Harris has been in financial services for almost 20 years. After holding his series 7 & 63 for 12 years, he now specializes in Life and Disability. His method of selling produces some of the highest percentages and values that each and every client experience. He’s a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, has taught CE classes and received the CES designation from the Institute of Business and Finance in 2008. Spending time studying economics has given him the edge to help keep his client base secure, and attending as many industry meetings as possible has kept him informed on industry regulations and product rollouts. He was first profiled in Selling Magazine back in 1996, and he currently lives with his family in New Jersey where he continues to grow his insurance practice.
What are your thoughts on the Affordable Care Act?
It seems to be destined to fail … either by design or due to lack of public support. There were other ways to accomplish participation in our healthcare system. Forcing it on everyone and calling it a tax was not the most efficient way.
ACA is one of the most talked about issues in the industry right now. What is an issue that doesn’t get talked about enough?
As a community of caring folks, we can help the public make better insurance decisions all around. I still believe agents want to do the right thing. We should have been given the ball and allowed to run with it. I think, as agents, we allowed ourselves to be sucked into the media diatribe on how bad we all do our jobs. There are answers out there, and we are supposed to be trained on how to find them. We could have, and should have, handled the healthcare situation before it became a mandate.
How does your company or practice address that issue?
By ignoring the idiotic rhetoric and finding solutions for those who seek us out for help. Do what’s best for the client, and let the chips fall … assuming there any chips left to fall.
It’s been said that “selling insurance” is the most difficult job in the world. In your opinion, is this true and why?
It’s not true for me, but I bet it is true for some. You just have to stay focused, and that does require making an effort.
To what do you attribute the recent buzz around Indexed Universal Life products (IULs)?
I’d say it’s because of the upswing in the stock market. IUL’s run that way, hot and cold. If you believe in diversifying your portfolio, clients should probably own at least one IUL on someone in the household.
What, in your opinion, do agents look for in carriers, IMOs, etc?
If you are referring to unprecedented customer service, most carriers and IMOs will struggle to meet that need. I hate to say it, but we have turned our business into a numbers game at this point. I know that phrase has been used before, but I think now more than ever, the agents have been reduced to an agent code and production history.
What is your ideal/favorite product to sell and why?
Permanent life insurance. It can be used for almost every situation. Universal life or whole life can be used for cash accumulation, death benefits, tax shelters, pre-death planning, and probably another half dozen things.
Interesting interview here. Some answers surprised me. I look forward to more Q & As.