Bill Pellegrini

Choosing a Career in Medicare Insurance vs Real Estate

A sales career – a challenging path filled with cold calling, door knocking, or face-to-face presentations to sell a product or service – can also be one of the most rewarding.  For those who are comfortable walking up and speaking to strangers, who have the gift of persuasion and who can think quickly on their feet, sales could be a very lucrative career choice.

Whenever we think about lucrative sales with limitless income opportunities, there are two professions that come to mind – real estate agent and insurance agent.  Both allow for flexibility and for you to be your own boss.  Both have the potential for a six-figure income, even for newer agents.  Not everyone who dabbles in the real estate and insurance industry will succeed, which is true of any profession.  But for those who work hard, have the patience and endurance to keep going, the rewards are definitely worth it.

In both industries licensed agents usually work for larger companies before they advance to a different level. A real estate agent must gain experience to become a real estate broker, which allows them to operate their own real estate company.  An Independent Medicare insurance agent most often contracts under a Field Marketing Organization.  Advancement in both industries is usually determined by production volume, the ability to recruit and retain other agents and an ability to successfully operate a business.

Real estate agents, just like Medicare insurance agents, are responsible for advertising their services so that they can increase their client base.  Real estate agents have the added responsibility of promoting properties they represent.  Whereas Medicare insurance agents may sometimes travel to meet clients, real estate agents frequently travel to properties to gather information on the properties and prep them for sale.

Both real estate and Medicare insurance agents need to produce paperwork for clients and keep copies of their records.  Real estate agents usually conduct negotiations to try to alter the terms of a sale, while Medicare insurance agents do not set policy prices themselves and do not negotiate.

Some of the most successful Independent insurance agents started out as real estate agents.  And some of the most successful real estate agents started out in insurance.   So how do you know what industry to choose?  It’s all about the market and opportunities available.

Current Real Estate Climate

The world of Real Estate is a high-stakes, high-risk industry filled with numerous financial rewards for those who are successful.  Most real estate agents are used to working odd hours, on the weekend and overtime as the market demands.  They need good negotiation skills and are often required to use these skills on behalf of their clients.

Today’s real estate climate, at least in Arizona, is experiencing one of the hottest markets in recent decades.  Prices have gone through the roof, people are being put on waiting lists for new homes, and the housing inventory is the lowest it has ever been.  Arizona and many parts of the country are experiencing a sellers-market.  While this is a great opportunity for agents who are connected with people who have homes, the majority are struggling to find inventory to sell.

Additionally, there are more non-traditional competitors popping up such as virtual agents and online brokers.  In order to compete with these new sources, many real estate brokers are dropping commissions and agents have seen a drastic decline from an average of 3% per sale to 1.5%.  As commissions continue to drop, real estate agents are scrambling.

Current Medicare Insurance Climate

The world of Medicare Insurance sales is booming with more than 10,000 people a day turning 65 who need insurance.  While the Medicare enrollment commercials people see on TV are from large insurance companies, most Medicare Insurance agents are Independent and contract with an FMO.

It’s common for insurance agents to work in the evenings visiting clients.  And during the Annual Enrollment Period, many agents will be working overtime.  The main responsibility of an insurance agent specializing in Medicare products is to find the appropriate plan that meets their needs.  This requires strong communication skills to help guide clients and successfully sell their services.  Beyond the state license, Independent agents also need to be certified on the various plans they represent.

Many people are drawn to the insurance industry because of the unlimited potential it offers. Agents with limited experience can achieve financial success relatively quickly. While it can take time to build a book of clients, we tell agents Medicare insurance sales is a marathon and not a sprint, there is endless potential to make money in the long term. If you can start a good referral program, your current clients can help you continue to build your book of business.

Medicare Insurance is also one of the few “feel good” sales positions because it allows you to provide a valuable and helpful service to seniors and people with disabilities.  While non-traditional competitors are entering the market in the form of online enrollment, the majority of people on Medicare prefer to talk with an agent and explore their options.  The new technology actually allows a higher degree of transparency for the Medicare Insurance agent, which is very helpful in establishing trusted relationships.

Although both industries provide the agent with the opportunity for a six-figure income, the annual renewal commission structure for the Medicare Insurance agent eventually creates more opportunities to earn a higher income.  A real estate agent is done after the end of the sale, whereas the Medicare insurance agent’s commissions may continue for the lifetime of the client.

Give Pellegrini and Associates a call if you’re interested in learning more about the Medicare Insurance agent industry.  You’ll be glad you did!

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