Norvax Blog
Expanding Your Health Insurance Business Across The Country-Without Ever Leaving Your Desk

Expanding Your Health Insurance Business Across The Country—Without Ever Leaving Your Desk

An agent from Long Island, NY, sits in his home office and sells to health insurance shoppers in Kentucky. Another agent sits in his business park office in Houston, TX, and places applications for clients in Florida and California.

The Internet has transformed the industry and is creating top producers in large cities and small farm communities throughout the nation. Will you be the next one? More importantly, can you afford not to expand beyond your local community?

Why You Need To Expand
The #1 reason agents and brokers are choosing to expand their business goes back to the old adage: “Don’t put your eggs in one basket.”

When all your business is limited to one community, state or even region, you’re at the mercy of the economics of that area. If your community experiences a downturn or people start migrating away for better job opportunities, guess what’ll probably happen to your business.

And as more agents and brokers enter your local market, your “basket” is going to get a little tight. By expanding your business to other states across the country, you’ll have a bigger pool of potential customers.

That last benefit is a big reason why even newly licensed agents are immediately expanding their reach beyond their home state – so they can build up their client base faster.

National Insurance Producers Registry
The traditional method for getting licensed in other states has been to locate and then contact each state’s insurance regulator. You then had to fill out their particular application forms and follow their specific requirements. That’s still the way with other professions.

Insurance producers have it a lot easier. Just log into the National Insurance Producers Registry at www.NIPR.com, and you’ll get quick links to the insurance regulatory departments of all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

You’ll also be able to complete one online application to get registered in as many as 45 of the states and the District of Columbia. The only requirement is that you be currently licensed and in good standing in your home state.

And the cost? NIPR charges $6.18 for each state transaction, on top of the state’s licensing fee.

So which states should you target? Unless you’re a big office, it’s probably best to expand to one state at a time. And you’ll want to focus on states that can complement your current business. For example, if you live in a northern state but see a lot of your health clients retiring in the Sun Belt, you may want to consider getting licensed in Florida, Arizona and Texas – so you can help them wherever they decide to move.

Signing Up With Carriers
As you register in other states, you’ll need to make sure that you’re signed up with carriers who operate in those states.

The best place to start is by asking your current providers. They may already be servicing your target states, which will make getting signed up that much easier. If they’re not in those states, your RSMs may be able to hook you up with an affiliate or carrier contacts who can help you.

Lastly, consider joining an association such as the Independent Health Insurance Agents Association (www.IHIAA.org), so you can ask agents and brokers in those states directly for advice about their preferred carriers.

The Tools You’ll Need
You won’t need an office or a staff in your new states. You don’t even need to ever step foot inside those states. But you will need the right Internet tools to make sure you can successfully market and sell to clients in those states.

  • •WebsiteSince your faraway clients will never see your real office, your website is how they will come to know you. Make sure your website is designed to build trust, provide clients with the information they seek and have the usability to help you convert leads and prospects into actual submissions.
  • •Quote EngineThe #1 tool for turning your website into a lead-generation and sales machine is to embed a multi-carrier quote engine. It literally turns your website into a 24/7 sales assistant to help prospects compare detailed multi-carrier quotes in seconds.
  • •E-ApplicationA “smart” online application allows prospects to complete and submit applications directly to your carriers. Because smart e-apps automatically check for errors, your commission checks can arrive faster – and require less effort from you.
  • •Search Engine LeadsExpanding your business no longer requires a huge marketing budget to announce your presence in those new markets. High-quality Internet-generated leads let you skip over the usual marketing hurdles and get straight into closing sales.

Another reason why so many agents are expanding their businesses is that these powerful tools are now very affordable. For example, the Quoter Pro website provides a professionally designed website with embedded quote engine costs less than a morning coffee and breakfast sandwich combo.

In addition to generating and converting leads while you sleep, it can slash your quoting time by 96% – letting you run multi-carrier quotes in seconds instead of half an hour or more.

Waiting Is No Longer An Option
With the barriers to expanding and succeeding in other health insurance markets rapidly coming down, it’s no longer a matter of “when” but “how quickly.”

There’s one final reason why you need to overcome your hesitancy, if you haven’t already decided to expand. Agents from other states and regions are already using the Internet to enter your community. That’s in addition to the local agents already in your area.

So if your “basket” is getting crowded, isn’t it time to get a bigger basket?

7 Easy Drip Marketing Steps That Can Increase Your Conversion Rates Up to 1.9% Each Month

7 Easy Drip Marketing Steps That Can Increase Your Conversion Rates Up to 1.9% Each Month

If 1.9% doesn’t sound like much, consider this fact: if your office currently handles 50 leads each month, a 1.9% annual increase will add $5000 a year in extra commissions!

Top producers understand and embrace the importance of drip marketing – because they know that not all leads are ready to close right away. Most leads need to be cultivated and nurtured.

