Successful Health Insurance Agent Interviewed within the Apollo FMO:
We recently conducted an interview with one of our FMO agents discussing how Apollo helped him become a successful health insurance agent. In this interview, we ventured deep into how Apollo helps agents become successful. Here are the questions and responses...
Please tell me how you heard about Apollo?
I was originally looking for an appointment with Medica prior to open enrollment. Apollo was listed as one of the available FMO's for Medica. This carrier was new to the market and I needed something for my major medical clients in the state of Kansas.
How would you describe your experience with Apollo?
I was surprised that someone actually took the time to talk to me and ask me questions about my business. My core business has always been Medicare Advantage and individual major medical. I never realized that there were so many other products available that would help me fill gaps in my clients policies. Apollo told me about the work they were doing to help agent after agent become a successful health insurance agent. Therefore I didn't realize how much money I was leaving on the table personally but that is another story.
What do you mean your income is "another story"? Does that not matter to you?
Oh it matters but traditionally my options were pretty clear on the major medical side. BCBS was my go to in my area and there was a handful of other carriers that I worked with in KS and MO. There was very little crossover and I generally took the path of least resistance and accepted the commission paid. I never really thought about comparing plans or that offering clients a less expensive plan combined with supplemental products would actually save them money, provide them better coverage, and make me more money. Honestly, with the market the way it is today, I didn't think a person could be a successful health insurance agent. With how Apollo was describing everything I began to think differently.
Interesting. Anything else that you learned?
Yes. I also started talking to them about ACA alternatives. Unfortunately it was right before open enrollment and I really didn't have or take the time to learn about them. It wasn't until January that I spoke to my contact at Apollo again about learning more. I had so many upset clients and was hoping that they had something that could help. And again, Apollo assured me that they could help grow my income and turn me into a successful health insurance agent.
And what exactly did Apollo tell You?
I learned that I didn't have to put all of my clients into the marketplace. That I could actually take as good if not better care of them outside of the marketplace. I learned that I had other options and because of the products and knowledge I was attaining, Apollo truly helped me because a successful health insurance agent. But don't get me wrong... it was a process for me. I have been doing the same process for years, and then came the ACA! This changed the game and I had gotten used to doing business a certain way. I hate change but I hate upset clients and zero commissions even more so I had to do something. I had to shift my thinking and break some bad habits in order for me to become a successful health insurance agent.
What changes did you have to make?
Well primarily I had to slow down and actually have a conversation with my clients about their needs and their budgets. Insurance has gotten so expensive that most of my unsubsidized clients were fit to be tied. Most of my clients fit into two categories, they either couldn't afford it or couldn't justify paying for it. By having a conversation with them about the market, they, like me, realized that major medical was not their only or best option. Don't get me wrong, that is what we all would prefer right? A nice cushy major medical plan with a low deductible and fair premium is ideal. But lets face it, those days are gone. The first step for me was to realize that for myself and I explained the process that I went through when looking for coverage for me and my family.
And how has it worked out for you so far?
Surprisingly well. Initially, I anticipated a bunch of problems. I mean whenever something appears too good to be true my experience has been that it comes with problems. However, I have not had a single complaint. I don't know if I am lucky or what but I do feel I took the appropriate time to do it right and explain everything to my clients. The last thing I want is an upset client.
My primary source of new business is referrals from current clients so I can't afford to take chances or shortcuts. As for my family I can tell you that our major medical renewal was just over $2000/mo. This is a high deductible plan for a family of 4. I was able to take us out of the marketplace, actually give us better overall benefits, and we are now paying just over $900/mo and I am personally making about $200/mo in commissions. So instead of paying $2000 and making no commissions, my net payment each month is right around $700 so my wife and I are thrilled.
Just a couple of more questions. Do you happen to track your results with your income or clients premiums?
Down to the dollar? No, but I can tell you that I can't think of a client that has not saved at least 50% over what they were paying for major medical. My clients are generally 35 and older. And as we all know, the older the person is, the more the savings add up. As far as my income goes, those numbers are easier to discuss. When major medical pays 3% or less and I am now selling products that pay me 15% with supplemental products that pay 20%-50%, my per-client income has almost tripled as far as the clients I have on the books.
I lost a lot of clients this open enrollment because I simply can't afford to work for free. Some of my clients either reenrolled themselves or if I did help them, I didn't make anything. Thus the products Apollo has truly increases my income at such an ideal time. With carriers exiting the market and no solutions being offered by the government, Apollo has what every agent needs.
So it sounds like you are happy with the alternative carriers... but how would you rate your experience with Apollo overall?
I couldn't be happier. I came to Apollo simply looking for a major medical solution. After talking with them I ended up with multiple products to better take care of my clients. Apollo helped me facilitate my contracting, made their staff available for training sessions when I was ready and have spent many hours on the phone with specific client questions. Other FMO's I have dealt with seem to limit themselves to sending out contracting info, and then that's the last you hear from them. Apollo got contracting to me quickly, and made sure I understood the products completely.
Apollo is a group of independent brokers, who not only understand the market, but care about your personal clients! The staff at Apollo truly wants all their FMO agents to be successful health insurance agents. They stand by what they say by constantly looking for the next best product and what the market is shaping up to be in the coming months.
The ACA and all of the problems that came with it forced me to open my eyes. I had to learn to transact in a different way and I couldn't be happier. I was freaking out for a while wondering if I was going to be able to continue selling health insurance. Fortunately, now I know that I can and will. It used to be that I would fear chaos but I have learned to thrive on it because I know that Apollo is always looking for what's next, so thank you!