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5 top strategies for maximizing public exchange sales

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Traditional brick-and-mortar insurance agents can generate strong commercial health insurance sales by teaming up with a public health insurance exchange, like ours, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which runs the Maryland state-based Maryland Health Connection marketplace.

One example is Chris Keen, who owns Keen Insurance Associates in Ocean City, Md. He was the most productive independent broker in our health insurance marketplace last year, despite covering a resort area where the year-round population is just around 7,000 people.

See also: 5 ways to prospect in retirement communities

Keen’s approach helped make him a leader in increasing the number of residents who now have affordable health coverage, but his approach is applicable far beyond his coastal territory.

Here are five of the top strategies for growing exchange business that we gleaned from Chris, who has been in the insurance business for 21 years: 

  1. Know the community and its people. Like many other states across the country, Maryland has areas with a lot of self-employed workers and people in the service industry and other types of businesses in which incomes fluctuate seasonally. That can factor greatly into what a person ultimately pays for coverage. Providing clients with different outcome scenarios based on different income amounts helps them to make informed decisions. Also, targeting area businesses that do not provide company-sponsored health insurance, since many welcome presentations for their employees to educate them on health coverage options.

  2. Provide easy access to information. Consumers need easy access to basic information to help them make the best coverage decisions for their families. For example, offering access to an eligibility system that gives clients a quick look at what kinds of premiums and deductibles they might face, and what subsidies they might get, depending on which insurance carrier they chose, can be a big help.

  3. Reach out to clients early and often. Just before Maryland’s second open enrollment period began in 2014, its public exchange switched to a new system, with technology borrowed from Connecticut. Anyone who had enrolled during the initial year was required to re-enroll to maintain any tax credits for which they were eligible. Reaching out via email to clients to schedule re-enrollment appointments before open enrollment began was a great way to retain first-year clients.

  4. Go to where the people are. Giving in-person seminars about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the marketplace enrollment process went a long way toward building a level of comfort. When the attendees were ready to enroll, coming to the agents who gave the seminars was an obvious choice.

  5. Position yourself as an expert. One great way to get attention was to appear on radio talk shows. Talk show listeners seem to be hungry for everything from general enrollment information, to discussions about the legalities of the ACA, to explanations of the growing penalty facing people who lack health coverage and fail to get an exemption from the coverage requirement.

See also: Calif. exchange to pay competitive commissions