Ways for Insurance Agents to Build Trust With Clients in a Digital World

How Do Independent Health Insurance Agents Build Trust in Today’s Digital World?

“Trust”

It’s one powerful word. It’s the foundation of any positive relationship—whether it’s with your spouse, your friends, or your customers. But as an independent health insurance agent or insurance agency, how do you build trust with your potential customers in today’s digital world?

It’s ok not to have an answer. In fact, if you asked a thousand different agents, you’d probably get a thousand different answers, each with overlapping themes and ideas that keep the industry alive today. So, let’s examine what trust really means, if anything, in today’s digital world.

Right now, individual consumers have more power than ever when they need to find health insurance or compare different types of health insurance. Back in the year 2000, about one out of every two adults in America used the internet. And “used the internet” meant an entirely different thing back in the age of dial-up modems and companies like Amazon just beginning to emerge as online retailers. Today, almost 9 out of 10 U.S. adults use the internet according to the Pew Research Center1.

And, use it, we certainly do. From requesting a ride to keeping up with the latest news, and shopping for health insurance, it seems like every exchange we make can now be conducted online—and trust is integral to all of this.

A simple internet search can provide today’s consumer with a wealth of knowledge about you and your agency. They can compare pricing, comprehensiveness of coverage, and find the best value for their money from other agencies and insurance companies across the nation.

This is why it’s so important to build and maintain an agency brand, and even more important, a personal brand that conveys trust.

“Brand and branding are one of the most important aspects of growing a business and are the absolute last things independent agents think about for the most part,” said Ryan Hanley2, Chief Marketing Officer at Bold Penguin, a leading Insurtech company based in Columbus, OH.

As insurance professionals, it’s often easy to take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to branding: maybe you build a website that works as a digital billboard for your business; you do the same on social media; fire off a few posts about the benefits of doing business with you; but in the end, your online presence is an afterthought. The ultimate goal is to get those phones ringing and people insured.

“Your brand is your overarching concept and should define who you are as a professional and who your firm is in an overarching way,” said Marty Agather2, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Innovator’s Edge. “It needs to be coordinated, contiguous, and all related so that when I (the customer) see your brand and I see who you are, those two things mesh.”

Simply put, your personal brand needs to reflect your agency’s brand.

But how does trust play into all of this?

As an agency, you can build trust before the customer even interacts with one of your agents over the phone. For example, you can build a robust website filled with testimonials* from current or former customers. On that website, you can host a blog with posts written by your agents to educate and empower your potential customers on different types of insurance plans, benefits, and any limitations or other considerations in a way they can understand. You can share those posts on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages to grow your presence as a thought leader online.

But this all costs time and money, two things some independent agencies need more of, let alone have any to spare. Big health insurance companies like UnitedHealth and Blue Cross Blue Shield can spare the time and money to build big online campaigns to humanize themselves by educating and empowering the public with the end goal of growing revenue. While you might not be able to replicate these big-budget tactics, there are certain things you can do right now to build a foundation of trust between you and your potential consumers.

The first thing you can do on a personal level is making yourself reachable. The last thing someone wants from the person selling them something as important as health insurance is for that person to virtually disappear after the purchase. Whether it’s a simple “You can always reach me on my personal line and I’ll be sure to respond within 24 hours” or making a public social media profile with your smiling face and full name followed by your agency’s name—there are small steps you can take to build these trusted relationships.

Here’s something to think about—74% of consumers research insurance purchases online, yet only 25% of them actually purchase online. So, where do the remaining consumers make their health insurance purchases? According to this infographic by DialogTech…

Over 60% of health insurance consumers make their purchase over the phone with an agent3.

That’s why you have to think on a human level—why you have to think of yourself as a personal brand when it comes to building trusted relationships with your customers. We won’t get into the details of cold-calling, but think for a second—am I truly living up to the values and ethics my brand stands for? Am I fully listening to this person’s needs? Am I trying to influence or inform right now?

While sales are vital to any business, it’s certainly worth thinking about how you approach those sales and the customer relationships that come with them.

At the end of the day, we’re social creatures. Our relationships with other people make us who we are. As an insurance agent, you get the opportunity to foster new relationships every day while looking out for the lives and well-being of people from all walks of life. By keeping honesty, transparency and trustworthiness as you guideposts, you might be surprised by the benefits you’ll reap from this mindset.

