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New InsureMe Insurance Lead Monitoring Engine

August 24th, 2011 by admin

InsureMe is focused on providing unparalleled product solutions that drive superior returns for our agent base. A large part of that commitment is ensuring agents receive high quality leads.

With that in mind, we are proud to announce the launch of Bankrate Insurance Verified, a major milestone and multi-year investment. Since August, every lead will undergo a rigorous, multi-layered screening process to help drive industry-leading returns and close rates for our agents.

Learn how Bankrate Insurance Verified sets us apart from any other lead provider:

  1. Proprietary Content Validation System – blocks large numbers of suspicious leads before they reach our agent network. Bankrate has created the industry’s only proprietary system that integrates our exclusive data network with other reputable data validation services to identify and significantly reduce fraudulent leads. Dynamic business controls further ensure that we stay ahead of ever evolving trends.

  2. Proprietary Fraud Engine – Bankrate’s state of the art technology is the Industry’s most robust quality monitoring system. It uses real-time logic to automate lead rejections based on continuously evolving lead acceptance criteria. By learning and refining the system’s logic, agents will receive 24/7 protection against duplicitous and invalid leads.

  3. Highest Quality Sources – clearly defined quality control guidelines are applied to our pre-screened, reputable marketing and advertising partners. We enforce stringent partner probation and termination rules if quality standards are not met.

  4. Strict Form Requirements – ensures all pertinent quoting information is collected. Every lead is filtered based on risk and underwriting standards. Only fully complete applications are provided to our agents.

By combining the new Bankrate Insurance Verified solution with our extensive targeting capabilities, superior customer service, and innovative tools, we provide an unbeatable solution in helping agents grow their business. It doesn’t end here – look for exciting new updates as Bankrate Insurance Verified continues to revolutionize the Industry!

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Social Media a Must For Insurers

December 2nd, 2010 by Lori Reed

For years, businesses have been reaching out to consumers through technology. Now, social media websites and cell phone applications are just a couple of ways companies engage with clients.

Their strategy goes along with the notion that a business needs to be where the consumers are. As generation Y continues to age and earn more money, its insurance needs will grow. However, insurers may not be as savvy as some other industries in terms of using technology as a marketing tool.

A Reuters article by Ben Berkowitz recently discussed the importance of using technology to engage with consumers. The piece included interviews with several representatives from various insurance companies, including Allstate’s vice president of e-business, Bob Wasserman.

“A very significant number, up to a majority, of wireless users will have these devices with them and they expect to be able to interact with companies through these devices where they are,” said Wasserman. “You start to think about what this device can do and you build other capabilities.”
A number of auto insurance companies, for example, have developed phone applications which walk customers through the process of filing a claim. Others applications are more for fun and feature company mascots and games. While such actions are a step in the right direction, more can still be done.

Berkowitz points out that banks are generally friendly towards the technologically savvy consumer. Many institutions, he notes, offer online transaction options. Some banks exist purely online.

In September of this year, the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education developed a Facebook app and contest to help promote Life Insurance Awareness month. The app encouraged people to share stories of those who play an important role in their lives.
LIFE Foundation senior vice president and chief creative officer Jon Dressner says creating the app was a way to use social media to engage with clients.
“With more people turning to social media and the Internet for advice and information, the ‘What Matters Most to Me’ App and Contest provides producers with a fun and engaging way to get their clients and prospects thinking about their need for life insurance,” said Dressner.

The LIFE Foundation and Allstate are just a couple of examples of how social media can be used to make insurance something consumers can engage with just like any other product or brand.

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Healthcare Reform May Create Struggles for Industry

December 1st, 2010 by Lori Reed

The stakes are high for policymakers to make healthcare reform a success. As the changes get underway, it remains to be seen how they will affect insurers. A study conducted by Conning Research and Consulting reveals that the medical professional liability industry can expect its profit margin to shrink, as the result of more competition and tighter regulations.

Conning analyst Jeffrey Thompson says the future for medical professional liability insurance looks bleak.
“Two forces may drive this line of insurance back into unprofitable waters – competition and an increase in loss costs. Competition has begun already, with price-cutting, acquisitions, new entrants, and continued growth of self-insured vehicles,” says Thompson. “Loss cost growth has been slower to develop, but we believe a number of conditions are aligning for this to take off.”

The researchers at Conning assert insurers will have to rethink how they operate if they intend to be successful in the new age of insurance. At this point in time, only a handful of the new healthcare law provisions have been implemented. While President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, portions of the law will not take effect until 2015.

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Some Insurance Companies May Offer Green Discounts

December 1st, 2010 by Lori Reed

Auto insurance agents who want to provide their clients with the highest levels of customer service may want to keep themselves aware of any discounts insurers may offer for those who drive vehicles such as hybrids and electric cars.

