California – Best Insurance Agents Rating?

The rating means how we rank the state for independent and semi-independent agents that broker insurance cases. California Gets and Deserves the top rating of 2nd. What a great marketing opportunity this provides not only for recruiting but for outside product sales targeting agents with sizable incomes.

California insurance agents were researched and analyzed over and beyond normal boundaries to prepare this direct marketing insurance report. We closely evaluate our immense insurance database, looking for trends, statistics, and figures. We looked at the records of 140,000 California Department Health, Annuity, and Life Insurance Agents. Next we put them through a series of numerous computer data programs. Only then was it was determined how many of the 140,000 broker business. By brokering, this means agents who willing place business outside their primary company as semi-independent agents or are fully independent brokers.

The first step is to match up this information with the demand from our clients: insurance company recruiting directors, regional recruiters, brokerage firms, wholesalers, independent marketing firms, state managing general agents and other classifications of insurance marketers.. Next we factor in economic, demographic, and educational data. Last, and certainly not least, we evaluate feedback received from recruiting firms that recently marketed their products to California insurance agents.

California is an amazing close runner up to Florida as the ideal recruiting state. California insurance agents rank as champion in this category. That is the ratio of total licensed agents to those that independently broker of insurance products. California insurance agents are overwhelmingly open minded to offers from insurance advertisers. The experienced California insurance agents are keen to above the ordinary products to broker the prime products to their clients. Slightly over 53,000 insurance brokering agents call California home.

The number of supersized career life agencies with 50 to 350 agents is surprisingly small in California. Especially when comparing it to other larger states. In particular the New England area states. The factor of less large career agencies keeps agent turnover distinctively lower than normal. Also in California metropolitan southern areas, traffic congestion plays a major role. This directly effects how far an agent will reasonably travel to reach a client. It also effects their office locations, attending a seminar, or feeding the gas tank.

This has a rebound result. The amount and percentage of personal producing General Agents in California, that are home based far exceeds all other states.. This distinct characteristic is especially true in the metro Los Angeles area. The majority of California’s small office General Agents have worked their way into the top earning brackets of insurance salespeople nationwide.

For recruiting California insurance agents there are two areas where top agents are not relentlessly pursued. The first is the Central area, which we distinguish as zip sectional centers 930-939. Second, less competition of recruiting California insurance agents is found in the northern part of California. The northern area encompasses zip sectional centers 940-960. These California insurance agents do not receive the extensive intruding telemarketing, unwanted email blasting, irritating faxes, or dull mailings their southern counterparts are overwhelming and consistently blasted with.

However to retain your producer, your product must remain strong. In turn, this requires your sales marketing letter for obtaining leads to recruit agents to be superior to any competitors. Of course maintaining a strong agent relationship is unmatched for retaining agents when your smartest competitors are relentlessly hunting down your best producers.

Here is a very unique reason, yet overlooked, California agents make you more money. Look at the average cost of owning a home in just about any up and coming area of California. Compare these housing costs to some upscale cities in southern states, or even Texas. The price is often triple! Currently, It is now estimated the 1/3 of the homes in the Metro L.A. dollars sell for a million dollars or more. This means that California insurance agents require being more open-minded to upgrading ways to increase their insurance income. It is a simple matter of survival. California agents need to make money and lots of it. Translated to production, it provides an unparalleled need to write mighty premiums and policy after policy.

California is a treasure chest for recruiting marketing experts seeking profitable rewards.

On the reverse side, look at the less experienced and mostly captive California insurance agents. If the newly recruited California insurance agent ends up making $40,000 or less during their four years, count him or her long gone. In the vast majority of states, real estate agents desiring higher income make the transition to selling insurance. In California it is the opposite. Just selling one million dollar home every 3 months would translate to $60,000 at a minimum. How many California insurance agents do you know that net over $50,000 income their first year? (It won’t take a calculator to figure out). That is the best reason to forget the rookies, and go for the pros.

