Agents

Agents

Insurance Agent says what?

Agents

Welcome to the first episode of our very informal insurance hangout.  This week we’re discussing what it takes to become an insurance agent.  From the how much it costs, to what it takes to get started making money,  our goal is to cover here.

Online Prelicensing Courses

Agents

We are pleased to announce our partnership with Testeachers Online and Testeachers Publishing.   We now offer high quality insurance pre-licensing courses right here.  If you’re looking for a method to study for your insurance licensing course but don’t have the means to drive to a pre-licensing training center, look no further.  Not only can you obtain the necessary materials to pass an insurance licensing exam, but you can also use Testeachers to pass securities licensing exams as well.

100% ONLINE INSURANCE LICENSING EDUCATION

logo_tto If you’re looking for a completely online solution, this solution is for you.  With over a 90% pass ratio, Testeachers Online has helped provide test specific prep materials for insurance and FINRA/NASAA securities exams for over 40 years.  The best part about all your studying is now available online. Depended upon the license type, packages start at $99.00.  Click the Tessteachers Online link to select the package for the license you’re looking for.

100% ONLINE INSURANCE LICENSING WITH CLASSROOM FLAIR

logo_ttpAre you more of a paper and pen person?  Do you prefer using traditional study materials over online materials and exam simulators?  If you’re that kind of person, you should consider Testeachers Publishing’s traditional licensing material packages.  With Testeachers Publishing you can purchase the materials you need in order to pass your insurance licensing or securities exam.  Whether you’re looking for study materials, exam simulator CD-ROM, Audio CDs or DVDs, we now have a solution for you.  Click the link to the left in order to get started.

Both licensing programs for Texas life & health and property & casualty are created and designed for the Pearson Vue insurance exams.  As a result, Testeachers ensures that you will pass your exam the first time regardless of whether you use the online video lecture, self study, or online materials.

To help facilitate your training, you can also get upgrades to have access to crosswords and even live instructors.  That way you can also get access to all archived and current instructor reviews while your course is active.  That way, you’re online with an instructor that can answer your questions.  Look for the “Live Reviews” for this upgrade.

Both links offer insurance and securities exam preparation in all 50 states.  While they default to the state of Texas, if you haven’t found what you’re looking for, simply contact our office and we can help you find the proper exam prep training to get you going.

The Information you need to start your insurance career

Agents, Uncategorized

I see you’ve requested more information about becoming an insurance.  If you’re wondering what’s next, this article is for you.  I’ve broken it down into 3 large steps.  So read along.  I promise you this will point you in the right direction.   If you have questions, post your questions and comments below.  I’ll answer.

Trouble deciding your next move?  You’re not alone.  The Insurance industry presents lots of paths.

STEP 1 - CHOOSE YOUR PATH

Red or Blue PillStep 1 – Decide what you want to sell first.

This step should be easy.  New agents tend to want to cast a wide net.  It pays to specialize and do something well.  The two general areas of insurance specialization.  Those areas are:

Property and Casualty Insurance.  This type of insurance includes auto, homeowners, and business insurance.  Most successful property and casualty agents specialize in either personal lines or commercial lines.  For agencies, these policies pay 10-15% commission annually.  Expect to make $100 to $200 per year on each personal policy you write.

Life and Health Insurance.  This type of insurance includes life, health, senior health insurance, final expense and others.  The most success life and health agents specialize in a specific niche product.  Commissions vary, but life insurance policies generally pay higher up front commissions while health insurance policies pay on an ongoing basis.

The key in this step is to learn a specialty and get good at it.  Whether you’re going to sell auto insurance or health insurance, get your license and focus.

Step 1 Action Item:  Decide what type of insurance you want to sell first; property/casualty or life/health products

Step 2 - Licensing Education

Choose a pre-licensing education courseonline classroom

Classroom or online prep course; which do you prefer?  In many states pre-licensing education is required.  In Texas, if you can pass the test you can get your license.  With that said, I suggest completing a prelicensing education course; either online or in-person.  The job of your prelicensing education provider is to equip you with the tools needed to pass your licensing course.  In this step, focus on learning what it takes to pass your licensing exam.  Once you pass your exam, and get a job or start your agency, we can focus on learning the insurance business.  For now… just pass the exam.

