Being good agents is simple. It’s the difference between doing anything to get the big sale, and doing anything to help the client get the big value. And let us tell you – Not all agents are good.
We’ve seen it ourselves. Dan, our managing agent, got started in health insurance by working for an agency that shall go unnamed. There, he saw that some agents (not all) were willing to knowingly say that some things were covered by plans, even when they weren’t. And they were good at doing that convincingly. It flew in the face of Dan’s morals, and he left there before long.
Dan was and remains motivated by a desire to do good. He’s trying to play the long-game: build a loyal client base slowly, rather than sell a lot of clients who cancel quickly.
But most consumers are bewildered by trying to understand their options, and don’t recognize a confident but fraudulent sales pitch when they hear it. So we wanted to share some of our tips on how to separate the wheat from the chaf.
5 Essential Tips for Finding Good Agents
- Obviously, make sure your health insurance agent is licensed. Simply ask them if they have a license. It is illegal for someone to pose as an insurance sales agent without being licensed and appointed in the state that you reside in. This one is simple – Good agents are licensed agents.
- Second, beware of agents using Power Statements and too many Tie-Downs. The quick sales strategies we’ve seen all center around starting off by making a lot of powerful statements that are difficult for you to fact-check. And once they get going, they’ll complete every other sentence with a loaded question that’s hard to say “no” to, to keep you nodding your head. That’s a Tie-Down. The premise is they’re trying to short-circuit your critical thinking and get you to say “yes” a lot. It’s a proven psychological trick that makes you more agreeable, and good agents don’t need to use psychological tricks on you..
- Third, ask to see a brochure that’s been approved by an insurance company’s regulatory compliance department. PDF is fine. Such marketing materials need to be approved by the state department of insurance, and good agents will have them available to email to you.
- Fourth, watch out for agents trying to get you to make an instant decision when you’re not ready to. Some agents will try to tell you that, “rates are going up on Monday so let’s get these rates locked in for you.” While rates are sometimes increased, the changes are almost never rapid and drastic. And small rate changes should not rush your decision-making. (That said, going uninsured is a bad thing, so don’t put it off too long!) Good agents will not use desperate please like that.
- And finally, trust your gut. Do you like and trust the agent? Good agents will be real with you, and display candor about what the plan(s) do and do not cover. Does the plan(s) sound too good to be true for the rates? Then they probably are. Remember, off-marketplace plans will cost more but won’t cover pre-existing conditions, pregnancy, substance abuse, or prescriptions.