With over 50% of the agents residing in the largest 5 counties, concentrating recruiting on the other counties will increase your results. TIP: The Metropolitan Los Angeles area, zips 900-919, receive over 65% of agent marketing list order requests. Leave L.A. The exception is when your sales marketing letter to California insurance agents is not for contracting agents, but for selling them other products. Segmenting your list to reach only the most affluent areas, directs targeting that is tailored to your marketing audience.

Some important statistical information on licensed California insurance agents.

State Population 2005 – 36,135,000, Population Change 2000-2005 +6.5%.

Agents per thousand residents is 3.0 (ideal), People per square mile is 217.

Median Family income is $58,330.00. Income rank to all state is 13.

High Schools graduates are at 76.8%, and College degree education is 26.6%

The senior citizen population is at only 10.7%.

The largest counties in California are Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, and Riverside, with the first 5 counties comprising 50% of the population.

Not All Insurance Agents Are Created Equal

Agents have fiduciary duties to their clients requiring the agent to collect all relevant details of the risk to be insured. That involves asking several questions as to the characteristics of the risk which the insured wants to place insurance against. All the collected information needs to be translated to the underwriter of the carrier which the agent wishes to quote/place the policy so the underwriter can appropriately approve and bind coverage.

If an insured withholds material information, asked of him from the agent and the underwriter, who then proceeds to place the policy enforce, the burden falls on the insured in the event of any uncovered claims arising from the omitted information. If it is the agent that withholds material information or does not ask appropriate questions, the burden falls squarely on the agent’s shoulders. The agent should have asked the right questions, collected the insured’s response and submitted those answers, via the application, to the underwriter and/or carrier. This is where all agents are not created equally.

Insureds seek out an agent that they feel comfortable in handling their insurance needs, whether it be personal insurance or business insurance. Insureds that receive a warm fuzzy feeling from an agent the first year are less likely to change from year-to-year unless the agent makes an egregious error in his fiduciary duties, such as placing a policy that does not match the needed coverage (usually not discovered until a claim is filed and not paid). That is Marketing 101: spend 90% of marketing money attracting a client and 10% keeping the client. Unfortunately, some agents use all means necessary to attract and retain their clients even if that means acting in the agents best interest instead of the insureds interest.

I encounter this problem more often than I like to recall. I am no different than any other agent when it comes to soliciting new business from my community. I shake hands, kiss babies, attend social functions, and join networking clubs for the sole purpose of obtaining new clients. That means I have to impress someone greater than their current agent is doing. The difficulty is when the current relationship has been well established over a several year period and the incumbent agent has been doing business as usual. Business as usual means the agent has established a rapport with his client well enough where the agent completes the application for the client assuming he knows exactly what the client needs and the specific characteristics of the risk. “Oh sure, Mr. Client, this new property purchase is just like the other 3 we insured for you last month. I’ll get that taken care of for you.” No other questions. No other information requested or supplied. The client is thinking how great it is that all he has to do is call his “great” agent, tell the agent he just purchased something similar to past purchases, and BAM, all done. Covered. No more time wasted on silly details.

Let us continue with that same client and say I meet him at one of the many functions I described earlier. He and I go through the usual introductions, getting to know what our respective professions are and how business is currently going. He gets one of those warm fuzzy feelings about me based on how I conduct myself and how I answer his inevitable insurance questions. He says, “Can you take a look at my policies for me?” I obligingly say yes. When I receive his current policies, I go through my usual due diligence asking what is the use of the property, what are the primary operations of his business, etc. Once I feel I have a market that can compete against his current carrier, I email the needed applications over to his email and ask him to complete and sign them.