If you’re like all successful agents, follow the systems that countless agents have followed.  Choose a classroom or online licensing provider to help you pass your exam.

ACTION STEP: SELECT AN ONLINE EDUCATION PROVIDER. CLICK FOR OUR ONLINE PROVIDER

Step 3 - The Exam

Pass your licensing examcommodore 64

Now that you’ve completed your pre-licensing course, you need to contact Pearson Vue to schedule your insurance exam.  Don’t worry, you’re not being tested on your understanding of basic programming or the operation of a Commodore 64.  However, you will need to make a 70% or better or your chosen licensing exam.  Aside from passing your licensing exam, you’ll need to complete your fingerprints and an online application.  Normally, it takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks to process your process your licensing application.

ACTION STEP Click to Contact Pearson Vue to schedule your licensing exam and fingerprinting appointment.

Step 4 - Apply

Apply for your insurance licenseDennis_Haysbert_cropped

Now that you’ve completed steps 1 – 3, you should be in a position to apply for your insurance license.  In this step, you have the option of completing a paper application or online application.  To complete a paper application, you’ll need to use the Texas Department of Insurance’s licensing application.  However, it is more common to complete the online licensing application here.

After your complete your licensing application and your license is posted online, you’re all set.  Time to start covering people and protection people financially, and all that cool stuff.

ACTION STEP - Click here to apply for your agent license online.

 Once you become a licensed agent, the opportunities are limitless.  Any questions or comments?  Feel free to post your comments and questions below.

 

Where to start when you become an insurance agent.

Agents

I’ve had lots of people ask me questions and send emails regarding becoming a new insurance agent.  In fact, we’ve interacted with so many people in the state of Texas that we don’t have time to respond to all of you.  As a result, my fellow agents and I thought it would be a good idea to start a VLOG just for the office.

Following our YouTube log will give you insight into the ins and outs of the daily job of a real insurance agency.  In fact, you’ll see the decision making processes that go into presenting a rate to a client.  You’ll also witness our frustrations when we find out that a client was less than forthcoming about their driving records.  You’ll even get a chance to us get excited to sell another policy and make our clients happy.

Before you become an insurance agent

Before you become an insurance agent, you have to decide where you fit.  For most, an insurance agent’s career can be divided into two different categories, Property Casualty and Life Health.  Each has its pros and cons.  The key is the agent running the show or the appointments.

Property Casualty Agents

P&C agents generally catch people shopping for auto or home insurance and make it easier for you the agent to prospect for these types of clients.  When you find someone shopping for insurance, you quote them against your company (or companies), make sure your client is not missing coverages, and then ask for the sale.

P&C agent new business and renewal commissions generally start at 10% to 15% based on your contract with the company or the agency.  If you’re a new agent, you will probably have to split your commission with the agency owner.  The good part about the P&C world is that commissions are level.  On the other hand, because auto and home insurance annual premiums range between $1000 – $2000 per year, the average commission ranges between $100 and $200 per policy.  As a result it can longer to ramp up to a good salary level.

Life and Health Agents

If you decide to go down the path of the life & health agent, you may have to work a little harder.  The reality is that people do not like talking about their health or the eventual demise.  As a result, life and health insurance has to be heavily marketed.  With the exception of open enrollment for Medicare and Obamacare, most life and health insurance sales require you to be well educated and prepared to convince a client of the importance of getting covered.

On the other and , life insurance pays some of the highest first year commissions of all products sold.  It’s common for an agent to make 70% to 80% of first year premiums paid.  Look at it this way.  If you sell a $1000 life insurance policy, the insurance company could pay you as much a $800 or more.  This is perhaps the number 1 reason people get into selling life insurance.   Not only does the life insurance policy pay high first year commissions but there’s enough room on the commission ladder to recruit other agents.

If you’re newly licensed, that where you need to start.  Decide if you have what it takes to sell life & health insurance or do you want the routine of auto and home insurance.  That makes a hug difference.  Do you have questions about the insurance world?  I’d please comment below and I’ll do my best to respond to each of your questions either here or on our YouTube channel.

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Feel free to add comments and we’ll do our best to respond to them.  Thanks for visiting us and we hope we can help you grow in the insurance world.

