For many, life insurance has been a complicated subject to understand. They need a person, essentially an insurance broker, agent or a financial consultant to understand the intricacies of an insurance policy. Though every insurance company has a website to provide information about their company and kind of the insurance products they sell, it is not enough for buyers. Moreover, agents have been a part of the insurance industry for a very long time and agency forms the traditional distribution model. Therefore, most of the buyers rely on insurance agents to purchase insurance products. Life insurance is a financial product. So, it definitely makes sense to consult an expert before taking any decision. However, depending entirely on an individual, even if he is an expert, is not a prudent way to go.
Choosing a right insurance product is imperative for your financial well being. But prior to that, it is significant that you evaluate your insurance agent wisely. Selling insurance plans is kind of a business for agents. They want to sell the product that can make them earn high commissions. Or sometimes, they want to promote the products of the insurer they are working for neglecting other better options available for customer. So they may not pick the right insurance policy for you. You have to evaluate whether the agent you have appointed is capable of assisting you to choose the suitable insurance policy or not. You have to assess whether he is empathetic towards your needs or is fulfilling his personal interests.
Here, we are going to discuss some important points that will help you assess and select a good life insurance agent.
Qualification and License to Sell Insurance
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) conduct an exam for people who are interested in selling insurance products as an agent. Only those people who have passed the examination are qualified to promote and sell insurance products. Check whether the agent you have chosen has IRDA qualification or not.
Even if he is qualified, check whether he is licensed to sell insurance. An insurance agent has to renew his license as per the IRDAI guidelines. Also, if insurance agents are found selling the wrong products or if they adopt illegal ways to sell insurance, their license is being cancelled by the authority. Verifying the credentials will always go in your favor as it saves you from agents who are prohibited from selling insurance.
You should choose an agent who promotes only insurance products. If he is involved in selling other kinds of financial products as well along with insurance, it is prudent that you move on. An agent, whose product range is spread across a number of financial products, may not be specialized in the insurance segment. Also, his reputation and earnings are not dependent on selling just insurance therefore he may not be so keen to sell right insurance products.
Also check that your agent is not working for a single insurance company. He should have products of multiple insurance companies so that he picks the best life insurance plan for you and is not partial towards one insurer. You should have some discussion about term plans with your agent. Term plans do not provide high commission to agents and therefore they are not interested in promoting this kind of insurance plan. If your agent is not willing to explain you about term plans, high chances are there that he is interested only in making money. In this case, you should definitely look for another agent who keeps your priorities and needs before his personal interests.
An agent’s responsibility towards his client do not come to an end once he is through with selling an insurance policy to him. In fact, it begins from there. You should inquire the agent about his post-sales service. If he is really concerned about selling the right policy and also about the people he sells the insurance to, he would commit to providing the service till the claim-stage.
Reputation and Accolades
There are many ways you can inquire about the credibility and reputation of an insurance agent. You can either check reviews about him online through social media or you can ask the agent to provide references of customers in the past or discuss about past customers’ cases which have been handled by him till the stage of the claim. Once he gives you references, you should communicate with those clients to know about their overall experience with the agent.
Along with references, you should ask if he has been awarded for any of his achievements or if he has received accolades due to his good performance.
Base of his Persuasiveness
Once you approach agents you will find that they try to convince you to buy certain insurance policies. Some might be keen to sell insurance policies of a specific insurance company. Some might be promoting insurance products as an investment tool and offering you high yield on your funds. You should not get swayed away by their tricks. Instead, try to find out why they are keen to sell a particular kind of insurance plan to you. If you are able to understand your agent’s intention behind selling a certain insurance plan, it would be easier for you to decide whether you want to consult him or not.
Other Points to Ponder
Needless to mention, a good agent always starts with asking about your need. He calculates and ascertains your need and then attempts to find out a suitable plan for you. Your agent should know about the product he recommends and should be well-versed with other products as well. He should be able to compare life insurance plans and help you understand why the recommended one is good for you. He should be attentive to you while you are filling your application form and makes you understand every clause and fine-print points. Be extra careful if he tries to shove away the form by saying he will fill rest of the details and straightforwardly asks you to put down your signatures on half-filled form.
The above-mentioned points will definitely help you to evaluate your insurance agent and help you to determine your next step. But having some knowledge about life insurance and various kinds of life insurance plans along with your own requirements will also go a long way to ensure that no one is able to dupe you.