Online Life Insurance Quotes —The New Life Insurance Agent?
Traditionally, life insurance agents have solicited business, prepared quotes, and been the first point of contact for customers. But nowadays, with so much information at our fingertips, the landscape of life insurance sales has changed. Yet the topic of life insurance remains a sensitive one. Because of this, life insurance customers may still feel more comfortable speaking with an agent face to face.
Today, you can compare quotes and buy life insurance right from the comfort of your home without ever speaking with an agent. Whether buying online, over the phone, or in person with an agent is the right choice for you depends on what you are comfortable with and your personal preference. Let’s look at the role of a life insurance agent and how it has translated into the online market.
Practical Divisions in Life Insurance Companies
The life insurance industry, like all businesses, has practical divisions to keep things running smoothly and ensure the standards of their products. These divisions include underwriting, which analyzes applicants’ risk and determines premiums; claims, which receives, investigates, and decides to pay, reject, or settle the claim; actuarial, which assesses financial risk; and marketing and sales, which is the role of the insurance producer.
Life insurance agents and brokers solicit business and promote and sell life insurance products for life insurance companies. In person, they can communicate the benefits of their products while listening to your needs and concerns. They are also able to perform the first step in underwriting, field underwriting. Because the applicant is face to face, the agent can report their visual health.
Online insurance quotes use a marketing direct response system and provide a free quote, which was traditionally reserved for life insurance agents. By marketing online, companies can sell their insurance products directly to customers without a life insurance agent. If you have any questions or would like to buy a policy through an agent, you can message or call the life insurance company ‘s representative.
Life Insurance Producer’s Authority
Life insurance agents are employed by the insurance company or refer to an agency that acts for the insurer. Life insurance brokers can work independently and sell insurance for different insurance companies. Whether independent or an employee, insurance producers have a contractual agreement, they must meet the company’s guidelines, and they have the authority to act on the insurer ‘s behalf.
Life insurance agents have the express authority to find business and sell policies for the insurer. If an agent acts outside of company guidelines, the insurance company is liable for the agent’s actions. While searching for the right policy online, you must do the reading and evaluation of the policies. Though you may speak with a representative, a misrepresentation by the agent is less likely.
Producer Responsibilities to Applicants and Insureds
It is the life insurance producer’s responsibility to act in the best interest of the applicant and the insured. This includes making sure all products and recommendations are suitable for the consumer, disclosing all important information about the proposed policy, and abiding by insurance regulations and insurance trade best practices.
It is also the duty of the life insurance agent to provide the applicant or insured with the premium receipt and deliver the policy. Premium receipts provide temporary coverage during the application process, which involves underwriting and possibly a medical exam. Premium receipts are given only after the applicant has paid.
When purchasing insurance online, your policy and your receipt are delivered electronically. You can choose to speak with an agent to sign your documents or e-sign. With online services such as Insurify, your digital signature and confidential information are encrypted and not sold to third parties.
Producer Fiduciary Duties
A fiduciary is a person holding funds for the benefit of another person. An agency agreement with an insurer creates a fiduciary relationship between the two parties. Fiduciary duties of a life insurance agent include disclosing all information to the insurer that affects the placement of the policy, fully accounting for premiums, and not mixing premiums with personal funds.
Since online life insurance quotes are performed electronically, a life insurance agent does not handle your money. Payments are processed online, and so is all pertinent information that influences your application’s acceptance. You essentially deliver the funds and application to the insurance company yourself.