Importance of Health Insurance
The insurance products market has many players and this can be quite confusing to consumers who are looking for health insurance plans that fit their needs and budgets. Insurance agents exist to ensure that such confusion is eliminated and the consumers get the solutions that meet their needs. The professionalism of insurance agents makes the process of evaluating the different insurance options less daunting.
The first and most critical step therefore is to choose an agent who will help you in getting the best health insurance plan.
Below is a checklist to guide you as you consider hiring an insurance professional. Also included is information that will help you differentiate between agents and brokers.
Choose a Reputable Professional
Not every certified insurance agent is of good repute. Some of them have a checkered past which you need to be aware of and avoid lest you be frustrated. Before you even talk to the professional, you can gather information through referrals from companies that have used the services of the particular agent.
You can also check references, registrations and licenses just to confirm that their credentials are credible. By contacting your state insurance commissioner’s office using the consumer hotline, you can query the disciplinary record of the agent or broker. Among the questions you should ask is whether the professional has ever been sued by a client. If yes, you need to go further and find the reason why he had to be sued. Despite the absence of a central clearinghouse where you can get all this information, the web can help you out. All you need is to input their names on a search engine and see what comes up.
Analyze the Services Offered
Insurance agents vary in terms of the services and packages that they offer their clients. In a bid to stand out, most of these agents package their plans and solutions in different ways. What you are supposed to do as a business entity is to analyze the packages in order to see whether the services offered meet your needs. You should also ask about the support that you will get including after-office-hours services.
The Level of Knowledge and Experience
While many insurance agents could be knowledgeable, you need to delve further to establish whether their knowledge areas cover the products and solutions that you need. Some agents offer specialized health insurance solutions and may not have competence in the particular plans that you are looking for.
The Suitability of their Systems
Some insurance professionals install systems that target large firms. As a small business owner, you may find yourself inadequately catered for. If this turns out to be the case then you need to consider other agents whose systems are accommodative to businesses your size.
Account Management Practices
Depending on the culture and structures of the insurance agent that you are dealing with, you may be assigned a dedicated account manager or your accounts could be managed by multiple professionals within the insurance agency. In order to avoid your account falling into the hands of multiple representatives, you should look for a company that will assign you a representative focused on your account.
The Renewals Policy
When you get into an insurance plan, you will have to renew it periodically. Some insurance agents do not remind their clients about the renewal status of their plans while others may notify you at the last minute. Conventionally, the renewal process should start with a strategic planning meeting between 90 and 120 days before the renewal date. This will help you to decide on the plan that you need and will provide a platform to evaluate the relevance of such health insurance agency Encinitas plans to the needs of your company.
Telling the difference between brokers and captive agents:
Brokers are independent professionals who are selling insurance plans for multiple companies. They have various options and have a wider view of the marketplace. They will help you to evaluate the major insurance carriers with regards to the design of their plans and the cost element. Some brokers are paid commission by the insurance company they represent while others charge a flat fee from an employer.
Captive agents on the other hand sell a single product or deal with one company. Their working relationship with their home office is very tight and this gives them leverage to make changes to the plans where necessary. This repackaging can make their offers slightly cheaper. Captive agents also gain entry into markets that others may not be able to penetrate such as workers compensation insurance markets. The health insurance agency Encinitas agents are paid by the insurers.
As carriers design solutions for small businesses, many of them offer various options that small companies can choose from. This is contrary to the past where small business employers could only offer their employees one or two plans.
Through the employee-elect arrangement, employees who feel that they have fewer health needs can opt for less coverage which is cheaper than comprehensive health insurance agency Encinitas coverage.
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