Is Your Agency a Call Center? The Pros and Cons of Working with Massive Agencies
"How do I know my agent actually took the time to find me the best policy available?"
"I called the largest insurance call center I could find, but now that I’ve agreed to move forward, I can’t reach my agent."
... These are just some of the negatives of life insurance call centers.
So you’re in the market for life insurance and you decided to call the biggest company you can find.
After you hang up the phone you wonder, did I really get the best rates?
Why was that agent more interested in my car insurance than helping me find the best deal on life insurance? Why was he only able to quote a couple of companies? I thought they shopped the market?
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Here’s what we'll cover in this post:
How to Pick the Best Life Insurance Agency
There are a number of factors you want to consider when choosing an insurance agency. The most important is customer service, knowledge, and integrity. If an agent that tells you their company’s main focus is volume, be weary.
The agents within a call-center do not have the time to spend with you that you deserve. I know, I worked for the largest life insurance call center in America. An agent in a large call center has a quota of 5 policies A DAY.
These companies maintain a boiler room atmosphere and agents are not only expected to sell 5 life Insurance policies a day, but they are also held to maintaining a large number of cross sales (children’s policies, policies for other family members, and even Auto and Home Insurance).
That’s more 100 new clients per month, plus the follow-up for the clients that need time to consider. If there are any issues with your policy, or if your doctor’s office takes a few extra days to send your records, you’re likely to get lost in the shuffle. Obviously, these are a couple negatives to buying life insurance from a call center.
... on the flip side, one pro or advantage of working with an agent who talks to tons of people per day is even if they come in inexperienced, they gain valuable experience quickly, so it could be better to buy from them than your local auto or home insurance agent who sells one life policy per year.
In most cases, though, the truth is, within 24 hours the agent will have already forgotten who they spoke to the day before, to sell 5 policies a day, you will usually speak to no less than 10-15 people per day.
Why Is It Important for Me to Compare Rates?
In the life insurance industry there are also agents that will do anything to earn your business, even if it means being dishonest.
Last week, I worked with a couple who needed life insurance to cover a mortgage. The couple had worked with us and a few other companies, and we had come back with the best rates they would actually qualify for.
When the client called back Matrix Direct (who is directly owned by AIG) to let them know she was no longer interested, Matrix offered her a quote of $65 dollars a month for her husband.
Her husband was in his late 50’s and a smoker. The rate was about 1/3 of what his actual rate would be. In the client’s situation, who wouldn’t want to try to get a policy for $100 dollars less than the competition?
I explained to her if it seemed too good to be true it probably is. She agreed to apply with our agency as well. The final result? AIG came back with smoker’s rates that were over $180 dollars a month, the rates I promised from Transamerica came back at $162.00 per month as quoted for her husband.
The rates I was able to get for her policy were $32 a month, about $4 dollars a month less than AIG. We were able to save these clients about $300 dollars a year over Matrix Direct.
How We Actually Shop The Market
We always encourage our client’s to shop the market. You are allowed to apply with as many companies as you want, so pick the 2 or 3 you like the most and complete the medical exam.
When it’s all said and done and your policies are approved, you will have the option to pick the policy that is actually the least expensive. With all of the companies we work with, we know we will find the best option for you.
The company I used to work for would tell our client’s that we shopped the market, in reality we only represented 7 companies. We worked with Banner which is also known as William Penn, Transamerica, United of Omaha, Prudential, Genworth, American General, and ING/Reliastar.
JRC Insurance Group is currently writing policies with 63 top-rated companies. This means we have 9 times the providers for you to choose from and 9 times more options to save you money. The companies we feature are all "A" or better rated by AM Best, just like the large call centers.
No Quotas, No Pressure, Non-Partial Shopping
Most importantly though, JRC Insurance Group does not have quotas. Quotas are just another example of the negatives of life insurance call centers. We are not a call center and we do not have investors and shareholders pushing our agency to sell a large volume of policies.
Our focus here has always been to put the client’s needs ahead of our own. We take the time to walk our client’s through the process of applying and we make we are available to you when you need us.
JRC Insurance Group represents dozens of Top-Rated Life Insurance Companies, 63 to be exact. This sets us apart from our competition and larger call centers that only work with a handful of companies.
In fact, the call center I worked at for a few years actually tried to push their client’s to the companies that provided them the largest end of year bonuses….so much for being non-partial.