Training Links for Senior Health Insurance Agents

Agents

If you’re looking for where to go for your 2015 senior health insurance compliance training, look no further.  I’ve compiled the following list for your convenience.  If you think that we’ve missed something, let me know.  I’ll get it added right away.

2015 Training Links

2015 AHIP Certificate CMS/Medicare Requirement (mandatory)

Required Certification Score:  90% or better

 

2015 SeniorCare & Vital Traditions Product Training Link (mandatory)

Required Score:  92% or better

 

2015 Hosting Sales Events (optional)

Required Score:  85% or better

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Quickest way to get your insurance license in Texas

Tags: , Agents
featured image

“I need to be insurance licensed tomorrow!”

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that statement. Everyone wants the quickest, shortest path to getting their insurance license. Well, my friends, I am here to give it to you!

Over the last four years, I have come to realize that what seems like the easiest and cheapest path to licensing, isn’t always so. To be successful on your state insurance exam, you need the proper preparation. What you have to decide is, “what is the best method for me?” Here are a few ways for you to prepare for your insurance exam.

  1. Study, Study, Study. With this method, all you know is that you want to start making the “big bucks” like your buddy, or the person that interviewed you for the job, is making. Their advice is to get your license and then come back and see them. You don’t know how you are going to go about getting your insurance license, but you do know how to Google stuff! One of the first items that appears in your search is “Insurance Licensing for Dummies”, sounds promising. Not that you are a dummy, but if a book can dummy this stuff down so you can pass the exam, then you’re in. You order the book and read it from cover to cover, absorbing as much insurance lingo as you can. You go take your test and…..FAIL!
  2. Online Insurance Licensing Course. “Ok, this time is going to be different!” You order the best online course you can find. It has a book and an exam simulator for you to do practice exams…”Sweet!” You read the book, cover to cover and take the practice exams over and over until you have them memorized. You go take your test and…FAIL!
  3. Classroom Insurance Pre-Licensing Course. “This is what I needed the whole time!” You attend a 2 or 3 day class, have an instructor, that has been in the insurance business for 30 years, telling you insurance sales stories, and every once in a while talking about test material. You think you are getting the test information that is going to make a difference this time. You go take your test and…FAIL!

If any of these approaches sound familiar to you, you are not alone. The majority of the people looking to get into the insurance industry, have no idea exactly what is needed to prepare for the state exam.

What if I told you that all of the information that you study and even see on the test, you are never going to use again? Isn’t that the way most exams are to begin with? So, why would you want to learn it all? How about we give you the “Cliff Note” version, give you just enough, so that you can go into the testing center and walk out with a passing grade?

My company, Texas Insurance Training Academy, focuses on just the test material; we don’t teach you about insurance! In our 2 or 3 day classes, we cover each section of the state exam, but more importantly, we work on your test taking skills. Let’s face it, if you don’t read a question correctly, it is kind of hard to answer it correctly. We make sure that you Stop, Slow Down, Read Every Word and Know What the Question is Really Asking. We then work on eliminating answers so that you can get it down to 2 answers and pick the best answer for the question that is being asked.

So, back to the original statement about needing to be licensed quickly. Our live classes can cut your study time down by at least 10 days. We get you focused on the information you need and get rid of the fluff. If you can’t make it to one of our live classes, we offer a video based, online course. Whichever method you choose, you get our guarantee that you pass your exam the first time, or we will pay for you to take it a 2nd time. Find another company with that type of guarantee…they don’t exist!

Trust me when I say, you only want to take the state insurance exam once! By following our recommendations, we know that you will find the success you are looking for.

The Death of Insurance SEO and Marketing

Tags: , , , Agents, David Berry, insurance marketing
featured image

[tagline style=”boxed” effect=”bg3″][modal id=”4530″ style=”body” classes=”button primary big right” footer=]Request a Quote[/modal]

Call 214-390-9944 for a Quote

By calling or clicking the button, you will be connected to an insurance agent.

[/tagline]

Insurance agents, agency owners, and partners, lend me your ears.
For I come to bury internet marketers, not to praise them.
The evil that insurance marketers do destroys agency websites for years to come.
The good they do, often amounts to none.
If your unlicensed content writer writes for any other industry, RUN insurance agents RUN!

