8 Stereotypes of a Bad Insurance Agent

Fran Majidi
March 21, 2019
bad insurance agent

The truth of the matter is that insurance agents do not set out to make a million dollars when they go into insurance sales. Often, we walk into the career with little more than an appreciation for interacting with people and helping them out for a couple of dollars. When we find out that a job exists in circumventing potential disasters and devastating losses in people’s lives, we step up, like “Yeah, I can do this!” The pay can be great, but only when you’re an exec of a big carrier or agency. Most of the time, agents are innocent folks trying to make ends meet. Despite all this, stereotypes exist about us and what we do for a living. To get past the often inaccurate portrayal of us as nothing more than glorified used car salesmen, we can first address the stereotypes about us (and the insurance industry) while working towards turning people around. It’s the only way to build trust with the people you’re trying to protect.

1. “Insurance Agents Always Have a Personal Agenda”

To some degree it may be true that you’re trying to sell one carrier over another, even to the detriment of the client’s budget but you may also be doing so because you know a carrier has better coverage that suits your client’s lifestyle. Or, you may be aware that one carrier is not very good about paying out claims so the extra money per month is almost a guarantee of better service. But you’ll never win!  It’s always assumed that you have a selfish agenda when pushing one carrier (or one type of policy) over another (especially if it’s more expensive) so make sure to explain your reasons for championing one insurance product or carrier over another. If you do have an agenda and it’s without the client’s best interests in mind, it’ll come across pretty loudly so beware.

2. “Insurance Agents Prefer Businesses Over People”

While it’s true that commercial policies mean more money in our pockets, it’s not true across the board that insurance agents prefer to find coverage for businesses over people. For one thing, most of us go into the business because we like people and we’re good talkers. So, nothing can replace that personal connection that we often make while finding the right home and auto or life and health insurance for our clients. This connection is what drives us to solve all sorts of financial problems for our clients, even well into retirement. Make sure to remind your clients why you do what you do and let them know you’re on their side always. Don’t make them feel rushed or that they are playing second fiddle to a bigger client.

3. “Agents Push Insurance I Don’t Need”

Okay, we all know that insurance agent who tries to push every product on a client, even boat insurance after the client tells him he suffers from motion sickness. But for the most part, that is not what we do. Yes, we want to make a commission but not at the expense of the client. Most of us actually want to be Superman or  Wonder Woman and save the day -- before the day comes, and well in advance if possible. We are worry warts who think of the insurance we sell as financial armor. We really are not all unethical creatures just because we get a high from making a sale.

4. “Insurance Agents Are Your Best Friends Only at Renewal Time”

Fine, it’s true that we take our heads out of the sand when we sniff out a new commission, but we also don’t want our clients to become uninsurable because they’re forgetting to renew! If we were remiss about reminding clients of their upcoming renewal, we’d be criticised the other way around: they’d be saying we wanted a bigger commission by making them have no choice but to buy an SR22 for driving without insurance for months!

5. “Insurance Agents Are Fakes”

They say we’re friendly because we want something. They say we don’t talk to them for any other reason than reaching into their wallets. It’s just not true. Sure, there are the very few silly agents out there who aspire to be Gordon Gekko, but aside from the rare few, most of us know we’ll never make more than a modest income selling insurance. We can’t say it enough: We are truly trying to help civilians avoid financial ruin! Now, it’s time for you to get that across to each and every one of your clients and continue building that trust.

6. “Insurance Is a Scam and Insurance Agents Are Scammers”

Many people think pretty much everything is excluded in an insurance policy once you read the fine print. Some people have such little faith in insurance that they will even risk breaking the law and driving without any insurance at all. While it’s true that insurance was not designed to be profitable for the client, it doesn’t mean that it’s a scam. If it weren’t for insurance, most of us would not be able to drive a car unless we were excessively wealthy and could cover a possible accident out of pocket. In fact, insurance is the only reason any average Joe can buy a cheap car and get from point A to point B. It’s a very democratic common pool we all pull from when something goes wrong. Sure, insurance may work in favor of the insurance carrier and not the client, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doing anything for them.

7. “Insurance Is a Necessary Evil”

“If I’d put away the money I’ve paid into insurance,” they say, “I’d be rich and I could’ve paid my own claims.” We know what you want to say in response to that: “Lady, just look at your shoes. No, you would not have saved the money you spent on insurance and covered your own losses if you didn’t have to get insured.” Don’t do it. Bite your tongue and say, “Well, until then, you have to buy insurance so you may as well get the right coverage.” Chances are, however, that a client will never tell you what they think of your profession to your face; they’ll just give you that knowing look. Sometimes, there’s no way of turning some people around, so just do your best not to say how you feel.

8. “Insurance Execs Eat Our Premiums Without Giving Back to Society”

It’s no lie that insurance is the DNA of capitalism. In fact, all local and international economies would come to a full stop if it weren’t for insurance. Without it, no one would chance their fortunes to make a little profit. Practically everything you own and do is insured and the companies that made all your stuff and employ you are insured. Your life would come to a half too if somehow insurance  were no longer a thing at all.

See, it all started thousands of years ago with European merchants getting insured against maritime risks when setting out on their business adventures. Shipowners and merchants then began sharing the risk of travel (insurance) when they set out to do trade internationally. What if they hadn’t come up with this idea of shared risk (insurance)? We bet not too many wealthy merchants would’ve been thrilled to put their fortunes on the line to sell goods in foreign lands. Yes, we are the founders of globalization -- so what of it? Anyone who loves a healthy dose of capitalism should love insurance. It’s the most profitable safety net of a contradiction in the world.

Cheers to all you agents out there. Don't waste money and precious time generating leads when we have the best organic leads in the industry. Contact us whenever you’re ready to for live-transfer calls and leads to grow your agency: (877) 323-7750