3 ways LTCI agents can insure their reputation
By Frank N. Darras
All it takes is one mistake, one misunderstanding, and your reputation and career can be tarnished forever.
Long term care insurance is something that people want to buy, and in most cases, should buy. Unfortunately, too often insurance carriers take advantage of the fine print or raise prices exponentially.
As an insurance agent, you want to sell a worthwhile, solid product/plan and therefore should protect yourself from receiving the blame and having your reputation tarnished by a decision that is out of your hands.
Here are some steps you can take to insure your reputation:
1. Be transparent
One of the biggest misconceptions about sales is that you can’t be completely honest when selling a product. However, with the uncertain state of the economy, health care and Social Security, people are looking for honesty when making decisions about their financial future. The reality is that honesty leads to a good reputation, and a good reputation leads to more sales.
One of the biggest ways to do this is by walking through the policy with potential buyers. Make sure they understand the fine print and the pitfalls they could run into down the road.
Encourage them to also be honest, as this could prevent them from being denied a claim later. If you can’t go over the whole document with them, highlight the key points or sections that can be difficult for a layperson to understand. Potential buyers will appreciate the extra time you took and trust that you have their best interests in mind.
Build your reputation by being open and honest and your policies will sell themselves.
2. Listen carefully to their needs
Make sure you listen to their needs and suggest the best option for them, not for your commission. With insurance companies repeatedly raising the price of long term care insurance premiums, advise them to not spend more than 5 percent to 10 percent of their income on long term care insurance premiums.
Also, when filling out their policy, listen carefully to their answers to the application questions. Too often, I see cases where the insurance company has denied a claim due to fraudulent misstatement. Sometimes this is due to the policyholder providing inaccurate information, but often it is the result of a lack of communication between the insurance agent and policyholder.
Listen carefully to policyholders when they are providing you with information. Double check all of the history and information they have provided to you, and document this accordingly.
3. Get certified
Long term care insurance is important and I advise my clients to invest in it. But it is also important for them to be dealing with an insurance agent who is knowledgeable and experienced. Long term care insurance can be difficult to understand, and insurance companies are always changing the rates and fine print.
Specializing in long term care insurance and getting certified will help to establish your reputation and prevent you from encountering any legal or reputational trouble. The more you know about what you are selling, the better off you are in protecting yourself, your company and the policyholders you represent.
By following these three guidelines, you can help to insure your reputation and prevent yourself from getting caught up in any legal troubles. All it takes is one mistake, one misunderstanding, and your reputation and career can be tarnished forever. Protect yourself and always remember that a good reputation — and in turn higher sales — is built upon happy policyholders.