By Ben Popken February 10, 2011
One of our readers works sales in an insurance telemarketing operation. He’s stepped forward to give us the skinny on how he gets commission, the real reasons that drive some of their tactics, and what personal information you should never give over the phone to a telemarketer.
1) When you request an auto quote online, expect to be bombarded with calls from many different companies. What happen is that the lead aggregator collects the quote, and then sells it to various agents and carriers, who then contact the requester. We pay approximately $8 for every “hot” lead.
2) Even if your phone number is on the Do Not Call list, we can contact you up to 90 days after you’ve fill out or call in the call in to request a quote. To get the call to stop, just say “put me on your do not call list” or “do not call this number again.” You must say it when you pick up the phone.
3) We usually try to match the coverage with your current insurer. When unclear, we give you the minimum coverage, so you get the lowest price. That’s way we can get you on the phone. Once there, we’re halfway through.
4) Our contact rate when we call is less than 10%, our email rate is almost 0, and our mailing rate is less than 5%. Phone call is the most effective and cheapest. Email is ineffective but it’s free. Mailing is costly but also ineffective. That is why we do all of our sales on the phone and why getting a person on the phone is so critical to our sales process.
5) When an agent or a caller said they’re having a promotional auto rate, they’re lying. There is no promotional rate. Agents and callers do not determine the rate, the underwriters do.
6) Life, annuities, and health insurances are the most profitable. We push hard for these. Once people get them, they usually don’t shop
around or cancel, and we enjoy commission for a person’s lifetime. Auto and homeowner’s insurance are the most competitive and the least profitable line but these are what people usually request quotes for.
7) Your accidents and tickets do count against you, but only for a period of time, usually three years. They can raise your raise much higher since you’re now more risky to insure. Some companies do not write you if you have 3 or more minor moving violations within the last three years or one major violation, such as DUI and reckless driving. You cannot hide from us any tickets and accidents information. We can run a Motor Vehicle Record on you and it will tell us how risky you rare.
8) When agents and callers ask for your license # or SSN before they can run a quote for you, they’re lying. I wouldn’t give them such personal information. All we really need is your name, date of birth, vehicle, and any ticket or accident incidents.
9) Your credit history does have an affect on your auto rate. This is because people with poor credit tend to be riskier to insure than people with good credit. People who are marry and have children get a huge discount because they tend to be more “responsible” than singles. The same with young/old driver. People with the highest auto rate are single, male, and under the age of 25.
10) Insurance is a competitive field. Shop around once a year to get the best deal. Review your coverages. If your car is old, drop the comprehensive and collision deductible, you could save 50% on your insurance that way.
If you are shopping around for insurance and are going to fill out one of those forms online that invite insurance places to call you, one good idea is to use a disposable phone number. Set one up through Google Voice that forward to your phone so you can turn it off or filter the calls after your insurance hunt is over.