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This blog is for agent use only – not for public distribution.

*Your state may have specific requirements about the content of testimonials. In general, they need to be accurate and reflective the customers’ experience (so they can’t be edited to appear like the client is saying one thing when actually they are saying something else) and they cannot create an unrealistic impression of what someone else should expect. When an agent (or insurer for that matter) use testimonials, they take them on as their own and that means they have to meet any other advertising standards. Additionally, how old a testimonial is is another issue to be aware of. If it’s several years old, it may no longer be an accurate statement. We suggest testimonials older than a year to be discontinued..

If you want to become a licensed HIIQ agent, get in touch with us here.

Sources

  1. “Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet.” Pew Research Center. http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/internet-broadband/
  2. “Can Independent Agents Build Trusted Relationships in a Technology-Driven World?” Ryan Hanley. https://www.agencynation.com/can-independent-agents-build-trusted-relationships-technology-driven-world/
  3. “Shoot for Higher ROI: The Best Way to Optimize Insurance Marketing in a Digital World.” DialogTech. https://www.dialogtech.com/expertise/infographic/shoot-for-higher-insurance-roi-with-phone-calls

 

 

Your Clients Need These Tips for Contact Lens Health Week

From August 20-24 this year, the Centers for Disease Control’s Contact Lens Health Week highlights awareness about proper wear and care of contact lenses. This year’s message has a simple and direct message your clients need to hear: cover your butt and take care of your eyes.

According to the CDC, contact lenses are much like underwear: to avoid infections, your clients shouldn’t over-wear, they should avoid a sketchy pair, and they should carry a spare1. Sounds like common sense advice, right? When they have questions about their vision care needs, take the opportunity to remind them just how to put this advice to work1:

Don’t over-wear

Advise your clients to avoid wearing contacts longer than their eye doctors instruct them to. Also, remind them to not sleep in them (unless their eye doctors say otherwise).

Avoid that sketchy pair

Remind your clients that when a contact comes out and they can’t disinfect it with fresh solution (never water or spit) right away that they should throw it out. Also, it’s important for them to remember to not buy contacts from costume shops or anywhere that doesn’t require a prescription.

Carry a spare pair (of glasses)

Recommend that your clients have a pair of glasses with them in case an unexpected late night or trip to the pool arises.

Many carriers are now packaging vision insurance – as well as dental insurance – with healthcare insurance because they recognize the value of providing a “well-rounded offering” that focuses on preventive care2. As an insurance professional, remind your clients that vision care and preventive care can be essential to their healthcare routine and they should consider having benefits in place to help them manage costs associated with care.

Consider this:

  • Almost 90% of Americans with vision coverage will get an eye exam within the next 12 months
  • Less than 70% without vision coverage will get an eye exam
  • Almost 70% of those with coverage will also get new eyewear
  • Less than 35% of those without vision coverage will get eyewear
  • Vision care is linked to overall preventive and wellness care, but Americans only use preventive services at half the rate recommended by the CDC4.

Talk to your clients about their eye health and help the CDC increase awareness about healthy contact lens habits. Remind them that vision coverage can offer:

  • Eye exam every 12 months
  • Lenses every 24 months
  • Frames every 24 months
  • Contact lenses and fitting every 24 months
  • Low copays for exams
  • In-network savings

Are you ready to offer quality, affordable vision care to your clients?

Learn more today by:

 

Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products.

We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

For agent use only – not for use with the general public

 

Sources:

1: “Contact Lenses are Like Underwear.” The Centers for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/pdf/8-5×11-contact-lenses-underwear.pdf

2: “Popular vision benefits moving beyond commodity product label.” Employee Benefit Adviser. https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/news/popular-vision-benefits-moving-beyond-commodity-product-label

 

3: “Evidence Links Vision Benefits to Healthy Vision Habits, NAVCP Reports.” Vision Monday. http://www.visionmonday.com/latest-news/article/evidence-links-vision-benefits-to-healthy-vision-habits-navcp-reports-1/

 

4: “Dental and vision trends focus on preventive care.” BenefitsPro. https://www.benefitspro.com/2018/06/11/dental-and-vision-trends-focus-on-preventive-healt/?slreturn=20180714110145