The California Association of Health Underwriters is a trade association representing agents, brokers and other professionals concerned with health insurance. As the Mission Statement provides common ground on which consumers and insurers can meet.
CAHU believes there is much that is positive about America’s health care system, but we also see the drawbacks, and we advocate reform where appropriate.
From our unique perspective, we will work for reforms that are, in fact, constructive, building upon the system’s strengths in order to promote an increasingly improved, accessible and affordable health insurance system for the California consumer.
The Health Insurance Agents work for the consumer; they are not employees of an insurance company!
Agents depend on employer groups and individual consumers for their livelihood. The services that they offer to their customers must constantly show their value to their customers, by providing ongoing service and benefit expertise.
Quite often, small employers cannot afford human resources staffing. In fact, the owner often wears multiple hats, and must take on the responsibility of employee benefit matters. Small employers rely on agents to assist them in a multitude of ways in the day-to-day handling of their health insurance and other personnel matters
Often, when complex laws are passed by state and federal governments that affect employee benefits such as, Cobra, FMLA, HIPAA, AB-1672, and many others a professional can as sit in implementing and understanding the requirements of government legislation. Most health insurance agents take time to understand these laws, and find ways of explaining them to their clients, so that they fully understand them. There are over 5,000 plan options available to small employers. Agents guide you through the myriad of options, to the plan that best suits their clients’ needs.
Typically, agents are the first to be called when a client’s claim is not paid or when premiums are raised. Because of the expertise, experience, and relationships with carriers and other insurance industry personnel, agents can often get problems handled quickly and efficiently. Many agents have customer service representatives in their offices for the specific purpose of assisting clients with their benefit problems.
An employer can replace their agent at any time, so it is in the agent’s best interest to provide their clients with the best service possible. Most insurance companies or HMO’s pay the agent a commission for not only selling a group, but for taking over much of the ongoing servicing of that group. There is a true value to that service that insurance companies, and employer groups, recognize. The commission is part of the rates filed with the California Insurance Commissioner and therefore cannot be changed under AB 1672 whether an agent is involved or not.
Most insured individuals in this country receive their health insurance from employer groups represented by insurance agents. Many individuals often consult agents before purchasing coverage.
You can also expect your agent to solve problems and find solutions to your concerns, even when they involve issues that are unrelated to the products they sold you.
The more thoroughly your agent evaluates your needs, the more precise this professional will be in assisting your evaluation of the products and services available. Using information specific to your situation, the agent can gauge which insurers will most likely offer appropriate coverage. Usually, there will be several.
Once a policy or plan is selected, the agent will coordinate the complex process of changing your benefit package. Your health insurance agent is well versed in plan installation and enrollment procedures, which lessens the burden of the employer or consumer.
The role of the conscientious agent does not end with the delivery of the policy or completion of the sale.
A professional agent offers ongoing service for a variety of topics to the customer throughout the year, every year.
NAHU - National Association of Health Underwriters