Critical Illness Insurance: Brandon Monty’s tried-and-true techniques for sales
With tips from top broker Brandon Monty.
Hello and welcome to Assurity’s podcast, “Tips from the Insurance Pros.” In this series, we talk with sales pros as they share ideas and insights that you can use today. I'm your host Matt, and I'm excited to bring you a new topic this month: critical illness insurance. Today I'm here with Brandon Monty, a full service agent and agency manager at Health Connect insurance agency. Welcome Brandon. It's great to have you with us here today.
Hey, thanks for having me. Happy to be here.
Brandon, can you tell us a little bit about your background and your company?
Yeah, I entered into the insurance business right out of college, and it was my pretty much my first job. I started out working for a big insurance conglomerate, stayed there for about five years and then branched off and uh, went to Health Connect about two to three years ago.
Well, it's great that you're here today sharing your experience with us. In your opinion, how have recent changes in healthcare and healthcare law impacted critical illness sales?
Yeah, so that's an interesting one. You know, I think typically you would, you know, at surface glance you would think that it would help the business. But truthfully I think it's kind of hurt critical illness sales. And I think the reason why is because it's opened up the types of consumers that are looking to purchase the plans to a much wider income range. And you know, it results in people having their incomes change, you know, more frequently and therefore not being able to afford the plans. You know, having people go back to work and lose coverage. Just things like that. Before the law went into effect, you know, it was one price for all the insurance plans and when we would offer the critical illness, they had a set income that they knew they were going to have and a budget for their insurance. But once it kind of changed over, you could get subsidies from the government. It kind of ends up with a different market. So overall I'd say it hasn't been quite as beneficial as you'd think.
How do you go about approaching prospective clients about this need?
So the way that we approach critical illness is we look for the need, which I think is the basis for selling any insurance plan. And we like to start off with the statistics, which you know, is the number one cause of bankruptcy, United States medical bills related. And if you look at the majority of the people that are going bankrupt due to medical bills, I think it's over 60% had health insurance. So that kind of demonstrates that there's a greater need for additional coverage aside from just a base plan to help you cover all the bills. So we'll explain that. You know, if that big day does come, you're still having to float all your traditional bills along with, all while being on a reduced income. So that's typically the point that we'll focus on.
What are the common objections you run into when trying to sell critical illness insurance? And how have you learned to best deal with these objections?
Yeah, the, the biggest objection that we faced is “I'm not going to need it.” And that's actually probably the funniest one. A lot of times you'll get through presenting and they'll say, oh “I don't think I need that.” And we'll ask him, “Why is it that you don't think you're going to need it?” And they'll say, “Well, I'm pretty healthy” or “That kind of stuff doesn't run in my family.” It's almost comical and then you tell them, “I'm sure we all know someone that's dealt with this type of thing.” You could go down to any hospital and go room by room and ask anyone, “Did you plan on being here last year?” And none of them were going to say “yes.” You know? So for you to say that you don't think you'd need it is just irresponsible. We try to pull at their logic and help them realize that a need is there for anyone to have critical illness insurance.
Well, on that note, can you share a story about a client who had a need for critical illness insurance and how you helped them to fill it?
Yeah, so I think the thing that I love most about selling the critical illness policies is that every single person is a potential client. You know, really the only people that you would not be able to sell the policies to are those that already have it and have a decent rate, which is hardly anyone. So it makes it very easy to find clients for that. And just in our office alone, we have dozens and dozens of cases of people that we've seen use it. But I think it's tough to call it your favorite because it's obviously a sad situation. But the one that I think of the most when these products come to mind and when I'm presenting to my customers is a gal that I enrolled maybe four or five years ago, she was in perfect health at the time of enrollment. And I specifically remember this client because she was very adamant about not wanting to have the coverage. Of course we persisted and recommended and we went through all the reasons why and we've mapped out the financial aspect of it, how much it would cost versus how much a they would get in benefits, and ultimately decided to take the policy. And four years later, two came down with leukemia and bone marrow cancer and you know, just hit her out of the blue like it typically does. And she got $80,000 from the critical illness policy. She wrote me all these letters. She sends me a gift basket every year. Thank God that she has beat the cancer. But she tells me every year, “Brandon, you saved my life because there's no way I would've been able to float everything had I not had that policy.” So it was a big experience for me and definitely helped me realize how important it is.”
Wow. That's absolutely incredible. You talked about clients needing more than their base medical plan. What kind of conversations do you have with your clients about high-deductible health plans?
Yeah, yeah. I saw the piece by Mark Steuven that came out, and I thought that was really good. You know, when the clients have a medical plan, their out-of-pocket maxes are now $7,000 and getting up around $10,000, and in the coming years, the cost-sharing plans are becoming more prevalent. So, it's even more of a need. It's basically your medical bills after it does its job or your medical insurance plan after does its job is going to leave you exposed to easily a $10,000 to $20,000 bill if you add up all the costs. So having something that'll cover it is good. And I think it's just smart.
How has the quick turnaround time for issuing critical illness policies helped your business?
That's been awesome. I love working with Assurity obviously and the policies get communicated to us right away. If there's any underwriting items that are needed, it's very easy to go in and see on the dashboard where it's at in the cycle. Having people like Hillary that you can go to with questions and help with the amendments and everything is awesome. So I'd say that the turnaround policy definitely makes it very easy to do in bulk.
And how has the quick turnaround time for critical illness impacted the customer as well?
Yeah, that's great for them too because it's nice to have. That's a great point. It's nice to have the issue time be so close to our actual conversation and presentation. You know, like the life insurance policies, sometimes you go into a month and a half, two months. And even though you would think that they would, you know, the customer would just be sitting, waiting and ready for that policy. Sometimes they forget, and you have to kind of refresh them. So to have it come just a couple of days after, it's nice to put in that follow-up call and say, “Hey, good news, you've been approved for the policy that we talked about.” And then you let them know they're going to be getting their policy documents in the mail. So it's definitely beneficial for both the agent and the client.
