Insurance agents service millions of customers each year. The relationships they establish begin when they quote and sell new insurance coverage to consumers. The process involved in selling or "writing" an insurance policy can be very involved. The agent must find a mutually beneficial fit between the customer and the insurance company: the customer must agree to the price and terms of coverage and the insurance company must agree to accept the risk of covering the consumer.
Assess the client's needs. Ask the customer about the person or property he or she would like to insure. If the client is insuring property, ask for the value of the property and the names of any third parties (people or businesses) who should be listed as additional insured parties. Doing so will guarantee that the appropriate third parties will have the authorisation to file claims and receive payment if a loss should occur.
Review the insurer's underwriting guidelines. The underwriting guidelines will clearly explain who is and isn't qualified for an insurance policy with the company or companies you represent. Use this information to decide whether or not you can provide coverage to the applicant. Contact the underwriter with any questions or concerns you may have. Proceed to step 3 if the customer qualifies for an insurance policy.
Obtain the data required for a formal insurance application. If you're writing an auto insurance policy, then you must obtain the dates of birth, social security numbers, and driver's license numbers for any parties who will be listed on the policy. You must also obtain the year, make, model, and vehicle serial number for the vehicle(s) that will be listed on the policy. For homeowner's insurance, obtain the construction date and information about the materials used to construct the home. Life and health insurance companies may require the customer to submit medical records from their physicians. For best results, go through the insurer's official application with the customer step-by-step either in person or via telephone. When you have obtained the necessary information, submit the application to the insurance company online or via fax.
Run all applicable consumer reports. Many insurance companies conduct one or more consumer background checks on their potential customers. This may include a credit check or criminal background investigation before coverage is established. You may also be required to run a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange or CLUE report on your customer. This report will reveal undisclosed claims, household members and other data that could impact the insurer's decision to insure the customer. An additional report of vital importance is the Motor Vehicle Record which contains information about the applicant's driving record. (Note, it is not usually necessary to run these manually as most insurance companies will conduct these investigations on your behalf while processing the application.)
Close the sale if the customer is qualified for an insurance policy and has passed the background check. Collect the required premium payment and transfer these funds to the insurance company through the process approved by the insurer. Be sure to collect any information from the customer that the insurance company may need. This could include documents showing proof of prior insurance, medical records, or other paperwork requested by the underwriter. Provide the customer with his or her proof of insurance and answer any questions he or she may have about the new insurance policy.
Many insurance companies will issue an insurance policy before the consumer reports are complete. However, most companies reserve the right to cancel any policy for which a customer is deemed ineligible when the reports are received.
Selling insurance without a license is a serious offence that is punishable with heavy fines and jail time.
Tips and warnings
- Many insurance companies will issue an insurance policy before the consumer reports are complete. However, most companies reserve the right to cancel any policy for which a customer is deemed ineligible when the reports are received.
- Selling insurance without a license is a serious offence that is punishable with heavy fines and jail time.