Make the Most of Annuity Awareness Month

June is Annuity Awareness Month, which means there’s no better time to share the recently updated Balanced Accumulation brochure with your clients. It shows the part an FIA (fixed index annuity) can play in an overall portfolio, offering balance with the potential for growth. 

​​As an insurance agent, you are always looking for ways to provide your clients with the best possible solutions for their financial needs. Annuity products are a great tool for your clients to secure their financial future. However, many people don’t understand what annuities are, their benefits, or how they work. That’s why Annuity Awareness Month is so important. In this blog post, we’ll explore what Annuity Awareness Month is, why it matters to insurance agents, and how you can take part in spreading awareness about annuities.

What is Annuity Awareness Month?

Annuity Awareness Month is held every June to bring attention to the benefits of annuities and to educate the public about these financial products. It’s an important month for people to learn about how annuities can provide a guaranteed income stream for life that can help protect their financial future.

Why is Annuity Awareness Month important for insurance agents?

Annuity products can be a valuable addition to your clients’ portfolios. However, many people are not aware of how annuities work or how they fit into their overall retirement plan. By taking part in Annuity Awareness Month, you can help educate your clients about the advantages of annuity products and how they can benefit your clients’ overall financial goals.

What can you do to take part in Annuity Awareness Month?

There are many ways that insurance agents can engage in Annuity Awareness Month. Some examples include:

  • Social media: Share informative posts about annuities, their benefits, and how they fit into a retirement plan. Use hashtags like #AnnuityAwarenessMonth to spread the word.
  • Webinars and workshops: Host a webinar or workshop to educate your clients about annuities.
  • Newsletters: Send out a newsletter to your clients about Annuity Awareness Month, explaining the benefits of annuities and how they can be a valuable addition to their retirement plan. You can reference resources like the newly updated Balance Accumulation brochure.
  • Personal follow-up: Contact your clients individually to explain the benefits of annuity products and to encourage them to consider adding them to their retirement plan.

The Bottom Line?

Annuity Awareness Month provides insurance agents with an opportunity to educate their clients about the importance of annuity products and how they fit into a comprehensive retirement plan. By taking part in Annuity Awareness Month, you can help your clients make informed financial decisions that will last a lifetime, while also building trust and credibility with your clients. So, take the time to spread awareness about annuities this June!

Discover the Good Life

As a leading Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO), Good Life Insurance Associates (GLIA) provides a full range of insurance products, services and tools to support your individual clients’ wants and needs. We provide financial advisors and insurance agents in our network across the country with access to a full range of premium carriers, expert support services, and an industry-leading compensation plan. Learn more about joining GLIA today! 

What Is a Medicare Marketing Organization?

Due to the aging population and rising healthcare costs, Medicare spending is projected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2031, up from $829 billion in 2021—an increase of 117%.

That provides a lot of potential for any agent who wants to sell Medicare insurance. Yet, selling Medicare can be pretty complicated for independent insurance agents, simply because Medicare itself can be quite complicated.

That’s why working with a Medicare Marketing Organization, also known as an Independent Marketing Organization (IMO), can be helpful. Below, we dive deeper into what an IMO is, how it can help independent agents succeed in selling Medicare, and what to look for when choosing a Medicare IMO.

What Is a Medicare IMO?

A Medicare IMO is an organization that works to provide support for independent insurance agents as they look to build their businesses. Unlike captive agents who work for one insurance company—and are supplied with all the support, training, and tools they need to do their job—independent agents are on their own.

In essence, independent agents are small business owners; this provides many benefits, such as the ability to set your hours, build your business the way you want to, sell the type of insurance you want, and be your own boss.

However, challenges to being an independent agent include not having a large organization on your side providing you with constant support; this is where a Medicare IMO can step in.

A good Medicare IMO will provide you with all the training, marketing, recruiting, contracting, and support you need to run a successful operation. In addition, an IMO ensures that independent agents are never truly “on their own.”

In addition to all these vital resources, IMOs have established contracts with Medicare carriers. The independent agents who work with the IMO can then gain access to the Medicare plans that some of the top insurance carriers in the country offer.

Here are some of the main benefits a good IMO can provide independent agents, specifically regarding Medicare.

Insight into Plans

Medicare can be quite complicated to understand, as there are four “parts.” For example, original Medicare consists of Part A and Part B, providing hospital and outpatient medical coverage. Entering 2023, there were 35 million Americans subscribed to these plans.

Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is private insurance that includes not just Original Medicare but also some coverage that Parts A and B don’t have. For example, Medicare Advantage includes some coverage for prescription drugs, dental, vision, and other medical care. Part D is the prescription drug program and can be added to Original Medicare plans.

Knowing what makes up all the parts of Medicare—who’s eligible for what, what the different plans offer, how much the plans cost, etc.—can be challenging for even the most experienced agents. Experienced Medicare IMOs provide insight to independent agents so they can become more knowledgeable about the products they can sell.

Access to Plans

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported recently that the average beneficiary of Medicare has 43 Medicare Advantage plans they can choose from in 2023, 35 of which include coverage for prescription drugs. That’s a lot of plans, to say the least.

Each of those plans offers slightly different coverages and costs. As independent agents know, being able to provide multiple insurance plan options helps to attract a broader base of customers.

Yet, contracting with the multiple insurance carriers that offer those 43 Medicare Advantage plans can be challenging; this is another significant benefit of working with a Medicare IMO. Experienced Medicare IMOs will already have Medicare Advantage contracts so that independent agents who work with them can immediately offer them to their customers. A Medicare IMO also removes a lot of painstaking work at obtaining these contracts with insurance carriers, allowing them to hit the ground running selling the plans.

