Online Leads Systems Helping Agents With Sales

New and rapidly evolving Web-based technology systems for gathering and distributing sales leads to insurance agencies are helping agents use their time and money more effectively, say the companies that provide the leads.

“Not only money, but time is precious,” notes Mark Wecker, a vice president at LEAD.NET, a Los Angeles-based provider of life insurance and annuity leads. “Brokers are willing to spend money [on sales leads], but investment of time is the highest value to them.”

LEAD.NET says it delivers leads in real time via the Internet “to any telephone area code across the United States.” In addition, the company offers ClientMaker, a Web-based, proprietary, customer relationship management system.

The CRM system, currently being offered free of charge to LEAD.NET customers, allows agents to “communicate with more prospects in less time, nurture client relationships and close more sales,” the company claims. In addition, users can “reduce marketing and acquisition costs, and minimize prospecting while maximizing productivity.”

LEAD.NET says it generates its qualified leads via its “family of insurance portals.” These include LifeInsurance.net, Annunity.net, 4BestQuotes.com and NameYourPriceNow.com. Leads are those individuals who want to speak with licensed insurance agents about their insurance needs, the company explains.

The LEAD.NET system will respond to consumers on behalf of the agent, says Wecker. “It appears to be personalized according to the individual agent,” he notes. The ClientMaker software, he adds, functions as a “virtual marketing department for the agent.”

The prime target for the LEAD.NET service, says Wecker, is independent agents, as well as captives, working in small-to-mid-sized agencies. Currently, the focus is on life and annuity products, but the service will soon be offering long term care leads as well.

The CRM system creates and sends targeted messages to clients and prospects automatically, via the Web, says Wecker. Personalized e-mail messages and greeting cards are automatically delivered online from 15 to 20 times a year.

Agents can also be reminded to send “snail mail” items, Wecker notes. The agent selects the design, inputs the message and schedules a date for sending each piece of correspondence. Contact rules can be tailored for an individual, or for a class of prospects.

Wecker says LEAD.NET delivers it leads “exclusively to one agent” at a cost of $20 each on a flat-fee basis. There is also a one-time setup fee of $50 for each new account. Wecker adds that the company does not require advance payment for leads. “We only charge for valid leads that have been delivered.”

Agents who want to use the LEAD.NET service need only have a computer and a browser, says Wecker. In addition, once a database of leads is developed, agents are able to download their own lists of leads to their local hard drives.

Meanwhile, InsuranceOnly has announced an agreement with iPipeline to provide agencies with access to InsuranceOnlys “exclusive” leads and lead management system via iPipelines back office systems.

According to Seattle-based InsuranceOnly, under the agreement, InsuranceOnly will provide leads, application requests and LeadBoss, a proprietary lead management system. iPipeline will provide back office tools that allow agencies to quote, sell and facilitate the fulfillment process.

“Using iPipelines My Agency online processing tools, agencies in the national InsuranceOnly network will be able to easily receive, record and respond to customer inquiries for new life insurance and long term care policies, as well as annuities,” says InsuranceOnly.

“Were going to integrate our systems for leads and service,” explains InsuranceOnly CEO Patrick Wedeking. No money is involved and no payments have been made up front, he adds.

According to Wedeking, leads from InsuranceOnly come from the Internet via “40 or 50 different promotions.” These include opt-in e-mailing, in which customers agree to receive e-mail information on special offers from affiliated sites. “We have different deals with financial sites,” he added. “It evolves and changes.”

InsuranceOnly says its online Web resources include www.InsuranceOnly.com, www.TermOnly.com, www.AnnuityOnly.com.

Wedeking says InsuranceOnly has “a database that is proprietary that is designed to gather and distribute leads and application requests to our network.” This is based on geography and insurance type, and the system screens for possible duplicate leads, he adds. “We have agents and call centers who subscribe to our service that call on the leads.”

Subscribers–primarily independent brokers–pay $15 to $18 per lead, plus 10% to 20% in revenue-sharing arrangements, or the agents can write their business through InsuranceOnly, says Wedeking.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, March 11, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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