Here is where I find out what kind of relationship he has with his current insurance agent. If he shoots back a reply like: “My agent fills these applications out for me and just submits them.” I realize I have an uphill battle with this prospective client. He has been groomed to have the agent handle everything for him without having to lift a finger. I appease the prospective client by allowing him not to complete the application but I proceed by asking the needed questions in order to properly quote and, hopefully, place the policy. If I get a reply like: “Why do I need to answer all these questions? My agent just does all this for me.” Depending on how I feel about the prospects attitude, at this time, I may just tell him that he is better off staying put with his current agent and carrier. If I feel there is an opportunity to interject some reason to win over a more rationale mentality, I proceed.

More times than not, in those circumstances, I find that the prospect’s agent has not performed his fiduciary duties of gathering proper information and making, what could be, an expensive recommendation, a recommendation that may not sit well with the client. The agent feels that if he comes back with a price more expensive than the client is accustom to, the client may not take the policy. Therefore, the agent not only looses the policy commission but possibly the client, also. The agent may feel the client will “shop” his rate for a lower price. Conversely, what a good agent will do is “groom” his clients from the beginning by having prospective clients self complete ALL applications making sure not leave any section answered or at least addressed no matter how minor or trivial.

In this situation, I also find that the incumbent agent has not forwarded to the carrier all relevant facts about the risk so as to keep the premium down. The agent thinks he doing the client and himself a favor by “saving money” for his client. What clients do not understand is when premium is paid for an insurance policy the contract is bound between the insured and the carrier. If a claim arises in the policy period that is not covered due to erroneous information on the application, the carrier has the right to deny coverage for the claimed loss. The client is then out-of-pocket attorney fees and replacement cost of the lost property. My calculations usually come back where the loss is much greater than what the correct premium should have been. The phrase, “you can pay me now or you can pay me later” seems true when it comes to misplaced insurance policies.

As an ethical insurance agent who likes to sleep uninterrupted at night, I hate “competing” against agents who do not understand the harm they are doing not only for their clients but for the industry as a whole. Once I explain to a prospective client why I need the information I am requesting, which his current agent has never asked for, it makes me appear, in the eyes of the prospective client, to be incompetent or unaware of what is needed by the prospect. The prospect feels I am throwing him a curve ball to confuse him by attempting to make the other agent look incompetent. He is right in that I am attempting to make the other agent look incompetent but not by confusing the prospect.

As you request quotes from your current insurance agent or a prospective new insurance agent, make sure he asks you a lot of questions regarding the insured risk. If you feel he does not ask enough or appropriate questions, feel free to volunteer any information you feel relevant to properly secure the insurance policy. Remember, once the carrier has accepted your risk and you agreed to pay the premium, you gave all control over to the carrier. If you have a claim, the carrier has the right to investigate, accept, deny and adjust coverage as they see fit. It’s your money, protect it.

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Life Insurance Agent

Many people are still under the impression that the polices are still practiced the old ways and are uncertain about taking an insurance policy for the simple fact that they feel they will have to go through a lot of formalities for this. Now days the process of getting an insurance has changed and it is made a lot easy to get a policy. There are two ways by which you can get a insurance policy. One would be by getting it yourself via the insurance broker website and the other option would be to hire a good agent to finish the deal for you.

Now a days, there are many people who are choosing as a career option because the income is steady and good. When you have decided to choose life insurance as a career, you need to be aware of few key aspects. Life insurance agents also referred to as sales agents. There are many people who don’t like to be called insurance sales agents because of the word ‘sales’. Like any other sales person, the insurance agent is also a sales person for the company.

t the same time the agents are not merely sales persons unlike the sales persons they do not try to sale or push off the product the insurance agents also give good advice to their customers. So, it can be concluded that the insurance sales agents can be termed both as a sales person and a financial adviser. And because of this many feel that they will need to have a financial background to become an insurance agent. This is not a must but it is often preferred if the person is well-informed about the finances and the finance domain. An agent will have to gratify a wide range of customers.

The job of an insurance agent is not only to give financial advice or sell insurance to individuals, but an insurance agent often deal with not only individuals but families and corporate businesses too. There are two categories of insurance agents, the first category is the one who deals with captive insurances and the second category is the independent agent. When you wish to pursue your career as a agent then you can choose the category you will want to specialize in. Many people prefer the second category of the independent insurance agent.

