The Different Types Of Commercial Insurance Brokers

To the average man or woman on the street, the world in which commercial insurance brokers live and operate will be little more than a mystery. The field of insurance in general is still barely understood by laymen and women, and with commercial insurance being one of its most specialised branches, this effect is felt several-fold.

Few people seeking to take out this type of insurance will be aware, for instance, that there are several types of commercial insurance brokers on the market, each with its own specific ways to operate, strengths and limitations. At best, most of these men and women will be aware of the existence of the main, larger insurance companies, with the countless smaller operators being known to only a minuscule portion of the overall demographic, mostly through research or word of mouth. Yet, on occasion, these alternative types of commercial insurance brokers may actually be more suited for what an individual or business is after than the more ‘mainstream’ alternatives; it is with that in mind that the present article seeks to introduce prospective clients to the different types of commercial insurance companies available, so that they may assess which will best suit their specific situation.

Insurer-Owned Brokers

Insurer-owned companies are perhaps the most widespread and prolific sub-section of the commercial insurance market, and many of the most popular and best-known commercial insurance brokers fall under this category. As the name indicates, these outfits are owned by large insurance companies, who typically dictate their standards and practices. In certain countries, this model was considered the industry standard for commercial brokers for decades; it has, however, recently begun to lose ground, as the effectiveness of these types of outfits began to dwindle. Nowadays, many experts make a case for the model being outdated, and it is predicted that insurer-owned commercial insurance brokers will continue to lose market space in years to come.

Broker Networks

Broker networks comprise several small commercial insurance brokers, all of which share resources, assets and market opportunities between them. In its ideal form, this is considered to be a beneficial model for companies that choose to join one of these networks, with many of them advertising better commissions for individual brokers and service conditions for the companies as a whole; however, adhesion to this type of network remains uneven between countries.

Consolidated Brokers

Consolidated commercial insurance brokers result from one company assimilating, buying out or otherwise consolidating any number of smaller ones, in similar fashion to a corporate merger. At one point, these types of companies were the most common type of commercial insurance brokers in certain markets, with consolidations happening as frequently as once a week. The practice has significantly lost steam since then, however, mainly due to the fact that the exact benefits to be reaped from consolidation processes are not always clear. This has caused many brokers to sour on the practice, and much like insurer-owner brokers, it is thought that this type of brokerage firm may lose even more ground in years to come.

Independent Brokers

The fourth and final type of brokerage firm are independent brokers, that is, brokers which are not associated with either of the three types described earlier in this article. These tend to be smaller, often family or owner-run companies, with smaller and more personalised client bases, and frequently focused on more specialised or less explored areas of the field. Customers resorting to an independent broker can expect a more personalised service, with a higher rate of face-to-face interactions and more time devoted to each case. This type of company is less prevalent in the modern landscape than any of the previously listed ones, but there are still a few independent commercial insurance brokers left, and they tend to attract a small yet loyal customer base.

These are, in broad strokes, the main types of commercial insurance brokers available to customers. It is, therefore, up to each individual to work out which business configuration would be most suitable to their specific needs, in order to avoid disappointment down the road.

Health Insurance And College Students

As a parent you should not overlook a solid health plan for your college student. Among all the other support you give to your son or daughter, selecting a health plan should be high on your list of things to do. Often enough your own health plan will cover your children when they are 20 to 24 years old. Your college student usually has to qualify to be put on your health plan, such as financial dependency on you and long term enrollment which would consider them a full time student.

If you do not have a health plan that can be utilized for your child, the college he or she is attending will likely have some available for your selection. Some colleges include health care coverage as a mandatory part of enrollment. An added cost on enrollment is often needed to subscribe as part of the health care coverage, which will be an another burden on top of the tuition cost. If you are worried and cannot find any other option, you may need to justify the extra cost and obtain health coverage through the college in question.

You should always do your research by comparing the costs and benefits of each health plan, even if you already have a health plan and you’re thinking about including your son or daughter in it as they attend as a full time college student. Deductibles and copays will be something your child may need to pay if they desire to be independent from you, even if they are financially dependent on you. You should take into consideration what type of medical treatments are included in the plan, such as xrays, lab work, doctor visits, surgery and dental procedures.

Another thing to consider is if they’re covered on spring break and other holidays, since college kids tend to get in trouble at these times. No Matter what plan you select, you should make sure the plan is inside your budget and properly covers your college student, as they are obviously important. There may be certain plans available to part time college students, however these will vary greatly with costs and benefits. A good resource on college student health insurance plans is the American College Student Association located at http://acsa.com/. Members earn discounts and receive loads of information aimed specifically at all types of college students, from a reputable and well established association.

There are several ACSA endorsed student loan programs that can help you pay for health insurance for your college student. Financial aid for student tuition based on your son or daughter’s GPA and needs can help pad the burdening effects of paying for long term health insurance as well. There is lots of help available for obtaining health insurance and financial aid for students who aren’t covered by their parents, students who need temporary health plan coverage, grad students or students who are even married, and even international students who need coverage that complies with their visa requirements.

Email Marketing Success for Insurance and Financial Agents

It is how we communicate with our friends and family members. It is also how we spread jokes and chain letters to our co-workers, but are we effectively using email as a way to increase our contacts with potential clients?

Many insurance agencies and financial firms still press upon their sales teams the importance of the phone; cold calling, referral calling, calling a book of business. But more and more people are “turned off” by phone calls.

Our modern times have become so impersonal that fewer and fewer business people will sit and chat on the phone, instead turning to email or instant message for a quick conversation without having to stop what they are doing and pay full attention. In addition, many homes have turned off their land lines, opting for cell phone plans for both cost and privacy. So, how do you reach your consumers?

Invariably, business owners, whether corporate, medical, legal, any type of business person really, has spent quite a bit of time and effort training their reception staff NOT to let anyone through who seems to be selling something. Those people we lovingly refer to as “gate-keepers”. The best thing you can do is accept that sometimes you will get through and sometimes you won’t.

It is still recommended that you ask for the business owner or person in charge of handling the company’s benefits when you call, however, don’t be disappointed if they tell you that person is busy. Leaving messages does payoff with some call backs.

After you leave your message with the receptionist, be sure to ask for an email address, even if a generic one. Send them a note with some information that they can respond to. You can even go as far as asking for the receptionist’s email and when the receptionist receives it they can forward it to intended target. More often than not, a receptionist will comply with that request as it seems simple enough and doesn’t come across as too pushy.

Depending on your market, many businesses will have a website which provides an email address. Because of that, there are lead companies who have collected that information and will sell you a list with your target audience’s information and contact emails. This might be a source for prospecting for you, however don’t rule out some good ol’ fashioned prospecting on your own. It may be beneficial to your sale to look at a business’s website to get a feel for their environment. It can only assist you when you make your appointment and visit with the owner or HR person.

Sending information and collecting data via email is one of the most used forms of communication. In this highly impersonal world, it may be your ticket to breaking through the gate keeper barrier and reaching your intended party. They may not respond necessarily to your phone calls, but may be more likely to an email they can read when they have a moment. We are all more comfortable asking questions or sharing personal information when the receiving party cannot see our faces or hear our voices. However, test your email marketing and use the best results to get your foot in the door.

After securing her position as a Top Seller in the Insurance and Financial Industry over the course of several years; Christee Fontanez shifted her focus several years ago to internet marketing and advertising. She combined both professions and now works to build results-driven marketing campaigns for the independent advisor. Having created her own system for generating business to business and business to consumer leads, she now shares her knowledge with those seeking to increase their profitability.