Insurance professionals already know the importance of ethics in insurance. But have you thought about how ethics come into play when selling insurance? Read more about how independent agents and brokers can be successful and ethical at the same time.
Ethics in Insurance Sales
Every aspect of insurance is highly regulated, and for a good reason. Providing a product or service that people need, but don’t always understand, means unscrupulous agents can take advantage of unaware consumers. This is part of the reason why ethics is an integral part of the risk and insurance industry.
Agents and brokers have a unique role in the insurance ecosystem as both educators and sellers of insurance products. And while agents and brokers want to provide the best service and product to their customers, they also need to make sales to survive. This tension between selling the product and finding the right product fit can be a challenge for the independent broker.
Ways to Keep Ethics in Focus
Try these tips to keep ethics top of mind in your sales process:
Listen to your policyholders and new clients.
Part of your role is ensuring your policyholders have the right coverage for their needs. This starts with listening to them. Understanding their risks and exposures fully means asking the right questions and digging for information. As the professional, you need to drive the discussion and listen to their answers. Be sure to listen, ask clarifying questions, and explain how insurance could help protect their property and investments. Your initial conversation can set the tone for your professional relationship with this policyholder.
Mistakes happen when people rush. Often insurance agents face urgent situations. Policyholders call and need immediate help or answers, and it is a natural instinct to rush to help. But when agents and brokers give advice or information haphazardly, they run the risk of giving improper guidance. E&O claims can stem from this situation along with ethical dilemmas. But slowing down, taking an extra minute to review transactions, and responding with researched answers can save an agent from a potentially costly error. Get an updated quote for your E&O insurance to keep this exposure under control.
Meet with mentors and colleagues regularly.
A great way agents and brokers can remain focused on ethics in insurance is by meeting regularly with other industry professionals. Your mentor, network, or agency friends are a great resource for keeping engaged and focused on ethics. Hearing how other professionals handle ethical dilemmas can help when you face similar challenges. And having a strong network to discuss concerns with gives you additional resources and strategies to handle issues. To expand your professional network of other independent agents and brokers, join an agent resource group like the American Agents Alliance.
Work with industry partners.
Independent agents and brokers have additional resources through their carrier partners they can use to stay up to date with ethics in insurance. Carriers have well-funded ethics awareness programs, classes, and written resources available on their websites. Check out what types of information and resources you have available to you through your carrier partners.
Take advantage of Ethics Awareness Month resources.
The insurance industry celebrates Ethics Awareness Month in March every year. During this month, social media feeds fill with tips, ideas, and courses to help insurance professionals stay dialed into fraud prevention. Follow along and learn some new things during the month with these free resources.
Try some or all of these tips to keep ethics in your insurance sales process.
Get Discounts on Ethics Courses Through the American Agents Alliance
When you become a member of the American Agents Alliance, you have access to discounts on educational resources. With our education vendors, agents and brokers can take their required CE courses and can focus on courses in ethics. Keeping ethics in insurance sales top of mind by taking a course on the topic annually is a great way to stay ethical while selling insurance.