Newtown Sq, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/19/2019 -- For newly minted health insurance agents the next step is to get appointed to sell policies through major health insurance companies in their state. This can be a daunting process. Read on for tips on how to navigate through this process.
Being contracted to sell policies for large health insurance companies is one of the more significant steps a new agent may take to get an agency up and running and to grow it. As with every step taken to build a business, there can be a few pitfalls to watch out for while setting up.
"You can certainly contract some of the bigger insurance companies directly, but may not be able to get an advance on commissions and would have limited support for underwriting and plan training. It's your choice what route to take but make sure you check all options," suggested Clelland Green, RHU, CEO benepath.net. It is also a good idea to talk about support for underwriting issues as there are going to be times when it is needed.
The top consideration is whether or not the company offers top commissions. A number of companies offer commissions plus proper training and support. Agents looking to contract with insurance carriers need to find out whether commissions are offered or if there is a commission reduction. "Make certain to inquire about any parameters regarding releases," added Green.
Once an agent signs an appointment contract, they cannot move that appointment to another agency without a signed release. The only way to work around that situation is to not do business with those carriers for six months – a situation that could cause some serious issues for an agent.
To consolidate the number of carriers and companies an agent may work with, it is best to check out if the carrier of choice offers contracts/appointments through all the national carriers such as Humana, Aetna, Assurant, etc. The reason for that is if they only provide a limited number of contracts, the agent then needs to spend more time and effort to track down another agency to handle the rest of the carriers.
In general, it is best to check out everything offered, all the exclusions and inclusions, the training programs and support, and how extensive a carrier's offerings are. Knowing what an agent is signing up for avoids surprises later if an issue arrives.
Lastly, agents need to ensure that they own their block of business right from the very beginning of any contractual relationship. It is critical to get this in writing. A block of business refers to a group of policies, distinguishing it from a line of business. It may also refer to a particular group of policies issued under the same plan in a given year.
Check the contracts for wording referring to one to two years to vest or for a non-compete clause. An agent who owns their block of business will be able to leave with the clients they have worked with, allowing the agent to continue to earn rewards. If such a clause does not exist in the contract, suggest that it be added.