These call centers are more focuses on profits than the customer. We always recommend asking for quotes from at least 10 companies anytime you work with an agency that shops on your behalf.
Some of the Companies We Work With
Some of the top-rated companies we represent include; Pacific Life, Lincoln National, Prudential, Transamerica, Banner Life also known as Legal and General, William Penn, Boston Mutual, Haven, American General, Sagicor, United of Omaha, Mutual of Omaha, Symetra, Minnesota Life, Principal National, Principle Life, Foresters, North American, Nationwide, Assurity, American National, AXA, Centrian, John Hancock, Fidelity, Gerber, Companion of New York, SBLI, Securian, United Home Life, Protective Life, West Coast Life, Sons of Norway, Motorist Life, Ladder, Bestow, and many others.
Prices and Rate Classes Can Vary Significantly
It is important for anyone shopping for life insurance to know every life insurance company has its own underwriting guidelines.
Some companies are more lenient with diabetes, smoking, heart disease, weight, family history, blood pressure, or a combination of health issues. Even if you are in perfect health, some companies will charge you more than others for their top rate class.
Also, just because one company says you are a "preferred plus" rate class, does not mean another company will. A great example of this is how life insurance companies evaluate a person’s cholesterol ratio (total cholesterol divided by HDL).
Some companies want applicants to have a cholesterol ratio of 4.0 or less to qualify for their best rate class, while other providers set their guidelines at 5.0. This can result in a huge variance in price and end up costing a client thousands of dollars over the life of their policy.
By working with 9 times more life insurrance companies than our competition, we're usually able to save our client’s more money than the large call centers that are limited to about a half of dozen companies.
Saving Our Client’s Money
An example of this is a client I worked with in January. Together he and his wife had decided to quit smoking cigarettes and had only been using a vapor tobacco (e-cigarettes) for one year. On the one year anniversary of quitting cigarettes, they had decided to re-shop their insurance.
Every company they called gave them rates that were more than what they were already paying as they had gotten one year older. Then a friend of theirs, and a client of ours, recommended that they give us a call.
I was able to reduce the cost of his policy from $530 per month to less than $140 because one of our A+ rated carriers was able to give him a non-smoking rate. For her policy, we saved an additional $240 dollars a year.
In fact, a few of the companies we work with will allow you to smoke cigars, chew tobacco, or use an e-cigarette without charging a smoking rate.
Another example of this is a client I have that uses Vicodin as needed for back pain from a car accident. This gentleman still works full time and is very active, but during the winter months he needs to take an opiate-based pain medication.
For some companies this is a serious problem, but the company we took him to, Prudential, completely overlooked the pain medications. Their justification, it doesn’t keep him from being active and working and he shows no signs of addiction.
Because of this we were able to get his rates reduced from sub-standard rate class to preferred rates and I saved him over $50 dollars a month.
Why We Started JRC Insurance Group
We started JRC insurance group just for this reason, we wanted to take the time to actually shop the market for our clients. We welcome competition, hold us to our word.
Call any large call center, and ask how many companies are actually appointed with. In other words, how many companies are you actually license to sell for?
The answers will shock you and is another example of the negatives of life insurance call centers.
Our focus here is not car insurance or home insurance or any other type of insurance. We are dedicated to working with our client’s every step of the way throughout the approval process.
You Deserve An Agent With Experience
I know we all had to start somewhere, but do you want to work with someone who is inexperienced? In larger call centers, turn-over is a serious problem. In fact, in the life insurance industry, most agents quit within the first year.
The larger call centers are no different, if you cannot keep up the pace of your peers, you’re gone. This creates a pushy experience for the client and your decision to purchase life insurance should not be rushed.
You will never have to worry about these issues at JRC. Every agent we work with has at least 10 years of experience and the experience of writing and overseeing the approval of thousands of applications.
We are experts at impaired risk, but we also work with clients in excellent health. The bottom line is, we will find you the lowest priced policy on the market from an A or better AM Best Rated Life Insurance Company.
Please give us a call at 855-247-9555 and you’ll see our advantage. A licensed professional with multiple years of experience is standing by to help you out.
Chris is a co-founder of JRC Insurance Group. Prior to founding JRC, he owned his own agency, and he has been a licensed life insurance agent since 2014. Chris is a die-hard San Diego Padres fan, and in his spare time he enjoys reading, ping pong, poker, and spending time with his wife and three daughters.