Record-Keeping Tips and Tricks

record keeping for insurance agentsRecord-keeping is an important task in an insurance sales career. Most agents are independent contractors and therefore are responsible for all of their tax information and paperwork. And even those who work for an employer must file required paperwork each time a sale is made. So it is important to make sure that your processes are efficient. Below are some ideas.

1) Choose a day to do all your paperwork and stick to it. Many agents use Monday through Thursday as their selling days, then reserve Friday to catch up on paperwork, do follow ups, and call current customers to see if they need anything. Sticking to a particular day of the week to turn in paperwork will keep you on a set schedule.

2) Keep your office organized. Knowing where everything is and how to find it is a challenge. Have a specific file cabinet or filing system you use for the most important paperwork. Sort files according to the type of action they involve, such as SALES, DOCUMENTATION, CLIENT INFORMATION, REQUIRED PAPERWORK, and others. Using different color folders also sometimes works to separate types of tasks and documentation.

3) Use software such as QuickBooks to organize financial statements and transactions.

4) Use a handheld scanner (such as The Magic Wand) to scan important documents at your client’s location, at your office, or any time. The portability of this neat tool and others like it allows you to scan whatever and whenever you need to without having to remove the documents from the original location. Tools like this will save much time and keep you organized in the long run.

5) Use TurboTax or other tax reporting software at tax time. This will save valuable time and energy when you are trying to keep up with your earnings. As long as you keep your 1099 forms and other important documents, you can enter this information into the software and send it to the IRS and to the state with minimal fuss.

Having some handy tools at your disposal will save time and money in the long run by allowing you to input information or do what you need to do “on the go.” There is a world of technology that is designed specifically to help busy insurance agents as well. Do a search on the internet for insurance sales tools and you are likely to find a number of items to help you make the day-to-day tasks of your job easier.

Using the above tips on getting and staying organized will help you focus less on the organizational tasks and more on making sales and serving your customers.

Major Medical Insurance Vs. Supplemental Health

explain to insurance customers the difference between major medical and supplemental healthOne big misunderstanding health insurance clients have is the difference between major health insurance and supplemental policies. While there are some similarities, it is of great importance that agents stress to their customers or prospects the differences, so that there will be no confusion about what you are selling them.

If you work for a major health insurance company, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, it will be pretty simple to explain. As long as you know what your policies cover, you can just go over the coverage and then answer any questions prospects may have.

But if your company only sells supplemental policies, one of the most important points to stress is the fact that supplemental policies only cover specific illnesses, such as a heart attack, stroke, or cancer. Supplemental policies were meant to fill in the gaps left by major medical, and were not meant to be the only policy a person has.

Some people get confused and think their critical illness plan covers all hospital stays, doctors’ bills, and surgeries, when really all it is intended to cover is a specific illness and the complications that arise from that illness.

Here are a few points to keep in mind in an effort to keep the two types of insurance separate in the minds of clients:

1) Remind them that “major medical” refers to a comprehensive plan which includes doctor visits, tests, medications, and hospital stays and is meant to be a major plan to cover almost any condition. It also may pay up to 80% of costs, while supplemental plans may only pay in specific circumstances, or only pay a set lump sum.

2) Show clients the specific illnesses or benefits covered by supplemental insurance, and remind them these specific plans cover only related illnesses, situations, or conditions. The plan does NOT include tests, procedures, or anything else related to any OTHER illness. These are instead covered by major medical.

3) Advise clients to consider the likelihood of the specific illnesses before deciding whether to invest in a supplemental plan. Remind them that the best scenario is to have a major medical plan for most things that come up, and a supplemental one for specific illnesses that will pick up where their major plan leaves off.

4) Read the exemption clauses and know what illnesses either type of policy will NOT cover.

Finally, remind clients that, while there are some similarities between the major medical health insurance plans and supplemental policies, the best situation is to make sure there is a major plan in place first, then weigh the risks of a particular illness and purchase an additional plan to cover extra expenses.

One of the best aspects of having both major medical and supplemental health is that most supplemental plans will cover the specific illness in addition to what the major medical plan covers. Sometimes the supplemental plan will even pay benefits directly to the customer. Always read and explain the exact coverage to each client and remember that this will vary. But in general, both insurance plans will pay if the illness is covered under the supplemental plan.

Taking the extra time to explain these differences will save a lot of confusion and potential misunderstandings in the long run.