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One of the best decisions I have ever made, was to get into the Final Expense Sales Market

On a daily basis, I speak with both licensed insurance agents and unlicensed people interested in final expense life insurance sales, and it’s apparent that everyone has their own opinion on the final expense market. It’s interesting how so many people, clients and agents alike have no idea about the differences in burial plans and final expense life insurance.

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A few things I’ve learned about Final Expense Insurance over the years

In my experience most of our clients really need our service

They are just barely getting by and are willing to figure out a way to use some of their social security moneys in order to fund a whole life insurance policy. For them, this is a big sacrifice that can make a big difference in their family’s life. Funeral costs are expensive and final expense insurance is the only that that these folks can afford to be buried. Unfortunately, because of the high cost of funerals, a lot of folks that do not believe in cremation are having to do it anyway. This is a terrible thing for a lot of folks to look forward to. It’s against a lot of basic American principles and religious beliefs.
This is also why it’s important to sell life insurance as an independent life insurance agent. When you are captive, you are limited in products. My experience with captive agencies is that they tend to have over inflated costs built into their products and tend to offer products that really aren’t that competitive. This also goes hand in hand with products that don’t pay as well as other products. A captive agent may be on a 50point commission schedule or lower. This is terrible compared to what a true independent agent is paid. As an independent insurance agent, contract levels are common around 110-120% and even higher for those with production proof. The difference in pay and product between independent agents and captive agents is night and day. There are several carriers that sell in the areas that we work in that tend to be extremely overpriced. These overpriced policies are just waiting for an independent agent like myself, to stop in and easily replace.

In all honesty, I tend to feel sorry for most of the agents that are with captive final expense companies

Unfortunately, a lot of these guys were recruited by managers that exaggerated the potential of how much they can make, in order to recruit them. These companies tend to recruit as many agents as possible, only to end up trying to keep the ones that actually are selling, around. Most of the agents that are recruited by these companies tend to stick around for a little while before they get tired of the learning curve and end up hitting the road. When they do make sales, they really don’t make enough money to justify sticking around to get through the learning curve. It’s hard to survive on a couple sales a week when you are only making a few hundred dollars per sale. I was once a captive agent and I will say that the training I received at that agency was second to none. We had to be in the office daily for ongoing training and so that the manager could make sure we were doing what we were taught. This was great if you don’t mind being micro managed and if you want to learn at any cost. The interesting thing is that I was working very hard to make a living as a Hartford agent and was paying $30 Per Lead. My contract level was 60% so I was splitting my sales with the agency and paying full price for the leads. When all was said and done, I was only making around $50,000 a year and was grateful that I could make that. I definitely paid for my training. Sadly, most insurance agents that go captive do not have the same experience that I had. A strong work ethic is necessary when you get into a new business and the only way for you to make it is to bust your butt and do whatever it takes. This attitude and willingness for success is why a captive agency can make or break an insurance agent. Unfortunately most agents don’t want to be micromanaged and are not willing to work 50 plus hours a week in order to be successful. They immediately start making excuses and have a hard time adjusting. Most captive agents tend to leave and start all over somewhere else. The messed up thing is that most of them end up hopping from captive agency to captive agency.

There are a ton of benefits to being an independent final expense life insurance agent

If you have the capacity to study and learn on your own time and aren’t the type of person to go watch tv when you’re bored, you will do fine as an independent. It’s all about having a positive attitude and strong work ethic. Think about it, when it comes to sales, you will reap what you sew. If you don’t work hard, you won’t sell much. If you go the extra mile, you will most likely end up being successful and making more money than the next guy. The idea is to be able to manage yourself and not be lazy. Working for yourself can be great as long as you have discipline. When it’s time to work, it’s time to work. Set goals and make them. Even if you have achieved your goal for the week, keep working. Don’t just call it a day and go home. This is the attitude of a successful final expense life insurance agent. Surrender is unacceptable.

