Another key component to this, is to focus on additional sales with your existing client base. Offering one type of insurance can be limiting, so if you feel you can take on new products, by all means do it! You don't have to offer every insurance product known to man; however, if you can assist your clients with an array of solutions, you'll have your own, private army doing your marketing for you.
Referral marketing is big in this industry and everyone asks for referrals. If your clients talk about you, they'll send referrals without you ever having to ask for them. They're doing the marketing work for you.
Incorporate inbound marketing with your outbound marketing strategy to allow your client base to grow. That means sending them informative pieces, and it doesn't have to be solely insurance-based. Including articles about retirement, nursing homes, social security and even protecting them from identity theft are all ways to enlighten your clients. The more you focus on attention and sales within your existing client base, the more you'll get in return.
Examples of what you should do on your website:
Tell visitors what you do and how you can help them. If they come to your site and have no idea what services you provide, they’re going to go to the next site in their Google search. Be clear and concise. And in order for visitors to find you, your web developer must have search engine optimization (SEO) including header tags (H1) in place. Otherwsie, your prospects will never find you or read about you.
When it comes to financial planning, we all could use a little help. The importance of saving (not only for a rainy day) but for higher education costs, retirement and even possible illness and long-term care are crucial.
Not all of us are star pupils when it comes to the financially fit class, but with the right tools and some planning, you can assist your clients, and help them save for the future.
If your clients are asking you about long-term care, disability insurance and life insurance, you can be the one to assist them if you’re already writing Medicare Supplement policies for them. If you’ve already established a rapport and a good relationship with your clients, it’s only logical to offer to help them with other needs they may have.
If your clients are saddled with credit card debt, this convenient tool will help them figure out how long it will take to pay off that balance, and find financial peace. The stress of revolving debt is something no one wants, and this tool will put them on the right track to eliminating that debt.
If your clients are still in the workforce and have yet to retire, this calculator asks for some basic math and will give them a plan in the making to realize their retirement dreams. There are even tools to help them figure out how long their money will last once they’re no longer working. This one allows you to enter the proposed withdrawal amounts and will calculate how long your client has before their money runs out.
Investing in life insurance is not just smart, it can be very cost effective. Clients with young children and without the resources to provide for their children, should something happen, are best-served by investing in life insurance. Clients often ask “How do I know if I have enough life insurance?” This tool will calculate your client’s needs and his/her spouse’s needs as well.
Many people wonder if they need DI, and if they can afford it, then yes. It not only provides monies at a critical time of need, but offers peace of mind knowing that if something should happen, they’ll have a way to cover their day-to-day expenses. This tool can help you show your client the costs for disability insurance and how much they’ll be able to afford.
“Money is what makes the world go ‘round”, as they say. And it’d be fantastic if we didn’t have to have it, use it, or worry about it. As daunting as it may seem to try and create a fiscal plan that fits your clients’ needs, it is indeed do-able. And with the right tools, you can make it happen for them.
Help your clients get fiscally fit, and help them prepare for their retirement and long-term needs.
By Carolyn Portanova
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.