Bonus or No Bonus Annuity

Presented by David Corwin I think I’d take the latter – let me explain why. I’ve been in this ever changing Indexed annuity world for several years now and not unlike any other aspect of the insurance world, it is constantly changing. I’ve worked with hundreds of agents in my career. I work with some agents that only write bonus contracts. I’ve compared two of the best selling products with a particular carrier; one with a bonus and one without. I used the same index strategy and time period and the results were quite alarming. The bonus product that offers a 10% premium bonus netted $151k at the end of 20 years and the product without a bonus was over $215k. Why is this you ask? Well, I will tell you that typically on bonus products the commission rate is higher and thus the cap rates are lower than on a non-bonus product. This can result in much better performance long term.
Long Term Care and Disability Insurance

Are Commission Eliminations a Trend for Us to be…

Presented by Leonard Berthelsen There has been a lot of talk and many articles in our trade publications about carriers suspending commission payments for open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Is this a trend that the industry needs to pay attention to, or is it affecting just this specific kind of insurance? Interesting to ponder, are you going to lose any sleep over it? I suspect that if you are one of those agents that work in this market, you are concerned about the future. Are they going to expand that to all under 65 major health products, or is it contained in a small amount of the overall business? There are pros and cons with the Affordable Care Act and many differing opinions on it’s success. There is no doubt that many more Americans are insured today than at any other time in our country’s history. Medicaid expansion has added thousands if not millions of additional covered Americans in addition to the newly insured under the ACA. Regardless of which side of the aisle you sit on, these facts can’t be disputed. What does get disputed is what effect it has on the other forms of insurance available to consumers. Most of the carriers participating in the ACA have given dismal reports for the last 2 years on premium collection, insured retention, and overall claims experience. It is not a disputed fact that the majority of carriers are paying more out in claims than what they are collecting in premiums from the open enrollment section of the ACA. How long will that trend continue? Time will certainly tell. These same carriers that are reporting significant losses in the ACA open enrollment are looking for all means to “right the ship”, unfortunately, commissions got caught up in that correction. It appears that this commission suspension is an anomaly at this point and not a concern for panic with regard to the other health related products out there. Should we ignore what is happening to commissions in this group, certainly not. As a prudent business person, we all have to stay sharp to market trends, carrier actions and regulatory concerns. At this point, the carriers need the individual producer as much as the producer needs them. Very few of these carriers have a direct to consumer mentality or a mechanism to take their overall business straight to the consumer. So for the short term, insurance advisors are still needed by the carriers, the consumers and the families they support. If you have sold in this environment and it affected you financially, let the carrier and the regulators know this. The only way that they are going to know what effect this is having on your livelihood is if you speak up. Marketing Long Term Care, Disability Income Protection, Short term care and other individual products may be the solution to the shrinking compensation that the carriers imposed on the ACA. Let’s remain strong in the other individual product lines and demonstrate that our profession is truly needed. Reach out to Financial Brokerage at 800-397-9999 for additional information on this subject.
Long Term Care and Disability Insurance

“Thanks, but no thanks. I already have DI through…

Presented by Tim Dreher I’m sure that most of you who market Disability Income Protection have heard this before, perhaps even many times. Personally, I actually like it when I hear that response from potential clients. Either it tells me that they were savvy enough to recognize the need for Income Protection and did something about it, or it was provided to them by their employer as a “one size fits all” benefit that may not fit their individual needs. Either way, I have an opportunity to expand on the DI discussion. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the reasons that an employer provided plan may not be all it’s cracked up to be. With an employer sponsored plan you normally have to take whatever plan design and benefits the employer offers regardless of whether the employee is paying for a portion of or even the entire premium. In my experience, most of these plans can have very limited monthly benefit amounts, limited or no riders (such as residual or partial disability benefits) and limited benefit periods (generally 2-3 years in length), even though many disabilities can last longer than 5 years, and in some instances, even for a lifetime. Employers, unfortunately, have to choose plans that fit the masses. As an example, what might be a good fit for a dental hygienist is probably not the best plan for a dentist. Another point to consider is that those individuals that are in occupations that rely on commissions or bonuses for a large part of their income might also come up short as most employer provided plans use only the individual’s base salary when calculating any benefit payouts. This can leave those employees woefully underinsured. Portability is another reason that an employer sponsored plan might not be the best fit. An employer sponsored plan typically ends when the job ends, whereas an individual plan follows that employee to their next job or even to self-employment. The risk remains the same so why shouldn’t the insurance plan remain the same also? Finally, in my opinion, perhaps the biggest reason to consider an individual plan is how employer sponsored plans are taxed versus an individual plan. If an employer is providing the disability plan and paying the premiums then any benefits received from the plan would more than likely be taxable. This also holds true if the employee is paying the premiums out of their own pocket but on a pre-tax basis, then again any benefits received would likely be taxable. This could possibly mean a 20-40% reduction in any benefits received after the benefits are taxed. An employee thinking they are adequately insured could potentially find out the hard way (at the time of claim) that they are only getting a portion of what they thought they would receive. The bottom line is that most employer provided plans can, and do, provide some benefits, which is better than no benefits at all. However, an individual DI plan is very flexible and can be tailored to provide additional coverage and fill in those gaps that an employer’s plan might be missing.
Long Term Care and Disability Insurance