So let it be with my web developer, your SEO person, and all marketing SEO services.
A web developer hath told you, he has an ambition plan for your site:
He says page one is so, it will be an easy fight.
On the dotted line you signed with initials on pages one two and three
Since you have money, you can be like David Berry!

The developer says, David’s a noble man with little or means,
It’s either time or money, you shall crush him indeed!
Now I sit beside you at your website’s funeral,
crying, your site is like an ostrich’s head in the sand.
David, what shall I do for my site is still on page ten?

Now after thousands of dollars to my designers again and again,
So much I’ve invested, I do not know where to begin.
For great bounty I paid, watched my developer’s coffers fill;
I spent so much money; it makes my pocket book ill.
This Google thing is a moving target what makes my site so inept.
I say, your technology is noble, but poor behavior you kept.

Continuously I say, your developer I know he is an ambitious man
As Google evolves, your site will still sink like quick sand.
The moneys you invest will keep your head in your hands.
You failed to understand my strategy, behavior and techniques.
While you spend money, I write post, week after week.

While your money and means, posts temporary gains,
My strategy and behavior remains the same.
I listen to my clients, writing blog posts again and again.

You fail to realize e-commerce and insurance are day and night.
Spamming the web with auto insurance backlinks is an uphill fight.
What difference I see in the performance of your website
O judge me not, for Texas Insurance Pro has yet begun to fight.

So as Google Zebra comes out, and further sinks your website
our hearts are in the coffin, along with your website
Spend money foolishly, Ignore my behavior, as I continue to write.
And as I write, one secret you know.
Until the next time, when we talk of video.

Author:  David Berry

We get inspiration from strange places.  I apologize to my muses, William Shakespeare and Theodor Geisel. Little did they realize that their works would be used in a blog post about insurance marketing.   Did you like my content?  Please share this post and discuss with your fellow insurance agent and internet marketers.

Do you think you know your insurance agent

Tags: Agents, Auto Insurance, Blogs, Business Insurance
featured image
[tagline style=”boxed” effect=”bg3″][modal id=”4530″ style=”body” classes=”button primary big right” footer=]Request a Quote[/modal]

Call 214-390-9944 for a Quote

By calling or clicking the button, you will be connected to an insurance agent.

[/tagline]

In my opinion, insurance agents are entirely too nice to consumers.   Normally, my insurance blog posts are warm and fuzzy.  However, the public needs to know that being an insurance agent is more than filling out a few forms and saying, “Please sign on the dotted line.”  In fact, being an insurance agent is more about service, duty, honor, and respect.  If this is starting to sound like a military job, then read on.

 

Every day, I arrive and immediately follow up on a ton of leads. In many cases that involves fighting with a commercial underwriter that has taken a week to return a rate for a business insurance quote.  Regardless, just as most insurance agents, I start my day refreshed and ready to go.  I check my social media circles to see if there are any new birthdays, deaths, or illnesses.  After responding to my clients requests, I study the insurance industry in order to stay abreast of the changes in the personal and commercial insurance world.  Then the phone rings or an email lead comes from this very website.

Usually, the potential client has performed some type of Google search, and maybe they have even gotten a rate or two.  As a result of their watching Allstate and Geico commercials, they feel like they know what hey want and need.  For the prospects looking for personal auto or home insurance, their goal is to get a lower rate than they had last year.   In today’s environment, if you’re like most insurance agents, you know writing an insurance an insurance policy at a lower rate without compromising coverage is more difficult than ever.  To make it more difficult, we write lowe rates only to wait 30 to 45 days in order to get paid the $100 commission on that policy.  In many cases, a prospect’s single focus of saving money goes contrary to everything an insurance agent believes in.  Insurance agents understand that a client’s desire of saving money even if it means rejecting coverages that are vital to properly covering a client goes contrary to everything an agent believes in. Most insurance agents worth his (or her) salt believe their job to vital to helping live safe and secure lives. To help you understand, consider the following scenario:

In 2011, a referral client called me to discuss her auto insurance rates. Ultimately, she chose a policy that removed the personal injury protection from her auto insurance.  On several occasions, I asked (even begged) her to reconsider her choice of saving $5 per month.  She based her decision solely on the fact that she considered herself a safe driver.  While this client has never caused an accident, what is preventing someone else from causing a severe accident?  This is where the story gets hairy.

