ACA Expert & 15 Year Agent – Interview with Lorena Tomasini of MALM Insurance Agency QC-#3

lorena Tomasini, malm insurance

In this episode of the QuotersCast, Renee talks to Lorena Tomasini, an ACA expert and surprisingly young and knowledgeable insurance agent located in Miami, Florida.

Lorena and her mother are an insurance agent dynamic duo!

They have been running their agency together for well over a decade. Find Loren Tomasini and her agency MALM Insurance here and on facebook here….

Their website – https://www.malmins.com/ FB – https://www.facebook.com/malmins22  

https://youtu.be/U5Ha9SN6lTk

lorena tomasini, malm insurance, mother daughter insurance agents
 
 

TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW

Host Renee: Alright, I just wanna do a little bit of an intro. And then you can see how well I did, and we’ll go from there, OK?

Guest Lorena: Can I ask a question?

Host Renee: Absolutely. What was your question?

Guest Lorena: Oh, okay, so you guys do insurance like I do, but you’re interviewing other agents, I’m just curious, like re you and FMO or something.

Host Renee:

Yeah, that sounds weird. Right. Well, I have a project with a friend, we are putting together websites to help individual agents, like ourselves, get quotes and get prospects. So we don’t really see this as competition because the websites would be marketed to people like ourselves. So I actually think it’s a great thing to find out more from somebody like you who is so experienced.

I’d love your opinion on it.

So… Yeah, that’s it. Okay, so this is Lorena Thomas, semi of mom insurance agent agency, and you focus on life and health, and you are a mother-daughter team, which I think is awesome, your mother started as an insurance agent in the 1980s and… Okay, that’s great.

And you became an agent and practice part-time while you were in college. And you’ve been in business now for 15 years, which is amazing. So, is there anything you wanna add to that, Lorena?

Guest Lorena:

No I mean, that seems pretty accurate, so I’m not sure. I don’t remember if I wrote that to you, maybe you’re getting that from somewhere else, but I think the only thing I would add as we transition from face-to-face to doing everything digitally or virtually over the phone…

Host Renee: Right, that’s something I noticed about your agency, which I think is remarkable, and I think it’s a good thing because a lot of agencies are not doing that. So when did you make that transition? And how did it go?

Guest Lorena: Yeah, I agree. A lot of people, they still wanna do things, what I would say the old way, which nothing wrong with that, I think some people are better at selling in person than over the phone and vice versa, but I think it’s always good to adapt with the times and what the consumer… And how they want to work.

Host Renee: Right? So when did you start to make that transition then?

Guest Lorena: We actually did it before 2020, which we did it in 2016. We had an office back then. And one day I just thought, You know, we’re just sitting here in front of our computers talking to people, and the same thing we’re doing in person, we can do over the phone, so I just… You know? Yeah.

Host Renee: Okay, that’s excellent. So how do you get clients to call, is it… I know you do a lot of referrals, but also you’ve got a great website, and so is it just digital marketing like anybody else would do online…

Guest Lorena:

Yeah, just like any other sales job. Great. At the end of the day, it’s talking to enough people to present to enough people to the close… Right, depending what you’re selling sometimes, especially if you’re new, you might need more people to talk to, right, then somebody has been doing it a long time, but like everything, I think people work with people they know like and trust. Like they say, and the best way to do that is referrals from your own clients or other professionals, everything takes time, but eventually you’ll have a good stream of people to talk to.

Host Renee:

Yes, with digital marketing, I know for any business online, it can be very challenging, do you utilize a lot of social media or do you pay a marketing company to help you with that? Or how does that work for you? So

Guest Lorena: I’m looking into delegating more this year, so I would probably start delegating that this year, the marketing, but really it all depends, like if you wanna do Facebook ads or if you wanna do blogs or videos or whatever, I think what matters at the end of the day is being consistent and giving information to people you know…

Host Renee:

Right, right, exactly. That’s great. So you did mention, I watched an interview you did with my influence, and you mentioned how at certain parts of the year you get very busy, and so can you… And you mentioned that you would get hundreds of policies written within a certain time, so can you take us through the organization that you must have on your end to keep all that straight and keep it flowing without any mistakes?

Guest Lorena:

That is… Yeah, being very organized. I think in this industry, you have to be… Whether you use a CRM or something, right? To keep track of who to call back, whose application you need to do next and so forth, but I think everybody says, Oh, what you do, what your system, you know, and I think that’s something that people will discover on their own with trial and error, like what might work for me, might not work for somebody else, right? But I would say the most important thing is have your calendar be organized with your calendar and have some sort of CRM to keep track of everybody.

Host Renee: Okay, so do you use a Salesforce, which is one of the most popular ones?

Guest Lorena: I don’t use Salesforce. And again, that’s like everything… There’s always a debate, was the best year I’m out there? And again, the one you use is going to be the good one because I know of other agents who have tried everything under the sun, and they’re like, Oh, I don’t like this one, I don’t like that, I’m like, Okay, well, you just gotta stick to one for at least six months or something to see if it’s good… A good fit. At the end of the day, I see rumors data entry, right?

