For three years I have heard the mumblings, I have heard the grumblings, I have heard more health insurance agents complain about the loss of the “good ole days” then I care to count. The truth is, though, that they are all correct — the good old days of the health insurance business are over. You can either cower, duck, play ostrich and stick your head in the sand, and continue to do things as you did in the past, or you can open your eyes, smell the new roses blooming and morph into a health insurance superstar under a different set of rules.
As we move further into the open enrollment season we see that many fears were unfounded. Commissions have not gone away and the role of the agent or broker is still incredibly vital to the end-user. In fact, with new decisions for groups and consumers to make and new rules to make them under with Obamacare, this role is more important than ever. This is only the case, however, if you take the time to become a student of your craft — learn the new rules, learn about and get certified with the new exchanges, and study the new products and terminology associated with them, so that you can make the otherwise complicated world of health insurance simple for your clients.
Simply put, if you haven’t taken the time to grow as a professional, then I have no sympathy for you. Your insistence upon continuing life in the “good ole days” will bring your business lean days ahead. On the other hand, if you have attacked the change in rules as the opportunity that it truly is, then you have the foundation to build yourself a business for the future — a future where your specialized health insurance knowledge will be valued and sought after. And, yes, you will be well compensated.
When major markets change, opportunities occur. When lifestyles change, opportunities occur. When the government changes the rules of the game, new games are started, bringing with them even more opportunities. So what does this new playing field look like?
As someone who has been on the carrier side of the industry for many years I can tell you honestly what is in front of us: every year, there are some people that decide to shop for new coverage and there is a percentage of groups that decides to switch plans, carriers or brokers. Yet in most years, consumers and groups tend to prefer the status quo and do nothing. This year, however, is different —markedly different.
This is the first time in health insurance history that every single individual and small business or group offers an opportunity for you to grow your book of business. This is a phenomenon that has never happened before on a national scale. Everyone knows that the landscape has changed, the rules have changed, and, at the very least, I hope they recognize this means they need to do some things differently. Are you the agent or broker who is going to capitalize on that? Do you have the knowledge and industry know-how to educate your clients and the skills to show them that brokers still living in the past can’t execute on their needs? The business of every individual and group member is in play. They have questions … you have the answers.
If you choose to join the game and build a business for the future, then this is what I would call an unprecedented opportunity. The future looks bright, undoubtedly different, but sunny days are surely ahead.