Health insurance is catching on as a business these days. tech companies are dipping into the tradition-bound industry, and people are pouring in, too. people are drawn by the hope of high compensation and passive income. But how do you get started in the industry and how can you get off to a successful start? Here are seven steps to becoming a health insurance agent to help you get your career on the fast track.
To receive compensation for selling health insurance, you must be licensed. insurance licensing is handled at the state level. You will need to obtain a license as a resident of your home state. once you are licensed there, you can choose to license in other states as a non-resident.
To become licensed, you will need to complete a certain amount of pre-licensing education and pass a state-administered test. You will also have to renew your license every two years. You will need to take several continuing education courses and pay the license renewal fee to maintain your license in each state.
obtain the required certifications
Most health insurance agents also need to obtain certain certifications, the two most important being:
• ahip (for medicare insurance)
• ffm (for Affordable Care Act/Under 65 Health Plans)
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You can obtain these certifications on your own before hiring a marketing organization or insurance company. Depending on the states in which you are licensed, you may also need to obtain a state health insurance exchange certification, such as covered california, to sell health insurance in your state.
You will likely need to complete these certifications, in addition to those required by the insurance companies you work with, every year.
find a marketing organization
many health insurance companies, and most large insurance companies nationwide, require that you be hired through an agency structure; this structure is based on marketing organizations. the various organizations make up your “upline”, which might look like this: you’re contracted to a local agency, who contacts a field marketing organization (fmo), who’s contracted to a national marketing organization (nmo), who has contracts with several health insurance companies.
Regional or smaller health insurers may allow you to contract directly with them. But, if you’re going to contract with a marketing organization for other carriers, you may want to contract through them, even for carriers you could theoretically contract with directly; this could help simplify your business.
get named with insurance companies
Once you are established in a marketing organization, you can be appointed with the health insurance companies you would like to work with. They all have their own requirements in terms of procedures, but there are some services that allow you to hire several insurance companies at the same time; ask your marketing organization about this. Once you are officially designated with health insurance companies, you can legally help people with health insurance. you can also receive commissions at this point.
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work with a mentor
there is a lot of competition and it grows day by day. Since insurance companies often work in an agency structure (local agency, fmo, nmo), you may not get much helpful advice on finding prospects and closing deals from the insurance companies you’re contracted with.
try to find a mentor to work with you when you start in business. hopefully you will find a mentor within your local agency or fmo. they are incentivized to see you succeed as they will make more money as you make more money. however, if you do not ask about it, you may not be offered this opportunity. The insurance industry is generally dominated by self-starting guys who aren’t known for taking time out of their schedules to ask people if they want mentoring. be proactive and find someone who is successful in the industry and ask if they can mentor you.
It’s unlikely you’ll have business coming through your door or calling you out of the blue when you first become a health insurance agent. marketing is a requirement to make sales. As people respond to your marketing, they become leads. you work with your prospects, trying to convert them into customers.
There are a multitude of ways to market; some cost money and some don’t. When you’re just starting out, money can be tight. It’s perfectly acceptable to focus on low-cost or no-cost marketing strategies at first, like networking. As it grows, it will expand into the various forms of paid advertising and lead generation. working with a mentor can help you avoid spending money in this area.
spend most of your time talking to prospects
As you begin to expand your marketing, you’ll likely be busier doing things like website optimization, technology upgrades, and other tasks that hold great promise. however, protect yourself against this. You won’t make sales if you don’t talk to people who need health insurance coverage. make sure you spend as much time as possible talking to these people. don’t let all the back-end administrative tasks take up so much time that you can’t talk to prospects. your sales will dry up. Plus, the more you interact with potential customers, the more confident you’ll be in your sales skills and the more efficient you’ll be at making sales. none of this happens if you spend too much time on non-critical tasks.
Health insurance is one of the most attractive verticals or opportunities for entrepreneurs right now. there are people who need the services, so believe in the products, follow these steps and dedicate everything you have for 3-5 years. it would be highly unlikely that you could not generate a great income by helping people navigate the confusing landscape of the health insurance market.