Editor's note: Benefits Selling's Broker of the Year finalists will be revealed Monday-Friday this week. Meet our fourth finalist.
Not many people would compare selling insurance with serving as a law enforcement officer. Unless, of course, it's someone who's saying their experience with a less-than-reputable broker or agent was like dealing with a crook.
But as Eric Stanton sees it, selling insurance is like law enforcement because they’re both about one simple, yet very important thing: security. Instead of making sure people are safe from criminal activity or evil-doers, though, selling insurance is about making sure families have long-term security.
“Honestly, I love helping people,” Stanton says. “It's similar to law enforcement in that you’re providing security to people and their families.”
And Stanton is in a unique position to know. Before he became an agent, he worked in the sheriff's office in York County, Maine. As he tells it, he got into a fight with a guy and blew out his shoulder. After surgery, Stanton says he “lucked out” and got an interview with HealthMarkets — an insurance agency based in Dallas — and was hired on the spot.
Working out of his home in Standish, Maine, Stanton in his first year in the industry ranked 33rd out of 4,000 agents. That was over part of 2014. Stanton now has designs on becoming HealthMarket's No. 1 first-year achiever in his first complete calendar year with the company.
“I don't even consider myself a broker or an agent,” Stanton says. “I call myself a ‘giver.’ I give people security for themselves and their families. I listen to a lot of motivational speakers and that's what they tell you — to form relationships with your clients.”
Helping to propel Stanton's success is PPACA. Stanton says 92 percent of people in Maine qualify for a subsidy, so when open enrollment hits, Stanton is swamped fielding calls. By helping his Obamacare clients sign up, though, Stanton then can offer them any number of supplemental plans, which means his clients emerge from the process with affordable health care and “10 times the protection” they had before enrollment.
“Honestly, I adapted what I did in law enforcement,” Stanton says. “It's diplomacy rather than trying to push stuff down people's throats.”
Stanton works primarily with self-employed clients but estimates that 10 percent of his clients are small organizations. With some of his group clients, he's been advising them to shift their employees to PPACA. But first, he tells the employers to give employees a raise.
“Nowadays, group insurance is way too expensive,” Stanton says. “I advise the employer to offer a raise and let them go find their own policy. I can find them cheaper insurance. I saved a grocery store $45,000 per year just switching their employees to individual plans. It works as long as the employer gives the employees a raise so they can buy their own insurance.”
Stanton also has developed a strong rapport with his clients — even becoming known as a bit of a 24-7 operation.
“I get calls from people who are on the way to the hospital with their kid and asking me what they should do,” Stanton says. “People like the way I help them.”