How to Manage Your Clients' Expectations Throughout the Application Process

You have sat down with your client and gathered enough information to determine what insurance company and product fits their needs. They have agreed upon all of this and they've signed an application.

You have done great up to this point. Even though the sale is not yet complete, it’s out of your hands, right?

Well, not exactly.

Your IMO should be doing everything in their power to ensure things are moving forward as swiftly as possible from this point on, but neither you nor your IMO can completely control how quickly and efficiently a carrier will process your application and produce your clients’ policy or contract. This is why you must play a key role in this stage of the sale and set the proper expectations with your client.

We all would love to live in a world where a carrier hands us a policy the same day that we submit an application, but that’s not a reality. There are many aspects of processing your clients' application that you may not realize occurs, but informing your client of these steps can comfort them while they wait for the policy to be issued.

It’s common for insurance carriers to take several weeks or more, depending on the scenario or where the funds are coming from, for a policy or contract to be issued. During this time, the carrier may even come up with an added requirement, which would involve you going back to your client for additional information or another signature (I know, the nerve of them).

It’s natural to worry about the possibility that with every passing day, your client could be second-guessing their decision and saying, “what is taking so long?” or, “maybe my advisor doesn’t know what he/she is doing.” Before you or your client get to that point, be sure to stay in communication and inform them of what’s actually happening, so they’re not left in the dark.

Here are two reasons why carrier processing times can take longer than expected:

  1. Compliance and suitability: Inform your client that in most states, the carriers check all of the information on the document to ensure the transaction is suitable, and that the state-specific regulations are followed. Regulators want to protect their constituency, of which your client is a member, so knowing this can ease their minds.
  2. It’s a great product for your client: The product’s demand could be straining the carrier's resources. It's easy to think that hiring more people will solve that problem, but that brings forth another host of challenges: training new employees and getting them up to speed.

Hopefully this provides you with some insight into what happens in the “new business” world so you can be better prepared to address it with your client. 

After more than a decade working in the new business department at a major insurance carrier, I've come across every type of agent or advisor out there. Absent of any actual data, I would say the most successful ones I’ve dealt with manage to stay cool and calm when faced with a little adversity. It doesn’t mean that they’re happy when something unexpected comes up, but they handle it. These agents are able to deal with these unexpected delays because the client trusts them. 

Here are three pointers on how to gain your clients' trust:

  1. Be transparent with your client during the process. Gain their trust by keeping them in the loop.
  2. Outline the various things that can happen throughout the lifecycle of an application.
  3. Explain that any of these potential circumstances are normal parts of the process and it doesn’t necessarily mean something went wrong.

We all know carriers can be frustrating at times but remember that everyone has the same goal: issue a policy and ensure the customer is happy. So, the next time you or your client are frustrated over why the case isn’t issued yet, take the opportunity to discuss what the carrier is doing and why it’s in their best interest.

Interested in delighting your clients even more? Check out our Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis workbook to get the most out of your policy reviews! 

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Paul Pacheco - DMI Director of Operations

Director of Operations for DMI Marketing, Paul leads a team of experienced life insurance and annuity case managers, as well as, licensing and commissions specialists. Paul comes to DMI after spending the last 11 years as a manager in new business at John Hancock Insurance. He brings a strong knowledge of the carrier application process and has a goal to make it smooth and efficient for advisors here at DMI. He believes in providing clear and detailed communications to limit the amount of times advisors are contacted for additional requirements.

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