The question in the title of this blog is one of the most common questions our Contracting Team is asked during the carrier appointment process.
The short and sweet answer is, “it depends”, as there are some nuances that tend to muddy the water.
To help you better understand the process, below are the top three questions our Contracting and Licensing Department frequently receives from our independent brokers.
Q: I Submitted the Online Express Contracting, When Will I Hear Something?
A: The appointment process does take a little bit of time but doesn’t really begin until you submit our Online Express Contracting in good order. Once this initial step is fulfilled, the carrier contracting for your requested appointment(s) will be completed and documents are sent via secure email directly for your records. A member of our Contracting and Licensing Department will contact you via email as soon as appointment is complete. As a final step at this stage, your writing number will be emailed to you along with electronic copies of the carrier and product information. Hard copies of the supplies will also be ordered (where available) and sent along with any other related carrier information.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Get Appointed?
A: This varies by carrier but on average it can take between 7-10 business days. Some carriers respond the next business day, others three to five business days, and others can be more than 15 business days (we’re not naming names!). It is important to know as well if the carrier you are requesting requires product certification prior to completing the appointment process, since this can also affect your appointment timeframe. So, the length of time is sometimes dependent on the engagement of you, the agent.
Of particular note, background checks have a tendency to slow down, and sometimes even stop, the appointment process.
Carrier responses to these issues vary as they will either communicate with someone in our Contracting and Licensing Department or communicate directly with the agent for clarification. It is also true that carrier backlogs, particularly in and around the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) can delay your appointment.
The best advice that our Contracting and Licensing Department can give is to be patient, yet diligent, and to know that they too want you to be selling as quickly as possible.
Q: At What Point Can I Write an App?
A: The answer to this question also varies by carrier and/or state as some carriers accept business before appointment and others require an approved writing number. And even when a carrier accepts applications before appointment, some states require the agent to be approved in the state before business is submitted. Our Marketers will discuss this issue during your initial product inquiry call. In the event applications can be submitted prior to your appointment and writing number being issued, your trusty Marketer will help you get jumpstarted by emailing the required forms to you directly.
We understand it is frustrating there is never a blanket answer. If you have an application to submit be sure to mention that to your Marketer as we work together to get you appointed. In the past, some applications were submitted “too early” and the carrier declined the application leaving the client without coverage. Or some carriers (still not naming names!!) issued the application but did NOT acknowledge the agent as Agent of Record (which means they did not get paid!).
As referenced earlier, completing the carrier certification, acknowledging that you understand the product’s features, benefits, and intended use is critical to a more efficient turnaround time for appointment.
Interested in contracting through Senior Benefit Services?
Check out our Online Contracting Page that shows what carriers we have available and provides link to our easy to use Online Express Contracting. If you have questions about a certain carrier or product please reach out to our Marketing Department by either emailing Marketing@SrBenefit.com or calling 800-924-4727.