Legitimacy

Customers today want to know they can trust the people they work with. However, building trust is challenging for any small business owner, especially for independent insurance agents. Fortunately, an experienced Medicare IMO can give you that legitimacy to build trust with current and prospective customers. This is done in several ways.

First, the simple fact that you will have multiple Medicare Advantage plans for your customers to choose from will add to your legitimacy. When you can show them available plans from some of the top Medicare insurance carriers in the country, they will know you aren’t a “chop shop.”

In addition, the marketing and sales support you will receive from your Medicare IMO will help you build a solid brand for yourself. You won’t be going it alone. And, after you build this brand, you will be recognizable as you use the sales tools you’ve received from your Medicare IMO to land new customers.

What to Look for When Choosing a Medicare IMO

Now that you’ve decided that working with a Medicare IMO would benefit you, it’s essential to understand what you should look for when searching for the best fit. You’ll likely have a lot of choices in this area, so whittling down the list to the most crucial ones is vital, as is understanding how to vet a Medicare IMO properly.

Insurance Carriers

One of the most critical factors in choosing a Medicare IMO is the insurance carriers that they offer. The IMO you work with should provide an excellent selection of insurance carriers that you can offer to your clients, including many that are well-known by customers in your area.

In addition to analyzing the carriers, you want to explore the specific products they offer through their IMO. If you don’t believe their products are competitive, they might not be the best IMO for you.

Experience

You should always look for a Medicare IMO that has been in the industry for a while and has the experience you need to grow, learn, and succeed. While it’s not necessarily wrong to work with a new startup company, there are many advantages to working with an IMO that has been around the block.

When a Medicare IMO has been in business for a while, it gives credence to its success. However, you shouldn’t just look at how long a Medicare IMO has been around; you should also figure out what their track record of success looks like.

Support

Each independent agent will need something a little different. For example, whereas one agent might need extra sales support, another may need more marketing support.

To establish an effective working relationship with a Medicare IMO, aligning your needs with their specific support is essential. To this end, check out the different programs they offer to independent agents to find out whether the company can give you what you need most.

If you have any questions about how the programs work specifically, don’t hesitate to contact someone at the Medicare IMO to gain more insight before applying to work with them.

Testimonials

One of the best ways to understand what it’s like working with a Medicare IMO is to reach out to other independent agents who work with them. Sometimes, you may be able to find colleagues in your market who work with Medicare IMOs. Other times, you can access these agents through the IMO itself.

Don’t ignore the importance of what insurance carriers think of the Medicare IMO, too. You can always contact them directly to see if the IMO you’re considering is worth partnering with.

Join the Good Life!

You’ll have many choices when searching for Medicare marketing organizations to partner with. However, choosing the right one is essential to running a successful independent insurance agent business.

Here at GLIA, our team has years of experience working with independent insurance agents and the leading Medicare Advantage carriers in the U.S.

Partnering with us gives you access to these carriers and the impressive suite of tools, training, and support we provide to all agents. To learn more and get started offering Medicare Advantage plans from some of the top carriers in the country, contact us today.

Again, thank you for visiting our blog, and we hope to work with you soon.

How to Sell Medicare Advantage Plans: Your Complete Guide

Selling Medicare Advantage plans can prove to be highly lucrative for insurance agents. The US Census Bureau, for instance, estimates that by 2030, every Baby Boomer will be 65 years old or older. Five years after that, it’s estimated that 78 million people in America will be 65 or older. The result is an increased demand for Medicare Advantage plans.

Below, we provide a complete guide so you can learn how to sell Medicare Advantage plans to serve the growing need in your community.

What Is Medicare Advantage?

People have multiple options for how they can get Medicare coverage. One way is to choose traditional Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage. These are offered directly through the government.

Another option is to choose a Medicare Advantage Plan, sometimes called Part C of MA Plans. These insurance plans are offered by private insurance companies that Medicare has approved to sell the plans, and as such, must follow the rules that Medicare sets.

Many people today prefer Medicare Advantage plans over Plan A and Plan B (known as Original Medicare) because they can bundle different insurance services together. For example, they can get hospital insurance (Part A), medical insurance (Part B), and prescription drug coverage (Part D).

In addition, Medicare Advantage provides coverage for some other items that the Original Medicare plans don’t cover—this includes some dental, hearing, and vision services. Some plans even let people choose services catered to their specific needs, such as transportation to and from doctor visits and other services that promote overall wellness.

As an insurance agent, this provides an excellent opportunity to help your customers get the specific coverage they need. They won’t be choosing just from an off-the-shelf, pre-designed plan. Instead, depending on which insurance companies you can sell from, you can help your customers customize a Medicare Advantage plan specific to their needs. Indeed, finding the right plan for your clients—one that works to minimize the stress of doctor visits—can make a big difference in someone’s life!

How Medicare Advantage Plans Work

Private companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans will receive a fixed monthly payment from Medicare for each of the plans they provide customers. In return, private insurance companies have to follow Medicare’s rules.

Each plan itself can alter how much the out-of-pocket expenses will bill. They also can set rules for whether insured need to obtain a referral before they visit a specialist, and whether you have to visit doctors and providers in a specific network.

People with Medicare Advantage plans will have a maximum amount to pay in out-of-pocket expenses each year. Once they reach that amount, all covered services under Original Medicare will be covered entirely.

