The Insurance Agent’s Checklist to Win Clients and Avoid Lawsuits

No matter if you’re just starting out or if you’ve been in the business for a while, you will eventually be faced with the bad world of marketing and needing to protect your assets. Are you sure that the two are not separate problems? NOT. You can’t do much in this industry without knowing the exact things that will keep you safe. This is why we created this checklist. Although some items might seem obvious or even silly, they are important and will help you stay on the right track.

___ Customer service and customer satisfaction .

___ Tell my clients all the facts necessary to help them make informed decisions.

___ I sell to the client’s needs and not my own. My approach is solution-based. I help my clients resolve their insurance problems by understanding their financial goals and needs.

To determine if my clients are comfortable with the product I recommend, ___ ask the three closing questions

* Did I give you all the information that you need to make a decision about your future?
* Is this policy or information clear?
* Can I answer any other questions to make sure this is the best solution for you based on your objectives and needs?

___ Pay attention to the liquidity needs of my client. Avoid products that are too slow for a client and make it difficult to meet a specific need.

___ Spend more time with client applications. This is a serious matter and mistakes could result in a policy being void. I will ensure that my clients are aware of the importance of correct information and the consequences of misinformation, especially when it comes to policy voiding.

If it is impossible to provide complete coverage, ___ will not promise it. Instead, I will do my best to give my client the most accurate coverage at time of sale.

___ I will do my best to disclose coverage gaps even if that means clients have to purchase additional coverage. My silence regarding coverage gaps or inadequate provisions is as false as a lie.

If I have the authority, I will offer immediate or conditional coverage to my clients.

___ Always make it clear what options are available for policies I sell.

To answer any questions about coverage or terms, ___ know the differences between policies I sell and have sample policies

___ Use reasonable care to obtain coverage. I will act in accordance with standards set by other agents working in the same field.

___ Never promise anything beyond the limitations of the policy I am selling.

___ I will adhere to strict consumer protection rules in all advertising. This includes the prior approval of my insurer, identification and verification of my insurers as well as accuracy and truthfulness. I will also use realistic illustrations and quotes. I will also include fair comparisons and competitive reference, testimonials or endorsements. I will treat all people I meet and serve fairly. My advertising must not use words, letters and initials or symbols that are similar to those used in governmental agencies, charitable institutions, etc. to mislead clients into believing I am authorized or endorsed by them.

___ I will use client disclosure agreements to reduce client disputes. If I don’t have a written disclosure form, I can post a Public Policy on my website and in my office.

When using illustrations, ___ must follow strict procedures. This includes showing the entire printout to clients and explaining that this projection is not a guarantee of future performance. I will also be careful not highlight or alter the illustration. Any casualty proposals or quotes will be tailored to reflect the exact coverage. I will also avoid using language that implies that the client is covered.

For products I intend to sell, ___ always obtain a sample policy. These policies will be reviewed I will understand what they say and what they mean because ambiguity in either a policy or in my presentation will not be resolved in my favor.

___ Learn as much as possible about the underwriting for products I offer in order to better place my clients’ coverage. Time is against my client.

___ I declare that I have specific knowledge or expertise regarding a product or field. I also realize that I have taken a higher standard of care for my clients. In any dispute, I must prove that my special skills were properly used in accordance to rules of fairness as well as fiduciary liability.

___ Ensure that the insurers I represent are financially sound when insurance is purchased for my client. Although it may not be legal to monitor solvency after a sale, it is an important measure of “preferred company conduct”.

_____ Develop my privacy policy to explain to clients how and why they will protect their financial and personal information.

___ Never market or claim that an insurance company or product is safe due to the existence of state guarantee funds.

___ Never make a false statement or derogatory comment regarding another agent or insurer.

___ I will witness clients sign papers. I will not leave or mail them to be signed later if I’m not there to witness.

___ I will personally deliver policies promptly, as it is my “preferred business conduct”.

___ Create standards operating procedures and an operation manual. This will help me to be consistent in how all clients are treated, manage premium payments, document client communications, review client policies and process cancellations and applications, and respond to client queries and complaints.

___ Keep in touch with customers and respond promptly to e-mails, calls and voice mails. Because any communication with a client can be considered advertisement, I will speak clearly, fully and accurately about the benefits, costs, and terms.

___ I will take all client concerns and complaints seriously and ensure that they are addressed fairly and promptly. If a dispute arises, I will not attempt to settle it or ignore my duty to my errors and/or omissions carrier.

___ Respect the privacy of my clients and protect any information that I may have about them. I will not make derogatory remarks in my client’s files or disclose personal information.

___ I will always make a note in my client’s file about any proposed actions or steps taken.

___ Check the coverage of my client annually. If I have a long-term or special relationship with my client, I recognize that I may be required to review the appropriateness of the policies once they are sold.

___ Ensure that my clients understand and are happy with any replacement policies. And, I will explain why a substitute policy is better for my client’s goals and needs than the old policy.

___ I will abide by all laws and regulations within my locality.

_____ I won’t influence prospects or clients to think they will lose any right, privilege, or benefit under federal, state, or local laws if they don’t respond to my letters in order to make a sale.

___ I won’t use an address to conceal my true identity, location, licensing status, or that of my insurance company.

If the true purpose of the gathering is to sell insurance, I won’t use the term seminar or class, informational meeting, or any other term that has a similar meaning, unless the words are added immediately after those terms in the same font and size.

___ When I do business with seniors, I will take care not to scare or intimidate them by referring to their loss of Medicare or Medicaid benefits. If I learn that a potential senior client is unable to remember or use their judgment in order to purchase insurance products, I will withdraw my offer.

___ I won’t restrict or limit the presence of a client or prospective customer at a meeting. This includes family members, financial advisors and attorneys.

___ I will notify my client by phone or writing if I’m meeting at his home.

___ In any meeting, my client has the right to terminate the meeting at any moment. If asked, I will immediately end all discussions and go home.

___ Please read and understand my agency agreements, including all duties and responsibilities.

_____ If I refer a client or client to another professional I will only refer those I trust and let the referred professional make his own facts-finding regarding my client’s objectives and needs.

___ I will keep in mind that I am also a fiduciary of my insurance company and must exercise reasonable care, skill, and diligence for their benefit.

_____ I will become a student of consumer protection and “agent mistakes” in order to learn from others how I can serve my clients correctly.