That’s exactly what drip marketing does. It’s really an effectively simple way to nurture leads. Drip marketing can even be used to revive dormant and even some dead leads.

In the past, the biggest hurdle for agents who wanted to continue marketing to their “long term leads has been the time and cost involved. In addition to printing and mailing hundreds of marketing pieces, you had to keep track of them and then follow up with phone calls.

Then came the Internet. Email, in particular, has made drip marketing much easier and affordable for both large and small agencies:

  • •Lower Cost
    You don’t have to worry about the rising cost of printing or postage with emails.
  • •Faster & More Flexible
    Emails are faster and let you pack more information than regular mail.
  • •Interactive
    One click on an email and your prospect can get more information, run multiple quotes and even submit a completed application on your website.
  • •Better Tracking
    Drip marketing emails can let you track who received your message, who opened your message and who clicked the embedded links in your email.

One-agent offices can even maintain an effective drip marketing campaign while taking no more than 20 minutes out of their already-busy weekly schedules.

You probably already use email everyday to do some marketing. But effective drip marketing lets you do it on a mass scale. And launching your email-based drip marketing program is as easy as these 5 steps:

  1. Develop Your Lists
    If you’ve been in the industry for at least a year, you probably have a database of hundreds if not thousands of unclosed leads. These are your prime prospects for your initial mailing lists, but you’ll need to focus on the ones with emails.

    But you should also segment your lists, especially if your database contains over 500 leads. For example, you may want to separate the Medicare-eligible and the uninsurables into separate list segments. You may also want to separate based on when you first contacted that lead, such as under 6 months or more than a year.

    If you have a lot of contacts without email addresses, you may want to call each of them about “updating your address book” and collect their email address along with their other information. But make sure to ask them if you can send them some informational material.

    What about if you don’t have very many contacts with email addresses? Some top producers actually specialize in seasoned or “aged” leads-and use their automated drip marketing program to uncover and resurrect them.

    How does that work? Let’s say you have 1,000 aged leads that haven’t closed yet. Even if your drip marketing program only converts 1/2 of 1 percent, or 5 leads, out of the bunch that should result in almost $2,000 in commissions!

  2. Create a Schedule
    An effective drip marketing campaign will contact each lead at least once a month. But you should avoid contacting them more than once a week, as they’ll quickly get annoyed with you and “unsubscribe” from your mailing list.

    The only exception to that weekly limit is perhaps during the first weeks after you contact that lead. Agents and brokers have found success sending emails to their new prospects immediately after first speaking with them – then following it up with a reminder email two days and again five days after that initial contact.

    If they aren’t ready to close after that initial flurry, you’ll need to slide that prospect into your monthly schedule.

  3. Provide Value-Added Content
    So what should those drip marketing emails contain? Here are five important tips to consider as you plan out your drip marketing calendar:

    • ○Educate Them
      Give them news blurbs or links to informative articles and guides that can help their buying decision.
    • ○Don’t Hide the Price
      Consumers place more on trust on businesses that aren’t afraid to advertise their price. One tool that can help you in this regard is a quote engine that can embed updated, customized quotes in each email. Each prospect can then use that quote engine to compare the pricing on all the carriers in your arsenal.
    • ○Testimonials
      To-the-point endorsements from satisfied customers are powerful tools for building trust and motivating prospects. But make sure your customers have given you written permission to use their testimonials.
    • ○Avoid Fluff
      Stay away from meaningless fluff, like “we’re the best agency” or “you won’t find anyone better” – unless you back it up with facts like “we were rated the #1 in customer service by the Chamber of Commerce, etc.”
    • ○Call to Action
      Remember your sales ABCs? Always Be Closing. Each drip marketing email should contain at least one call to action, such as inviting them to view and compare their current pricing.

    A strong drip marketing message accomplishes two goals: it gives prospects the information they’re looking for, while it guides them closer to a purchase.

  4. Segment Your Database
    We mention in step 1 that you should segment large databases when you first set up your drip marketing campaign. But segmenting doesn’t stop there.

    You’ll occasionally need to segment leads as they move from one group to another. For example, prospects who have or are about to turn 65 should be moved to your Medicare-eligible segment. Similarly, prospects who have submitted applications and are now clients, need to be moved out of the prospect list.

    Most importantly, you need to immediately remove any contact who has requested that you stop sending them emails.

  5. Know the Law
    The federal government has cracked down on spammers of all sizes with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. This law doesn’t just cover mass spammers peddling low-cost drugs from Canada or discounted software that fell off the back of a truck.

    It also covers insurance agents who send out marketing emails. For starters, the CAN-SPAM Act requires you to include a legitimate physical business address in your email and accurate “from” lines. You also need to provide a simple mechanism for “opt-outs” so prospects can unsubscribe easily – and you must stop sending them emails within 10 days.

