As more and more new agents join this board I think it's important to create a sticky - something easy to refer to where you don't have to search through 6 months of posts. If other senior agents want to add something just reply and I'll add it into this sticky.
: Join The National Organization for Life and Health Agents (NOLHA)
. We are set up for A to Z training, support, networking also offer discounts on the products, services and leads. There is also no cost to join.
THE VERY BASIC ADVICE IF YOU'RE JUST LICENSED:
If you want to become and independent health insurance agent you should have at least three months of bills in the bank. Basic marketing is around $300 per week so you'll either need marketing money for at least six weeks or be prepared to cold call. The mindset you should have is you're going to be a small business owner. Owning a business in the past or at least past 100% commission sales experience is extremely helpful.
Ask yourself these questions:
1) Do I have an entreperneurial spirit? Can I manage my time on my own without anyone hanging over me?
2) Am I good on the phone? Whether you see your client in person or sell over the phone you'll need sharp phone skills.
3) Do I have spousal support? If your spouse is dead set against this or you have never been on commission during your marriage then.....
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO MAKE:
Not to sound smug but that depends on you - zero to $100,000 1st year. A good hard-working agent can submit $10,000 per week in volume if you're busting your butt. At 10% that's $1,000 a week. Renewal income doesn't really kick in until month 13 and averages 4% however renewals are lifetime with most carriers as long as the policy stays on the books. The more years you spend in the biz the more you'll have in renewal income.
WHICH COMPANIES WRITE INDIVIDUAL BUSINESS?
This is a list of companies that offer individual health insurance. Not all of these companies will offer coverage in your state so I'd suggest going to you state's department of insurance to get a list. Companies that offer an advance on commissions are in blue.
Aetna, American Medical Security
, American Republic
, Assurant Health
, Blue Cross (find your state's Blue Cross) Celtic, Continental General,
Coventry, Golden Rule
, GTL, Humana, Kaiser Permente, Unicare, World
and United American. You can Google any of these companies for their website.
To make a living just selling individual health insurance you will need Golden Rule and Assurant Health.
HOW DO COMMISSIONS WORK?
With the exception of some Blue Cross companies that pay a flat "per policy" commission you will earn a percentage of the annual premium. The average monthy premium is $300 X 12 = $3,600 average annual premium.
Commissions range from 4% to 15% depending on the company. Companies also pay either as-earned or advanced commissions.
You will receive a monthly commission each month the policy is in force during the first 12 months. Take a 12% commission and a $4,000 premium to make the math simple. In this case it's $4,000 X 12% = $480 commission divided by 12 months. This means you'll earn $40 a month for 12 months.
Same example: $4,000 premium X 12% = $480. In the case of a 12 month advance you'd receive the entire $480. In the case of a six month advance you'd receive $240 - the rest would come as-earned. In the case of any advance, if the policy lapses before the advance is earned you will be charged back.
WHO DO I CONTACT TO GET APPOINTMENTS?
This is where it gets complicated. Some companies offer direct appointments. You simply go right to the webite, download the forms and fax 'em back. Aetna is an example.
With other companies you can choose a general agent or brokerage. What you'll want to do is interview several general agents or brokerages and simply find out who's offering the best total package of commission, training and support. One general agent might offer 10% with tons of training and support - another might offer 12% and you're on your own. The point is shop several offers.
In most cases once you contract through a general agent or broker it's binding for at least 6 months. That means if you come to find you have a bad deal you might not be able to get out of it quickly. Do your homework.
The best advice?
Contract with Health Choice One
: Health Choice One - Health Insurance, Medical Insurance, Life Insurance, Denver, Colorado
- they are "one stop shopping" for carrier contracts, offer top contracts, you own you business and they do not lock you into contracts! Ask for Scott Slutzker.
WHAT MARKETING TECHNIQUES WORK?
If you're broke:
1) Get a list of small business owners and start telemarketing. I use Mailing List - Sales Leads , Telemarketing, Business, Consumer - GoLeads
which is $9.95 per month. You can make about 50 calls an hour and generate 2 leads. You'll close about 1 out of 15 so you can do the math: For every 7 hours of calling you have a deal.
2) Business to business. Print up flyers and hit business areas. Ask for the owner and offer them free quotes for health insurance.
3) Doorhangers. You can get 10,000 for $300 at Door Hangers - Printing - DoorHangers.com
That's 3 cents a pop and you'll get 1 deal per 1,000 placed. I'd hit townhome areas where you can slap up 200 per hour. At 200 per hour that's 1 deal for 5 hours worked.
If you have marketing money:
1) Internet leads. They cost around $8 a pop and if you're new count on closing 1 out of 20. That's still $160 spent for around $600 return on average so you'll need a high volume. Realize that you will be going head to head with other agents.
2) Telemarketers. You can contract through a telemarketing service or simply place free ads on craigslist classifieds: jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, events, forums
to hire home-based telemarketers. You can pay them between $10 to $15 an hour and they'll call small business owners, generate 2 leads per hour and expect to close 1 out of 15.
Those two methods are the main methods most agents use. You can supplement with your friends and family network, social clubs and your community.