Having access to a lot of competitive carriers with different niches is important

I like the idea that when I leave a client’s house with a sale, that no one will be able to give my client a better product or a better price. I make sure of this. A lot of the carriers have some unique niches. I know that if a client has COPD and Smokes, I can give him the Americo Ultra Protector 2 and no one will be able to beat that price. I know that if the client pulls out a Direct Express Card, Transamerica has the Social Security Benefit Billing and Drafting down tight and will draft the funds on the same day the clients card is loaded. This is just a couple of examples of why it’s great to have access to a lot of carriers. The beauty of being an independent life insurance agent is that we have lots of options. Sometimes a prospect will request to pay a little more if they can have their policy with a name brand like Mutual Of Omaha. In most cases, it’s about putting the client with the best carrier based on their health. A lot of time I am able to place a client with a carrier that will give them first day full coverage as with most other carriers, it will either be a decline or a graded policy. There is nothing like walking out of a clients house with a sale, knowing that you did something really good and that in no way is there a better product that someone else can give them.

Access to great leads is obviously important too

At United Final Expense Services, we have access to 3 different fixed cost direct mail final expense lead vendors. Yes, 3 different ones. I can pick what verbiage I want on my lead and have options as to the income level and age to target. The idea of having flexibility with the type of lead card I want to use makes it easy for me to hit our specific market without wasting time on non final expense prospects. This makes selling final expense a lot easier than having to use whatever the captive carrier is offering. Captive agencies often do not have a lot of lead options and tend to use more generic leads that don’t even mention life insurance on them. As a matter of fact, they tend to use leads that are very misleading. That’s not the worse part. Most IMO’s that are marketing our product tend to re sell leads. Trust me, if someone is financing a lead for you, they are probably going to sell it to someone else, especially after you are gone. This is where most “aged leads” come from. I like that here in Florida, my aged leads are leads that no other agent has ever worked. I even have aged leads that I called and didn’t have time to door knock. If you’re in Florida, let me know if you’re interested as I won’t charge for these leads and they have never seen me at their door.
We also have access to different avatar lead vendors. These leads are legal and are obtained through a dialer that is controlled by a live tele marketer. The marketer uses a sound board to reply to the prospects questions during the call. The marketer is in complete control of the conversation and uses the sound board to simply sound like an American, English speaking person. You see, these telemarketing agencies are often run in the Philippines by people whose first language is not English. All the TM agents have to do is learn the sound board and when they communicate with the prospects, they sound like Karen from down the street. Some of the voices on the sound board even have a southern accent. How about that!
I also am thankful that we have access to Live US Tele marketed leads. These are leads that were called and made by English speaking marketers here in the US. The quality of this type of lead is often better than the avatar leads and tends to cost about double. These leads are still not as good as the direct mail leads but they are cost effective. The direct mail final expense lead is the golden standard when it comes to final expense leads. The ideal that the prospect has to do actions like filling the card out and then sticking it in the mail box is important. When you go to knock on the prospects door with the lead card in your hand, he will definitely remember filling the darn thing out. The crazy thing about direct mail life insurance leads is that even when they get old, they are still good. I have made several sales from leads that were over a year old. The prospects recognize their own handwriting, even if they don’t remember mailing in the card, and will let you into their homes to make your presentation.

When it comes down to it, I just love being an independent life insurance agent

I love that I can make my own schedule and that I don’t have to answer to anyone but my wife. If we want to up and go out of town, we do that. If we want to go to an expensive restaurant, we can afford to do that too. The money we make as an independent is a lot more than I ever made when I was a captive agent. Back then, it was a struggle to make $50,000 a year. Now, Mariana and I have a nice six figure income and there are no regrets and no looking back. We do what we want to do and when we want to do it. We have complete control over our own destiny and love it that way. You can also have the same. At our agency, we can make sure that you start out with a huge advantage. Having 110% to 120% contracts as a new agent is huge. Having access to a variety of leads is big too. And the training! Our training system is designed to get anyone with a license, up and running in just a few weeks. The harder you study, the sooner you sell. It’s really that simple.
A lot of folks think that selling burial or funeral insurance is kind of negative and sad. Then we show them the income potential and that is when they usually change their thinking about it! During my final expense presentation, there is a point where I let the prospect know that it’s ok to talk about death today. I let them know that this is my job and that now is the time to talk about it. This tends to give them comfort in buying life insurance and talking about funerals and cremation and dealing with funeral homes. Our job is to help these folks and their families out by making sure they are able to have the type of send off that they deserve. Nothing feels better than knowing our job is to help others and give them peace of mind. Final expense life insurance sales is one of the most important products that seniors on a fixed income talk about. Everyone has their idea of how they want to be put to rest. Our job is to make that possible!

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Aaron Barnes • Senior VP of Sales

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