Thanks to those who responded to my previous blog. I currently have most all of the twenty five participants with only a couple of spots remaining.
As I was presenting to a group of brokers the other day, something interesting struck me. Since when did it become fashionable to call oneself a consultant? It seems every few years insurance agents try to change that they are called. I remember terms such as financial planner, financial advisor, employee benefits specialist, field underwriter, etc. What is wrong with Insurance Agent? Ok, I can even go with broker or as is currently the lingo, producer as long as you put the word insurance before it. My problem with people calling themselves consultants comes mostly because it tends to make me think they are unemployed. Over the years, many people I know have been downsized, laid off, or fired and when I ask what they are going to do, many have said they plan on doing some consulting work until they find something permanent. Now, I know the current trend is to tell clients that as a consultant, you are going to look at their situation and for an agreed upon fee, provide them with the appropriate solution. Of course, that is exactly what the professional insurance agent has been doing for decades. As long as the agent has access to numerous options, they will always find the proper solution. Obviously, by using a solid general agent, like OCI, all the correct options are made available. The use of a fee rather than commissions goes back a few years. Every few years, someone suggests that commissions are a bad thing. For some reason, it is assumed that if an insurance agent is paid commissions, they are somehow dishonest. This misconception is usually pushed by consultants who can’t sell. These individuals try to convince the public that by the fact that they are paid a fee that is some way allows them to be unbiased. Yet, in every case, they are biased. They tend to put most or all of their clients with the same carrier. Over time, these individuals tend to get stagnant, don’t stay ahead of new ideas, and refuse to look at new methods or opportunities. Those who depend on commissions tend to stay current, look for new opportunities and are always seeing what else is out there. Those who can sell prosper and those who can’t tend to become “consultants”. Because an insurance agent keeps fresh and “hungry”, they will replace a consultant as the value of the consultant begins to diminish.
Insurance Sales is a noble profession. A professional insurance agent is constantly staying in touch with their clients and is always on lookout for newest techniques and products. They are the ones who make a promise and look the client in the eye. A professional agent’s job doesn’t end with the sale but it actually begins with the signature. This is when they begin to earn their commissions. A consultant will get paid whether they do a good job or not. An insurance agent only gets paid if they continue to do a good job.
The next time someone asks what you do, I hope you will respond proudly that you are an insurance agent. I know that because of insurance agents, people, families, and communities are better off. When tragedy strikes, death, medical bills, accidents, or disabilities, people don’t say they want to thank their consultants, they always thank their insurance agent. Thanks to all of you for doing what it is you do.