Individual health insurance 101 for new agents

Crabcake Johnny

5000 Post Club
We're over here on the new board so I figured I'd post some basics for new agents trying to go independent.

The main companies that write individual health as an independent:

And just Google your local Blue Cross

What are the basics of being independent?

*Get a quote on for the main companies that write in your state. These might not be all the companies but it's a good start.

*Call each company and let them know you want to get appointed. Some will appoint you directly, some will make you go through a general agent/agency.

What are the main questions to ask any general agent/agency before signing the papers?

*What's the entire commission scale - as in what's the lowest and highest commission available. You might not rate the top commission but you at least need to know where you're at in the scale.

*What's the advance? (normally 6, 8, 10 or 12 months)

*How are chargebacks handled?

*Do I own my own book of business?

*What are my renewals?

*What type of training, support and leads do you provide?

*Once I sign, how long am I under contract with you? Will you sign a statement that releases me from you if I'm not getting the support and training promised?

*How long have you been a general agent and how much personal business did you write?
John, that is an excellent primer. I think I will start to work on a group health primer for new agents. (You may want to change your title to reflect that it is for individual) If we could get threads priming new agents about how to go independent for each type of product, it would be a great resource. I am working on figuring out how to have some links to important topics on the sidebar so that people can see them right away.
Right now I'm working on a comprehensive text and video guide that I'll make available for free regarding going independent for individual health insurance. When it's done I'll post it here first so everyone can read over it for accuracy. It's just something I'm doing in my spare time. I can't count the emails I've received over the past 2 years from agents who don't even know where to start to what to expect.
Melmunch3 said:
Perhaps you can add something about what commissions run?

well I give my commissions to my wife and she runs to the store.......
Melmunch3 said:
Perhaps you can add something about what commissions run?

Commissions are all over the map from 2% by some Blue Cross outfits up to over 30% for American Republic.

You can expect 20% contracts from Assurant and Golden Rule and 25% from those companies if you have general agent contracts.

Aetna pays different commissions depending on the state which equates them to Blue Cross. Aetna runs from 7% to 15%.

The bottom line is you need at least 15% to make a living. You may have to write cases for other companies that pay less but it better be few and far between. Unfortunately if carriers that pay more than 15% are not competitive in your state you won't be making a living being as an independent individual health agent.
Here are some newby questions: I guess I just don't understand what's going on in Massachusetts. I am in the process of getting contracted with several different health carriers (BCBS, Harvard Community Health, Fallon, Pilgrim, United Healthcare, etc.) Although my main focus is ultimately Medigap policies, I have some people interested in family/individual health insurance. But everyone I am contracted with only has group quotes available online. I went to and they only have Fallon available in Massachusetts. What's the deal? What are the politics? What the hell's going on?
I'm very confused....
I'm confused as to how Blue Cross works. How do you get appointed with them in Florida? If you work for an agency you are captive I would think. How is one able to do BCBSFL and be independent? Does HCO have contracts for them? I have tried to get an answer but haven't had ANY success.

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