There are many general policies that a agent can sell in addition to the policies and there are:

Casualty insurance
Health insurance
Disability insurance
Long-term care insurance

Life insurance agents may also be found selling other financial packages such as variable annuities, mutual funds and other securities. The opportunities for the are endless and sky is the limit. The earning potential varies from one agent to another agent. The more the agent sells, the more that life insurance agent will earn. An agent must be aware of the market conditions very well and he or she must be able to guide the customer properly.

If the customer has asked for the best term life insurance prices, a insurance agent must strive hard to give that customer what he or she wants. Respecting the sentiments of the customer is very important. Some customers may not be able to afford the whole insurance prices so they may ask for the term life insurance prices. The main goal of the agent is to sell the insurance policy that is right to the customer.

Selling the term life insurance policy to the customers is sometimes very easy because of the low term life insurance prices. However, when the customers ask about the investment part, most agent fumble and get nervous. Although the term life insurance prices are low, there is no cash value accumulated at the end of the term period.

In a situation like this a life insurance agent should be ready to offer a solution of other saving scheme. A life insurance agent should be thought all the selling techniques in how to handle customers who are apprehensive and not sure if they really want the policy, the agent should know how to convert this objection into deals. Captive agents are constrained by the rules and regulations of the company. These terms and conditions should first be conveyed to the customer.

Choosing The Right Insurance Agent

Personality of the Insurance Agent

Have conversations with prospective agents. Explain your situation and ask for a quote. Simply asking does not mean you have to work with them. This is a chance for you to get a feel for how they work and if you’re comfortable with them.

There are 2 types of Insurance Agents:

A. Independent Agents – These are people who own a small business who represents or an affiliate of a number of insurance companies.

B. Direct Insurance Agents – A direct insurance company sells directly to you without an agent, typically online.

Best choice:

Go with the Independent Agent since they have the opportunity to offer you a best match price and coverage for your needs. They have all the data that they can compare between insurance companies. They sell a variety of insurance and financial products, including property, life, casualty, health, disability and long-term care insurance. They are your one-stop-shop for insurance needs.

2. Credentials

A knowledgeable insurance agent can give advice when deciding what coverage and limits a client needs to protect their family and investments. An insurance agent who have credentials has attestation of qualification, authority or competence, and guaranteed professional in the field of insurance industry.

Nice to Have:

CFP – Certified Financial Planner.
CLU – Chartered Life Underwriter
CPCU – Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter
ChFC – Chartered Financial Consultant
PFS – Personal Financial Specialist
CIC – Certified Insurance Counselor
ARM – Associate in Risk Management

Licensing

Before buying an insurance from an insurance agent, make sure that the agent has a license to sell insurance. It’s like a patient consulting a doctor and the doctor is required to get a license before they can provide prescriptions. Each state requires insurance agents to hold a license to sell policies. Some states require separate licenses to sell property and casualty insurance versus life and health insurance.

3. Client Feed Backs

While you’re checking whether the agent is licensed, also check to see if they’ve had complaints filed against them. For the company, you can check the NAIC’s CIS or call your state insurance department. The insurance department can also tell you if any complaints have been filed against the agent. You also might check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any consumers have filed complaints – or compliments – about the agents you’re considering.

4. Ask Questions

It is okay to ask questions when looking for an agent. In fact, you should be asking questions when deciding who you want to work with. Some good questions are:

What are your areas of expertise?
What is your reach? Are you local? Statewide? Nationwide?
What is your experience in my industry? How many years have you been writing this type of insurance?
Do you have any client references?
How long have you been in business?
How many companies do you represent? Which ones?

Of course there are lots of factor to consider when choosing an insurance agent. Take note of the most important things when trusting someone to provide you with the best coverage for your business needs. You always have an option to switch agents, but it is much better to do a research beforehand to find the great insurance partner.