    So before you send your first email, make sure you visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/canspam.shtm) to understand all of your CAN-SPAM Act requirements.

  6. Automate
    There’s no question that drip marketing works. But even with email, it can take a lot of time if you’re doing it by hand. That’s why top producers use an automated drip marketing system to handle the bulk of their drip marketing activities.

    The LeadMiner email autoresponder, for example, can warm up a prospect to receive your call by sending a “welcome” email as soon as that new lead hits your inbox. It can then automatically send reminder emails every few days during that all-important first week, as well as monthly messages if they need more time.

    LeadMiner also embeds each marketing message with a personalized pricing quote. One click can take a prospect to your quote engine, where they can get updated pricing as well as compare multi-carrier plans side by side.

    But regardless of which system you use, it’s automation that lets you drip market to hundreds of prospects – without taking your eyes away from the “hot” leads who need the bulk of your attention.

  7. Don’t stop with the closing
    Finally, don’t make the mistake of abandoning your client just because they’re already signed up. Remember that it costs less to retain your existing clients than it does to find new ones. Referrals from satisfied clients are also the best source for new prospects.

    As mentioned earlier, after you’ve converted a prospect into a client, you should move them into a separate segment – but continue to market to them. Sending them monthly or quarterly emails is an inexpensive but effective way to stay in touch.

    In fact, experienced producers routinely schedule a reminder email or call a couple of months before a client’s policy anniversary. That’s when your current client may be thinking of shopping around for a better rate-especially if they’ve just gotten a notice that their premium is going up.

    Drip marketing ensures that whether or not they want to shop around, your clients will have your contact information at their fingertips when they need to renew – or make a referral.

Norvax Product News

Norvax Product News

NOW AVAILABLE
-ANTEX VA: CAT plans will be available to quote
-Anthem NV: Updated Tonik rates will be available to quote
-Assurant (Time and Alden): Paper application option is being removed
-IAC: updated rates will be available to quote
-United Security Life and Health: Short-Term plans will be available to quote
-World Brokerage: updated rates will be available to quote
-World ExpressMed: updated rates will be available to quote

COMING SOON
-Health Plan of NV/Sierra Health & Life
-AHCP GTL
-Asuris Northwest Health
-Atlantis Health Plan
-Regence BCBS OR
-Regence BCBS UT
-Regence BS ID
-Regence BS (Washington)
-Medicare Advantage quoting
-Health America – new plans will be available
-Anthem Blue Cross (CA) – updated rates will be available
-BC ID – updated rates will be available
-BCBS GA – new plans will be available
-Anthem NH – Maternity rider will be available to quote
-CoventryOne LA – updated rates will be available
-New carriers coming soon: WPS, BCBS OK

Login to your BrokerOffice to see new states and plans or click here for the latest updates

Ask The Expert

Ask The Expert

“Will Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads Help Me Generate More Leads?”

Q: Someone suggested advertising online to get more prospects to my website. Will Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads help me generate more leads?

A: The short answer is “YES,” pay-per-click ads will probably bring more visitors to your site and, if you’ve invested in your website design and have a quote engine, it should generate more leads for you. But those leads come with a cost, and depending on how you manage your campaign, PPC ads may actually prove to be a money-losing proposition.

PPC ads are effective methods for bringing online consumers to your website. Unfortunately, not all visitors convert into leads. And as you already know, not all leads convert into submissions and commission checks.

The sad truth is that for many agents, PPC ads will not work. Yes, they can generate traffic and leads. But you may be able to get better quality leads at a much lower cost from a reputable lead provider.

How PPC Ads Work

As the name suggests, PPC ads will charge you every time someone clicks on your ad and is taken to your target webpage. You’re paying for each online visitor delivered by that advertisement.

This is a step above traditional ads that charge you whether or not they bring new prospects to your door, website or phone. PPC ads can also be targeted to a specific keyword audience. Your PPC ads can be automatically placed only on websites that contain your target keywords or when someone types those keywords into a search engine form.

The biggest PPC ad provider is Google. Their AdwordsT program lets anyone set up an account and buy ad placements based on keywords. For example, let’s say you want your PPC ad to appear only when the consumer is searching for “affordable California health insurance.”

When someone types in those four words into the Google search engine form, your ad will appear along the right column of the results page – if you pay enough.

That’s right. There’s no flat rate for most PPC ads. Advertisers have to bid on keywords. The highest bid will receive the top position on the first page of search engine results. If your bid is low, your ad won’t appear until later pages – if at all.

What’s your CPL and ROI?

When you examine a PPC ad’s cost per lead (CPL) or return on investment (ROI), you quickly see why most agents don’t bother with PPC advertising.

PPC ads only deliver potential shoppers to your website. How many of these visitors will turn into leads? And how many of these leads turn into actual revenue? And what will those PPC leads cost you?

