Last week, while on a work trip in Virginia, I saw a commercial on TV for life insurance. You more than likely have seen these ads as well.
"Bob, 45, just got $2 million life insurance policy for $10 a month! Let us help you!" the voice over guy screams. A blur of fine print flashes across the screen. I'm not sure if I read it all correctly, but it implied that Bob got super ultra preferred rates because he runs marathons daily and is 4% body fat. In essence, Bob will never die.
I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get the point. The ad shows the best case scenario, but we all know that if we could have read the rest of that blur of words, it would also mention that all rates are subject to underwriting and your premium could differ.
These ads are for insurance agencies which represent multiple companies. When someone goes online and looks for a quote, the agency gathers your information. But what does it do with that information, like your date of birth and email address? That information is sold to an insurance agent who has purchased that lead.
Here is where things get weird. Many insurance agents will purchase leads. They think it will be worth the cost to avoid having to prospect for clients or advertise. Personally, I have never had much luck with leads of any kind.
I used to work with a life agent, who we will call Pete. Pete paid a service approximately $300 for a year's worth of leads. Part of this deal was that Pete could choose up to three zip codes, and if the leads were in those zip codes, the agency would email him the prospects information. The problem was that there could several agents signed up for the same zip code, and they would each get an email.
According to Pete, he needed to wake up early enough to get the email and be the first agent to call the prospect. If he was too late, even by a few minutes, the poor prospect, who didn't understand what was going on, would yell at him. "I was looking at life insurance in the middle of night because I couldn't sleep. I didn't realize I was going to get five agents calling me!"
Pete also told me that most of these leads were from people who were "kicking the tires" to see how much insurance would cost and had no intention of actually buying a policy. And if they did, the premiums would be so low that his commissions would never make up for the $300 he paid for this "service".
We do things a bit differently. If you go to our website, we also have all of the big name insurance companies, and our site compares rates as well. And, yes, we do gather your information as well. But that is where any similarities end.
If someone likes a quote on our site, they can start an application. We don't sell data to agents. We will contact prospects to let them know we are available if they have questions or if the insurance carrier has any underwriting questions. And if someone would like to speak with an agent, they can always contact us.
Everyone is trying to stay within a budget, even when it comes to making sure that their family can stay in their own home if tragedy should strike. But one should make sure they are purchasing the amount they need as well. Our quoting engine has a calculator to help find out how much coverage is needed, which is important. Too often people don't apply for enough coverage.
Do you know someone who needs a little more life insurance? Pass along our website and help them protect their family's financial future.
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient, and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!