The Challenges Of Prescription Pricing For Seniors In The U.S.
Do you trust your insurance agent? It is a simple question: Are you working with an insurance agent you can trust when it comes to your healthcare? As an owner of a nationwide insurance agency primarily serving the retiree health market, I have served thousands of Medicare-eligible individuals. I have found that when someone shops for insurance they usually ask themselves two questions during the process:
• Did I select the right company?
• Did I select the right salesperson?
According to recent numbers, many would say yes to these two questions. In May, financial services research organization LIMRA found that the public’s confidence in insurance agents was at its highest level since surveys began in 2008. From January to May this year alone, those having extreme or quite a bit of confidence in their insurance agent actually rose 6%.
A primary cause of the increased trust for many insurance agents could very well be people leaning on agents’ expertise during these challenging times. With the pandemic, insurance agents have been deemed an essential business. This is especially important for retirees looking to get proper Medicare healthcare coverage. Working with an expert agent makes the complicated realm of Medicare more accessible. Agents are taking the time to serve as a reliable source of information, as we grapple with the evolving and sometimes contradictory information arising around Covid-19.
Across the board, an insurance agent’s purpose is to help clients manage risk, whether that is the risk of a major health issue or one related to their financial future. As Joseph DiBella wrote for Insurance Journal, “Insurance brokers play a critical role in identifying new information, distilling it, and translating it in ways that provide tangible and actionable insights for clients.” Working through the pandemic means continuing to operate and keeping clients informed. Failure to do this sends trust spiraling down.
Maintaining trust, once it is earned, is the trick. Insurance agents now have many options and tools at their disposal to help them connect with their clients electronically and through social media. It is those options that make the difference. Rather than waiting for clients to ask questions, proactive agents establish long-term relationships by delivering useful information that will benefit their client well after enrolling them in a product or service. Finding an agent who takes this kind of approach, regardless of what type of insurance they are selling, is highly beneficial.
If you are shopping around for a trustworthy agent, look for someone who does the following:
• Takes the time to communicate: Insurance agents often get new information in their particular industry before anyone else. At the very least, they have the expertise to better understand any new policies and changes that may be coming. A proactive agent communicates this information to their clients in a timely manner to make sure they are protected. They anticipate your questions and try to answer them first in a way you can easily understand. Updates are not communicated with a bunch of industry lingo. Messaging is presented in a way to help you better understand the specific impact it has on you and your needs.
• Provides a comfortable place to ask questions: There is really no such thing as a “stupid” question when it comes to Medicare. The confusing layers of health insurance make it one of the areas agents must fully understand. They cannot educate others if they are not experts themselves. That being said, a proactive insurance agent takes the time to continuously learn and study their particular industry. They transform that information into a knowledge base for you. They can answer any question that is presented to them, or at least point you to the right resources. They understand the specifics of your policy and know when to suggest you make changes for better coverage.
• Proves they are listening when you talk: To serve their customers well, insurance agents need to listen well. This is because each individual’s situation is different. In Medicare coverage, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. An insurance agent must take the time to get to know you. They then walk you through the process of acquiring the right insurance policy for your particular needs. Their goal should be to make sure you end up with the proper coverage that is going to be most affordable. You want to feel as if your insurance agent is the guiding force rather than a salesperson trying to pull off an upsell.
Lastly, another reason to put trust in your agent is if they step up and deepen their relationship with you when things are the hardest. Even if they cannot connect with you over the phone as often as before but are instead relying on email or digital tools, that is a great sign. If they are still responsive during difficult times, you will know you have an agent who cares about you.
Knowing what traits to look for in an insurance agent makes it easier to choose the one for you. If you follow these recommendations, you will ensure you are getting the right coverage you need to protect yourself. You will join the growing percentage of people who can confidently say they trust their insurance agent.