Those are all important questions you should answer before you invest too much money into PPC ads. Fortunately, it’s easy to gather that information:

  • •Visitor conversions
    How many of your visitors convert into leads? Your website can track how many unique visitors come to your website each day, week or month. Compare that to how many new leads your website generates during the same period to determine how many of your visitors turn into leads.

    Better yet, if you do run PPC ads, make sure that consumers who click on those ads are taken to a specific landing page (not your home page). It’ll be easier to keep track of how many visitors you get from those ads and how long they stay – as well as where they go after that landing page.

  • •Lead conversions
    How many of your leads convert into submitted and placed applications that earn a commission? That should be pretty easy to calculate, since you should already know how many leads you generate and how many apps you submit and place.
  • •PPC ad costs
    Finally, throw in the cost of your PPC ads and you can see how much those leads really cost.

For example, let’s say that only 1 out of every 10 visitors turn into leads and that you pay $20 per PPC ad click. That means that you’ll have to spend $200 before you get a lead from your PPC ad campaign.

For that same $200, you can probably get 10 high-quality exclusive leads from a reputable lead provider!

Does $20 seem high for a PPC ad? If you’re targeting keywords such as “health insurance” or “affordable health insurance,” it’s not uncommon to pay $30 per click!

PPC Options

After all of that, there are ways to make sure that you can actually profit from your PPC ads. The basic rule of thumb is to only bid what you know will turn a profit.

For example, if you can buy comparable leads for $8 and only 10% of your PPC visitors turn into leads, then you don’t want to pay more than 80-cents for each click.

That won’t get you very many leads. But the leads you do get should prove to be a little more profitable.

Another strategy to consider is to look for niche keywords that are lower in demand. That usually makes them cheaper.

Finally, regardless of the strategy you decide to use, make sure that your website is ready to receive PPC-driven visitors. A professionally designed website with a 24/7 self-service quote engine can increase the percentage of your visitors who convert into leads.

With higher conversion ratios, you can actually afford to pay a little more for PPC ads. And in that case, it would make sense to invest in PPC ads.

7 Simple Tips For Getting Google To Drive More Online Shoppers To Your Quoter Website

7 Simple Tips For Getting Google To Drive More Online Shoppers To Your Quoter Website

Your embedded Norvax quote engine is an effective tool for converting your website visitors into real leads – and even submitted applications. But how do you get major search engines like Google™ and Yahoo!™ to send more online health insurance shoppers to your Quoter website?

The answer is search engine optimization (SEO). It’s a big word that comes down to just making sure your website is optimized for search engine spiders.

What are search engine spiders? They’re programs that scour the websites on the Internet. Spiders collect information that are then used by search engines to create a database of the entire web. The data they collect from your website determines how high you’ll rank on search engine results if, for example, someone types “health insurance plans” into the Google search box.

SEO is now big business, with companies charging thousands of dollars to optimize commercial websites. But with these 7 simple tips, you can quickly optimize your Quoter website for nothing.

1) Write Keyword-Rich Content

Several factors go into determining how high you rank on search engine pages. But one of the most important factors is how your website content matches up to the keywords typed into the search engine by the online shopper.

For example, if someone types “cheap Texas health insurance” into the Google search box, the search engine will look for websites that have those four keywords. Websites with that exact phrasing will show up higher in the search results. Websites with all four keywords but in a different order or websites with only three or two of those keywords will typically rank lower.

But don’t just stuff your website with all the keywords your brain can produce. That will turn off visitors who do come to your site. They’ll just hit the “Back” button and go to the next website on the list.

Instead, you should first write (or hire someone to write) content that website visitors will find useful. Then strategically add your top keywords to your content.

If you’re having trouble thinking of keywords, ask your online clients what keywords they used when they shopped for insurance. You can also Google’s own keyword tool to determine the best keywords for your page: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.

2) Remember Your Headlines and Tags

Google tends to put more importance on keywords that appear on your headlines, sub-headers and page titles. After you’ve taken the previous step of writing good keyword-rich content, make sure that your top keywords are included in your header and sub-headers.

Don’t forget to also include your top keywords in your page title and description tags. The page title is what appears on the very top of your browser screen. The page title and page description are also what typically appears on the search engine results page.

3) Add Content Regularly

Both Google and Yahoo pay attention to how often webpages are updated. All things being equal, frequently updated websites will rank higher than websites that are rarely if ever maintained.

So make sure to update your content at least once a month – if not every week. And it doesn’t have to be a major rewrite. For example, you should consider posting press releases and announcements about new plans, carriers and office news. In addition to keeping your prospects informed, you’ll be helping your page rank.

4) Build Links

Google captured the search engine market by considering “backlinks” (external links that point to your website) in their page ranking system. Getting more links, especially from related websites, will help improve your page rank.

