Chet Marko returns: Opportunities for Critical Illness Insurance sales success.
The owner of Texas Family Health Plans shares his advice for prospecting and building relationships.
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 I'm here once again with Chet Marko of Texas Family Health Plans. Chet's going to discuss the massive need for critical illness insurance and how you can grow your own. CI sales. Chet, we are glad to have you back on the show.
Well, glad to be back
For those listeners who might have missed your first podcast with us, could you share a bit about your background?
Yeah, I've been a health insurance broker for over 25 years, and we handle all the major medicals, we handle health share, and we do worksite products. We do lot of business with the Assurity critical illness. We love the product they’ve worked really well for us
Let's Talk about critical illness insurance, let's start at the beginning of the sale, the prospecting. How do you prospect for CI clients, are networking and referrals a part of your process?
Absolutely. You know it’s been a bit of a process over the years. You know, we used to spend a tremendous amount of money on leads. We were spending, you know, just for me $800 a week. And, you know, $800 a week and leads would probably produce two or $3000. Man that was a lot of money. And one day, I just I kind of got irritated, you know, because I was seeing a lot of the same leads coming back around. And it always seems to be the same type of people that would say yes to a telemarketer. And it begin to kind of wear me out. So one day I was kind of upset about it, and I said, you know, I'm going to go out and try something different. I'm going to go out and canvass.
And so I really perfected that. And my goal every week was to go out and shake hands with 100 businesses. And, you know, I do that on Mondays and what was interesting, you know, canvassing is kind of an old art, and everybody's like, “Oh, nobody does that anymore.” Okay. What? I've had tremendous success with it. You know we'll go out. You know, my goal is to walk in, hand my card, hand a flyer to the, you know businesses, and just walk in and say hello and ask him three questions. Do are you doing health care with, how much is it costing ya? And are you happy with what you got? And it made nobody happy you know, nobody is happy with their health care. And people are desperate to talk to somebody that actually knows what they're talking about. And nobody goes around and talks to businesses anymore. And I found what I try to do is keep it short and sweet. I go in, try not to waste their time. You know, I ask them a few questions, and then if they listen, I know what to help you. But I'll tell you what, you're busy. I'm busy. Let me get your name and number and a little bit of information from you and let me get some quotes together. And we'll find a time that we both can get together and that it will work and I'll go out and hit 100 businesses and get 15 to20 solid leads can be seen. You know 100 businesses. I mean, good leads. And it works really well for me. And I find that when I go through an area of the first time, I go through, you know, get 15 and I'll go through the same area again a year, two years later, and I'll get the same amount. And when people see you to three times come by you almost become a friend, the third time you go through there, and they get to realize you know who you are and what you did. But the good thing is, when you canvas, you're going to get those people that would never respond to a telemarketer. And I find if I go in to spend couple minutes handed the information to respect their time. So when I call back, I'm a warm call. You know, I'm the big guy that was in your office the other day, and it's not like I'm a telemarketer calling. I'm a local guy and it’s been very successful for us. The other thing, we do a lot of trying to build here to the lines I talked to account talk, to, PNC dealerships. There's a ton of them out there. Talk to doctor’s talk to, chiropractors talk to the people that have, you know, on books of business and let him know how you can help their clients let them know, especially on the P and C. Sometimes they're a little nervous selection on the group's business, but let him know, you know, it doesn't help me to mess you over. I want a long term relationship. You know, I would refer people to you. You refer people to me, and it's amazing how many referrals I get just from building those relationships. You know, if I got somebody, that's a good P and C guy once every couple months, I may go by taking the lunch or something like that, just keep my name out in front of you, you know? So when somebody does call to say hey, you know anybody that health insurance you know? Chet Marko is the guy that I think they call and just doing good business doing right by your client. You'll build up the referral. The thing on the, uh on the canvassing is if you're putting out 100 Flyers week, you know you get your 15 good leads. Well, that's 85 other people to get your flyer may be stuck in the file, and you may get a call from them two years later. Five years down the road, you realize how many flyers put out and, you know, get a referral business office stuff you did two years ago. You know, it's really exciting.
