Originally Posted by Tim Resnick
Thanks very much guys,
You're right, i know "squat" about benefits. I know enough to know i know nothing...lol. This is a vast area of insurance that i'm certain requires study time and effort.
I'm assuming this is a long sales cycle and probably would take several months to close 1 transaction, so i'm not sure (someone like me) would be able to handle going that long without income. But, perhaps, i could sprinkle some prospecting in IF i could find a company/partner who would be able to close this with me?
- With obama-care, etc. what kinda commissions are earned in this area?
- Is this area competitive? How difficult is it to win a 200 group policy from an existing broker?
- This looks like some work...what would be some reasons, "why an employor would change from their present group plan?")?
- For the avg. Joe (decent iQ and persistent), What kinda learning curve "time frame" could one expect before going out into the field?
I'm not sure that health insurance is the best product line to get your feet wet with benefits. The ACA has made health insurance kind of tricky and while it's not impossible, it's a lot harder to make sure your groups are in compliance if you are small.
Not only that, with the larger groups, you'll be against some stiff competition from the agencies that are in that market who because of the amount of business they submit get some preferential treatment from carriers - probably the same carriers you'd be using. Most of the time, you'd be used as a source to get a quote from to keep the current broker in line but not to switch.
You are much better getting involved in the voluntary side of benefits first. I'm not referring to health insurance or what used to be called ancillary benefits like dental, term life and long term disability insurance.
What I'm talking about are life, accident and critical illness coverages. It's a little easier to get started with permanent life, accident and critical illness insurance products with larger groups. In particular, the best way into a group on the voluntary side is with permanent life insurance.
In answer to your questions, I'm not sure on the commissions. I don't work with health insurance specifically in my business model. I've heard of some agents not even getting paid but not sure if that included agents working in the small group market or just individuals. Personally, I don't feel the health insurance is worth the headache.
Insurance is a relationship business and if you know people in positions to get you a thumbs up to do their benefits that will help you a ton. But if you don't, it will be a lot harder. With the right amount of effort and a little luck, you can still succeed in benefits, I'm just saying I've seen crap sold in groups mainly because of relationships. The best products don't always get in.
Changes are made because decision makers change, premiums get to high or something happens where the broker didn't do what they needed to do to keep the group happy.
I always use the rule of the number of employees is a good indicator of how many days it might take you to close it. So a 200 life group, might take you 200 days. It might be less it might be more. I had one 500 life group that took me 15 years to get into and I've had others that OK'd me working with them right away. You just never know.
If you want to get into the voluntary business, you can always go with companies like AFLAC, Colonial or AllState which are into that but companies like AFLAC are pretty saturated in some areas and you'd find yourself locked out of certain groups.
One thing you could do is you could also offer yourself up as an enroller to large enrollment companies to get a feel for how enrollments work and how the products work.
I personally spend the vast majority of my time only offering permanent life insurance benefits through employers with 100 employees or more. It's simple and there isn't a lot of service work.
The learning curve on products isn't hard on the voluntary side. Obviously, you need to know the rules but quite honestly, the skills you'll need to enroll cases properly by how well you work with employees through the enrollment process are more critical.