Here are a few tips for quickly acquiring dozens of links to your site:

  • •Exchange links with local businesses you know
  • •Get listed in online directories
  • •Ask for links from vendors, friends and contacts
  • •Send out press releases with links to your site
  • •Post articles with links to your site in “ezines”

But don’t bother buying links. Paying for links will not help your page ranking. In some cases, they may even hurt it.

5) Generate Non-SEO Traffic

Frequently visited websites tend to receive higher rankings. Yes, you want your SEO changes to increase your page rank so search engines will drive more visitors to your site. But you can also increase your page rank by taking other steps to get more people to visit your site.

This means prominently featuring your website in your advertisements, brochures, signs and even business cards. This also means having your marketing emails direct prospects back to a landing page in your website – in addition to contacting you directly.

6) Own Your Own Domain

Make sure that you’ve got your own domain name. This really isn’t an issue with a Norvax Quoter website.

But if you’re using a “free” webpage, chances are that you don’t really have your own website. Instead, you’ve got a page in someone else’s website. All the traffic that you bring in will help their page ranking, but do little for yours.

So if you haven’t already, go to a site such as www.GoDaddy.com or www.NetworkSolutions.com to find and register an available domain name.

7) Don’t Cross Google

Lastly, keep in mind that Google has punished many websites for using “black hat” techniques to build their page ranks.

For example, if you add your website to a “link farm,” Google will actually lower your page rank. Beware of link exchange sites and programs in general, especially if they require you to install a program or applet to your website.

Other “black hat” techniques Google will penalize include:

  • •Hidden text
    Putting your keywords in a color that cannot be read on the screen, but can be picked up by search engine spiders, is a common mistake Google has punished.
  • •Keyword stuffing
    Simply adding your keywords multiple times looks bad to website visitors, but can also get your site penalized.
  • •Forum spamming
    Don’t post your link on forums and blog comment pages unless you actually have something to share with the readers. This is sometimes just as bad as email spam.

There are thousands of SEO firms on the web claiming to be able to raise your page rank to the top of the 1st page of search engine results. But page rank for which keywords? Also, how will they do this? Most use black hat tactics that may work in the short term but will later come back to hurt your ranking?

Google’s dominance cannot be ignored, especially if you want to generate leads through your website. To avoid getting condemned to what many webmasters now refer to as “Google Hell,” it’s crucial that you steer clear of black hat and spammy tactics.

3 Tips For Unleashing Your Quote Engine’s Marketing Potential

3 Tips For Unleashing Your Quote Engine’s Marketing Potential

If you’re like most agents, you already love your Norvax Quote Engine for its ability to slash your quoting time to mere seconds-instead of half an hour or more. But did you know it can help you improve your marketing campaign and generate more leads?

That’s right. The Norvax Quote Engine isn’t just an admin tool. It also works with your marketing campaign to give it a boost by fully exploiting the benefits your Norvax Quote Engine offers to individual health insurance shoppers.

Here are three simple ways you can use your Norvax Quote Engine to improve your marketing and sales efforts.

1) Embedded Personalized Quotes in Emails

Active insurance shoppers get marketing emails from dozens of agents each day. And all of them share the same boring message: use their agency because their trustworthy, fast, courteous, cheap, etc.

Don’t worry or be offended if your current email fits this bland mold. You’re about to learn an effective tip for making your marketing emails stand out from the crowd.

Typical marketing emails lack specifics about the one thing foremost on most shoppers’ minds. They want to know how much it’s going to cost them!

By including a link to your quote engine, they can get an up-to-date pricing quote in under a minute. Better yet, use your free BrokerOffice lead management system to run personalized quotes and email current proposals to each lead in your database.

But what if your database of unclosed leads contains hundreds of prospects? Sending personalized quotes to each prospect would be unfeasible – unless you have an email autoresponder like the Norvax LeadMiner. This online resource can send regular emails to thousands of prospects with almost no effort. Just determine how often you want marketing emails sent, and LeadMiner will automatically send them according to that schedule.

More importantly, LeadMiner will embed a personalized link in each email to your Norvax Quote Engine. Your prospect only needs to click on that link to be taken to their personalized quote.

When your prospects finally pull the trigger on buying health insurance, they’ll have your email and most current plan options at their fingertips.

2) Promote Plan Comparison Benefits

Using your quote engine in conjunction with BrokerOffice and LeadMiner is an effective strategy for marketing to people already in your prospect database. But your Norvax Quote Engine can be just as effective in generating new leads and prospects.

Your Norvax Quote Engine solves the biggest fear many consumers have about buying insurance. Specifically, are they making the right decision?

Consumers want to know they’re making the best decision and getting the best value for their money. With your Norvax Quote Engine, shoppers can compare the features and prices of various plans side by side. They can tell what they’re getting for their money-and which plans offer the best value.