What's one piece of advice that you would share about how to sell more critical illness insurance?
Yeah, so it's going to be like any insurance policy in that you just need to ask and you need to bring it up. I definitely wouldn't limit selling critical illness just to people that have a health policy. Because, I know in our office, we sell tons of policies outside of a health insurance transaction. So you don't want to just limit yourself to a health insurance transaction. Any property and casualty clients, it's really anyone. As long as they have the health plan in place, you can bring up the discussion, so I would say, you know, just keep an eye out for it. Bring it out every time. A nice analogy that I like to use is it can be as cheap as going to McDonald's a couple times a month, or getting one steak dinner. We all have that money that we're going to use for whatever it is that we choose. This is just allocating it toward something that's going to protect you potentially in your future. So getting the client to understand that it's not something that's going to be a major purchase that they're going to have. And then on that note, also making sure that you qualify the client's budget and you only offer them as much policy as you think they can afford to pay every month. We stress that a lot. We want to make sure that this is something you're not just going to be able to pay for a month or two, but we want this to be something that you feel comfortable paying all the way up until age 75. One thing that I would caution about with the whole ACA thing is you would think that it's like, oh, it's goals. You know, having the ACA and having all these clients that just are looking for their medical and they have a reduced premium. But it really is a big-time double-edged sword because a lot of the consumers that buy those policies, you know, they're terrible clients. They forget that they have it. They're in and out of the policy every month. Their finances change on a, on a dime. I would almost recommend trying to build your business outside of those ACA plans. That'd be my advice.
Brandon, thanks for joining us today. We appreciate you taking the time to spend a few minutes with us as we talk about the important role critical illness insurance can play in people's lives.
Yeah, thanks for having me and I hope to continue selling lots of critical illness.
And to our listeners, thanks for tuning into Assurity’s podcast series, “Tips from the Insurance Pros.” Stay tuned for our next episodes to get more ideas on successfully selling critical illness insurance. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about Assurity’s critical illness product, head over to criticaloutlook.com. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to connect you with one of our regional reps in your area to take a deeper dive. Thanks for listening.
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Brandon Monty serves as agency manager of Health Connect, an Orange County, California-based shop that aims to “make insurance simple” for consumers. In this episode of Assurity’s Tips from the Insurance Pros, Brandon discusses his techniques for Critical Illness Insurance sales, such as conversation starters and overcoming objections, and how quick turnaround times help both his business and the client.
How do you approach prospective clients about the need for critical illness insurance?
Brandon: The number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States is medical bills. We approach critical illness by looking at the need, which is the basis for selling any insurance plan. We like to start off with statistics: If you look at the people who are going bankrupt, over 60 percent had health insurance. That demonstrates the need for coverage aside from just a base medical plan. We’ll explain that if the day comes, you’ll still have all the bills you’ve had, all while being on a reduced income.
What common objections do you hear when trying to sell critical illness insurance, and how have you learned to overcome them?
Brandon: A lot of times you’ll get through presenting and they’ll say, “I don’t think I’ll need that.” We’ll ask them why not; they’ll say, “I’m pretty healthy” or “That kind of stuff doesn’t run in my family.” We remind them they could go from room to room in any hospital and ask people if they planned on being there last year.
We use that logic to help them realize that the need for critical illness insurance is there for anyone.
Can you share a story about a client who had that need for critical illness insurance and how you helped them to fill it?
Brandon: The thing I love most about selling critical illness insurance policies is how every single person is a potential client. In our office alone, we’ve seen dozens of cases of people who have used it.
The person I remember the most was a woman I enrolled four or five years ago. She was in perfect health, and I remember her being very adamant about not wanting coverage, but we persisted. A few years later, she came down with leukemia; it hit her out of the blue, like it typically does. She got $80,000 from her policy. She tells me every year, “Brandon, you saved my life.” That was a big experience for me and helped me realize how important what we do is.
Brandon Monty Agency Manager, Health Connect
What kind of conversations do you have with your clients about high-deductible health plans?
Brandon: With out-of-pocket maxes now getting up around $10,000 and cost-sharing plans becoming even more prevalent, there’s even more of a need. They leave you exposed easily to a $10,000 or $20,000 bill if you add up all the costs. Having something that’ll cover them is just smart.
How does a quick turnaround time for issuing critical illness insurance policies help your business?
Brandon: I love working with Assurity. If there are any underwriting items needed, it’s very easy to go into the (AssureLINK) Dashboard and see where it’s at in the cycle. Having people you can go to with questions is awesome.
And how does that quick turnaround help the customer as well?
Brandon: It’s nice to have the issue time be so close to our actual conversation. With life insurance policies, sometimes you go a month and a half or two months, and even though you think they would be waiting and ready for that policy, sometimes they forget and you have to refresh their memory. A couple days later, you can put in that follow-up call and say they’ve been approved, and let them know they’re going to get their policy documents in the mail. It’s definitely beneficial for both the agent and the client.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share about how to sell more critical illness insurance?
Brandon: You just need to ask. I wouldn’t limit selling critical illness insurance just to people who have health policies; our office sells tons of policies outside of a health insurance transaction. As long as they have a health plan in place, you can bring up the discussion.
An analogy I like to use is that critical illness insurance can be as cheap as going to McDonald’s a couple times a month, or a nice steak dinner. It allocates money you already have toward something that’s going to potentially protect you in the future; it’s not a purchase you’re going to stress about every month.
With simplified underwriting available, there’s never been a better time to sell Assurity’s Critical Illness Insurance. Contact your regional sales team to learn more.