Top Qualities in a Medicare Agent
What are the top qualities you should look for in a Medicare Agent? Every insurance agent is different but we think each should possess these six characteristics.
- Independent Agent vs Captive Agent – An Independent medicare agent represents many insurance companies. In contrast, a captive agent represents a single insurance company. An independent agent typically has access to a wide array of products from many different insurers. So there is no bias when they recommend a Medigap, Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan to you. You’ll feel confident knowing their recommendation is the right plan for you. Questions to ask your agent:
- How long have you been selling Medicare?
- Which insurance companies are you licensed with?
- You can confirm this by looking them up on the Dept of Insurance of Texas, for example.
- Do you have an easy quoting system to show me quotes from multiple carriers?
- How many Medicare customers do you represent? Do you have references from current clients?
- 300 or more customers is a good number to start with, says John Shinn, Empower Brokerage Medicare Specialist. An agent with 300 or more Medicare policyholders can successfully navigate you through most Medicare questions and problems that may arise.
- Technically Savvy – A good insurance agent knows more than just how to sell a policy. They also understand how products will fit into a client’s overall budget. Many medicare agents also sell life insurance, practice financial planning, and income tax preparation. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent about additional credentials, qualifications or certifications they may have. These skills can be a major advantage to you one day. Since Medicare rules and plans change frequently, being a quick learner of online tools and websites is also a must for Medicare agents.
- Customer Service – One of the most important customer service skills is good communication. Medicare Agents who respond to inquiries, emails and phone calls in a timely manner have happy and assured customers. While responsiveness is a must, it is not the only marker of good customer service. A good agent should also be reliable and follow through with their end of the transaction. You want an agent who can predict what you will need from them and do what they say they will do when they say they will do it.
- Patience – A crucial trait of a good Medicare Agent is patience. If you notice an agent appears annoyed explaining the same thing multiple times, or is being too pushy and insists you sign up before fully understanding the product, it may be a sign the agent is not putting your needs first and only out to earn a commission. A good insurance agent shows emotional intelligence and seeks to earn your trust by carefully listening to your needs.
- Positive Attitude – As with any sales job, an insurance agent is met with rejection on a daily basis. Successful agents understand that each “no” brings them closer to someone who will say “yes.” A positive attitude shows resilience in the face of this adversity. A worn-down disposition is offputting and can make the sales process uncomfortable for you. Look for an agent who is eager to make a difference in someone’s life with a can-do spirit.
- Honesty – Choosing which Medicare plan is right for you can be a confusing consumer experience. Do you need a Medigap plan, Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare? What about a drug plan, vision, dental? You want honest, professional advice from an agent who is willing to suggest a plan that best fits your needs, even if that plan might pay a lower commission. This is where working with an independent agent – with a diverse portfolio of Medicare plans – has its advantages. A captive agent can only offer plans from one carrier, which may or may not fit your unique needs. In addition to working with an independent agent, you should also do your own bit of homework. Ask for referrals from people you trust to suggest a local agent. Interview prospective agents to compare which ones put your interests first and give you the best advice.
If you have Medicare questions call Empower today. Let us help with your Medicare questions so you can get back to the activities you enjoy the most. 1-888-446-9157 or click here to get an INSTANT QUOTE