Do online quotes spell the end of health insurance agents?
A new outlet for consumers to get health insurance quotes and rates are online health insurance quotes. Traditionally, a consumer wishing to purchase a health care policy would have to call multiple individual companies and speak with an insurance agent at each to compare health insurance coverage. Now, that same person can go online and receive multiple quotes from which to compare and choose.
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Some believe that online quotes will herald the end of insurance agents. After all, insurance agents are cut right out of the picture. Many fear that online quotes will end the customer service associated with dealing with a real, live insurance agent. However, just as the Internet did not kill print journalism, insurance agents are still a necessary piece in the insurance game.
What do insurance agents do?
Firstly, insurance agents operate as sellers of insurance. They usually must be licensed by their state’s insurance department to sell insurance products. They are experts in the health insurance they sell daily. Insurance agents know the best products to meet the needs of their clients.
Next, insurance agents also provide customer service for their clients. They answer questions, direct clients to providers and assist customers with anything else related to the health insurance packages that have been purchased.
Insurance agents also “crunch the numbers,” or look at statistics and market trends that will affect their company and the insurance offered by that company. They work as a team to make sure their company minimizes risks, stays abreast of current insurance trends, and complies with ever-changing insurance laws and regulations. In this way, agents make sure their company is as financially solid as possible.
Lastly, insurance agents help in handling claims. When a client is ill or injured, it is the agent’s responsibility to assist the client in making sure they utilize the purchased insurance fully. They assist with filing claims for doctors and hospital bills, with assessing the full benefits available and letting the client understand all of the options offered. The Insurance Information Institute, also advises that anyone having difficulty getting a claim settled should speak with the insurance agent who manages the policy.
Only when a computer can fulfill all of the roles and duties listed above will insurance agents need to worry.
How do online quotes complement insurance agents?
Not every insurance rate that is quoted will be performed through an online format. Many potential clients do not have Internet access or are not comfortable using the Internet in such a way. Agents are there for those individuals who do not want to use the Internet to find insurance.
Furthermore, an agent cannot spend all day every day on the phone with potential clients; selling insurance is just part of their job duties. The online quote system actually helps by doing some of the legwork for the agent in locating possible clients.
When an online insurance quote is requested, many times, there is an actual insurance agent behind the scenes; they process the quote, look for different options for the potential client and they follow up with a phone call or email to try to make the sale.
Even if health insurance is purchased from an online quote without any agent involvement, an agent is still then assigned to the policy. This agent may look for better options for the client, answer any questions the client has and determine future health insurance needs.
The agent also can use the data collected from online quotes to get a better understanding of the current trends in the insurance market. They may observe that there are many quotes for a particular kind of insurance or for lower priced packages. The data collected regarding age, marital status or geographic region, to name a few, lets insurance agents know who is searching for what kinds of insurance. That information is relayed to form company advertising, products and future lines of business.
What are other requirements expected of insurance agents?
Insurance agents must be licensed in most instances to sell insurance. On top of the customer service they supply, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, attests that insurance agents are also required to go through continuing education as a requirement of continuing licensure. This allows insurance agents to remain abreast of changes in the insurance industry to serve their customers better.
Online quotes are not able to supply customer service or understand a dynamic insurance market place. Only that human interaction provided by an insurance agent can provide true security and peace of mind that health insurance is meant to provide.
Only when customers fully understand all of the options and details, through the assistance of an expert insurance agent, does insurance truly provide all that it is meant to. Online quotes simply assist an agent in getting to that place.
Now it’s your turn! Use your zip code to instantly receive health insurance rates that will fit your needs and budget!