Doing Good While Doing Well

It has been said for years that insurance agents “do good while doing well.” Brokers earn their living providing advice and products that protect their clients and loved ones from financial disaster—they do good while doing well. Similarly, BGAs earn their living helping brokers serve their clients—they also do good while doing well.

Let us extend the BGA opportunity beyond the traditional insurance broker. We can look to others who serve clients’ financial needs outside of life insurance, annuities, LTCI and disability income. Once we find them, we should invite them to broaden the scope of products they are offering to their clients by including insurance—doing good while doing well—part II.

Among these “allied professionals” are financial advisors (e.g., stockbrokers, wealth managers and investment consultants), bankers, CPAs, property/casualty brokers and health brokers.

Why should you care? Assuming you make your living marketing life insurance and other financial products, you should care if you want to make more money or grow your business. These are not mutually exclusive.

Why do allied professionals care? They will care if they want to make more money or grow their business or improve retention of their client base by offering more services or help people more. These are not mutually exclusive.

What are the keys to success? Simply put, you need to demonstrate that you offer valuable benefits to allied professionals and you have the knowledge, tools and skills to deliver those benefits.

 • To be successful in attracting allied professionals, you need expertise: You must be able to communicate and demonstrate proficiency in obvious areas such as product and carrier selection, as well as management of client and advisor expectations, conveying how a product solves the problem and recommending, underwriting and processing new business.

our proficiency is also important in less obvious areas such as creating and executing a business model for this opportunity, knowing what to say to pique the allied professionals’ interest, understanding the allied professionals’ fears and sensitivities as well as expectations—making sure there are no surprises or disappointments for either the professional or the client.

 • To be successful in developing sales through these allied professionals, you must understand their model: Do they want you to provide point-of-sale support in front of their clients? Do they have or are they adding additional sales staff for whom they want you to assist with product, underwriting or process support? Do they want your recommendations or explanations on the venture?

 • Once those decisions are understood, you must provide allied professionals with a marketing and sales plan, as well as your support in executing it. They will want to know how to approach their clients, what they should say and how they should say it, how to mine their books of business, as well as which concepts will appeal to their clients and how to present those concepts. They will also need help organizing and packaging offerings to their clients in an orderly, cohesive and manageable bundle.

 • To be successful in working with allied professionals, compensation must be appropriate. Up to this point I have written about the issues that need to be addressed to develop business with allied professionals. Yet, in the end, it comes down to money. Commissions must be commensurate with responsibilities.

When dividing the responsibilities and the compensation we must consider:

(1) The agency typically provides sales, administrative and marketing support. It is also responsible for creating the opportunity with allied professionals, either through the agency’s principal or an employee of the agency. An agency may also provide its salesperson with a draw, car and/or other benefits. An agency’s commission can range from 10 to 30 percent of total compensation.

(2) The sales team may be comprised of a BGA’s point-of-sale advisor, an agency sales/marketing manager, the financial advisor, CPA, property/casualty broker or health broker. The total compensation for the team typically ranges from 50 to 70 percent of total compensation.

(3) The agency for the allied professional (if there is one) is also entitled to compensation for the support provided.

This is typically about 20 percent.

I believe this highlights the opportunity for all parties in this business arrangement to do good while doing well. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t close with one additional comment.

While the fundamental purpose of this article is to discuss how BGAs can distribute more product, it should not go without mentioning that our industry continues to be challenged to provide products and services to more Americans below the financial status of “affluent American.” By reaching out to these allied professionals, we broaden our reach. In particular, with property/casualty and health brokers whose client base includes many of the underserved that traditional life brokers cannot afford to call upon or simply cannot reach effectively. By including these allied professionals in our distribution effort and providing them with (and training them on) the technological sales tools available, we can provide desperately needed protection and savings products to many more who need and want them—and that’s doing good while doing well!

By Alan S Protzel for Novemeber 2012 issue of Broker World Magazine. Alan S.  Protzel, CLU, ChFC CLU, ChFC, is director of agency development for The Marketing Alliance, Inc.,

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