Your quote engine gives them the power and opportunity to make a truly informed decision.

Do your brochures, flyers and other marketing pieces stress this benefit? As you craft your next ad or marketing email blast, make sure to hook your value-focused shoppers by showing them that your quote engine is the perfect resource for their online insurance shopping.

3) Highlight Its 24/7 Self-Service Feature

Self-service was first introduced as a cost-saving tactic for businesses. But its popular appeal really took off as consumers began to appreciate the freedom that self-service offered. No more dealing with pushy or rude salespeople.

With the Norvax Quote Engine embedded into your website, you’re offering this same cost-saving freedom to all your prospects and potential clients.

Consumers want to be able to find the information or item they want when they want it. And most would rather not deal with sales people – unless absolutely necessary. They know they have options, and they prefer to use it when they’re ready.

Fortunately, your Norvax quote engine is the ideal solution for these online consumers. It’s a 24/7 resource that doesn’t require any interaction with a sales person – unless the consumer asks for one.

As long as your website contains your Norvax quote engine, online shoppers can generate quotes at midnight or noon, without having to sit down with an agent. They can even submit an online application on their own.

Think about that for a second! A lead can visit your website, compare plans and submit a complete application to your carrier – without ever talking to you once. Not all clients will be this easy, and you should make an effort to contact all of your clients at least once during the process. But having a Norvax Quote Engine with smart e-applications will mean more time to serve more prospects.

So make sure you’re also highlighting this important benefit in your marketing, advertising and sales materials. Any agent can claim that they’re the most trustworthy, efficient, courteous or inexpensive.

By highlighting your 24/7 self-service Norvax quote engine, you’re giving real proof that you’re one of the few agents who can actually deliver on your promises.

An Interview with FBS Owner Bonny Albright

A 28-Year Success Story Looks To The Future – The Senior Market: An Interview with Bonny Albright, FBS Owner

Bonny Albright, co-owner of Freedom Benefit Solutions (FBS), sees a big opportunity coming for agents and brokers. It’s the fast-growing senior market, and she knows what tools and resources every producer needs to capture their share of this market.

But providing individual insurance is only part of Bonny’s job and mission. Along with her husband and co-owner Johnny, she has trained dozens of agents in the art of selling. They’ve developed a proven system and put it to regular use.

Experience has taught them what it takes to succeed in health insurance, both now and in the future. Bonny recently shared those lessons in an insightful Q&A with Norvax.

First of all, how did you get into insurance?

My husband Johnny started the company, and I joined him four years later. Originally, he had been in the construction business when a friend of his encouraged him to give insurance a try. A year after that first recommendation, Johnny earned his insurance license and hit the field with a briefcase full of quoting manuals. And he discovered that he was good at it.

As our business grew, we brought on and trained many agents. We found the insurance business isn’t for everyone. For some people, selling insurance can be a real nightmare. But for others, it really works. It fits their personality. That’s the case with us, so much so that it became a family business.

Do you focus on group or individual insurance?

Originally, we started with individual sales. When I came on board, I concentrated more on group insurance, while Johnny focused on individual. But we could see the gradual trend going toward individual, especially after UniCare came out with their individual products. Now, more than 95% of our business is individual. And I don’t see that trend reversing any time soon.

But individual policies were a tough market early on because it was so time-consuming. Johnny had to drive to clients with these huge rate books. He then had to manually go through the process of elimination to find a program that met the client’s qualifications. Then after you got an application, it would take an average of two more months before you received a final approval.

It was hard to make money on individual plans back then.

What changed?

The Internet, for one, came along and allowed everyone to work smarter.

Then we started using the Norvax Quote Engine. What used to take up to or at least half a day now takes less than 15 minutes. We can take a client through the whole process of quoting four different plans and providing them with a detailed proposal in less than 15 minutes.

There’s also no longer any need to drive out to prospect’s homes to write up applications – which is welcome news for both parties. People don’t really want kitchen sales anymore. Many don’t have the time. But most just don’t like receiving a sales pitch in their homes anymore.

The net result is that agents have more time to serve more people.

So where do you see the future of health insurance?

The senior market. It’s going to be huge. It’ll be much bigger than the basic individual market.

It has the potential to reshape the insurance agency world. The Medicare-eligible market is already big. Medicare Advantage and supplemental plans have opened that market for agents who can help guide seniors through their various private options.

On top of that, remember that Baby Boomers are retiring and will soon be qualifying for Medicare. There’s 70 million of them! This is where we’re seeing the biggest opportunities for agency growth.

But just like the early days of individual market, I think a lot of us agents have been anxiously waiting for the tools to efficiently serve this market.

The demand is already there. We could do a lot more – but not until carriers came online with their senior products and we had tools to market it efficiently.

