Critical Illness Insurance: Chet Marko shares tips for success in the market.
With tips from top broker Chet Marko.
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 today we continue our series on critical illness insurance. I'm here with Chet Marko, a health insurance broker and owner of Texas Family Health Plans and Smart Choice Benefits. Welcome Chet. It's great to have you here with us today.
Chet Marko (00:31):
Thank you. I'm excited to be here. I love Assurity.
Well, Chet, can you tell us a little bit about your background and your company?
Chet Marko (00:38):
Well, I've been in the business for about 25 years. I’ve been one of the top agents with just about everybody I've been associated with. One time I was the top agent in the nation. And Assurity has always been a big part of my portfolio, so I'm excited to give my tips on critical illness.
Well, we're excited to hear them. So in your opinion, how have recent changes in health care and healthcare law impacted critical illness sales?
Chet Marko (01:07):
I think it's had a huge impact. You know, back before Obamacare, we sold a tremendous amount of critical illness and I had about a hundred agents and when Obamacare hit and we went all the way up to the open enrollment, not even knowing if we were going to get paid for selling health insurance. A lot agents ran for the hills. And with the way that Obamacare's been skyrocketing and everything like that, it's less, a lot less room to add critical illness. So one of the exciting things is kind of as we've watched Obamacare spiral out of control and you know, in the throes of dying, there's been a rise of Christian sharing or health share that has brought the premiums back way down and offered us a chance to really begin to sell critical illness again. And it's been an exciting thing. So, you know, kind of with the opening to that or even people that can't afford health insurance at all, we have some clients that are just using critical illness as their healthcare because that's all they can afford. So critical illness is back and we're excited about it.
How do you go about approaching prospective clients about the need for critical illness?
Chet Marko (02:27):
Well, in my market, what I found is that there's a tremendous need for critical illness with a lot of people who don't take into account these small business owners or people that are single, you know, couples dependent upon each other's incomes over people afraid about digging into their retirement funds. You know, like with singles, one of the questions I asked them, I said, “If you go down with something major, who's going to take care of you?” And you see this kind of panicked look come over their face, you know, like they haven't even thought of that question or it's a fear down deep inside – business owners have the same fears. You know, one of the questions I ask business owners is, I said, “Hey, if you went down for six months to a year, what would happen to your family? What would happen to your business?”
Chet Marko (03:22):
And I just shut up. I just listened. They realize, and you've kind of brought it to the forefront that if they go down, you know, they can quickly end up in bankruptcy. You know, you have couples out there that are majorly dependent upon each other's income. So if one of them went down, the other one wouldn't be able to pay all the bills. Older people, they have the same problem too. Most of them are living more or less paycheck-to-paycheck on what money they have put away. They don't want it all blown with one illness right before they hit retirement. So when you bring these things up to people, they immediately understand that they have need and critical illness is a way to give them tax free income and it will keep them afloat if they go down. You know, a lot of people go down with the stroke or a heart attack, you know, I just recently went through something like this with my dad.
Chet Marko (04:24):
You know, it takes some time to recover from those illnesses. You know, they're not killing us the way that they killed our grandparents, but they will put you down for a period of time. You know, my dad had a heart attack and it's taken him almost six months to recover, my pastor had a stroke and you know, it takes a while to recover from the damage from a stroke and people are surviving these things. But if they don't have any money to pay their bills, even though their health insurance is covering all the medical expenses, you know, they're in as still is desperate a situation with no money.
What are some common objections that you run into when trying to sell critical illness insurance? And how have you learned to best deal with these objections?
Chet Marko (05:12):
Well, you know, I think one of the biggest objections is money. You know, just the having the extra money because health insurance has become such an expensive thing. Some people object to any extra money other than the health care. And then the other thing is people just thinking they're young and bulletproof. You know, when, when you creep into your mid forties and fifties you know, a lot of people have had a friend go down. People in their twenties and thirties you know, all their friends, that's never happened. So sometimes with the young people I have a hard time and then the other objection is money. And so, you know, I've learned to kind of let people sleep and one of the ways I've learned to do that is I have a couple stories, always meet with the husband and wife, but I'm sitting in front of them and I'll say, I'll just ask them.
Chet Marko (06:01):
I said, “What would happen if you went down for six months to a year?” And I just shut up and you see him, you know, kind of stewing and the wife gets a panic look on her face and the husband, you know, he starts kind of stewing and I asked him again, I said, “What would happen? Would y'all be able to financially make it if you went down for six months?” And 95% of the time they say, man, it would put us in a world of hurt. I'd have to sell trucks, I'd have to sell assets, I'd have to do this. And I look at him, I go, “Well we can fix that. I can give you something that upon first diagnosis of these 14 or 13 items, whatever it is, you would get a check for 50 grand.” And you see them kind of get excited about that.
