Often agents can be frustrated by a client’s insistence on going with a particular brand name carrier, despite price and benefits that suggest they should go with a different company. So what is it that makes clients willing to spend more money for a brand name?
They think higher cost is worth lower risk – Clients can perceive the more familiar company as being a lower risk than another, lesser known company. Higher cost is a tradeoff that they’re willing to make, because health care isn’t the type of thing on which most people want to take a risk.
They think higher price means it’s better – It’s not uncommon for clients to expect that the higher priced product with the company name they know is somehow better. As an agent you know this may or may not be true, but clients are generally looking at their insurance purchase the same way they would any other purchase. The more expensive brand name is likely better than the less expensive generic version. Remind them that it’s more like generic prescriptions, where they’re essentially the same thing at a much lower cost than brand name.
So how do you combat this?
Show clients the CMS materials – By showing clients the “Medicare and You” or “Choosing a Medigap Plan” booklets, you can help them see that plans are regulated and that they’re protected by the federal government. For Medicare Supplement clients, show them the chart in the “Choosing a Medigap Plan” booklet that shows the different plan benefits and the part where it says that all letter plans are standardized and provide the same benefits.
Show them ratings and explain company track records – Star ratings and financial ratings for insurance companies can go a long way to soothe a nervous client who is reluctant to choose a plan that would be a better fit because of company brand recognition. If you can show a client that both plans they’re considering are four star plans, or that both companies have an A rating, it can help them see past their bias towards a familiar company.
Give them what they want – Ultimately, if a client is set on a particular “brand name,” give them what they want. Explain the benefits and the downsides and let them make the choice, even if it isn’t the one you would make. They’re the ones who have to be comfortable with the coverage provided and the cost.
As is usually true, your job is simply to educate your clients and let them make the choice with which they’re comfortable.