AEP Prep Checklist for Agents

Success is innately dependent on preparation! James Burke poses the question “why should we look to the past in order to prepare for the future?” Then answers “because there is nowhere else to look”. This rings loud and true when it comes to approaching the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). The past has taught us that an AEP Checklist is a great tool agents can use to ensure success! We’re entering a different selling season due to the coronavirus pandemic, a national election cycle and other factors, and each agent’s strategy and tactics will likely vary widely. Now more than ever, this checklist can help new and veteran agents alike make sure they’re on track to hit their goals this AEP! 

Certifications. Each carrier requires agents to certify with them so that you can offer complete and up-to-date plan information to clients and prospects.

AHIP. AHIP certification is an industry-recognized method of proving you have completed the required Medicare training courses that allow you to understand how to sell Medicare insurance in a way that’s within the compliance regulations set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Review New Carrier Plans. Familiarizing yourself with the plans your carriers are rolling out for the upcoming year provides a number of benefits: this new knowledge helps to further establish you as an expert in your field; you gain an overall picture of the marketplace which gives you insight into which plans to recommend to new prospects; you’re better equipped to advise existing clients on whether or not to stick with their current plan.

Marketing Materials. You may be one of the top advisors in your community, though most of your community won’t know that unless you make them aware. The marketing materials that help differentiate you from the competition range from traditional flyers and postcards to social media ads and online reviews. The important thing is to know who you’re targeting, when you’re going to target them, and to have your marketing materials, mailing lists, business profile accounts, etc. in place enough in advance so that you’re ready to push the “GO” button when AEP arrives.

Secure Event Locations/Understand Video-Conferencing Basics. Many agents are booking physical events despite social distancing restrictions this year; doing so will depend on a number of factors including your state’s current policies and your own comfort level. With that said, there’s going to be A LOT of business written online this year. Agents who familiarize themselves with the nuances of video conferencing are going to benefit from the ability to sign prospects up remotely.

Order Supplies. Waiting until AEP to order business cards and other supplies can be a recipe for disaster, particularly this year when the pandemic, natural disasters, wildfires and other circumstances/factors are creating delivery delays. If possible, order more supplies than you need and order in advance.

Technology. Agents unfamiliar with online quoting tools or customer relationship management systems (CRMs) may find the prospect of investing in these technologies daunting when, in fact, they are often quite intuitive to use and should be provided at no cost by your FMO/NMO. They may take some time to learn, however they will almost inevitably end up saving you time in the long run. And considering the current stay-at-home environment, any digital tool that helps reach or manage relationships with clients and prospects is bound to contribute to your overall success this selling season.

Current Client Plan Checks/Follow-Ups. Because this is the time of year when clients can switch plans (and therefore switch agents, too), retention should be a high priority entering the Annual Enrollment Period. Review the current plan for each client, determine whether or not a plan change is needed, and reach out to your clients to schedule plan reviews, giving priority to those clients who are most likely to switch their current plan.

Having worked with thousands of independent agents for well over 20 selling seasons, we believe these are the basics needed for a successful AEP. For more in-depth information or to discuss your AEP strategy, give us a call at 888-745-2320 or drop us an email at marketing@berwickinsurance.com. We’re here to help!

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