Imagine you could get inside your clients’ minds to get a clear picture of their expectations and risk tolerance. Do you think it would help?
Probably not as much as you’d like. Often clients themselves don’t have a good handle on what they expect or what they are comfortable with. Because unrealistic or erroneous expectations are a top source of Errors and Omissions complaints against life and health agents, being extra clear in this area is vitally important.
Review definitions, premiums, costs
Start with policy definitions, premiums and potential out-of-pocket expenses. Never assume your client has the same understanding as you do. Even basic health and life insurance policies can be confusing, and some clients would rather stay silent than ask for clarity.
As a rule, people do not like acknowledging they don’t know something. They might nod. They might say, “Yes, I understand.”
Take the time to review everything. Health insurance especially has changed dramatically.
The Affordable Care Act has made coverage more widely available, either through exchanges or with the help of an agent. With more people buying individual policies, agents can make the difference in clarifying the trade-offs.
Their understanding is not yours
Take a moment to break down each potential problem area, and make sure you and the client are perfectly clear on the answers.
Lower premiums usually mean higher deductibles and more out-of-pocket expenses at the beginning of the policy year.
- Does the policy have a separate pharmaceutical benefit or is included in the deductible?
- Does the policy have first-cost coverage? Does your client know what that means?
Even though pre-existing conditions are less relevant, most health policies insurance policies will still have exclusions and limits.
- Does your client understand them?
- Is your client clear on what the maximum out-of-pocket cost could be in a policy year?
Any new life insurance policy or changes clients want to existing policies deserve the same careful attention.
- Can premiums increase?
- Is the initial premium based on life expectancy and what happens if the client lives longer?
Remember that every client or prospect has conscious and unconscious expectations, opinions and pre-conceived ideas. Their understanding is not yours. Understanding that will serve your clients and your professional future.