8 Stereotypes of a Bad Insurance Agent

Fran Majidi April 6, 2023
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!"

Being an insurance agent can be a lucrative career, but usually when you own your own insurance agency, write new business constantly and are well ahead of the game with each policy renewal. Most of the time, insurance agents are innocent folks trying to make ends meet while keeping clients' financial house in order. New agents make very little after they buy insurance leads and spend money on other forms of marketing.

Experienced agents know that to make a significant income an insurance agent has to care about their clients and constantly sell insurance. The insurance business is easy for the insurance agent who truly has their clients' backs.

Stereotypes exist about the bad insurance agent, as unfair as it may be. To get past the often inaccurate portrayal of being nothing more than glorified used car salesmen, we can first address the stereotypes about insurance agents (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 and the best way to retain clients.

1. "Insurance Agents Always Have a Personal Agenda"

The captive agent who works for one insurance company has an easier time in some ways, because they are only selling one brand and not pitting several insurance companies against one another, a phenomena that confounds shoppers, leaving them suspicious. "Why is this guy pushing this auto insurance on me versus the other one?"

Yes, the independent agent is another creature entirely because they work with multiple insurance carriers. To some degree, it may be true that an independent insurance agent is trying to sell one company over another, even to the detriment of the client's budget but they may also be doing so because they know a carrier has better coverage that suits your client's lifestyle (a legitimate interest). Or, you may be aware that one insurance company is not very good about paying out insurance claims so the extra money per month is almost a guarantee of better service. But an insurance agent never wins! The worst is always assumed.

If you're an insurance agent, beware that it's always assumed that you have a selfish agenda when pushing one insurance company (or one type of policy) over another (especially if it's more expensive) so make sure to explain your reasons for championing one insurance company 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 don't do it!

2. "My Insurance Agent Prefers Businesses Over People"

While it's true that commercial policies mean more revenue, it's not true that every insurance agent prefers to find coverage for businesses over people and families.

For one thing, most insurance agents 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.

A genuine connection is what drives us to solve all sorts of financial problems for our clients, even well into retirement with a life insurance policy and possibly even annuities. Life insurance agents have it the hardest, so make sure to remind your clients why you are a life insurance agent (if you are one) and let them know you're on their side always. Don't make them feel rushed or that they are playing second fiddle to bigger clients with expensive insurance policies.

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. Or maybe it's the agent that tries to sell a platinum medical insurance plan to a healthy 26-year old. Insurance agents fail this way on occasion because their heart's not in it or they are just pushing products with the highest premium payments.

Selling the most expensive insurance policies is a bad insurance agent's entire focus, so that they lose sight of what the client needs and don't explain coverage options. But for the most part, that is not what insurance agents do. Yes, an insurance agent wants to make a commission on an insurance policy but not at the expense of the client.

The typical insurance agent wants to save the day -- before the day comes, and well in advance if possible. Most insurance agents are worry warts who think of the insurance we sell as financial armor. They really are not all unethical creatures just because they push a sale. But try telling the average person that the insurance industry is not corrupt!

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 or a renewal, 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 criticized 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. "The Insurance Industry 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.

Insurance is 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. Set the record straight with potential customers; it may help!

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 shiny new 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 for live-transfer calls and leads to grow your agency: (877) 323-7750.