Doctors, dentists, counselors, and life insurance agents. They all have something in common; there are key factors that need to be present before we officially select one.
A recent consumer poll provided that 79% of consumers asked their family and friends for insurance agent referrals. And 69% asked colleagues and social acquaintances (naic.org).
Clearly, choosing a life insurance agent is a big deal, and rightfully so. When you sit down to begin your life insurance policy, you are beginning a life-long relationship with not only your agent, but the insurance company that will service your policy, as well as the carrier that holds your policy.
It becomes prudent to ensure that you have chosen well and have an agent that beholds these five traits:
1. People Skills
Perhaps this is a given, but a good insurance agent will have the ability to connect well and get along with a multitude of personality types.
Unlike being stuck with a doctor with a much to be desired bed-side manner because your coverage selects your physician for you; with your life insurance, you have a choice.
There is much to discuss when purchasing a life insurance policy, if your agent is difficult or awkward to talk to, and or cannot adequately educate you, it’s time to try out someone else. It should feel effortless to connect with your agent; in truth, they should be the ones initially ensuring they connect with you.
Working with an agent who is approachable and friendly goes a long way when you are being asked to examine very private aspects of your life.
A good agent will know the required basics of the industry. They will know all of the provisions of the brokerage firm they work under, as well as the top points of the carriers they work with.
But a superior life insurance agent will have knowledge about much more than just the ‘basics’ of life insurance policies.
Every individual’s and each family’s lifestyle and financial picture is different. Therefore, a good agent needs to be knowledgeable enough to provide multiple solutions for individual and family goals.
Does your agent see ‘both sides of the coin’, and not just the side that benefits their team the most? Does your agent provide an unbiased education of solutions for your particular needs?
If not, then begin your search for a new one.
3. Open to Alternatives
Like any major decision and / or life purchase, most of us will have questions, or will have examples from others that we can’t help but compare.
And with the internet, many individuals may conduct their own preliminary research prior to meeting with an agent. This will undoubtedly put the agent in the “hot seat” if the consumer is dead set on specifics they researched or heard about through others.
First clue of a good agent, they listen to all of your “ideas” and or comparisons with an open mind. And they are open to potential alternatives.
The ultimate goal of a superior agent should be that each policy holder receives the best possible plan and policy that puts the client’s objectives first.
4. They Are Policy Owners Too
It comes down to basic semantics, you wouldn’t want advice from a financial advisor who was knee deep in debt. The same is true for the life insurance agent you choose.
What type of policy or policies do they own? Yes their life and financial outlook most likely will differ from your situation, but if they are also ‘customers’ so their knowledge and advice to you is warranted.
They too have been on the consumer end of such a purchase. Therefore, they ‘practice what they preach’. And being a customer of a product makes one a better advocate for you and the product you are going to buy.
As aforementioned, working with a life insurance agent is more than simply purchasing a policy. You are initiating a lifelong confidant. Someone who will come to know about your family, financial situation, and potentially other personal information.
Your agent must be someone you can trust with such delicate information. Someone that you can build a relationship with. Someone who will be understanding, knowledgeable, and trustworthy when you have life events that require changes or additional needs to your policy.
It is also important to foster a good and close relationship with the insurance company that will service your policy as well as the carrier of your policy.
Yes this would be initiated and managed through your agent, but should your agent retire or no longer be with the firm you signed up with; it becomes necessary for you to feel confident in the ability of the external layers that have a part in your policy.
You Know What to Look for; Now What?
Purchasing life insurance is a major step in life, but a necessary one. Of the many options in regards to life insurance, Whole Life Insurance is second to no other life insurance option. The cash value and living benefits are phenomenal for any and all life and financial needs. However, there are many peripherals to consider that will require an agent that is open-minded, approachable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy.
Just starting the process of obtaining a life insurance policy? Consider the points provided here, feel free to do your version of comparison shopping. Be confident in whom you choose.
If you have already begun working with an agent and they don’t seem to meet the points provided above, don’t hesitate to search elsewhere. This is your ‘life’ and future: never settle.
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