Making Insurance CE More Meaningful

how to make insurance ce more meaningfulContinuing Education is a requirement in order to keep up-to-date on the latest insurance laws and trends, as well as some of the changes in products available to customers. You know it’s important, but how can you find a way to enjoy it? Here are a few tips to get more out of your continuing education requirements while still learning what you need to know.

1) Think about the law and the requirements and what they mean to you. It is important not only to know the law but to know how it applies to the particular kind of insurance you sell in your career. So choose CE courses in Ethics which address this area. Take courses which sound interesting but still address the more important aspects of the law.

2) Think about your future career. What do you hope to do with your insurance career in the future? Take courses that are not only necessary but also highly beneficial to your career as an insurance agent. For example, if you are specializing in property insurance or special lines, make sure to take a course dealing with these topics. The more you are exposed to information and knowledge about your chosen area, the more you will improve the career skills that will propel you forward.

3) Take courses you don’t want to. While this seems contradictory to the title of this post, it actually is more fun sometimes because you are challenging yourself to learn a new area of insurance you didn’t know about before or didn’t like. While it is fine to take courses just on what you want to do in your career, taking courses that stretch your thinking are often the most beneficial in the long run.

4) Think about what your clients want or need. As with any business, in the insurance field you want to try to get information that will help your clients. CE courses are an excellent way to do this. Simply think about the types of questions your clients or prospects usually have about insurance and take courses that will help you answer these questions. If a client wonders about the security of their health insurance information or how they can lower their costs, take courses dealing with HIPAA and health plan information. If they want to add life insurance to their current policy, take courses that deal with insurance riders and add-ons. When you realize how you’re applying what you’re learning to real-world situations, CE course requirements become more interesting.

5) Look for ways to improve your knowledge. After you have taken what is essential, take something you are really interested in that will improve your knowledge base. There is a variety of courses to choose from in Insurance CE. Just browse through the course offerings and think about what you’d like to become an expert in, or simply know more about.

To get more out of your continuing education, reflect on your clients’ concerns as well as your personal goals and take courses that will enhance your learning in these areas. With a little effort you may find yourself enjoying this annual requirement. One note: many states allow you to “roll over” your coursework to the next year if you go over the amount of course hours you need. So, if you feel really ambitious this year, take extra credits. Remember, it’s your career. Be the best you can be and have fun!

What Makes the Insurance Field Great?

The insurance field offers abundant opportunity for successWhy choose insurance as a career, or why do agents who’ve worked in the field keep going? There are many other ways to make a living. Most insurance agents are good sales people, so they could work in another sales area if they chose to do so. But insurance people know that there are some very positive reasons to stay in insurance sales. It is a rewarding field, which builds a residual income over time. It provides a sense of self-actualization in providing a product or service people need. And it is a flexible field. We explain more below:

1) Residual Income/Lucrative Career. One of the most attractive reasons people go into and stay in insurance is the potential income. Not only can you make a substantial commission, but over time, your income tends to increase. Residual income builds over time and keeps compounding Some of the best agents make six figures, and these are typically agents who have stayed in the field a few years.

2) Self-Actualization. Insurance is a helping profession. While it is a sales job, you are offering people something they can benefit from over time. The sense of knowing that you are offering people something that removes the worry they have over their financial future offers a sense of accomplishment to agents. It also adds to customers’ estate value, making their children’s future more secure. Many agents feel good about the fact they are helping others.

3) Flexibility. Unlike many other careers, insurance sales offers agents flexibility in working hours, as well as the freedom to determine when or how they will work. Agents have to be very self-disciplined, but this type of career is attractive to many due to its working conditions. Many agents work from their home office. Many work in an insurance office half the time, and in the field the rest of the time. This is usually left up to the agent, as long as he or she is bringing consistent business into the company.

There are many reasons to go into or to stay in the field of insurance sales: the potentially high pay, the flexible hours, and the sense of fulfillment of offering people something that enhances their lives and eases worry. The agents who traditionally make the most money are the ones who stay in the field over the long-haul, to the point where they have had the time to build up their business and make it pay off with residual income, and income from annual renewals. Being an insurance agent is something to be proud of, as you are offering people a sense of financial security, while building your own.

How to Compare Policies Without “Twisting”

Be honest to avoid being accused of twisting.Insurance agents must always be careful not to engage in “twisting.” Twisting is a felony and in most states, punishable by a large fine, revocation of your license, and possibly a prison sentence. Often the level of punishment will depend upon the intent of the insurance agent. If it can be shown that the agent intended to mislead, the sentence can be severe.

Twisting is when an insurance agent tricks the customer into replacing their current life insurance policy with one sold by the agent. For example, let’s imagine an agent trying to convince a leery prospect to change policies. The agent tells the prospect that the agent’s policy is a better policy or pays out more in benefits than her current company, even if the agent knows it doesn’t. The result though is that the customer believes the agent and changes policies, dropping her original policy, and possibly losing valuable benefits. The main reason twisting is wrong is due to the potential financial loss to the consumer.

So the question for insurance agents is: “How can I compare policies without engaging in twisting?” This is actually simpler than you might think. Here are three tips:

1) Be honest always. If you follow this rule all the time, you will never have to worry about a potential “twisting” charge. Remember that twisting got its name because it is the financial equivalent of “twisting someone’s arm” to get them to change their mind on one insurance company and go with yours instead. And it is done under questionable circumstances, whereby you are comparing one policy or company to another, and “stretching the truth.” If you are always straight with your clients, and are honest with all customers at all times, you’ll be much less likely to run into legal problems.

2) Compare policies very carefully. Comparison is not wrong, but the danger of “twisting” or distorting the facts may become easier in this situation. For this reason, some agents are so scared of twisting that they don’t compare at all. While this is definitely the safest method, it doesn’t help your customer if they really want to know how the two policies stack up. So compare the policies side-by-side, allowing your customer to do the comparing, deciding whether their current policy is best, or the one you’re offering. Remember that you’re more likely to be accused of twisting if you got the person to drop their current policy and take yours instead. This opens up a customer to vulnerability due to the fact that they may not be covered during the time between their purchase of your policy and the time the policy is actually issued. So if you must compare, do it carefully, and answer any questions the client has with caution. Advise them to call their current insurance company to get their perspective.

3) Forward questions to other authorities. It is better to not answer at all than to give what could later be interpreted as a misleading answer. This is where agents can get into a lot of trouble. Twisting is a crime because it is the deliberate misleading of a client in order to get the sale, at the expense of the client’s well-being. So be careful and care about your customer. If you don’t know an answer, forward them to someone who does.

Remember twisting is intentional misleading and in court, the prosecutor or plaintiff would have the burden of proof. But you don’t want to have that risk. So decide now to always do the right thing, even if it means losing a sale. Put the customer’s needs first, as though they were a friend or family member, and you should never be accused of twisting.