Why Sell Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage Plans not only provide a lot of flexibility for customers, but they also provide the same for insurance agents. The market is highly competitive among insurance companies that offer them, which results in agents receiving relatively high commissions when they sell these plans.

On average, you can earn $287 per year in commission for each Medicare Advantage plan you sell that replaces a plan already in place. If you can sell a Medicare Advantage plan to someone who hasn’t had one before, your annual commission can be even higher—on average, $573 per year.

If you can sell these policies—and retain most of your customers from year to year—you could easily make a substantial income on just Medicare Advantage plans alone.

As of 2022, 48% of all eligible people for Medicare had a Medicare Advantage plan. However, that number is only supposed to grow in the coming years as the population ages and healthcare costs continue to rise.

From a customer’s standpoint, figuring out which Medicare Advantage plan to purchase can be pretty challenging. As of 2022, the average person had 39 different Medicare Advantage plans to choose from.

In other words, these Medicare beneficiaries have a strong need to partner with an insurance agent who can help them wade through the very complicated Medicare Advantage market so they can find the plan that’s truly the best for them.

What Licenses Are Needed to Sell Medicare Advantage?

Like selling any other type of insurance, you must obtain specific licenses and certifications to sell Medicare Advantage plans.

First and foremost, you’ll need to be licensed in the state where you primarily sell insurance. The requirements for this will depend on your specific state, so make sure you check your state requirements. If you want to sell insurance in other states, you’ll need a non-resident license that will allow you to sell insurance there, too.

After obtaining these state-specific licenses, you must complete the AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) certification process.

What Is AHIP Certification?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires all insurance agents who want to sell Medicare or Medicaid to complete AHIP certification. This test is required annually, as the rules for Medicare could change yearly.

The training will cover all the basics of Medicare eligibility, the available benefits, the options people have to obtain coverage for prescription drugs, as well as enrollment and marketing compliance and regulations. The AHIP tests cost $175, and agents will get three tries at passing it. All information about obtaining AHIP certification can be found on their website.

FWA Training

In addition to AHIP certification, all agents who want to sell Medicare Advantage plans must complete FWA training, which stands for fraud, waste, and abuse.

This training will teach agents the best industry practices to detect potential Medicare fraud and provide tools they can use to help them do so. It’ll also instruct agents on FWA’s financial and human costs and the proper reporting procedures if they suspect Medicare fraud.

FWA training is available today through the AHIP, making signing up for the courses and obtaining your proper training easier.

Carrier-Specific Training

In addition to the two above certifications, agents will typically have to complete training and certification from the specific carriers from which they will offer Medicare Advantage plans. This training will differ from one carrier to the next, so check with each carrier from which you plan to provide Medicare Advantage plans.

How to Find the Best Medicare Advantage Carriers

Now that you’ve obtained all the necessary licenses and certifications and completed all necessary training, you’ll have to obtain contracts with different Medicare carriers to sell the products they offer. But figuring out where to begin can be challenging with so many different carriers offering Medicare Advantage plans.

An excellent place to start is with any insurance carrier you currently have a contract with. For instance, if you already have an agreement with Insurance Company A to sell property and casualty insurance, you might find out whether they also offer Medicare Advantage plans.

There are many benefits to going this route. First, you already have an established relationship with the company, which could make onboarding, training, and working with them easier. Second, companies with which you already have contracts may not have as many stringent requirements for you to sell Medicare Advantage plans as compared to companies with which you don’t have contracts. Finally, you might be able to earn higher commissions with insurance carriers that you already have a working relationship with.

However, the statement above doesn’t mean you should only approach insurance carriers you already work with. For example, it might be advantageous for your business to offer a wide variety of Medicare Advantage plans to grant your customers the freedom of having many choices.

For example, it could behoove you to contract with insurance carriers that offer Medicare Advantage plans with certain features and coverages that some of your current carriers don’t offer. This would provide your potential customers with more options regarding Medicare Advantage plans, which could expand your potential customer base.

How to Contract with Medicare Advantage Carriers

The process for contracting with Medicare Advantage carriers is very similar to contracting for other insurance plans. First, you’ll need to submit paperwork to the carrier; they will then process it and conduct a background check on you. They’ll also likely analyze your current business, your business plan, and how well they believe they’d fit within your offerings. It could take up to six weeks from when you apply for a contract to when you receive a decision, so keep that in mind for your planning purposes.

A potential challenge you may face is that many insurance carriers offering Medicare Advantage plans don’t like dealing with independent insurance agents directly. As a result, some may even decide not to provide their plans to independent agents. Luckily, if you are an independent insurance agent, you will still have plenty of options to partner with Medicare Advantage carriers. In addition, by partnering with an experienced Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO), you’ll gain access to many of the top insurance carriers in the country.

The Best IMO for Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage carriers trust independent agents who work with respectable IMOs since it proves they have been appropriately vetted. This is another reason why working with a trusted IMO can be a huge boon to all independent insurance agents.  

Today, GLIA is among the best IMOs in the market. We have years of experience working with independent insurance agents and the top Medicare Advantage carriers in the country. By partnering with us, you’ll gain access to these carriers and our impressive suite of tools, support, and training we provide to all agents.

Contact us today for more information on how you can get started offering Medicare Advantage plans from the top insurance carriers. Again, thank you for visiting our blog, and we hope to speak with you soon!

Your Guide to Selling Car Insurance

If you’re considering becoming an insurance agent, you probably wonder whether selling auto insurance is worthwhile. The quick answer to your inquiry would be, yes, you can make an excellent living selling auto insurance. But how do you get your career started in this exciting field? If you’re ready to get started, read on for your guide to selling car insurance.

