Life and Health Agents - 25 Years Later

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In celebration if its 25-year anniversary, California Broker Magazine, released a brief retrospective on life and health insurance agents in the state.

In celebration if its 25-year anniversary, California Broker Magazine, released a brief retrospective on life and health insurance agents in the state. In her editorial column, editor-in-Chief, Kate Kinkade, recalls that 25 years ago, California Broker Magazine was packed with articles warning agents about the risk of being sued based on the recommendations they gave to clients.

Kinkade, who has been with the magazine since its inception, said that, in the past 25 years, there has been a plethora of class action lawsuits based on agents not providing the right advice or not providing full disclosure for their recommendations. There has also been a shrinking in the health insurance market, the growth of non-guaranteed life insurance (universal and variable), and the full swing back to guarantees, albeit secondary.

To make matters worse, legislators have toyed with the idea of penalizing agents for not presenting the best product to the client. While saner minds prevailed, it is indicative of the attitude toward these products that has developed over the past two decades.

Another trend is exactly what a 25-year old editorial column projected -- in far too many cases, life insurance agents have become supermarkets and order takers. They search for the cheapest product; prove their point by giving the client reams of illustrations and spread sheets; and send applications to six companies to place one policy on the insured, just to be sure. With the help of insurance companies, the product has been commoditized and the process has been slowed down to a crawl as carriers become overwhelmed.

Health insurance agents have fared better, primarily because market consolidation has required them to excel in service and expertise in order to stay in business. As a group, they have learned to sell by understanding their clients' needs before and after a sale.

Insurance agents know how to ask personal questions and they know that personal issues drive all decisions. That expertise, combined with good technical knowledge and honesty, is vital to helping clients make the best financial decisions. "What hasn't changed is that the insurance agents who still take the time to understand their clients, and actually recommend solutions instead of offering wares, retain the strongest client relationships of any other financial advisor. Over the past 25 years, we have lost too much of that skill and it shows," said Kinkade. For more information, contact Leila Morris 818-848-2957 or visit http://www.calbrokermag.com.

About California Broker Magazine

California Broker Magazine is the most highly respected insurance magazine in the state.

It has a 25-year track record of editorial and graphic excellence. The magazine has received two Golden Graphic awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors. The magazine has twice received the prestigious Paladin Award for service to the insurance industry from the Los Angeles Assn. of Health Underwriters.

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LEILA MORRIS
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