Saturday, October 29, 2011

Open Enrollment

Whether or not you work there, they call it the pink palace. It's the company's corporate headquarters. The sales offices have a very different feeling and today I experienced the exact opposite of the pink palace, the front line. January 1 is an insurance carriers busiest time of year. Approximately half of your business is made January 1. If that day is not successful, it's next to impossible to recover. 

\With a combination of luck and skill, the Illinois market has been rocking and rolling for January 1. However, there are a finite number of people in the sales department, so I was asked to help with a handful of benefit fairs. This is the place where potential members learn about their options. While I focus on insurance, others may focus on banking, 401Ks, and even Sams Club memberships. A little rusty when I started, by the end I felt like I was back in business school, working on my 30 second pitch. With each encounter, there's a finite number of seconds where someone will listen to you. In those seconds, you need to peak their interest so that they consider the product you're proposing. To a certain extent, the product sold itself. Yet, every so often, I'd get a few tough questions and would have to tell someone directly that the product may not be right for them.

My conversations with the potential members reinforced my thoughts that most people don't understand their healthcare benefits. I don't blame the individuals, I blame the system. The system is quite complicated. Even I, who has a producer's license in life and health insurance, occasionally have difficulty understanding benefits. While I was not happy to be so far from home, it was great to know that I could answer the many questions I received and help people understand the benefits that they are going to be offered this year. The experience gives me even more prospective on the business. Humana Resources and senior leaders may decide which benefits an employee group receives, but then the employees need to understand what benefits fit them. 

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