That is fantastic. Those personal relationships are a phenomenal way to build up a good book of business. Now, I remember the last time you were on the show talking about critical illness. You mentioned young people as a good market for CI insurance. How do you prospect specifically for younger clients?
Well, you know the problem with younger clients. They all think they're bulletproof. You know, sometimes they haven't had enough life experience to know that they have the need for health care. You know, I think sometimes it's when people get into the thirties or something like that and have actually had a few friends go down. But I just telling that young kid that way, You know, we never know when something's going to happen and when it does happen, if you don't have health care, your life could be ruined. Funny, and you don't want to be in that sometimes, you know, we have to have kind of, like, you know, the elderly parents, reminding them that life is so we curveballs thrown, things happen. Things happen to young people all the time.
Yeah, absolutely. Um, moving on big conversation happening in insurance right now and specifically in CI, rising health care costs and those are a great conversation starter when selling CI insurance. So how do you go about talking about rising health care costs with your clients? How do you start that conversation?
Well, I have a thing that there's in chaos there is opportunity. And right now I don't think the market has been more out of control than it is right now and that as an agent the thing that is absolutely, supremely is, you know, I go in and sell a group or I go in and selling individual policy major medical to the next year I come back and what your premiums have gone up anywhere from 10 to 30% and you either pay the extra money or you lose your benefits and, you know, it's kind of in saying cycle to be in because, you know, these people. They're super frustrated by, you know, in the group side, uh, you know, you sure a family is anywhere from $1400 to $2000 a month, and you go whatever show can afford that, you know? So a lot of walking businesses and say hey, I’m complaining. I handle all the products, get what you're going to have, you know, a 7900 out of pocket on the plan. Now, let me ask you a question. How many of your employees could actually come up with 7900 if something bad happened and, you know, just see the owner started shaking head. You know, he first did he know nothing frustrating. I go and then you have to go. Are you really helping your employees? If you get into something they can't afford with an out of pocket they can't afford. And some of these people are looking at almost 30,000 when you add the premiums up. And you have about a pocket that they would be out of pocket 30,000 if they had if anything major happens. But now we built in these other products that helped them. When they get into that crisis situation, so instead of this health care being a product that's unreachable or, you know, having out of pockets, they can't meet. Now we have products that we add in that will absolutely turn their lives around when they have that crisis. I've got a client right now. Good client. She been quiet for a long time and they were on a healthy share with had a 1500 out of pocket and when they just got diagnosed with severe cancer and I put $50,000 with the critical over a song. So not only are they on the health care product only going to be out of pocket 1500 but they had 50,000 in critical illness on them. Well, now they're going to make 48,500 and they're like, Chet, I'm so glad. And they didn't want to take it. And I've talked him into taking it, and sometimes we have to realize that we will absolutely turn these people's lives around if they have a bad health crisis, because then having that extra 48,500 means that they can afford to take off time from work because they have the extra money now on side to pay for their time off to pay their car trip to pay their hotel costs, to, you know, pay for baby sitters to watch the kids while they run down to M. D. Anderson in Houston. I mean, there's so much and in a crisis thing, and most of it's just your life gets turned upside down. My dad had a small heart attack, had a triple bypass. He was an OBGYN in Houston and he was unable to work for five months. And, well, when you're an OBGYN you are the business. If you're not working, all these other people in office depend on you to be there and to do your job. When you're not there. The job doesn't get done. So many businesses, 3 to 4 employees and the owner is one that brings in the business that keeps everybody busy. If he goes down, there's a lot of people going to get hurt in the process. So the idea of critical illness, I'd call it almost like a mini disability policy. You know, you get 50,000 in money that's there to keep you from having to sell your trucks and sell your equipment and putting you out of business because you can't use that stuff to make a living. So critical illness is the muscle. You really you've got to take the time to educate your clients on critical illness. Because I've yet to have a client that had a major situation that wasn't absolutely so happy, you know that they had that money to make it through that crisis. I'm doing really well. This has been a good business. No information is power, in chaos there is opportunity. And, you know, you're the guy with the answers. You're going to get their attention. And people are desperate for answers right now. If you can go in there with the information to get their attention, then you got their business for life.