This is because some companies have determined that individuals who drive eco-friendly vehicles tend to be less likely to cause accidents and file auto insurance claims. However, there has also been data suggesting that these vehicles tend to carry higher repair costs when they are involved in accidents.

Several leading automakers, including Nissan and Chevrolet, have announced plans to introduce electric vehicles to the mass market in the coming months.

However, a report from J.D. Power and Associates is raising questions about just how much this new generation of eco-friendly vehicles will catch on with consumers. The company indicated that it expects 5.2 million battery electric and hybrid electric vehicles to be sold in 2020, which would be about 7.3 percent of the worldwide market total.

In 2010, these eco-friendly vehicles accounted for 2.2 percent of the total market share. The study projects that 44.7 million vehicles will be sold in 2010, with that figure rising to 70.9 million in 2020.

“Based on our research of consumer attitudes toward these technologies – and barring significant changes to public policy, including tax incentives and higher fuel economy standards – we don’t anticipate a mass migration to green vehicles in the coming decade,” reported John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates.

Humphrey also cited the “considerable interest” in electric and hybrid vehicles that can be found in government agencies and media outlets, and among environmentalists. However, he pointed out that “consumers will ultimately decide whether these vehicles are commercially successful or not.”

Agents who also sell home insurance may also want to be aware of any discounts that are available for eco-friendly upgrades to homes and businesses. For example, some home insurance companies offer discounts for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy systems. One reason is that the industry in general is concerned about the catastrophic financial losses that potential climate change could help bring about in the coming decades.

Another thing to remember is that insurance companies offer discounts for a wide variety of reasons, such as affiliation with a certain educational institution or a profession such as teaching, or for young drivers who get good grades in school.

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Annuity Purchasers Profiled

November 24th, 2010 by Lori Reed

For those trying to sell annuities, it may be helpful to know who typically purchases such life insurance products.

Data from LIMRA indicates that women are somewhat more likely than men to purchase an annuity. Furthermore, the average age at which the product is bought is 73. The vast majority of sales, according to LIMRA, consist of guaranteed payments.

LIMRA associate managing director Matt Drinkwater says there is more flexibility with annuities than some consumers may think.
“One of the biggest obstacles for potential clients to buy an immediate annuity used to be fear of losing control of their money,” says Drinkwater. “Today, our research shows it’s not an all or nothing decision. Two-thirds of the contracts allow annuitants to convert a portion of remaining payments to cash, if necessary.”

LIMRA research indicates that buying annuities through an insurance agent remains the most popular method of purchasing the product, though a trend is emerging where consumers are using brokers and banks.

Regardless of how an annuity is purchased, it’s important for a consumer to feel comfortable with their agent. Planning for one’s final years is an important decision that isn’t trusted to just anyone.

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Workplace Noise Contributes to Heart Disease

October 24th, 2010 by Lori Reed

Report: Workplace Noise Contributes to Heart Disease

Insurance agents may find it useful to keep track of new studies which identify possible health risks that could result in substantially higher life and health premiums for their clients.

For example, a study appearing in Occupational and Environmental Medicine this month states that high levels of noise in the workplace may be associated with a higher risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Researchers acknowledged that there are currently inconsistent findings in the area of workplace noise and its effects on heart health, but emphasized that “chronic exposure to occupational noise is strongly associated with prevalence of” chronic heart disease.

The report also warned that young male smokers are at particular risk for cardiac problems exacerbated by workplace noise.

When it comes to setting life insurance rates and other premium prices, lifestyle factors like occupation and tobacco use go a long way in determining how much an individual will pay. Agents who are equipped to discuss ways to secure lower premiums through healthy lifestyle modifications may find themselves well-positioned in the long run to establish considerable trust among their clients.

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Fewer Customers Satisfied With Home Insurance Companies

October 23rd, 2010 by Lori Reed

Home insurance agents may be interested to know about a recent study which found customer satisfaction levels have been falling in their sector in recent years.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, overall customer satisfaction with home insurance companies has now fallen to a five-year low, with factors like service interactions and dissatisfaction with policy offerings driving the trend.

Specifically, satisfaction with home insurance companies received a score of 750 on a 1,000-point scale, marking a decline of 23 points from the previous year. Satisfaction has actually declined in four out of the last five years, with 2009 being the exception.

“Homeowners insurance policyholders are already price sensitive due to the economy,” said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Approximately 50 percent of customers don’t have a clear understanding of how much coverage or what type of coverage they have on their home, and may have erroneously expected their premiums to decrease just as home values have declined since 2008.”

