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5 Habits of Unsuccessful Insurance Agents


Being a "successful" insurance agent can mean different things to different people, but in general, it can be largely agreed upon that garnering leads, writing business, and having a happy client base are some great measurements of success. Below are some reasons agents do NOT succeed and are good examples of habits to be avoided by agents looking to thrive in the insurance business.

They See Clients as a Business Instead of a Relationship

Writing new business is a vital aspect of being a successful agent, however if you can't keep your current clients on the books, you will not, in actuality, be building your business. The initial enrollment is more than just new business, it is a new relationship that doesn't end once you enroll the client.

Agents who see it that way are already on the road to failure, as clients who feel ignored or unappreciated tend to look elsewhere for their insurance help. To keep your current book, one that you can build on, make sure you are an agent who cares about your clients, one who listens to their needs, and be willing to go the extra mile.

How to Change this Habit

  • Follow up with new enrollees after the holidays.

  • Reach out to your clients quarterly.

  • Send out Birthday cards, Christmas cards, and Newsletters to your clients.

  • Be there for any questions they may have and follow up!

They Don't Prepare for Their Certifications

The Medicare field is constantly evolving with new rules and regulations, so no matter how long an agent has been selling, they need to continue educating themselves on the industry. This includes studying for their annual certifications, which can be done using modules, practice tests, and review quizzes.

While it requires some of your time to prepare for these certifications, the consequences of not passing the AHIP for example, are a whole year of not selling and risk of losing renewals. So put in the work to ensure you are prepared for your annual certifications and don't miss out on a year of business!

How to Change this Habit

  • As mentioned, take advantage of training modules, practice quizzes and tests.

  • Take notes during trainings, make note of missed questions on quizzes and tests to focus your study time on the areas you are weakest.

  • Don't wait until the last minute to begin your certification(s), give yourself time to prepare.

They Are Not Adaptable

This past year revealed the absolute importance of being able to adapt and alter your methods to maintain success. Whether it be learning new forms of technology or understanding your clients' adjusted needs in the face of a pandemic, being able to adapt is of the utmost importance for any insurance agent.

By being adaptable, you not only maintain or improve your levels of success, but give your clients peace of mind and those in need of coverage a place to turn.

How to Change this Habit

  • Create a Business Facebook page, LinkedIn, and Business Website to be able to reach clients remotely.

  • Utilize remote marketing and client outreach methods such as Facebook marketing and mailers.

  • Employ several different communication mediums, including phone, email, or face-to-face, to ensure you are able to reach existing and potential clients.

They Cannot Communicate Effectively

Some people prefer talking on the phone, others in person, and some only want to be contacted via email. No matter the preference, it is the agent's job to understand what kind of client they are dealing with.

When it comes to enrolling new clients, a successful agent will listen and understand, comprehending what the client says the first time and speak in a manner where the client feels comfortable and not talked down to.

Communication is everything in this business. Whether you are dealing with a current client or looking to enroll a potential one, if an agent can't understand the most effective way to communicate with an individual, they will not be successful.

How to Change this Habit

  • Know you client base and what communication method they prefer.

  • Avoid using highly technical jargon, talk in layman's terms with clients, to avoid making them feel like you're talking down to them.

  • Listen your clients' needs and respond accordingly.

They Don't Know Their Target Demographic

Finally, and just as important, is for the agent to know their market and the type of clients they need to appeal to. Are you selling in an affluent area? To beneficiaries who travel a lot? Questions like these are ones you need to know the answers to, in order to incorporate the most effective plans into your portfolio. A successful agent will know which plans to be appointed with, that will yield the most success with the clients in their area.

How to Change this Habit

  • Look at your current Book of Business, find similarities/commonalities in your current clients to determine a typical beneficiary type you can focus on.

  • Know what your target area is known for and form your marketing outreach based on those observations (retirement community, blue collar town, etc.).

  • Build your portfolio around the healthcare needs of your target demographic.


Unsuccessful agents have behavioral tendencies, reflected in the above article, successful agents avoid these through hard work and preparedness. Start your path towards success by being aware of these downfalls and reaching out to Keystone Advisors when needed, and your will see the results you want in no time!

Start habits of a successful agent and RSVP for one of our upcoming Medicare plan trainings on Producer Academy!

If you are not an agent partner with Keystone Advisors, call us at 346-233-1992 to speak with one of our agent managers.

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