Agent's Sales Journal's annual Health Market Study shows concerns among key intermediaries between consumer and insurer.
Agent's Sales Journal and Agent Media, products of Summit Business Media's Life and Health Insurance Network, announced the results of the 2011 Health Insurance Market Study in the June issue of Agent's Sales Journal.
This year's study is the result of a collaborative effort between Agent's Sales Journal, Agent Media, and the National Association of Health Insurers (NAHU).
The annual Health Market Study is designed to explore producers' awareness of, and experiences with, individual health insurance, HSAs, and disability income insurance. Insurance professionals drawn from Agent Media's data base of 1.8 million licensed life, health and annuity agents were asked about their opinions on the new Affordable Care Act, commissions, the main challenges they are facing, what they see for the future of the health insurance market, and more.
Highlights of the 2011 Health Market Study include:
While individual major medical remains the best-selling product, only 12% of respondents said they expect sales of this product to increase substantially in the next 12 months and 32% said they expect it to increase somewhat.
Only 7% of agents support the Affordable Care Act in its current form; 45% said they would support it in a different form; and 28% think that no reform is needed.
Most agents are facing substantially decreased commissions, in large part because of the new medical loss ratio mandate.
Agents faced these challenges in 2010: clients believe they can't afford health insurance; rate increases; clients aren't qualified (too many health problems); underwriting process is too difficult; prospecting; clients are hesitant to buy because of uncertainty over health care reform.
72% of agents said that referrals remain the key to success, naming them the best resource for new individual health insurance prospects.
Agents expect HSA sales to hold steady in 2011.
"It's a time of cautious optimism for those concentrating on health care sales, but as the fallout from the Obama health care initiatives continues, agents say that they're being kept on their toes," said Andy Stonehouse, editor for Agent's Sales Journal. "It's also clear that the continuing drop in commissions is leading many agents to consider new products and put more of their efforts into building their referrals for more business."
Results of the 2011 Health Market Study were featured in the June issue of Agent's Sales Journal, and complete results are available online at ASJOnline.com.
ABOUT AGENT'S SALES JOURNAL - Agent's Sales Journal provides sales-oriented how-to information to help independent insurance advisers expand their life, health, and annuity practices. The magazine's ongoing market research program allows the editors to quickly identify and respond to readers' needs and challenges in a rapidly changing marketplace. Comprehensive selling guides, unbiased insight from industry experts, timely feature stories, and a dynamic online presence give readers the information and ideas they need to grow their practices.
ABOUT AGENT MEDIA - Twenty years ago, Agent Media set out to build a reliable database and marketing solutions company to serve the life, health, and annuity segments of the insurance industry. Today, the database has grown to over 1.8 million producers, representing nearly every licensed agent and registered representative in the U.S. Agent Media is now the industry leader "a one stop marketing resource for a wide range of direct marketing needs.
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