Thanks to Norvax, we finally have the technology to efficiently serve seniors like we do the individual market. And it’s exciting to be able to quote Anthem’s senior plans online. They have good products, and the Norvax senior quoting platform is the perfect vehicle.

Does selling to seniors require a different approach?

Yes, it does. Medicare Advantage and supplemental plans are different from basic individual and family plans. So agents have to familiarize themselves with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as any state-specific guidelines.

As for the seniors themselves, most of the seniors we’ve served are a lot more knowledgeable about Medicare and their health insurance options than a lot of other people. They do more research. They have a better idea of what they need from their health insurance. Many of them are also online.

Because of that, we’ve found that most seniors are more ready to buy. There are few if any qualification issues. As long as they’re 65, they’re eligible for Medicare. There’s also little doubt they want to buy a plan. They just need help finding the right plan for them.

Having the Norvax quoting platform for their Medicare supplemental needs lets us do just that. We can compare multiple plans side by side – and let them decide which mix works for them.

How does Norvax fit into your business?

Norvax has always had a great overall reputation, especially with us. They’re very responsive whenever we have any issues. Tech-wise, Norvax is so far ahead of other companies. That’s why we use them for our tech needs.

The quote engine and the built-in e-applications save so much time. And because we no longer need to spend half a day on just one client, we have more time to go after new ones and convert more leads. Norvax gives agents the tools they need to be profitable.

Can you tell us more about Freedom Benefit Solutions?

Succeeding in insurance sales is an art. But it’s an art that new agents can learn. Johnny and I have spent nearly three decades training and motivating agents in this art, while providing our customers with a wide array of both popular and niche products – so they can find the right plan for them.

I think that our ability to work as a team gives us the ability to look at challenges and obstacles from many different angles, so we’re often able to find creative solutions for individual situations.

We’ve also brought together a great team of sales professionals and developed an effective system for any agent who wants to succeed in this business.

Take a free demo of the NEW Norvax Senior quote engine here:
http://www.norvax.com/senior-quoting/anthem.html

To learn more about Anthem products and how to get appointed, please contact the Regional Sales Representative in your area:

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield:
Amy Canchola  (877) 292-4474  (877) 292-4474
States Supported: NV

Robin Le  (888) 370-6224  (888) 370-6224
States Supported: CO, MO

Tony Makkar  (888) 486-9260  (888) 486-9260
States Supported: CT, ME, NH

Jennifer Garcia  (888) 334-0804  (888) 334-0804
States Supported: IN, OH, WI

Rayel Chavez  (888) 370-6215  (888) 370-6215
States Supported : KY, VA

Anthem Blue Cross: California
Amy Canchola  (877) 292-4474  (877) 292-4474

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia
Rayel Chavez  (888) 370-6215  (888) 370-6215

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
Tony Makkar  (888) 486-9260  (888) 486-9260

Norvax Product News

Norvax Product News

NOW AVAILABLE
-ANTEX: Updated rates
-Anthem BCBS GA: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-Anthem BCBS NH: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-Anthem BCBS VA: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-BC CA: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-BCBS IL: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-BCBS LA: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-BCBS TX: Apply notifications will be sent to the agent when a client clicks to Apply Online.
-Celtic: New plans will be available for 7/1/08
-Kaiser GA: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-IAC: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-Imerica: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-Health Net Farm Bureau: New plans will be available for 7/1/08
-Health Net AZ: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-Unicare TX: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-Unicare MI: 7/1/08 rates will be available to quote
-Medical Mutual of Ohio: New SuperMed One – Ohio Farm Bureau plans are now available to quote in OH

COMING SOON
-American Community: optional riders available to quote in BO
-American Community: updated rates
-CareFirst: updated rates
-BC ID: 8/1/08 rate update
-Anthem BCBS NH: Maternity rider will be available to quote in BO
-IAC: updated rates
-World Brokerage and HPE: update rates
-Vista: updated rates
-Pacificare OR: updated rates
-AMS FL: updated rates
-”Reduced Commissions” plan feature in Broker Office (starting with Aetna)
-Student dropdown box will be available for leads in Broker Office
-BCBS IL: Med Supp plans
-Medicare Advantage quoting

Login to your BrokerOffice to see new states and plans or click here for the latest updates

Ask The Expert

Ask The Expert

“What Should Be My Criteria For Picking States In Which To Get Licensed?”

Q: I’m thinking of expanding my offering to other states. What should be my criteria for picking states in which to get licensed?

A: As with other investments, you need to consider which states offer the best use of your time and money. For starters, I recommend that you don’t automatically limit yourself to just the states that neighbor your home state.

The Internet and modern telecommunications allow you to serve every health insurance client in America just as easily as one living down the street. As agents realize they can quickly expand their health insurance business to almost any state, they’re faced with the question of which states they should pick.

