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Life insurance and relationships, part 2: The advisor-general agent/broker general agent relationship

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I left off last week talking about the importance of the producer-client relationship when it comes to the successful outcome of life insurance cases. Next we explore the advisor and general agent or broker general agent relationship.

A BGA is a critical resource for an advisor in underwriting a difficult case, particularly with a BGA’s access to a broad range of insurance companies. It’s to a client’s benefit that the producer discuss the case with the BGA as early as possible for insight into possible client questions.

The BGA also needs to communicate regularly with the advisor regarding the status of the client’s file. While the file is pending, the agent may inquire about possible offers that may be forthcoming and there may be client questions, as well. This can present an extra challenge for the BGA as how to couch statements so they are not interpreted as promises of offers. At this point, the facts are still being gathered or the carriers’ medical departments have yet to complete their analysis of the case.

Working together, the advisor and the GA/BGA obtain all pertinent physician statements, lab results and hospital reports. It’s helpful to hold realistic discussions regarding outstanding issues, as well as the interest expressed by carriers in the case. It’s also important that the BGA know what’s possible with each carrier, including what’s expected and needed from the broker for the client and the ultimate placement of coverage.

It may be necessary to complete outstanding tests, obtain a letter of clarification from the client’s physician or to ask for a second opinion on a particular issue. A motivated and educated client can be an excellent resource for the broker when additional information is needed that can help increase the chances for a desired outcome.

Before, during and after gathering and analyzing the information in the client’s file, the broker and BGA will review pricing models for the possibilities presented by the various insurance carriers. The BGA will then compile a preliminary package, which is presented to the selected carriers. This can be a summary of the case or it can include the portion containing the physician statement information. Carriers look favorably on case summaries and they are helpful since they are often turned around in 24 hours.

A well-placed phone call before sending the summary by the GA or BGA can alert the underwriters that you have an important case, what it’s about and that it’s on the way. Such conversations are also worthwhile, since they often result in helpful insights.

Next week I will expand on the GA/BGA-carrier and underwriter relationship.

Allan D. Gersten, CLU, ChFC, CFP, is the chairman, CEO and the chief Underwriter of First American Insurance Underwriters Inc, a Needham, Mass-based insurance brokerage firm. He has been in life insurance sales since 1969. He can be reached at 800-444-8715 or [email protected].


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