Once in a while I’m asked what sets me apart from other agents or especially from the giant online agencies. Why would a person choose to do business with me?
My daughter interviewed for a job yesterday and was asked why they should pick her out of the four people who had applied. She answered simply, “I’m awesome”, and got the job. Well, I think I’m awesome too, but let’s pretend for a minute that you aren’t quite as easily persuaded as my daughter’s new employer.
I think what an agent brings to the table is too often not even considered. I mean honestly, if you’re doing business with an agent from Selectquote or Zander Insurance, you are dealing with someone who honestly doesn’t bring much to the table. I don’t want that to be taken as mean spirited. They could be a top notch agent who is capable of doing a great job, but is constrained by their employer to stay within very tight guidelines. They are there to sell insurance. I’ve talked about my time with Eterm.com and I can tell you that I would never choose to be their client knowing what I know now about the total disdain for customer service in high volume life insurance shops.
So, what is customer service at Hinerman Group? When you read a blog post that piques your interest on a life insurance subject, it was written by me. There are no guest blogs. When you choose to email or call for more information you’re going to talk to me. I wrote the article and I don’t want anyone else answering your questions about it. Does that mean I’m a small agency? Well, yes it does. Does that mean that we can’t handle volume or get the job done as fast as a large agency? Nope.
I have always been a real stickler about handling business as if it was me waiting for the approval. When I get a request for quotes I can have it shopped across a broad range of companies and have accurate quotes in your hands within 2 working days. If it’s a case that doesn’t need to be shopped I have the quotes to you within an hour or two.
The next step may actually be a shortcoming of mine, but I don’t think so. I am not a sale closer. I make sure you have all of the information, quotes and options and all of your questions are answered and then the next step, the application, starts when you tell me you want it to start. I know the closing techniques and find them personally abrasive. I don’t want to be sold and I don’t sell. The fact that I allow my customers to decide at their own pace is grounds for firing if I worked for a mega agency.
But, once you tell me you want to move ahead my break time is over. You’ve made a decision and I am there to honor it. I have an application emailed to you the same day. I order an exam the next day and you are called within a a day to schedule an exam. Once the application and exam are in to the home office I never let a question from you or from the underwriter go unanswered for more time than it actually takes. I answer email generally within minutes. I answer the phone and make sure you or the underwriter get what you need right away. If you leave a message I return your call the very next thing I do.
The part about communication with underwriters is key to a quick approval. If they have a question and have to wait days for an answer everything gets bogged down and backed up. If I get an email from an underwriter and it’s something I know the answer to, they get an immediate answer. If they need to know something from you, the very next thing I do is call you and get the answer or leave a message and send an email letting you know what I need and I need it as quick as you can respond.
Bottom line. I was part of a group of agents at one point who kept track of application times and underwriting and on average my office had an approval in 21 days from the date the client said go. The average in the group was 38 days. I know it sounds like I’m just going on about how great I am, but what I want potential clients to take away from this post is that I take your needs seriously and know that until your life insurance is in force I haven’t done my job.