That is a great point that you bring up right there now changing tactics just a little mitt. You meet with a lot of people between your canvassing and your referrals and regular client meetings. So what can brokers do to build better relationships with their clients?
The biggest thing you can do to retain clients is let them know that you're there for them. My persistency is extremely high. And the reason why my persistence is extremely high is because people feel like I'm shooting straight with them, and then I'm going to be there for them when they have a crisis. And one of the sad things about this business is agents are terrible about taking care of their clients. You know, some people I won't care that you get because I answer my phone, you know, because I do what I say I'm going to do. I take care of my clients. And if I had a problem, you know, if I made a mistake, I own it. I kind of feel and character is something that has been lost. I’ve seen some of the best insurance salesman I've ever seen not make it in insurance. And the reason why they don't make it is because they can’t do Business day in, day out, day in, day out. Like on my canvassing it's 100 on Monday, I have to make phone calls on Tuesday. I've set my appointments for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and I follow the same path. And so the secret being successful in this business, it's love among your clients and consistently doing the same thing week after week, you know, everybody's asked me what's the secret to be successful and selling insurance, I said learning how to manage your time. That's it. If you manage your time and treat it like a 40 hour week job and get out there very money. You'll have a great time, if you don't, you will fail. And, you know, I'm at a point now where, you know, I've been in this business a long time. I've got over 3000 clients and my mail box money is awesome. I do very well, and the only way you can get there it is by learning to consistently manage your time, know your products, level with your clients. I'm at a point in my career when I get a ton of referrals. But, you know, that's 25 years of doing what I was supposed to do. It's amazing when you look back. If you could do that consistently did the same thing over and over and over again. For 5 10 years, you'll look back and go oh my gosh look what I created, you know, unbelievable. And you make a lot of your money by selling Assurity products. You know, you add those in. They got great tools. It's great mailbox money. Uh, it’s where you add this on and make a good living.
Yeah, absolutely. I think consistency and dedication are 100% a big part of the key to success. And I think they got up a valuable point about education as well. In that, sometimes giving your client the answer isn't as important as making yourself a resource for those answers. Right? So you bring up a lot of very good points there, Chet. I want to go to something that you ah alluded to earlier when you were talking about group sales. You were talking about cross selling different products and I want to talk about specifically critical illness, insurance and life insurance. What kind of successor you having pairing CI and life insurance sales? And, what sort of tips can you share with producers that are looking to do the same?
On the individual side what I do is when I go in there health share or major medical whatever I have two quotes, and if you have a critical illness, quote and then you have a life with critical illness, and so I will put anywhere from 300 to $500,000 worth of life along with critical illness. Now when you go look at the difference in cost between straight out, critical illness plan and a life plan with critical illness, there's not a whole lot of difference in price, you know. So what I'll do is I'll go in there and I'll present CI and what if I get them to bite on the CI? I don't know if you know this or not but did you know, I can add $300,000 worth of life onto this policy onto your C I policy for 30 bucks or 70 bucks. And they go really, that's it? And it's really I mean, when you compare the life with CI you know the difference in premiums is hardly anything so when you tell them, what you're doing is, you're saying, you tell them the difference in the price. So if it’s 30 bucks or 50 bucks. You say I give you 500, or $300,000 worth of extra life insurance for 30 50 bucks? And they go what that’s not very much. Yeah, go ahead and add that on. You just saved them a ton of money. That’s the problem I have with agents who say, so listen guys, we're not selling products we're selling value. They may hate what they’re paying, but the reason why they hate what they’re paying is because they don't think it's worth the price. Now if I can offer them lower out of pocket and CI and life for less than what they’re paying, you think they see the value in there? Absolutely. And, you know, it was kind of a last minute throw in. And it is amazing how many times those people will tell you. Yeah, go ahead add that all. Honey, I need some life insurance. I don't know what it is, but people had kind of a aversion, they’ll talk about health insurance life insurance is something that's a little bit of they don't want to go there until you’ve won them over you can tag it on the end of the sell. And I’ve had a lot of success getting life on. And when you if you sell just the CI the commission on that product is lower than life plus the CI, like get you get paid on the life insurance commission and I don't know what your life insurance commission is but it’s more than CI, I promise you that. So all of a sudden, now you get a lot more money when you do the life CI combo over just the CI combo. The renewals aren’t as good for regular simple CI and it’s better renewals but life and CI is a lot better up front money.