Obtain Your License

Every state has specific qualifications you’ll need to meet before you can sell car insurance. Luckily, these requirements aren’t too stringent. For example, you likely will only need to be a legal adult (18 years old) and have obtained either a GED or high school diploma.

Once you’ve met those requirements, you must obtain a license to sell insurance in your state. Again, each state has rules for what you must do to get the license, but almost all require a certain number of hours in a pre-licensing course.

This course will educate you on all the guidelines for selling car insurance in your state and other general rules for selling insurance. After you pay for and complete the pre-licensing course, you’ll need to pass the final exam.

Meeting the minimum passing grade on the exam and passing a background check will likely allow you to obtain your license to sell car insurance.

Decide the Type of Agent You Want to Be

There are two types of car insurance agents – captive and independent.

Captive agents work as salaried employees for a specific insurance company. They are provided with training, tools, support, and other services to help them do their job well. These agents will only be allowed to sell the car insurance policies that their company offers. They’ll receive a base salary for their work plus a fixed commission based on their sales.

Independent agents, on the other hand, are essentially small business owners. They are free to sell car insurance for whichever companies they can contract with and have the freedom to create their schedule and build the business they want.

A significant upside of being an independent agent is the earnings upside. The sky is the limit since you can build your client base however you want. You’ll also likely earn higher commission percentages from insurance companies when you make a sale. The flip side is that you won’t have the backing of a base salary.

Find Your Job

Now that you’ve decided what type of agent you want to be, it’s time to find a job selling car insurance. If you want to be a captive agent, this will require you to put a resume together and apply to insurance companies that are hiring. This process will be relatively straightforward.

The process will be more complex if you want to be an independent agent. First, of course, you’ll want to create a solid resume and build a business plan that will help guide you. This plan will serve as your blueprint for success and proof to insurance companies that you’re worthy of a partnership.

You’ll also want to build your client base through marketing, networking, and paid advertising. However, this process can take time, so many new car insurance agents will maintain a side job to keep money flowing.

There is significant earning potential in a career selling car insurance, but it may not come immediately. So, having something else to fall back on is a good idea as you start.

Refine Your Skills and Prospect

Finally, it’s time to prospect, prospect, and prospect some more. To build a client base selling car insurance, you must always collect leads and chase them down. Lead generation requires a lot of hard work, time, and dedication, as well as a lot of persistence. In addition, car insurance agents must be organized and stay on top of their prospects to execute sales. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time and providing the right service to the right people.

You won’t know the right place, time, service, or audience unless you’re constantly prospecting. As you do so, it’s also important to refine your skills. So first, take notes of the feedback from prospective clients who turn you down and those who sign on the dotted line. Then, review those notes and see if a common theme is holding you back.

Selling car insurance is a science, but it’s partly an art, too. Paying attention to how people react to the information you provide them and how you provide it will help you finesse your sales pitch over time. Then, as you do, you’ll become more successful at converting leads into customers.

Discover the Good Life

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to start selling car insurance! As you can see, the path to success can be full of challenges, but the potential payback makes it all worth it.

At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and seasoned agents. To learn more about careers with GLIA, explore our business support services. Or, speak with a team member today about your journey to becoming an independent agent. Again, thanks for visiting our blog; we hope to help you soon!

Want to learn more about what it takes to succeed in insurance sales? Read our blog on effective lead-generation strategies for insurance agents.

5 of the Best Niche Insurance Markets

Being an insurance agent can be a gratifying career. Not only can you earn a solid living, but you can also help protect your clients in several different ways.

If you’re new to selling insurance, it can be challenging to get started. A great place to begin is to determine what type of insurance you want to sell. There are many different markets, and each provides pros and cons. Below, we’ve listed five of the best niche insurance markets to help you explore your options!

1. Life

Life insurance may not be the first type of policy you consider when entering the industry, but it’s perhaps the best niche to focus on if you want to make the most money. That’s because the commissions on life insurance policies are often much higher than other types of insurance.

The most significant benefit to selling life insurance is that most companies will pay you anywhere from 100% to 115% of the first year’s premiums as an upfront commission for new policies. While the residual commission you’ll receive every year after that will be much lower than other insurance policies, many agents prefer this larger upfront payment.

You’ll also continue to collect residual commissions as long as the client holds the policy. This time could be 20 or 30 years for term life policies, which could be significantly longer than a typical auto insurance policy.

The flip side is that life insurance isn’t as easy to sell. One of the main reasons is that people don’t need to have life insurance. It’s certainly something that would benefit most people, but there is no law requiring them to carry this type of policy, unlike auto insurance.

2. Property and Casualty

Property and casualty insurance is an excellent niche for one main reason – just about every person who owns a property will need this insurance. In fact, almost all homeowners who carry a mortgage on their property are required by their lender to maintain the policy.

Unlike life insurance, your sales pitch for property and casualty insurance will focus more on the benefits of your policies and the advantages of working with you rather than convincing someone they need this type of insurance.

Upfront commissions won’t be nearly as high with property and casualty as with life, but the residual commission should be higher, at least in terms of percentage. Again, this is a great niche to consider if you’re looking to make a lot of sales, which could serve as your “in” to upsell clients in the future.

3. Health

Everyone needs health insurance, so selling in this niche will provide you with a vast pool of prospective clients. In addition, the health insurance landscape has changed considerably over the last few years, giving independent agents more opportunities for sales in this niche.

