Should you steer clear of health insurance agents new in the business?
Individuals and small businesses want to deal with experienced health insurance brokers and providers, so they can find the most affordable health insurance plans. But does a new agent have a chance?
I have read many articles that direct small businesses as to what they should look for when choosing a broker or agent to help them choose a health insurance plan for their employees. Most articles and advisers say businesses should choose a broker based on their experience and years in the business. As an agent in the business I feel is true in most cases especially in complex cases and with larger groups. But does this mean that the new agent doesn’t have a chance? Should you steer clear of them? Is there any advantage to working with an agent new in the business? Should you only work with an agent who works full time in the business? Should they have special designations such as RHU, CLU, or be associated with any particular organization?
Should you steer clear of an agent or broker who is new in the business?
Not necessarily but you better do your homework. You can do an Internet search to see what you can find out about the agent. Find out how long he has had his license. If the agent is honest and open about these things most likely he will be honest about other things also. Find out what agency the agent is affiliated with. Do an Internet search on that company. How long have they been in business? Have they serviced companies similar to yours? Many times a new agent is only as good as the company that is backing him. You may even want to call the company to find out what they can offer your business. What health insurance carriers are the agents company affiliated with? Is the agent appointed with all of the carriers? What support will the agent be able to provide to your company? Are amongst some of the questions you need to ask.
Is there an advantage to working with a new agent?
In some cases yes. A new health insurance agent, unless he’s what we consider to be a rock star, usually does not have a large book of business. Which means they often have more time to give you the undivided attention you need. Many new agents are eager to please. Many will go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure everything is in order and to make sure the customer is satisfied.
Should you work with only with an agent who works full time in the business?
Again that’s a personal choice. There are many agents who have other side businesses or work the business only part time. The question is, are they available when you need them? Many agents who work part time work off peak hours. Some may work mainly in the evenings and others may work during the day. Some may service their clients only on the weekends. The question is, does their schedule work with yours? How well do they do their job? Just like many of the host on Shark Tank, many of them have their main profession while supporting other business on the side and it does not make them any less effective.
Should the agent you choose have special insurance designations such as RHU or CLU, and should they be associated with any particular organization?
Insurance designations are a sign that that particular agent has gotten additional training and education in a particular area in the health insurance industry. All insurance agents must take Continuing Education classes every two years to maintain their license and keep up to date with changes in the industry. If your case is a complex one you by all means should seek an agent with the expertise to handle your case. The same as you would trust a doctor at an urgent care center to treat you for the complications of the common cold but you would seek an oncologist if you were diagnosed with lung cancer. Should they be affiliated with any particular organization? If that is your preference sure, but there are many agents who are not affiliated with any special organizations and still give their clients excellent service.
The bottom line is you should do your homework. You should only work with someone who demonstrates that they can fulfill your needs. Whether that person is an agent who is new in the business, or one who is seasoned and been around for many years. Remember everyone has to start somewhere. Just because some one is a beginner doesn’t mean they will give you terrible service.
So to answer the first question, does a new agent have a chance in this business?
Yes they do. If they didn’t none of the more experienced agents would be where they are today. My advice is to learn as much as you can. Get advice from those who have been around longer than you. Always be honest with your clients. Always do your best and you will succeed.