Well, Chet, you have been absolute wealth of information. I'd like to thank you once again for joining us today. Do you have anything more you'd like to add for our listeners before you sign off?
You know, Assurity is a great company, and the more and more I get to know them, the more I love them. My rep is Paige Phelps. And these guys have been there for me any time I need. And they helped educate me. And, you know, I think a lot of people don't realize the wealth of information and help they have at Assurity. You know, I've been out in the field and I’ll call customer service and they’ll give me a quote right over the phone. Any time I call where I had a problem with a client, they've been on confident calling me back and, God, companies like a Assurity, you know, I've represented a lot of companies over the years, and Assurity is by far one of the best ones out there. They listen. They got great trips. They got great products. I've never had a problem with them paying me, and they're very loyal to their agents. I've loved the relationship, you know, and I don't see myself ever doing business anywhere else, even if they offered me more money.
Well, Chet, we're glad to work with you too. And thank you again for sharing all of your incredibly valuable insights here. I'm sure our listeners will definitely get a lot from hearing your advice and to our listeners. Thank you so much for tuning in to Assurity’s Tips from the Insurance Pros. To learn more about Assurity’s critical illness, contact your regional sales team or email us at podcast at a Assurity dot com, and we'll be happy to connect you with the representative. Thanks for listening.
Few brokers know the critical illness insurance market better than Chet Marko. The owner of Texas Family Health Plans returns to Tips from the Insurance Pros to discuss the need for critical illness insurance amid rising healthcare costs – and to share his advice for prospecting and building relationships.
Let's start at the beginning of the critical illness insurance sale – the prospecting. How do you prospect for critical illness insurance clients? Are networking and referrals a part of your process?
Chet: Absolutely. We used to spend a tremendous amount of money on leads. $800 a week on leads would probably produce $2,000 or $3,000. I got irritated, because I was seeing a lot of the same leads coming back around – and it always seemed to be the same type of people who would say “yes” to a telemarketer. It began to wear me out. So one day, I decided to try something different: go out and canvas. My goal every week was to shake hands with 100 businesses.
I know canvassing is kind of an old art, but I've had tremendous success with it. I walk in, say hello, hand them my card and a flyer, and ask them three questions:
- “Who are you doing healthcare with?”
- “How much is it costing you?”
- “Are you happy with what you got?”
Nobody is happy with their health care. People are desperate to talk to somebody who actually knows what they're talking about, yet nobody goes around and talks to businesses anymore. I try to keep it short and sweet. If they say, “I'm busy,” I tell them, “Let me get your name and number and a little bit of information from you, and let me get some critical illness insurance quotes together.”
When you canvas, you're going to get people who would never respond to a telemarketer. So when I call back, I'm a warm call – I'm the big guy who was in their office the other day. If you're putting out 100 flyers week, you may get 15 good leads. Well, those 85 other people who get your flyer may stuck it in the file, and you may get a call from them two years later. It's really exciting.
The last time you were on the podcast, you mentioned young people as a good market for critical illness insurance. How do you prospect specifically for younger clients?
Chet: You know the problem with younger clients: they think they're bulletproof. Sometimes they haven't had enough life experience to know that they need healthcare. I tell younger people that you never know when something's going to happen – and when it does happen, if you don't have healthcare, your life could be ruined.
Rising healthcare costs are a great conversation starter when selling critical illness insurance. How do you start one with clients?
Chet: We have to realize that we will absolutely turn these people’s lives around if they have a bad health crisis. That critical illness insurance policy means they can afford to take time off work, pay their hotel costs or for babysitters to watch the kids.
You have to take the time to educate your clients on critical illness insurance. I haven’t yet had a client who wasn’t absolutely happy that they had the money to make it through that crisis. In chaos there is opportunity. You’re the guy with the answers, and people are desperate for answers right now. If you can go in there with the information to get their attention, you’ve got their business for life.
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.