An increasing number of people search for health insurance independently, outside their private employer. This is an excellent opportunity for you as an agent to make your mark in the industry.

Aside from primary health insurance policies, you can also offer Medicare insurance, which expands your potential reach even further. However, one potential downside to this niche is it can be hard to understand and, as a result, require a lot of upfront education and research.

4. Auto

Auto insurance is one of the most common types of insurance. It’s also one of the least expensive in terms of annual premiums. Just like property insurance, every driver must carry auto insurance, which provides a large potential client base.

This niche is a volume game, though. You’ll need to sell a lot of auto policies to make a considerable amount of money. However, many agents will bundle auto insurance with other types of insurance to simultaneously increase their revenue and client base.

Doing this could make more money for yourself and potentially save your clients money.

5. Commercial

Just like individuals, businesses have insurance needs, too. One of the best parts about selling commercial insurance is that there are many types – vehicle, building, general liability, workers’ compensation, etc. The market for commercial insurance is also relatively large, as potential clients could be any business in your area.

However, the downside to commercial insurance is the same as its upside. Since so many types of insurance fit into this niche, it can be challenging to learn them all and become an expert in them. In addition, selling this type of insurance requires a lot of know-how, so it may not be for everyone.

Discover the Good Life

We hope you enjoyed this guide on five of the best niche insurance markets! As you can see, the path to success can be full of challenges, but the potential payback makes it all worth it.

At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and seasoned agents. To learn more about careers with GLIA, explore our business support services. Or, speak with a team member today about your journey to becoming an independent agent. Again, thanks for visiting our blog; we hope to help you soon!

Want to learn more about what it takes to succeed in insurance sales? Read our blog on effective lead-generation strategies for insurance agents.

How to Start Selling Life Insurance

If you want to sell life insurance, it’s essential to understand that it’s a very competitive sector. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports one life insurance agent for every 1,234 people in the United States as of early 2020. While this makes for a difficult road to prolonged success, there are still plenty of good reasons to sell life insurance. One of the top reasons is that it can be a very lucrative career. Below, we provide a basic guide on how to start selling life insurance.

Advantages of Selling Life Insurance

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that selling life insurance is a challenge. On the contrary, there are many positive advantages of selling life insurance.

When you sell life insurance, you don’t have to take on a typical job working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You’ll have the flexibility of working the hours that are best for you and your clients.

There aren’t any specific qualifications you’ll need to have before you can start selling life insurance, at least from an educational standpoint. So while you’ll be required to be licensed to sell life insurance, you won’t need to earn a Bachelor’s degree to get started, but you will need a strong work ethic.

There are also plenty of job opportunities selling life insurance. There’s a reason there are so many agents throughout the country—life insurance is in high demand. It’s also an industry that’s growing. The BLS estimates that the number of agents is likely to grow at an annual rate of 7% from 2020 to 2030.

Finally, you can earn very high commissions selling life insurance, especially compared to other types of insurance. For example, independent agents have the potential to make 100% of the premiums for the first year of the policy in commissions, followed by an annual rate of 5% after that.

Know the Products

With life insurance sales being so competitive, you must find a way to separate yourself from other agents in your market. A great way to do that is to educate yourself on the various life insurance policies.

Unlike some other types of insurance, life insurance policies vary greatly. The two main categories of life insurance policies are term and whole life, though many different policies fall underneath each.

By becoming an expert in the various types of life insurance and understanding who would benefit from each, you can serve as a trusted adviser for your current and prospective clients. Not only will you be helping them provide for their loved ones after they pass, but you could also be helping them secure their own future in retirement.

If you know the in-depth features of each type of policy and its benefits and potential drawbacks, you can help educate clients and put them in the best position. Then, as you earn their trust by selling them a life insurance policy, they might turn to you for other insurance products if you offer them.

Specialize in One Particular Product

While it’s a good idea to know about all the products and policy types that are available, the most successful life insurance agents specialize in one or two niche products. This is because they can drill down to the products they believe the most in and that they think will serve their customers best.

Narrowing the products you sell to only a few will help you focus all your marketing and sales efforts. Instead of casting a wide net and trying to reel in all the fish, you can be more selective and targeted when you prospect.

Know Your Market

What type of life insurance products you decide to sell could be based on what the market dictates. Certain life insurance products might be more attractive to your target audience than others based on a number of factors, including your location and the general demographics of the people who live there.

Defining your target audience is essential in any sales job, but it proves especially so when selling life insurance. That’s because certain products won’t appeal to some people.

Try and Try Again

To be a successful life insurance agent, you must try and try again. You cannot let minor setbacks get in the way of your long-term goals. Go into it knowing that you will face rejection more often than you’re going to land clients, and that’s okay so long as you don’t look at these rejections as failures. Instead, learn from every situation to refine your approach, message, and, if necessary, your target audience.

Also, know that a “no” might mean “not now.” In other words, the same people who reject you today may be interested in your life insurance policies at a later date. So, be polite and helpful to everyone no matter what. You never know who might come back around and turn to you when they need something you’re selling.

Discover the Good Life

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to start selling life insurance! As you can see, the path to success can be full of challenges, but the potential payback makes it all worth it.

At Good Life Insurance Associates, our experienced sales associates are here to provide support and training for both new and seasoned agents. To learn more about careers with GLIA, explore our business support services. Or, speak with a team member today about your journey to becoming an independent agent. Again, thanks for visiting our blog; we hope to help you soon!

Want to learn more about what it takes to succeed in insurance sales? Read our blog on effective lead-generation strategies for insurance agents.

