Almost everybody has had one of those customer service moments where you called to get a problem solved, and by the end of the call, you felt rage so deep that you want to scream.  It is frustrating to have a problem that boils over because of lack of communication between you and customer service.

In life insurance, the primary reasons I have found that causes problems are the line of information and control.  When a person calls for information or goes online, how they are served depends upon the distribution method used.  When you respond to a life insurance advertisement, a company can handle your request as a marketing company, a direct distributor or an independent agent.

To explain the line of information and control and show how it can break down, lets briefly look at the three distribution methods for life insurance.

The first channel of distribution is through marketing companies.  You may see life insurance advertised online or television. In many instances, if a potential customer calls an 800 number or goes online, their contact information is collected, and sold to multiple insurance agents.  For those insurance agents, it is a rush to call the customer and continue to call them until they buy insurance or are told not to call back.

The second type of distribution channel is if a customer is contacting a large life insurance company that is selling only its products.  If the product fits, this can be a quick process however the line of customer control is limited.  If you are the customer and have further questions or a problem crops up, all you have is an 800 number or email.  In a general business survey done by NewVoiceMedia almost 32% of call in customers had to talk to more than one customer service agent during their call.  Moreover, 21% of the customers had to repeat their story to the next agent.[1]  You probably have the feelings of similar calls you have experienced where you must repeat your problem repeatedly to the next agent.

The third type of life insurance buying experience is when you call or go online for information, and you contact the same person that you talk to every time.  If you have a problem, you talk to the same person that you initially contacted.  That level of customer service is available in the independent agent system.

My company, is an independent agent.  When you request information online, it is not sold to multiple agents.  You are contacted by one agent from beginning to end.  The one contact approach is not anti-technology, to the contrary.  Technology makes the independent agent system streamlined.  Most life insurance policies are done electronically.  Communication is done by text, LinkedIn Inmail, Facebook Messenger, email or live by phone.  Technology makes it easier for the independent agent to be able to give insurance clients a concierge level of service.

In a survey done by the non-profit organization Life Happens and insurance industry researcher LIMRA, the number one thing that life insurance customers ask for is easy to understand information.  The second thing wanted by 66% of respondents was the ability to talk to a real person. [2]

All three of the insurance channels mentioned do get to the point of talking to a real person. However, what I have found that keeps the level of customer problems to a minimum is limiting the line of information and control.  The person you begin with is the person that you stay with through the entire application process and in future years when questions or problems arise.


[1] Hyken, Shep. “Is Your Customer Support Killing Your Business?” Forbes. Last modified January 16, 2018.

[2] Life Happens, and LIMRA. 2017 Insurance Barometer Study. LL Global, Inc., 2017.