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

 

 

Kofax Issues a “Glowing” Case Study on Health Insurance Innovations

Kofax, a leading provider of process automation software, issued a comprehensive review of Health Insurance Innovations’ (HIIQ) new compliance process in a recent case study.

Entitled “Success Story for Healthcare”, the study examines the challenge, solution and results that Kofax Customer Communications Manager™ software has produced for HIIQ’s compliance specialists.

To ensure every customer fully understands the coverage they’re purchasing through a contracted agent or broker, Health Insurance Innovations utilizes sales verification scripts. The agents or broker reads through the script with the customer before their purchase is finalized. Scripts often contain important information like whether the policy meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and which conditions the policy does or does not cover.

With nearly 50 policies ranging from dental care to emergency treatment—and a required script for each one—HIIQ’s compliance department was tasked with managing all updates, revisions, and version control of every script. In the past, this was done manually. But, as Health Insurance Innovations experienced unprecedented growth over the last two years, this manual process became a time and cost-intensive challenge.

That’s when Health Insurance Innovations chose to employ the Kofax Customer Communications Manager™. This software now serves as a single source of up-to-date and accurate information (including sales verification scripts) on all policies distributed via the HIIQ platform.

Furthermore, it automatically maintains a record of document and script edits with an author and date attributed to each change.

“Maintaining consistency across scripts is so much easier than before. Previously, I had to open numerous Microsoft Word documents and PDFs to ensure that the same language was used throughout,” said Dominique Meitzen, Lead Verification Specialist at HIIQ. “Now, I can search our entire script collection at the touch of a button. And if I need to modify a certain block of text, I can make the update once and automatically apply the change to all scripts. The solution is a huge time-saver, enabling me to work more productively.”

The results? Script updates that used to take hours or days are now completed in minutes; agents are happy to work with Health Insurance Innovations knowing they’ll be equipped with timely and accurate product information; and carriers are too, trusting that their policies will be correctly represented to consumers seeking affordable health insurance, ancillary health care plans and more.

Click here to download the full case study on Health Insurance Innovations by Kofax.

National HIV Testing Day: Talk to Your Clients About Getting Tested

National HIV Testing Day is a day to encourage your clients not only to get tested for HIV but also to know their status and to get linked to care and treatment if needed.

To learn how you can raise awareness for HIV testing among your clients, please see the infographic below.

health insurance innovations florida

Your Clients Need to Hear These 9 Summer Health & Fitness Tips

Your clients are headed to parties, beach days, and park picnics this summer. These outings are likely to include tempting food they may be trying to avoid, and those sunny beach days may inspire them to be more leisurely than active. But they surely deserve a few treats and leisurely days though, right? Talk to your clients about balancing their summer health and fitness goals with their well-earned leisurely pastimes.

Here are 9 tips to get them started:

Be food prepared.

If they’re headed to a summer party where they’ll be tempted, they can pack grab-n-go items. Protein bars from brands like NuGo Nutrition and Larabar are usually $1-$2 per bar, packed with plant-based nutrients, and easily accessible at stores and on Amazon. Sliced fresh fruit, granola bars, and nuts are other quick and easily portable options.

Pick up the pace.

Of course they’ll be ready to get their chairs positioned just right and relax on the sand, but taking a lap by the water before they get settled will help them squeeze in a few more steps and burn a few more calories.

Make meals simple, quick, and fun.

They’ve got their neighbor’s BBQ at 3pm and friends coming over at 6pm. They need options that are shareable and convenient, but also impressive. Colorful kabobs of tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and squash basted with olive oil and spices may be the ideal treat. Or they can bake or grill sweet potatoes and add peanut butter to them. Cutting them into chunks and serving them with toothpicks will surely make your clients the hit of the summer parties. And help them stay on track with their summer health and fitness goals.

Carry a reusable water bottle.

It can be tempting to pop open a fizzing can of Coke or hit the Starbucks drive-thru for one of their favorite frappuccinos this summer. But carrying a water bottle they can refill throughout the day can help them avoid a decision packed with sugar and calories. It’s also good for the environment.

Get family and friends moving to join in.

Beating the heat in a nice cool movie theater may be a fun afternoon activity for your clients, but so may taking a hike in a local park or challenging neighbors or coworkers to a game of kickball. Having fun and enjoying quality time with loved ones can help motivate your clients to stay active and meet their health and fitness goals.

Find fun ways to use resistance bands.

Quick and simple exercises may break the monotony of long days in the office and may help your clients stay focused during activity packed weekends. If they’re traveling this summer, bringing the bands along can inspire them to focus on fitness even while on vacation.