Chet Marko (06:50):
I have another thing that I do, my background is I'm a pastor and so there's this Christian book called His Needs, Her Needs. And on one side it says, on the man side it lists the top 10 needs of the man. And on the woman's side it was the top 10 needs of the woman. And so, you know, I said, have y'all ever heard of that book? And go, “No, no, we've never heard of it.” Then I looked straight at the husband looking right in the eyes and I said, do you know what a woman's biggest need is? And I shut up and then after he kind of stays for a couple seconds, I jump in and say her biggest need is security. And then I look at the wife and I go, am I correct on that? And every time they shake their heads, almost like with a sad look on their face. And I said, what your wife wants to know is that if you do not come home or you fell ill with a major illness, that and her babies are not going to be out on the street. And then I turned back to the wife and my correct on that and every time she shakes her head with this sad look, you know it's very important that for the security of their family that they have a product that's going to take care of them if they go down.
Do you have clients who are concerned about their high deductible health plans and how to cover that cost if a critical illness happens?
Chet Marko (08:23):
Yeah of course. I mean, you know for the longest time self-employed people, that's how they think. You know, they want to pay as little as possible for their health care. So they, most of them, want high deductibles. You know with Obamacare, Blue Cross just announced that their max out of pocket on every plan is $7,900 now. So yeah, critical illness plays a part in gobbling up, you know, that expense.
Can you share a story about a client had a need for critical illness insurance and how you helped to fill it?
Chet Marko (08:59):
I've had several, and I haven't had a client yet that got cancer, heart attack, stroke, coma, whatever it was that wasn't extremely happy that they had that critical on this product. I have one guy that I went in and he had terrible insurance and I was able to change his health insurance and get him onto a better health care, but he had a wife that was disabled and with that wife being disabled, the whole family was totally dependent upon his income. Six months after I sold the guy, he came down with a very bad cancer and he later told me, he said, “Chet, I don't know how I would've made it or how my family would have survived without that.” He said, “You know, I had great health insurance, you've covered all my medical needs, but I was unable to work for a large period of period of time and that critical illness kept me afloat.” And he was very thankful, a very loyal client.
Chet Marko (10:04):
I had another client that got a malignant melanoma and this was kind of a funny story. You know, he filed on his critical illness and got a large check for 50 grand. And he called me up and he goes, “Chet?” and I said, “Yeah?”
And he says, “Uh, I just got a check for 50 grand, can I, can I actually deposit this? Can I have it?”
I just started laughing, you know, I was like, “Sure it's yours. That's part of the benefit.” He was super excited. But I promise you if you have a client go down and they have to use their critical illness, they'll be loyal to you forever for selling them that.
There you go. So how has the quick turnaround time for issuing critical illness policies helped your business?
Chet Marko (10:54):
Well, you know, it's, it's nice. 50,000 and under is non-med and you can move it through. And I find that the less you have to touch a client after you make a sale, the better. So the nonmedical quick turnaround, it's good for the client and the fact that nobody, no vampire has to go to touch him. You know, cause it's hard to get people to get excited about having blood drwan. And then from the agent side it's nice because apps that are submitted through the app get quickly approved and you get paid and you know, and when you're trying to hire new agents quicker, that you can get money in these guys pockets makes a huge difference.
What's the one piece of advice that you would share about how to sell more critical illness insurance?
Chet Marko (11:46):
You know, it's a product that people don't think of it as a staple kind of like they would health insurance, life insurance or auto insurance. A lot of times it's just helping people understand why they need it. You know, one of the things that I've learned is how many people out there have very little in their savings accounts and you know, live almost paycheck to paycheck. You know, one thing about Obamacare, it showed me you have to ask people's income. So I know what these guys make and most small business owners, you know, make between 40 and 70 grand. Well that's not a whole lot of money. And if you go down and can't work, you're going to be in trouble in a hurry. You know, single people is a huge one. I always asked them point blank, I said, who's going to take care of you if you go down? At least if you have critical illness, you could hire somebody. But who can afford to take off six months and take care of you?
Chet Marko (12:53):
And so when you ask people these questions and make them think about it, it's almost like they're silly not to do it. I sell a tremendous amount of critical illness. You know, I love it as a product. You know, it's got great renewals. People don't drop it. You know, I've got policies that have been on the books for years and since people can keep it to age 75 it makes a big difference on them hanging onto the product. And you know, when I'm dealing with my young people, I say, listen, you will never be able to buy this product as cheaply as you can today and you will have need. It's just a matter of time. So it would be smart to lock it in now while you're young and the price is cheap instead of waiting until 55 when you really need it and it's going to cost you a lot more.
