One of the most important things to learn about voluntary benefits is that it’s kind of like a garden. First you plant the seeds (selling the case) then you pick the fruit (first enrollment). What a lot of people forget is that they need to do the next step -- tend the garden to make sure that there will be another crop. And, then you need to go back and pick the second (and third and fourth) crop of fruit. We call that re-enrollment.

And the best part of this is that if you do it correctly, you can get paid for it.

We all understand that life, critical illness and disability insurance are really important to people in the American workforce that we service. Let’s face it, if it was not for voluntary being offered at the workplace, most Americans would never get a chance to buy a whole life policy.

Don’t believe me? Look out the window. You can see one doctor being chased down the street by five career shop agents. Each one who has an application in one hand and a pen in the other hand. But on the other side of the street, a lower-wage worker never gets chased down to buy a big life policy. He does not even get called. And the same thing goes with critical illness and extra disability.

The challenge comes when you are in the mature case cycle with a client. You have been doing the right thing and tending your garden. You have been going back to see the employees and working diligently to make sure that during the open enrollment and re-enrollment cycles you were there to tell them about the product on offer. The problem is when you have sat with that lower-wage worker mentioned above for three years in a row, and he has not bought any life or other products. He probably is not going to change his mind.

What you need is something new to talk about. A product that no one is too old, too sick, too tall, too short, too anything to be eligible for: group legal.

Group legal is a great benefit that helps employees and their families with every day challenges. Lots of people need answers to lots of common life occurrences. People get married, the need wills, they get divorced, they go bankrupt, etc. Sometimes, they need it all at once.

You are doing them a favor by providing them with access to the legal system. They need some guidance and assurance about the legal system and how it works. I am very fortunate in that I write group legal plans at a lot of hospitals. I do not get the head of oncology to enroll in my plan. Instead, I get “Dave” who works in the cafeteria and has his name stitched on to his shirt. Dave needs help. A smart employer makes that help available to their employees. As a benefit, the employer enjoys increased productivity, less down time, better absence management/attendance and a more content workforce.

The agent enjoys strengthened relations with their client by adding another line of coverage, increased revenue stream and has something new to talk about and get people excited about at re enrollment time.

You should give it a try.

Rowe will be speaking at the Workplace Benefits Mania conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 30 at 11:10 a.m. on the panel: Earn More With Legal Plans. To find out more about WBM, hosted by EBA’s parent company SourceMedia, click here.

Rowe is vice president of the employee benefits department at the Legal Club of America. He can be reached at: drowe@legalclub.com

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