Most agents want to provide accurate information to their clients. That makes sense. After all, we are the trusted advisors that clients rely on to learn about their insurance needs, evaluate the options they have to satisfy those needs, and purchase the insurance products that provide the best coverage at the most affordable price. It’s difficult to provide sound advice if we’re not confident in our level of understanding.
To the extent that this causes agents to learn more so they can become better advisors, that’s a good thing. But if a lack of confidence causes us to avoid discussions about certain products, that can end up hurting our clients.
This often happens when clients ask us about a product line that we don’t normally sell, especially if that product requires a different type of license. For example, some clients might ask their life & health agent about their auto insurance policy. This is actually pretty common since most consumers don’t understand the different license types; they simply know that we sell insurance, so they might assume we’re educated about all types of insurance.
While it might be tempting to explain to our clients that we don’t sell auto insurance and that they should talk with their P&C agent about that, that may not be the best approach. Obviously, we don’t want to give our clients bad advice or discuss their liability limits, but we should also realize that there is some overlap between auto insurance and health insurance and that they could benefit from our expertise.
Specifically, clients have the opportunity to add certain medical benefits to their auto policies, and they might ask you if they should do that. How would you answer this question?
As Nerd Wallet explains, purchasing auto insurance with medical benefits “can supplement the health insurance you already have, but you could also duplicate it.” For that reason, the health insurance advisor may actually be in a better position to advise on this optional coverage than the P&C agent. To do that, though, health agents need to know the basics of the benefits available.
The Nerd Wallet article provides a pretty good description of the three types of coverage that could cover medical bills in the event of an accident. Here’s a quick summary:
- Medical Payments: This type of coverage, also known as “MedPay,” provides payment for injuries you suffer as a passenger in someone else’s car or if you’re hit by a car while walking or riding a bike. The limits on MedPay coverage are fairly low, usually $10,000 or less, but this can help to cover the out-of-pocket expenses on your health insurance plan. To this extent, it’s not much different than supplemental or worksite coverage like accident or critical illness policies that help to fill in the gaps in your health insurance with no intention of replacing it.
- Personal Injury Protection: This type of coverage, often referred to as “PIP,” is actually required in some states and is offered as an optional coverage in others. PIP helps protect you and others in the car with you in the event of an accident, even if you are at fault. Like MedPay, it also protects you if you are riding in another person’s car or if you’re hit by a car while walking or riding a bicycle. PIP is typically more expensive than MedPay but often has higher limits. And, like supplemental health products, PIP can help with costs not covered by a health insurance plan, “like lost wages, services you may need, such as child care, and funeral costs.”
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Bodily Injury: Even though auto insurance is a requirement, there are a lot of drivers who are either uninsured or do not have enough liability coverage to pay for the damage they may cause. If this is the case, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can pay not only for your car repairs but also for your medical bills if another driver is at fault.
Of course, the decision about whether to purchase these optional coverages or not is up to the client, but your input could be valuable, and it’s a great time to educate clients about how their medical coverage would work if they were in an accident. It’s important to look for these teaching opportunities because clients often forget what their policy covers as soon as they’re done signing up.
Health agents might also find that they’re a valuable resource to property & casualty agents when their clients ask them health insurance questions. And that means there’s an opportunity to team up to get more leads.
So here’s an idea: try approaching a P&C agent or two, introducing yourself, and explaining what you do. Then point out that you each have your area of expertise but that there is some overlap in the coverages you sell and offer to help them out if their clients begin asking health insurance questions that they’re not comfortable answering. You may just get some referrals that will help you sell more business. In turn, you can offer to send clients their way when they ask you about auto insurance and other P&C products.