23 keys – Hiring an Insurance Consultant
The 23 keys for Hiring an Insurance Consultant are great common sense tools. I had written a similar article here on hiring insurance consultants. The consultants I am referring to are non-agent consultants. This excludes any type of consultant that may be selling insurance products of any type. You want an unbiased opinion.
This list is not in any order of importance. The list was generated from real-world examples. We often have to clean up the mess the last consultant left behin.
- Make sure that you really need one. Can you do it yourself? You may not even need to hire an insurance consultant. #2 in the list will likely aide you in your decision
- Have you defined what you want? An outline of the goals that you wish to accomplish is necessary to proceed further into the consultant search. A short Request For Proposal (RFP) may be very helpful.
- Know the consultant’s background – the exact one that will be working on your project? Many times a potential consultant company will list down their “big gun” consultants only to give your project to a trainee later in the process. I have seen this happen very often.
- Know the company that made the website. Any company can put up a website calling themselves consultants. A search of the state corporation database is very helpful.
- Cheap is not the best, but most expensive is not either. Early in my consultant career, I was often told that I was eliminated from contention on bids as I was “too cheap” on the amount that I was proposing to charge the client. Bringing in the most expensive consultant does not mean better quality. See #3 above.
- References are a must. Email each one that is provided with a few questions.
- Outlandish claims of cost savings are just that. In the premium audit business, I now see claims that 70%, 80%, or even recently 90% of all Workers Comp insurance policies are incorrect. That is just not true and has no statistical validation.
- Explore the initials at the end of their names. Some of the initials such as the ones I have – ChFC, ARM, MBA, AIC should all be researched. It may look good, but not apply to your project.
- If it is a large enough project, check out a D&B Report. If the potential consultant company does not have a D&B number, that should be a red flag.
- The first phone call is critical, emails – not so much. As with first impressions, the first phone call you make to the consultant company will usually have the consultant unprepared and not in the “canned phone speech” mode.
- How long has the company been in existence? With so many people being unemployed, will the consultant company be around when the job market recovers in the future?
- Check databases such as Department of Insurance for licenses, suspensions, and especially license expiration.
- Does everything look too flashy in the website? The flashy websites seem to come and go every few months along with the associated companies. Insurance-based websites are not usually known for flashiness. What is the company trying to make up for or trying to hide?
- LinkedIn Profile – If the consultant does not have a FULL LinkedIn profile, that should raise many red flags. The service is free to add in a profile. There is no reason to not have one – none.
- Are they really writing their own blog? I have been offered $$ to write in other company’s blogs or to borrow articles from here. I also know of six people writing blogs for other people. Why cannot the consultant write their own blog? This is a big red flag.
- Do they have experience in the area for which you are searching for help? There are hundreds of lines of insurance. Calling in a plumber to fix the lighting is not a good idea.
- What organizations do they participate in and are they officers or on the BOD?
- Are clients all in one state? If they only have clients in Wisconsin and you are in Oregon, the rules and laws are so very different.
- Are there any states they will not operate in? Why? Some of our competitors will not operate in CA. We operate there with no problem.
- Do they have a blog/newsletter – How often updated? I sometimes get a little behind in the articles. There are actually award-winning blogs that have not been updated in 9 years.
- Are they listed with the BBB, Best’s, etc.? Best’s should be a minimum qualification.
- Are they brick and mortar? This was becoming less of a concern recently. However, the long-term companies are usually office-based. This is not for all types, especially CAT adjusters.
- Check out whois.net to see who actually owns the website. As J&L grew in size, we had to mask the contact info as we were getting over 100,000 junk emails a day per employee. Check the address after the@ in the email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. You may be in for a real shock.
This is not an all-inclusive list. It is a great starting point for hiring an insurance consultant. Your gut feeling should rule the day.
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