How Much Do Insurance Agents Make?

A career as an insurance agent can be very rewarding. Depending on where you live, what type of insurance you sell, and whether or not you are an independent agent, you could have limitless potential with what you bring in. While selling insurance presents unique challenges, it’s a career path many choose because of the earning potential. So just how much do insurance agents make annually? Let’s dive further into the salary potential below.

What Does the Typical Insurance Agent Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for insurance agents sat at $49,840 as of May 2021. The highest 10% of all insurance agents earned more than $126,510, while the lowest 10% earned less than $29,970.

In essence, 50% of all insurance agents made more than $49,840 in 2021, while 50% made less. The BLS also reported that the median wages varied greatly depending on the specific industry. For example, the median salary for direct health and medical insurance carriers was a whopping $70,570. On the other hand, direct insurance carriers—except life, health, and medical—averaged $57,990. Meanwhile, insurance agencies and brokerages came in at $48,830.

What Affects How Much an Insurance Agent Makes?

The figures above show a relatively large spread in salary. That’s because determining how much agents make is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Here are some of the main factors that affect how much an insurance agent makes.

Captive or Indpendent

Perhaps the most significant factor in how much an agent makes is whether you are captive or independent. As a captive agent, you will work as an on-staff employee of an individual insurance company. As a result, you will be able to sell that company’s products and receive a lot of tools and support in return.

Captive agents typically earn a base salary and a commission based on their sales. While this provides a guaranteed minimum wage, it also limits some earning potential.

Independent agents, on the other hand, are essentially small business owners. Therefore, they can run their business however they wish, including selling products from multiple insurance companies.

From an earnings perspective, the sky is the limit. Independent agents can usually earn more than captive agents since they’ll get better commissions directly from insurance companies, but they won’t have the guaranteed base that captive agents do.

Structure of Commissions

The reason for the discrepancy between the two is the different commission structures. Captive agents may earn a commission of between 5% and 10% of the initial year’s premium for auto and home insurance, for instance. However, for that same policy, independent agents average roughly 15%.

As mentioned, this gives independent agents a higher ceiling regarding their earnings potential. But, again, the trade-off is that they have a much lower floor in guaranteed wages than captive agents.

Location

Where you live is a significant factor in how much you can earn as an insurance agent. For example, the state with the highest average salary for insurance agents is Hawaii, at $74,219. Conversely, the state with the lowest average salary is Vermont, at $39,804. There are also potentially large salary ranges by location within a state. For example, agents typically make less in rural areas than in suburban areas near a major city—depending on what type of insurance they sell. Discrepancies are also present in regions based on the average income of that region.

That said, agents can carve out a niche with specialty insurance in the right market. For example, farming insurance could be lucrative in rural areas. In other places, you could offer specialty insurance policies for personal trainers, aircraft, and food trucks. If you know your market well and get creative in serving it, you could make a solid career for yourself no matter where you do business.

Insurance Type

What type of insurance you sell affects how much you can earn as an agent. Much of this revolves around the fact that the pay structure is different for the different insurance policies.

For auto and home insurance, for instance, agents will typically earn a percentage of the premium on the policy. They’ll then also take home a portion of each policy renewal. This provides the potential for exponential savings growth if you can build upon your customer base and keep them with you.

With health and life insurance policies, agents will make a more significant cut of the initial sale. However, while they’ll also receive a percentage of the policy renewal, it’s typically at a lower rate than auto and home.

Discover the Good Life

So, how much do insurance agents make? We hope this guide helps answer your question! As you can see, there are many financial advantages to transitioning from a captive agent to an independent agent. And while becoming an independent insurance agent can seem like an overwhelming task, it doesn’t have to be when you have a team of experts on your side.

With the proper support at hand, you can take this exciting next step in your career with ease and confidence. If you’re ready to discover the Good Life, explore our business services and insurance carriers, or contact us today to learn more about careers with GLIA. Thanks for stopping by our blog; we hope to help you soon!

Are Independent Insurance Agents Required to File SARs?

Over the last 20 years, the federal government has stepped up its efforts to fight money laundering, fraud, and other financial crimes. Since 2006, it has required insurance companies to file Suspicious Activity Reports (or SARs) under certain circumstances.

There is some confusion with these rules, though, specifically who they apply to and in what situations. Below, we’ll detail the cases in which SARs must be filed and whether independent insurance agents must file them.

What Are SARs?

SARs are reports required under the anti-money laundering laws created by the USA PATRIOT Act in 2006. The laws were established under the oversight of the U.S. Treasury Department through FinCEN or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. There are also related requirements under a separate law called the Bank Secrecy Act.

These laws dictate that any time a financial institution believes that fraud of any kind has happened at their business, they must file a SARs report. To date, there have been multiple violations of these laws, resulting in massive fines handed down to money service businesses and broker-dealers. The law also applies to insurance companies in certain circumstances, so it’s essential to understand how and in which ways.

What Has to Be Reported?

Insurance companies covered under the laws must file a SAR when a suspicious transaction is “conducted or attempted by, at, or through the institution.” This rule applies to individual transactions and aggregate transactions.

FinCEN set a threshold of $5,000 for reporting requirements. For insurance companies, this amount applies to either the potential payout of the suspicious transaction or the premium payment of it. FinCEN also strongly encourages insurance companies to file SARs voluntarily for lower amounts if they suspect any suspicious transactions.

What Do SARs Cover?

