On "Losing" a Client

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
So I lost a client yesterday, and that's a good thing.

I wrote Sue's health insurance a year or so ago; her husband's on Medicare, so it was just her. She chose an Anthem Gold-level plan, and has been reasonably satisfied with it. A month or so ago she and her husband moved to Texas and asked me for help with notifying Anthem of their address change.

I pointed out that, although Anthem's BlueCard program would offer some relief, pretty much every claim she has going forward is going to be treated as out-of-network (at least initially). Plus, there may be better and/or less expensive options available in her new town. Finally, I'm a big believer in local agents, and so I offered to help her find one.

As usual, I turned to my "posse" (a loose-knit collection of fellow agents around the country whom I've been fortunate enough to "meet" over the years). Alas, I could find no one in her area. When I called to tell her this, she mentioned that her new auto/home insurance agent had recommended someone that he knew. I told her to jump on that right away: from the insured's standpoint, that's one of the very best types of referral.

Why's that, you ask?

It's a matter of simple self-interest: if the agent recommends someone whom he's not vetted and the client has a bad experience, that client's going to blame the initial agent. No one wants to take that chance, so these kinds of referrals are generally rock solid.

I offered to speak with the new guy to answer any questions about her existing coverage (it's what I do), and we did, in fact, touch base. He seemed like a nice, professional, knowledgeable guy, who'd actually found a comparable local plan with a lower rate for her.

So, a happy ending all around.