Shortly after purchasing her auto insurance policy, my new lcient was involved in a severe caused by another driver.  As a result, I got the nightmare call.  She asked me what coverage she had for her medical injuries because she injury in an accident caused by another driver.  Once again, I explained that because she rejected personal injury protection in order to save $5 per month, she was unable to file a claim for personal injury protection while she waited for the other insuracne company to handle her claim.  Again, I explained the benefits of the coverage she rejected.  Luckily, she remembered the conversation.  Upon realizing that her saving $5 per month cost her $10,000 in benefits, she added personal injury protection after the fact.

Once things settled, we later joked about the accident.  One day, she called herself a cheapskate.  Lightly responded with the following question, “Did you think I wanted to make $6 in extra commission that badly?” Remember, my job is to protect my clients, my carriers, and my agency.  She realized that my sole purpose for explaining coverage was to ensure that I adequately protected her.  I hate she learned the hard way.  Now she is a client for life.

While I have cases that worked out the other way, the mantra of every insurance agent should be to protect our clients, the insurance carriers, and their insurance agency.  We protect our clients regardless of the rate they pay for insurance.  In fact, I often joke about protecting my clients from their bad decisions.   Placing our clients in a position that compromises their protection is our worst nightmare.  I never want to get a call from a client asking, “Why didn’t you tell me that?”   If I someone asks me to define an insurance agent’s job in one word, I would use the word, “SERVICE”.

So, the next time you talk to your insurance agent, consider this.  Most of us remain in the insurance business because of an overriding sense of duty to our clients.   In property casualty, we hope to collect enough policies at $100 commission in order to one day retire knowing we did a good job providing great coverage, great rates, and great service.  Therefore, the next time you talk to an insurance agent asking him to find you a lower rate, remember the hours spent finding your lower rates on your car insurance.  When that agent comes back with a lower rate with better coverage, remember that insurance agent took a pay cut to earn your business.

I love each and every insurance client.  Next time your agent answers a question, please say, “Thanks”.  That goes a long way.

Recruting Insurance Agents using Internet Marketing

Tags: , , Agents, David Berry

Recently, I was participating in a Linkedin Forum, and one of the financial advisors posed the following question.

I have been trying to recruit Advisors and specifically CFP's using the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Career Center with no luck so far, any suggesions?

My Reponse:

I think I can add some insight into why you're having such a difficult time.  Have you ever considered your message?  Frankly, there are no shortage of advisors attempting to recruit agents for their firm.  In fact, I could recruit all of you guys to my firm.  What sets you guys apart?  What message are you sending? 

The reality is that as a licensed professional, I hear the same message day in and day out.  "Join my firm or my IMO because we specialize in this product and that product."  When in reality, everyone has the same limited number of companies.  Every agent is affected by AG38 if they sell UL products.  Every agent gets the same questions from carriers and clients  Every carrier goes to every licensed agency, firm, or agent with the same info.

I've found it easier to focus on the things that make agents tick.  I stopped considering myself an agent and started considering myself a marketer.  That means I work on generating leads.  No, I don't sell leads, but I do understand how to generate them.  I've been tasked with creating a series of workshops for agents.  The whole focus is how to generate a lead using social media, SEO, and internet marketing. 

I'll leave you with this.  What is the first thing and the last thing that are on the agents' minds when you guys talk to them?  If they're like most agents, they want prospects and leads.  I'm certain that I could come into any of your local NAIFA and FPA chapters and walk out with 10-20 names and phone numbers of agents that want to know what I already know how to do; GENERATE LEADS FOR FREE (or at least without breaking the bank).

If bees like honey(or whatever), doesn't it make sense that agents and advisors are like busy little bees?  They like honey or leads and prospects.  How can you add value to the agents lives and subsequently make yourself more valuable to agents?  We can talk in detail regarding the behaviors, technologies, and techniques, I use.  If you want to get the attention of more than 1 or 2 agents a month, you've got to change your focus and approach.

There you have it.  If you want to attract bees, pour a little honey into the situation.  Every agent hates to spend 80% of his time generating leads.  In fact, I've had a ton of experience with agents that would just rather pay me to generate leads.  So, if you're an insurance recruiter and you're in front of an agent, try focusing on the one thing that pulls that pulls that agent's emotional trigger, LEAD GENERATION!