Chet Marko (13:49):
And um, the nice thing is, is that, you know, when we go in with Christian sharing or health sharing and stuff like that into these clients' houses, you know, we're, we're saying eating them 50% on their health care and so critical illness as a way to claw back some of that money in a way that benefits them. You know, I think it's very important that we show it and you know, my close ratio with, you know, health care and critical illnesses, you're probably close to 95% because if you lay it out correctly, when you go to close it or sit down with these people to close the deal. And this cracks me up because when I do that “his needs her needs” or I, you know, talk about, you know, what would happen to your business. I can't tell you how many times I've had the wife say, “I don't care what deductible you take on that health. I don't care what other products, but she made sure that critical illness is on there because that's going to keep us safe.”
Chet, I'd like to thank you 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.
Chet Marko (15:09):
Thank you. I appreciate being with y'all. Thank you for getting this information out.
And to our listeners, thanks for tuning into Assurity’s podcast series, Tips from the Insurance Pros. Stay tuned for our next episode 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.assurity.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.
For producer use only. Not for use with the general public. Not for use in New York.
Assurity is a marketing name for the mutual holding company, Assurity Group Incorporated and its subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries include, but are not limited to, Assurity Life Insurance Company and Assurity Life Insurance Company of New York. Insurance products and services are offered by Assurity Life Insurance Company in all states except New York. In New York, insurance products and services are offered by Assurity Life Insurance Company of New York, Albany, New York. Product availability features and rates may vary by state.
A 25-year industry vet, Chet Marko has made a name for himself as one of the Lone Star State’s top health insurance brokers. Now owner of Texas Family Health Plans, Assurity has long been a significant portion of his portfolio – including Critical Illness Insurance.
In this episode of Tips from the Insurance Pros, Chet shares his take on the critical illness market, who needs coverage, and the questions producers should be asking to get their business.
How do you approach prospective clients about the need for critical illness insurance?
Chet: One question I ask single clients is, “If you go down with something major, who’s going to take care of you?” You see a kind of panic come over their face, as if they’ve never thought about it. I ask business owners the same thing – what would happen to their business or their family? And then I just shut up and listen.
What common objections have you run into when trying to sell critical illness insurance, and how have you learned to overcome them?
Chet: One of the biggest objections is money, because health insurance has become so expensive – some don’t want to pay for anything more than their health care.
The other is young people who think they’re invincible. People in their mid-40s and 50s have had a friend go down [to injury or illness], but for those in their 20s and 30s, it’s never happened.
When I’m sitting in front of a couple, I’ll ask the husband, “What would happen if you went down for six months or a year?” Ninety-five percent of the time, he’ll say, “Man, it would put a world of hurt on us.” And I look at him and say, “Well, we can fix that.” I tell them that upon diagnosis of these conditions, they’d get a check for $50 grand. They get kind of excited about that.
Can you share a story about a client who had a need for critical illness insurance, and how you helped to fill that need?
Chet: A client had malignant melanoma and got his check. He called me and said, “I just got a check for $50 grand – can I actually deposit this? Can I have it?” I just started laughing and said, “Sure, it’s yours – it’s part of the benefit.” He was super excited.
But I promise you that if you have a client go down and they have to use their critical illness insurance, they’ll be loyal to you forever for selling it to them.
How has a quicker turnaround time for issuing critical illness insurance policies helped your business?
Chet: The less you have to bother a client after you make a sale, the better. A quick turnaround is great for them, especially because it’s hard to get people excited about getting their blood withdrawn. And from the agent’s side, it’s nice because applications submitted through the E-app get quickly approved, and you get paid.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share about how to sell more critical illness insurance?
Chet: Again, with single people – always ask them point blank, “Who’s going to take care of you?” Make them think about it.
When I’m dealing with young people, I remind them they’ll never be able to buy this product as cheaply as they can today – lock it in while you’re young.
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.
FOR PRODUCER USE ONLY. NOT FOR USE WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC. NOT AVAILABLE IN NEW YORK.
Policy Form Nos. I H1820, I H0810, CI 005, l H0820, CI 007 underwritten by Assurity Life Insurance Company, Lincoln, NE.
Assurity is a marketing name for the mutual holding company Assurity Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries include but are not limited to: Assurity Life Insurance Company and Assurity Life Insurance Company of New York. Insurance products and services are offered by Assurity Life Insurance Company in all states except New York. In New York, insurance products and services are offered by Assurity Life Insurance Company of New York, Albany, NY. Product availability, features and rates may vary by state.