Bring the chill to summer meals.

A hot kitchen can often be the least fun place on these scorching summer days. Your clients may enjoy giving themselves a brrr-eak from cooking with meals that require little to no cooking and that are chockfull of nutrients and yumminess these colorful and shareable options. Bonus points: with cool meals, they won’t have to worry about reheating food they bring to parties or carry to work.

Make time to disconnect.

It’s easy to get caught up in all things planned even during the summer. From work commitments to pressing social calendars to ever-present technology, it may be difficult for your clients to unwind. They may find it helpful to schedule an hour of mediation in their calendars, to turn off their phones for an afternoon, to forward their calls to voicemail, or to get outside for a walk. Long-term health and fitness successes include consistently clearing our minds and making time to rest.

Enjoy early morning activities.

Your clients can kick off a day of healthy habits by grabbing a bike to hit the pavement for a few miles, taking a morning hike, or trying out some new moves at local recreation centers.

Make your clients’ heath and fitness goals a priority to you this summer as you consult with them about their healthcare coverage needs.

Learn more about offering your clients a variety of healthcare coverage solutions by:

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This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to make any product recommendations. Encourage your clients to review any product details, such as costs, limitations, exclusions, restrictions, and benefits prior to any purchasing decisions.

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

 

health-insurance-innovations-coverages

Clean Up Your Clients’ Coverage Needs for National Kidney Month

Spring cleaning season is upon us, a fitting time to raise awareness of kidney health. March is National Kidney Month, and the National Kidney Foundation is using the month to encourage Americans to visit their healthcare professionals for a checkup. As an agent, you have the opportunity to talk to your clients about this health observance as well as the importance of having the coverage they need to meet their kidney health concerns.

Let’s take a look at why the kidneys are so imperative to our health1:

  • They filter waste out of 200 liters of blood each day
  • They regulate of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content
  • They remove drugs from the body
  • They balance the body’s fluids
  • They release hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • They produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
  • They control the production of red blood cells

As you work with clients this month to identify their ideal coverage, take this opportunity to remind them about these startling statistics1:

  • Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the country
  • More than 30 million Americans have kidney disease, and most don’t know it
  • There are over 95,000 people waiting for kidney transplants
  • More than 590,000 people have kidney failure in the US today

So what can your clients do to protect the health of their kidneys? Consider these recommendations:

  • Eat a whole food, plant-based diet2. Your clients can learn about meals focusing on veggies, fruits, whole grains, lentils, etc and more plant-based options herehere, and here.
  • Eat meals that include plant protein, as research shows they reduce mortality in chronic kidney disease3.
  • Know what healthy kidneys do and how to recognize symptoms of chronic kidney disease4. Your clients can click here to take an online assessment to rate their risk.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, stay active, and monitor their blood sugar level5.
  • Stop smoking6. Your clients can click here for tips to help them stop.

Talk to your clients about their available coverage options today and how that coverage may help them protect their kidney health. With many options that include guaranteed acceptance, low cost preventative care and office visits, freedom to choose healthcare professionals, and low deductibles and copays, short-term medical coverage may fit their needs, especially if they are:

  • Transitioning between jobs
  • Waiting for employer insurance to begin
  • Graduating from college
  • Rolling off parents’ coverage
  • Waiting for Medicare coverage to become effective

Note: Short-term medical coverage may be an appropriate fit for your clients.  However, it’s important for you and your clients to understand that such coverage does not replace major medical insurance, and it is does not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act. Limitations, restrictions, and exclusions may apply.

Learn more how short-term medical coverage can provide an avenue to healthcare by:

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Sources:

1: “Focus on the Kidneys During National Kidney Month in March.” National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/news/monthly/Focus_KidneyMonth

2: “Can a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet Help to Preserve Kidney Health?” T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.  https://nutritionstudies.org/can-whole-food-plant-based-diet-help-preserve-kidney-health/

3: “Plant Protein Reduces Mortality in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients.” National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/news/plant-protein-reduces-mortality-chronic-kidney-disease-patients

4: “Six-Step Guide to Protecting Kidney Health.” National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/sixstepshealthprimer

5: “8 Golden Rules: What Can You Do for Your Kidneys?” World Kidney Day. http://www.worldkidneyday.org/faqs/take-care-of-your-kidneys/8-golden-rules/

6: “What Effects Does Smoking Have on the Kidneys?” LiveStrong.comhttps://www.livestrong.com/article/266870-what-effects-does-smoking-have-on-the-kidneys/

 

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 public