Being licensed in a neighboring state does make sense if you live in a border town or multi-state metropolis, such as St. Louis, Kansas City, Philadelphia or Cincinnati. But if you’re not located along the state border or are already licensed in the neighboring state, I recommend that you keep your options open.

What’s your specialty?
Have you made a specific carrier or plan type your specialty? In that case, you’ll want to consider which states that carrier is also licensed in or what plan type makes sense.

For example, if you’re a big fan of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, you’ll need to choose from a list of 11 states: Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Virginia.

And if you’re targeting seniors, you’ll need to consider the decades-long trend of seniors migrating to the Sunbelt.

It’s a numbers game
Each additional state license is an investment of time and money. To get the most bang for your buck, I suggest choosing the states with larger populations. More importantly, you should probably favor states with greater demand for health insurance, especially the plans you offer.

This is not a knock on smaller states. But the truth is that smaller states mean more competition for fewer people. You’ll typically find the flow of new leads to be minimal or tight in less populous states.

For your first expansion steps, states with bigger populations offer more potential customers and leads.

Licensing requirements
You also need to consider the licensing requirements of your target states. One way to whittle down your list of potential states is to eliminate those with more stringent and costly licensing requirements.

The good news is that getting licensed in other states is a lot easier today. The National Insurance Producer Registry (www.nipr.com) provides detailed information for the licensing requirements of all states. It also lets any licensed insurance agent register online for non-resident licensing in almost every other state in the country.

Get ready
Finally, make sure that you have the right tools at the ready before you expand your business to these other states. An effective website with a powerful quote engine is a must for taking advantage of the increasingly borderless health insurance market.

But you’ll also need to find a trustworthy health insurance lead provider, who can provide you with a steady stream of qualified prospects from your newly licensed state.

New Generation E-Applications Let Agents Submit More Deals With Less Work

New Generation E-Applications Let Agents Submit More Deals With Less Work

Top producers have been using the power of the Internet to bring prospective clients into their sales funnel for years. With the advent of smart e-application programs, they’re now using Internet technology to drive leads and prospects into a fully submitted application – and faster commissions.

Smart e-applications are more than just online forms. They’re programmed to anticipate the common mistakes that delay underwriting, as well as guide users for a faster completion.

Self-Service Speed
Online consumers are used to self-service – especially when it means faster turnaround. In fact, consumers have come to expect and demand self-service speed from Internet retailers and businesses.

It may take online shoppers more time to make a decision, as they exploit the Internet’s resources to research their purchase. But when they do decide to purchase an item, they want to complete that transaction as quickly as possible.

Online shoppers don’t want to wait hours, let alone days for agents to mail or fax them an application form. Once they did receive those “hard copy” forms, they would still have to fill them out by hand and send them back to the agent, who then has to process and submit it into underwriting.

Their lives are too busy to waste that much time when technology already allows them to open bank accounts, start businesses and buy almost anything online. With e-applications, prospects can eliminate all that wasted time and go directly into a submitted application.

Improved Navigation
The problem with many online forms is that they’re not very user friendly. They can be confusing, especially the long ones that are divided into two or more pages.

The current generation of e-applications now incorporates design features that eliminate much of the confusion that many consumers feel when they face a complex application.

Most of these helpful design features are small fixes. But together, they can radically improve the customer’s experience. Here are just a few of these helpful features you’ll now find in successful e-applications:

  • •Progress bar
    A graphic indicator of how much of the application has been completed and how much remains to be done minimizes that sense of “lost in the woods” that many people feel when they’re filling out long applications.
  • •Readable design
    Improved layout, better colors and the right fonts greatly improve the form’s readability.
  • •Forward-reverse control
    It may seem like a small thing, but the ability to go back and correct entries is a big plus for users. It gives them an important sense of control, and it allows them to make sure that they’re providing accurate information on their application.
  • •Minimal questions
    Besides being annoying, excessively long questionnaires run the risk of losing clients just when they’ve decided to buy your product. The best e-applications eliminate all unnecessary questions and focus on what is absolutely needed to get an underwriting decision.
  • •Pre-filled entries
    Another innovation found in top e-applications are pre-filled entries. For example, integrated systems such as the Norvax technology package will transfer the lead’s data into the e-application. Applicants can make corrections or changes to it, but they don’t have to re-type their basic information.
  • •Save and return
    Incomplete applications aren’t unusual. People get interrupted or run out of time. Top e-applications allow your clients to save their inputted data and return later to complete it.

Smart Applications
Many of the delays experienced with submitted applications can be traced back to the form itself. Incorrect and incomplete application forms result in the file being halted or sent back to the agent for updates and additional information.

This area is where today’s smart e-applications are making the biggest impact. The right programming can minimize errors and incomplete entries. The Norvax-developed health insurance e-application available with some carriers, for example, eliminates many of the common obstacles and issues that could otherwise delay underwriting.

And fewer delays mean faster decisions – and potentially faster commission checks.

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