Insurance companies must file SARs under the above rules when they either issue or underwrite products that have been determined by FinCEN to “present a high degree of risk for money laundering or the financing of terrorism or other illicit activity.” The products included under these regulations are:

  • Annuity contracts aside from any group annuity contract
  • Permanent life insurance products that contain an investment element or a cash value, except for group life policies
  • Other insurance policies that have investment features or cash value

Insurance policies, such as home and auto, don’t apply. That’s because FinCEN has determined that these policies don’t present a high likelihood of money laundering or other illicit activities. In fact, insurance companies that only offer casualty or property insurance don’t even have to establish an anti-money laundering program as long as the products they offer don’t have any investment features. Still, if your company provides products with investment features outside of the three products listed above, it’s best to play it safe.

What Must Be Implemented in an AML?

Insurance companies that are required to create an AML policy must do so to prevent it from being utilized to facilitate the financing of illicit activities such as money laundering or terrorism. Guidelines are based on the individual company’s risk profile.

At the very least, these insurance companies must establish an AML program with four money laundering elements. Steps include:

  • Hiring a compliance officer responsible for ensuring an effectively implemented program.
  • Having a written policy, internal controls, and procedures designed to control all the risks associated with the program
  • Establishing training programs that are ongoing for any personnel involved
  • Creating and maintaining an adequate monitoring and testing program that is conducted independently

Are Independent Insurance Agents Required to File SARs?

These rules all apply to insurance companies and not to their agents. This means that, in most cases, independent insurance agents are not required to file SARs. The AML programs insurance companies are required to create will encompass all the activities of its brokers or agents who sell the products, which essentially puts the onus on reporting on the insurance company itself.

That being said, in filing SARs, the insurance company would need to obtain all relevant client information from relevant sources, including independent agents and brokers. This means that independent agents could be involved in the process of filing the SARs, though they won’t be the ones responsible for starting the process.

At the same time, independent agents should always be on the lookout for suspicious activities when consumers apply for new policies covered under the FinCEN regulations. If you believe something might be questionable, it’s best to report it to the appropriate insurance company that does the underwriting. This insurance company may decide to move forward with a SAR report or give you the go-ahead to proceed with the application.

Join the Good Life

With the excitement of the new year, are you feeling the urge to make a change? If so, our team at Good Life Insurance Associates welcomes your call. Becoming an independent agent is exciting and liberating, but we know it can be a little scary to step outside your comfort zone; that’s why our team is here to help.

If you’re ready to discover the Good Life, explore our business services and insurance carriers, or contact us today to learn more. We can’t wait to help you with this next exciting chapter in life!

10 Best States to Be an Insurance Agent

There’s a lot that goes into selling insurance. For one, each state has its own rules and regulations regarding the sale of insurance and the licenses you must obtain. In addition, the population demographics of each state play a significant role in earning potential. So, where is the best place to sell insurance?

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best states to be an insurance agent based on various data points. But remember, where you sell insurance is only one factor to consider when you want to take your career to the next level.

As a Good Life insurance agent, you have the freedom to shop around with multiple insurance companies to offer your clients the best insurance products to meet their needs and budgets. This personalized touch may be just what you need to grow your book of business. To learn more about becoming an insurance agent with Good Life Insurance Associates, contact us today.

1. Georgia

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage of an insurance agent is $83,760, but the numbers are even sweeter in The Peach State. The adjusted salary of insurance agents in Georgia is $91,641. Additionally, residents can also enjoy a relatively low cost of living.

Georgia also ranks in the top 10 regarding where the most insurance is sold in real dollars. According to the Insurance Information Institute, direct premiums written in the state totaled $26.5 million in 2021.

2. Wisconsin

The $12.2 million direct premiums written in Wisconsin are much lower than in Georgia. Wisconsin’s cost of living is also relatively low compared to many other states. Regardless, Wisconsin ranks high on the list based on the potential salary that insurance agents can earn. The average wage of insurance agents in The Badger State is $80,590, with the adjusted salary being $83,254.

3. Minnesota

The total direct premiums written in Minnesota were about $14 million in 2021.

Like Wisconsin, the average wage in Minnesota is relatively high at $80,240. Couple this with a lower-than-average cost of living, and it’s easy to see why Minnesota ranks highly as one of the best states to be an insurance agent. The adjusted salary for insurance agents in Minnesota is $79,603.

4. Indiana

Indiana keeps the midwestern states trending on this list, ranking fourth in the best states to be an insurance agent. The average wage for insurance agents in Indiana is a little lower at $68,240, with an adjusted salary of $76,245. But, because of the low cost of living, Indiana provides a great location where insurance agents can thrive. In 2021, $13.6 million worth of direct premiums were written in Indiana.

5. Delaware

Let’s take a trip to the mid-Atlantic because Delaware is next on the list. While it’s a tiny state, there is a lot of opportunity here simply because of the lack of competition. While there was only $3.3 million worth of direct premiums written in 2021 in Delaware, there aren’t nearly as many insurance agents there, providing many opportunities for sales.

The average wage for insurance agents in Delaware is relatively high at $76,910, with an adjusted salary of $75,848. The cost of living is a little higher in Delaware than in some midwestern states, though property taxes are low, and there is no sales tax.

6. Alabama

Alabama is another southern state that makes the list of the ten best states to be an insurance agent. With a coastal border on the Gulf of Mexico, some parts of Alabama are susceptible to flooding and hurricanes, which is why the premiums here are higher than you might think. In 2021, $10.8 million worth of direct premiums were written.

The average wager for an insurance agent in Alabama is $69,000, with an adjusted salary of $75,657. Keeping with the trend, the cost of living is relatively low here, too.

