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I had an experience with Direct TV yesterday that left me wondering if there is anyone left in this country that truly cares about their customers. I definitely understood by the end of the four hour ordeal, that, and this is from Chase Carey’s secretary, “we have 19 million customers and no matter how bad we messed up, we can’t make an exception for one”. Chase is of course the president of Direct TV, (310) 964-5000, chase.carey@directv.com, a company that is one of the largest in the country and has one of the worst customer service ratings of all companies.

Part of that caring about customers is what I wanted to talk about in relation to life insurance. There are so many good agents out there and I count myself among them. Like the others I work hard for my clients and I’m never satisfied until they are. I’ve made a successful business out of changing people’s life insurance experiences from bad to good, changing their life insurance declines to approvals and straightening out the lies they’ve been told.

Bait and Switch! Just the words give you the gist of the topic. Someone lures you into doing business with them, in this case, buying life insurance, and then the product you were promised is switched for something less desirable, usually a higher price. I’ve mentioned on occasion my few years with Eterm.com, the Selectquote of yesteryear. We were on a bonus system that rewarded the sheer number of applications a person could take in a day. I remember this guy named Todd that worked there who bet another agent that he could take 50 applications in one day and he did it. It took him a few hours more than his normal 8 hour day, but at the end of the day he had compiled 52 applications.

Now understand that the only way to do this is to not engage in any kind of meaningful discussion with the clients. Todd elevated bait and switch to a level really unheard of because he didn’t even ask any of these folks health questions and if they mentioned any he simply ignored it and told them they qualified for the best rate and then transferred them to the insurance company to complete the application. Everyone wants the best rate and especially people with health issues really want to believe that someone can get that done for them. Todd made sure they knew he was their man. He got 52 applications that day and he got fired the next day when management went back and listened to some of his taped conversations.

The problem is in the real world most conversations aren’t taped and agents will say whatever it takes to get an application, knowing that bait and switch really works. You offer them as good as it gets and after a prolonged underwriting period they know that most people will not want to start over again even though the price is double or triple what they were quoted. And the agent reinforces that by telling them that obviously with the information in their medical records they won’t be able to do any better than the higher rate even if they start over again and go through another two month process. I know! You say you wouldn’t do that, but most people won’t hold the dirt bag accountable. They believed his first lie when he gave them a life insurance quote that was too good to be true. They believed his second lie when he told them that the high rate it was approved at was as good as it gets.

It’s sad. It’s a reality that the majority of the agents in our business are less than honest because they desperately want to make money. Successful and life insurance agent are mostly oxymorons and desperate people are attracted by what they think is going to be easy money. Everyone needs it after all.

Bottom line. Don’t take it when you realize you have been the victim of bait and switch. Better yet, make life insurance agents prove their bait. There aren’t any agents out there that aren’t capable of getting an email underwriting opinion on your exact situation or, if you truly are a picture of unbelievable health, they should be willing to show you the underwriting guidelines they will have to meet to get the rate you quoted. And lastly, the agent should be willing to show you all of the best rates and explain why he recommended what he did. If you think you’re being messed with or believe you took the bait and don’t know how to easily fix it, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.