While people may be frustrated by not fully understanding the details of the home insurance policy, this isn’t the only factor that has influenced the industry’s image. The J.D. Power report suggested that customer sentiments are also potentially affected by the far higher-profile efforts among auto insurance companies that focus on discounts.

Customer satisfaction has also apparently declined this year because of timeliness in resolving customer issues, although this is just one of several factors at play.

Another point that agents may want to take note of is the report’s finding that customers who bundle auto and home insurance policies with the same company are more likely to be satisfied. Customers who carry all of their policies with the same company are also likely to benefit from discounts – and a growing number of Generation Y members owning homes has created new opportunities for sales.

“Insurers that can successfully convince Gen Y home insurance policyholders to bundle their home and auto policies may be positioning themselves for the financial benefits of retaining this growing generation,” added Bowler.

When it comes to ensuring a smooth claims process, agents may also encourage their customers to keep an inventory of their valuables as well as receipts for major purchases such as wide-screen TV sets.

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More Health Insurance Customers May Need Allergy Specialists

October 22nd, 2010 by Lori Reed

Agents who want to provide a high level of customer service to clients may want to keep themselves aware of what kind of specialist services are covered under various health insurance plans.

One thing that agents should be aware of is the growing number of Americans who report suffering from food allergies, which can be highly dangerous and even fatal in some cases. According to new data from the National Institutes of Health, about 2.5 percent of the public – or 7.6 million people – have food allergies.

Researchers have also recently determined that males, non-Hispanic blacks, and children tend to be at the highest risk for food allergies. In fact, the odds of a black male child suffering from a food allergy were said to be 4.4 times higher than for an individual in the general population.

There also appears to be a connection between food allergies and severe asthma problems.

“This study provides further credence that food allergies may be contributing to severe asthma episodes, and suggests that people with a food allergy and asthma should closely monitor both conditions and be aware that they might be related,” said Dr. Andrew Liu, M.D., lead author of the paper.

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Solid Advice Can Go a Long Way in Gaining Customer Confidence

October 21st, 2010 by Lori Reed

One way for home insurance agents to be able to build longstanding and trusting relationships with their customers is to be able to deliver sound advice on what to do in case the need to file a claim arises.

For example, the Insurance Information Institute (III) recently offered some tips on steps people can take to make any home insurance claims move more efficiently. The organization was doing this in response to an upswing in natural disasters such as the flooding in Texas and wildfires in Colorado, along with the usual hurricane activity in the Atlantic this time of year.

Agents can advise their clients to be ready to provide an accurate description of the damage and, in the event of an evacuation, to remember to give up-to-date contact information. Taking photos of the damage is often a particularly useful step for home insurance companies as well as their customers.

Also, homeowners who are victims of a natural disaster or other incident, such as a fire, are advised to make a detailed inventory of all property that has been lost or damaged.

The III maintains an online tool at KnowYourStuff.org that can make this process easier. Some items to include in this inventory of items include approximate date of purchase, the amount paid, and the value of the property in question. It’s also desirable to keep two copies of this information so it can be provided to the insurance adjuster when the time comes.

Insurance customers can also take similar steps before a disaster strikes by keeping an inventory of their covered valuables in a safe place – perhaps even in a location away from their home. It can also help insurance adjusters determine the value of lost property if customers keep receipts, cancelled checks and other such information.

One mistake that homeowners can make is to have extensive repairs performed on their property before an adjuster can actually inspect it. Instead, it’s far more advisable to make only temporary repairs in the aftermath of a disaster – primarily just to prevent further damage from being inflicted on the property through rain or other weather conditions.

While homeowners are strongly advised not to have permanent repairs done until an adjuster has been on the scene, it is beneficial to have reputable contractor provide a cost estimate for repairs. Providing such information to the adjuster can make a home insurance claim process run more smoothly.


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Sell Health Insurance as a Potential Life-saving Strategy

September 23rd, 2010 by Lori Reed

Insurance agents will commonly encounter prospective clients who are interested in buying health policies, but who find it unaffordable or simply too much for their budget.

In some cases, it might make sense to emphasize that having a health insurance policy can actually help hold off financial disaster or even a premature death or serious illness in the long run. For example, those with insurance are typically more likely to keep regular appointments with a primary care physician, which improves their chances of having any emerging health problems detected at an early stage.

In contrast, those without insurance often end up waiting until they become ill enough to seek out medical treatment at their local emergency room.

According to the American Cancer Society, researchers recently determined that insurance status actually plays a significant role in the disease’s impact on prostate cancer patients because those without coverage are less likely to be tested regularly.

The announcement noted that when prostate cancer is detected early enough, there is a nearly 100 percent survival rate. However, as the disease advances, that rate tends to drop to around 30 percent

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