Benefits of Using a Field Marketing Organization (FMO)
A Field Marketing Organization (FMO) offers many potential benefits to both veteran and new health insurance agents and brokers. [For our discussion purposes here, in referring to an FMO, we’re also including Independent Marketing Organizations (IMOs) and National Marketing Organizations (NMOs), which all market, sell, and distribute insurance products.]
Health insurance FMOs typically offer a range of services to agents and brokers, which may include the following:
Quoting Services: A good Medicare and/or Individual & Family Plan (IFP) FMO will provide you with access to a quoting engine approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This will enable you to quote Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), Medicare Supplement (Medigap), and Medicare Prescription Drug Program (Medicare Part D) plans as well as IFP coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
Top Tier Product Portfolio: The nation’s top FMOs offer coverage from a diverse roster of regional and national health plans and insurers, including brand name and highly ranked plans.
CRM Tools: FMOs that want to help you compete more effectively will usually offer customer relationship management (CRM) tools, too. This software will help you keep track of your client from first contact through enrollment, and offer you a calendar and reminder system to ensure you know what you need to do – daily, weekly, and monthly – to help you build your business.
Access to Qualified Leads: Having access to qualified leads is essential, and the best FMOs offer information on prospects in your selected area who have expressed an interest in insurance.
Expedited Contracting: Expedited carrier contracting is essential, especially as Medicare’s Annual Election Period (October 15-December 7) and the Affordable Care Act’s Open Enrollment Period (November 1-January 31) near each year.
Product and Marketplace Certification: Two of the most valuable benefits offered by an FMO are help getting your required annual sales certification (or re-certification) from AHIP, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and product training for your contracted carriers.
Enrollment Processing: Having an FMO that will help handle your enrollment paperwork allows you to focus on reaching out to more prospects and clients.
Competitive Commissions: Make sure you partner with an FMO that offers you full commissions on your sales. Ask how often commissions are paid and if checks are mailed weekly or if direct deposits can be arranged.
Dedicated Support: What other help can you expect? Who can you turn to for assistance? Are there others supporting your success? Having a dedicated sales consultant can make a big difference. Having access to licensing and appointment staff and enrollment team members really does separate the leaders from the rest of the FMO pack.
Ask yourself, too, about the FMO’s record. Is it backed by an organization with a long history in the insurance business? If yes, that’s a good thing. If your potential FMO partner offers all or most of the above, ask if any of your associates is already doing business with them. If they are, that’s a good sign because success, often, breeds success.