7. Nebraska

We’re heading back to the Midwest with Nebraska at #7 on the list of best states to be an insurance agent. According to the III, the state accounted for $6.1 million worth of direct premiums written in 2021, which is high compared to the state’s population. The average wage is agreeable to most at $69,280, with an adjusted salary of $75,633.

8. Ohio

The Buckeye State ranks 8th on the list, providing ample opportunity for insurance agents to succeed. The III reports that in 2021, $19.7 million worth of direct premiums were written. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for insurance agents in Ohio is $69,260, with an adjusted salary of $73,837. The cost of living in Ohio is on the lower end, too.

9. North Dakota

North Dakota is the least populous state on the list, with only about 775,000 residents. Yet, there was almost $3 million worth of direct premiums written in The Roughrider State in 2021, which is high compared to that population. That provides ample opportunity for insurance agents since there aren’t as many agents here per capita vs. other states. The average wage for insurance agents in North Dakota is $71,820, with an adjusted salary of $72,253. As you may have guessed, residents can also enjoy a relatively low cost of living.

10. Kansas

Rounding out the list of the ten best states to be an insurance agent is Kansas, The Sunflower State. In 2021, approximately $7.9 million worth of direct premiums were written. The average wage for an insurance agent in Kansas is $64,920, with an adjusted salary of $72,213. Kansas also has a relatively low cost of living.

Join the Good Life

With the excitement of the new year, are you feeling the urge to make a change? If so, our team at Good Life Insurance Associates welcomes your call. Becoming an independent agent is exciting and liberating, but we know it can be a little scary to step outside your comfort zone; that’s why our team is here to help.

If you’re ready to discover the Good Life, explore our business services and insurance carriers, or contact us today to learn more. We can’t wait to help you with this next exciting chapter in life!

Why Do Financial Planners and Investment Advisors Need Insurance?

Most businesses need insurance to protect them from various incidents that could bring financial or reputational damage to their organization. Financial planners and investment advisors fall into this category, too, although they carry other types of risk that some businesses don’t. Below is a detailed description of some of the most common types of insurance that financial planners and investment advisors should consider.

Professional Liability Insurance

This type of insurance is also referred to as E&O, or errors and omissions. It protects financial planners and investment advisors from any claims of negligence, misrepresentation and/or malpractice.

Clients put a lot of trust into financial planners and investment advisors. When the plans go wrong and the clients lose money, they can sometimes try to blame those they have hired for why things went wrong.

Unhappy clients can often seek to recover damages they say that financial planners and investment advisors caused them if they lose money — even if it was no fault of these professionals. E&O insurance will provide coverage to these businesses whenever a claim that falls under this category is made against them.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Nearly every business today assumes some level of risk to cyberattacks. This is especially true with those in the financial sector, as they have to obtain and store personal and financial information for all their clients. Unfortunately, there is no other way to do their job nowadays.

While advances in technology provide a lot of benefits and conveniences for clients and advisors alike, there are also a lot of risks, too. Should financial planners and investment advisors experience a breach or cyberattack on their core systems, it could prove to be an extremely costly experience.

In addition to trying to recover any information or assets that are lost, businesses would need to spend money on things such as marketing to re-build confidence in clients, credit monitoring for anyone who was affected, and legal costs for anyone who files suit against them.

Cyber liability insurance is very important, then, to provide protection to these businesses in case the business ever becomes the victim of a cyberattack.

Fidelity Bonds

Any business in the financial or investment sector is particularly susceptible to losses that are caused by dishonesty or fraud. There are many different ways in which this could occur, including misappropriation, forgery, theft, wrongful conversion, embezzlement, wrongful abstraction, willful misapplication and larceny.

With so much money on hand — and so much of their clients’ money at their disposal — financial planners and investment advisors take on a lot of risk in these areas. There are times, unfortunately, when certain bad actors within the company may make decisions that have harmful effects on clients and the business alike.

Fidelity bonds are a way that these businesses can get protection in case any of these instances occur. If any of these infractions do happen, clients would likely seek major compensation. It’s also possible that the company could face major fines and other financial penalties as a result — all of which could be covered by fidelity bonds.

Other ‘Normal’ Business Insurance

Like all other businesses, financial planners and investment advisors should also consider other “normal” business insurance. In fact, these coverages may be mandated, depending on where the business is located.

One type is general liability insurance. This will cover all the basic risks that a business may face. It covers incidents such as clients slipping-and-falling while at their offices, a customer’s property being damaged, or other injuries caused by marketing and advertising such as libel or defamation.

Financial planners and investment advisors can also purchase an all-encompassing BOP, or business owner’s policy, which would provide insurance for their property. This would be especially important if the company owned the real estate out of which they operate.

Finally, financial planners and investment advisors may be required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Even if they aren’t required to purchase this policy in their state, it would be a good idea to do so if the business is anything more than a single-person operation.

Workers’ compensation provides coverage in case employees get hurt at work. In these cases, the employees’ health insurance likely wouldn’t provide coverage, which would force the business to cover any damages.

It’s also possible the business might face a lawsuit from the employee who was hurt on the job. This would bring with it other costs, such as legal fees and damages that are awarded via civil court.

Good Life Has You Covered

As is evident, financial planners and investment advisors take on a lot of risk in their day-to-day business activities. This necessitates proper insurance coverage, much of which we have outlined above.

If you are a financial planner or investment advisor seeking coverage, contact our team at Good Life Insurance Associates to learn more about our top-rated carriers and insurance policies.