Death is a sad and difficult situation. Although you may feel you had only a minor part in your client’s life, it’s important to acknowledge their passing. A small gesture will do, and it will mean the most to your clients’ loved ones.
We’ll cover what to do and say and helpful practices during these unfortunate times.
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Ways of Finding Out If a Client Passed Away
Changes regarding your book of business, such as terminations or the stopping of commission payments, are red flags that something has happened. If you notice these changes and the reason has not already been disclosed, call into the carrier’s agent services line and inquire about the status change. Typically, carriers are notified of a beneficiary’s passing from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) or Social Security. Each carrier may have different guidelines for reporting deaths to agents, but most often, the carrier does not notify agents of their clients’ death.
You could also receive the news from a family member or friend of your client, which could be sparked from recent correspondence. The news could come in the form of a phone call, email, or social media message. Remember to react as you would if a friend passed away and express your condolences.
Remember to react as you would if a friend passed away and express your condolences.
If you find out from a family member about a client’s passing and they are unsure how to notify Medicare, deaths can be reported to Social Security. You, as the agent, could offer to handle this and take something off their plate during this difficult time.
It may seem morbid, but checking obituaries on a regular basis is another way to confirm the death of a client. If you, unfortunately, come across the name of one of your clients, you can promptly offer condolences.
What Should You Do or Say After a Client’s Death?
If you find out a client has passed, send a card in the mail to the spouse, child, or other loved one of your client. A handwritten card, rather than an email, is more personal and will show that you care. You should be mindful of the words and phrases you use, and offer nice sentiments about their loved one and how they will be missed.
You can offer to help with handling any remaining policies, or provide beneficial phone numbers or contacts, but be wary of coming across as pushy. Keep in mind, in times of grief, decisions regarding policies and finances can be overwhelming. Give the loved one time, and if they need help, they will reach out to you. Additionally, it is important not to expect to gain from the loss by way of business or referrals. A client death is a sad occurrence and not an opportunity for profit.
A client death is a sad occurrence and not an opportunity for profit.
A way to honor your client’s life is by making a donation on their behalf. Find out if an organization was listed in their obituary, or review meeting notes to remember the mention of a cause or organization your client was involved in or passionate about.
Going to the funeral is a decision that can be made at your discretion, based on the longevity of the relationship with the client.
Keep Your CRM Up to Date After a Client Death
You may use a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which is a database that stores and keeps customer information organized. Updating this will be important since your CRM is essentially the memory of your book of business.
After you have expressed your condolences, you will need to do some updating. Create a consistent internal process for handling deceased client records, and loop in any colleagues who may have had contact with them to avoid any accidental outreach.
If you are looking for a CRM system to begin using, Ritter Insurance Marketing offers one that is easy to use at no cost! The Ritter Platform has a user-friendly Clients tool with clearly labeled options for adding notes, keeping track of appointments, and more!
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Death is just one of the scenarios agents experience when selling Medicare, and it’s surely an unpleasant topic to think about. However, when faced with the death of a client, it’s best to be prepared. Should you find yourself in this unfortunate circumstance, remember to express your condolences and keep your records up to date.
Death is a difficult subject. So is the financial struggles loved ones could face after a death, in addition to grieving. However, remember, you can help clients prepare for their passing by selling final expense.