AEP prep advice from IMO execs: Part II
As Oct. 15 quickly approaches, we asked some top FMO execs in the senior market to share their insight into how agents can best prepare for Medicare’s Annual Election Period – and what they can do to make sure things are clicking on all cylinders during the all-important 54-day stretch.
In questions 1-3 earlier this week in Part I, the FMO execs tackled topics including emerging opportunities for agents, potential obstacles and advice for dealing with the stress that goes along with AEP planning and execution.
In Part II, the experts talk about working smarter during AEP, specific ways these IMOs are helping their agents prepare for the busy season, and what has to go right if this will be looked back on as a successful AEP come mid-December.
We want to give a special thanks to Craig Ritter of Ritter Insurance Marketing, Josh Vandenberg of Precision Senior Marketing, JoAnn Wray of Senior Marketing Specialists and Ryan Kimble of Agent Pipeline, Inc., for taking the time to provide their unique perspective (please see bios for all four execs at the end of this article).
Working smarter this AEP
Question #4: We’ve heard that hiring an assistant (or even additional help if you already have an assistant) during AEP can be worthwhile to allow the agent to spend more time selling and less time on paperwork. Any thoughts on how agents can “work smarter” this fall?
JoAnn Wray: We absolutely agree that hiring additional staffing before, during, and after AEP is a very beneficial investment. Making appointments, reassuring current clients, setting follow-up calls, and creating that image to your customers that you are more than just their Medicare agent – you are a professional advisor with a team of professionals to assist you.
Josh Vandenberg: Absolutely, the more help the better! We also recommend agents use eApps whenever possible. Most of the carriers now offer a tablet app or eApp that agents can use. eApps not only eliminate pending applications but they also ensure legibility and transmission of the enrollment. The less time you spend following up on received apps and pending items the more clients you can sell.
Craig Ritter: Companies are developing better technology for application submission and Scope of Appointment collection (via email and telephonically). Having the ability to conduct enrollment activity electronically is a big time-saver for agents, plus it’s helpful to see your enrollments in one place. I recommend agents “test drive” some of this new technology before AEP, so that they are comfortable using it when AEP arrives!
Ryan Kimble: • Eliminate duplicative work. Electronic enrollment is one of the best moves agents can make to “work smarter.” My suggestion is for agents to enroll their clients directly through each company’s enrollment tool when that is an available option. It gives them the best chance of getting the enrollment submitted correctly the first time.
• If they are going to hire an assistant, they need to make sure their assistant is properly trained. CMS and the carriers have specific training they need to go through before they can work with MA enrollments or interact with members.
• Thoughts on the advice here, or have your own comments about preparing for AEP? Please share on this new thread: AEP prep advice from IMO leaders
Next page: How IMOs are helping agents be ready for AEP
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