Medicare Supplement plans – enhancing your bottom line

Presented by Leonard Berthelsen As an industry, we have been talking about the impact that the baby boom generation was going to have as these folks become Medicare eligible, and well, it is upon us. Despite being well-versed in Medicare and the options available, there is still a tinge of anxiety that comes up when I start to think about it. Do I stay on my current health coverage after reaching Medicare eligibility, or do I go on Medicare Part A &B? Which way is going to give me the best coverage at the best price? If I delay going on Medicare will there be a penalty? WOW, it can be mind boggling and I’m in the insurance business! Think about a consumer and how confusing it can be for them when looking at all the options. They have many decisions to make and are they making the right one? Medicare, Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plan and Supplemental Health coverage can weigh heavily on the minds of consumers. And, that is just on the surface, as each one of those has multiple options within itself. I’m getting clammy hands as I write this. Let’s look just at Medicare supplement coverage and what that can add to your bottom line. Someone turning 65 and in their open enrollment period becomes eligible for Medicare and can purchase a Supplemental plan without evidence of insurability. No medical underwriting, just age, gender, build, and if they are a tobacco user, are generally all the underwriting that takes place. It’s a fairly simple process. As a trusted advisor, your real value comes into play in navigating which carrier is going to meet their expectations and determining which plan with that carrier is the right choice. There are some reports coming out that suggest there are not enough advisors working in this market causing many consumers to make decisions about their health care on their own. Some are making the right decisions while others are merely guessing and hoping that they got it right. Do you think you could become that advisor that has the expertise to navigate the market and make Medicare supplemental plans an important part of your insurance practice? Most Medicare supplemental plans offered today have level commissions for the first five to six years. Every time a client renews their coverage, the renewal is paid to the advisor. If an advisor wrote five supplemental plans a month, he/she could add $15,000 to their bottom line. When the clients renew their coverage, that $15,000 is earned again plus the additional commission for the five new monthly plans for the new year. This means that by the end of year two, the advisor has added a nice $30,000+ to their bottom line. Continue that same thought process out to the end of year five and now you have some real dollars to consider. This could boost your annual income by $75,000 – $100,000 by the end of the fifth year. That is not counting any LTC, hybrid LTC, life Insurance, annuity or supplemental products that may get placed along with the supplemental plan. Becoming the “go to” advisor for Medicare supplemental coverage might just put your career on a different plateau.
Life Insurance

When does a 10% increase equal a 20% commission…

Presented by Jim Linn When it comes to placed business ratio: Let use this as an example: Agent submits 10 applications at a monthly premium of $100. 10 x $100 x 12 months= $12,000 Annual Premium For illustration purposes, assume a commission rate of 80% Placement ratio of 50% = $4,800 commission Placement ratio of 60% = $5,760 commission 20% more commission for placing 10% more business. How do you increase your placement ratio?
  1. Complete a needs assessment with your clients to determine the amount or clarify the amount of life insurance they said they want. (How did you arrive at that amount of insurance?)
  2. Utilize a fact-finder to get a better overview of your client’s situation and don’t forget to ask the health questions. All of them. NOTE: Just asking if they smoke is not enough. Ask them if they use or have used ANY tobacco products (the patch, Nicorette gum, e-cigs, chewing tobacco, etc.) Marijuana usage?
Depending on the type of tobacco product and/or marijuana usage they may still qualify for non-tobacco rates depending on the carrier.
  1. What is their budget? Without knowing what they can set aside each month you are guessing if it is affordable. Mr. /Mrs. Client based on your current budget what amount would you like to contribute to your life insurance program? If they give you the “depends on how much it is” look them in the eye and tell them it will be $1,000 a month. Then explain that you have some clients whose budget is $50-$200 per month and others that are $500+. You are just trying to put together the best options for them based on their budget. Mr. /Mrs. Client would you say your monthly budget is somewhere between $50-$200 or something else? Keep redirecting to get a closer range that you know is acceptable to them.
  2. Put together 3 options for them to review. Low, Medium and High. If you only present ONE option it is easier for them to say NO. By having THREE the plan they elect becomes their own decision. 80% of the time they will choose the middle option.
By taking a few extra steps with your clients, you will not only close more business and place more business, but increase your commission as well.