Contrary to popular opinion, health care reform is not the biggest problem facing agencies or the industry. Now, I’m not saying it isn’t a problem, it’s just not the biggest one. However, it is the one that’s exposing all the others.

  • I’m going to guess many are offended at the thought of forced government dependence. Yet how many agencies have found themselves dependent on the carriers?
  • Many agents use the title “consultant” or describe themselves as “consultative.” Still, too many of those same producers don’t get paid until they sell an insurance product. Consultants get paid for their ideas, advice and results.
  • I hear complaints about commissions being cut, yet too many producers won’t have a conversation with clients even acknowledging the fact that they actually get paid, much less have a conversation asking to be kept whole.
  • Agency owners complain about lack of consistent top-line growth, yet too many producers have few to no expectations and even less accountability.
  • Agencies make investments into “value-added services” and express frustration with the vendor because their clients don’t use the services. It’s the AGENCY’S job to make sure those services get used.
    • Service hint #1 – giving clients a password is nowhere near enough
    • Service hint #2 – quit giving the services away
    • Service hint #3 – many services can have a bigger impact on your client’s business than an insurance policy, if used correctly
  • Producers ask prospects for a chance to quote their business and expect to earn that business when they can save them a percentage point or two. Yet those same producers are offended the next year when they allow other brokers to quote and move to them for the same reason.
  • Agencies/producers stress over their future, but don’t take time to define what that future must look like.

No, health care reform is not our biggest problem; it has simply pulled back the curtain on an industry in desperate need of a different kind of reform, business model reform. Fix your business model and health care reform is no longer the catastrophic threat many see it as today. In fact, those who have already fixed their model are seeing it as a situation creating countless opportunities.

Here’s the good news in all this. While health care reform is beyond your control, business model reform is completely controllable. You just have to ask yourself, “How badly do I really want it?”

 

Photo by JD Shippel.