So that’s true. Final that you like.

Host Renee:

Right, okay, alright, and I know that you have a real focus on business owners and how they can use life insurance, and since I am a fairly new insurance agent myself, I was unfamiliar with really how beneficial life insurance can be while you’re to live in. How do you present that to a business owner…

Guest Lorena: Yeah, that’s a great question.

So business owners, they’re involved in whatever they do, right, like a carpenter, all they do is go like this with a hammer and Neil stuffing… Right. Whatever their job is, right, they’re worried about paying their employees and so forth, right. So a lot of times they’re not thinking about life insurance because they’re just busy with life and with work, but it’s something important for business owners to think about because if something were to happen to them, or if they have a business partner… Right.

How would that business continue? So life insurance is an affordable way of funding that type of business continuation, and as far as reaching out to business owners is just like any other consumer, it picking up the phone, going on LinkedIn, wherever business owners are, whatever target market you’re looking for…

Host Renee: Right. Okay, and so how does that conversation start? Do you get a lot of resistance? Or can you convince them pretty quickly there.

Guest Lorena:

Thinking it in insurance, it’s like like anything, you have to create the need… Right, nobody’s wakes up today and says, Oh, today’s the day I’m gonna take that off my to-do list, right? Might… Well, probably something happened in that person’s life, the Gotham thinking about life insurance. Maybe somebody passed away in their family, or they heard of a celebrity that passed away and they’re like, Go, I’ve been thinking about getting life insurance and I haven’t done it, but usually you as the insurance broker or agent, it is the person who needs to initiate that conversation, you know?

Host Renee: Right. Okay, you also do a lot of work with people who do access the fort ACA, but then there’s supplemental insurance that you would sell individually, and so that seems to be a real busy season for you, if I’m correct about that. And can you take us through that season and how you help people and what you offer there?

Guest Lorena:

Yeah, so during the Affordable Care Act season, let’s say, which is open enrollment really… Right, that’s from November 1st through January 15th. It was this year, right? That’s basically a very busy season because this is having the year where people can choose a plan or change your plan or maybe keep whatever they have it, so it’s a lot of reviewing policies or what people have, or if they don’t have a policy, which would be a good option for them.

So it’s very busy because it’s the only time of the year really when people can do that outside of that time frame, it would only be because of a special Roman period like moving and losing health insurance or getting divorced and losing health insurance, like a life change that made you lose health insurance or maybe now eligible for health insurance, like a lot of people that gain immigration status.

Host Renee: So in terms of the policy reviews, number one, I’m assuming you do that for free, and if so, what do you find is the most… The thing that you find most often in a policy review…

Did I put that correctly?

Guest Lorena: Yeah, that’s a good question.

So I think we are going to say, asking questions is really important, and questions that are not yes, yes or no answers, but open-ended questions, so that way you can really determine what the need of this person is because the consumer themselves aren’t going to know that and us as professionals, that’s part of our job is discovering that, and so depending what you’re doing, whether it’s life insurance, you might find people who did a policy five years ago and never looked at it again.

They don’t even know what they have, or who their beneficiaries are right. And the same thing with health, you find people that they got a plan and they have no idea where they got it, or they just like the name of the company and that’s why they got it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s really the best fit for that person.

Host Renee:

Right. So is it safe to say that often times the amount that they get is, they underestimate how much they need, and at the end of it, like when they’re passing it along, how far the money will go and what they can do with it…

Guest Lorena: Well, that could be…

Yeah, so it could be that they underestimated their needs, or maybe their needs have changed, maybe five years ago, they’re working at a job that paid us than where they are now financially speaking… Right, or maybe they have antiquated policies that don’t cover living benefits in case of a critical illness or chronic illness, they don’t have anything in place for that.

So maybe it’s time to review that, it could also be the opposite that they’re over-insured, which you don’t find often, to be honest, but that could be the case, maybe they bought a policy to cover a mortgage and they pay off that mortgage, so do they really need the additional coverage…

I always say you always read money one with inflation, as we’ve seen, you already have the policy, why not just keep it because people also have to look at if they’re insurable, ’cause sometimes they might not be insurable anymore, right. When we’re looking at life insurance…

Host Renee: Yeah, that’s a really good point, that’s a really good point.

How often do you get into the cash value aspect of whole life, because that can be very beneficial for business owners as well as individuals and families, often do you… How do you present that case?

Guest Lorena:

I think with everything going on right now, financially, a lot of people are worried about the future, so it’s something that’s coming up more because you’re looking for a safe place to put their money… I don’t believe in marketing as an investment vehicle, because at the end of the day, it is life insured, so you have to be very conservative, I would say in your quotes for permanent plans on the cash value, as long as you’re doing that, you’re giving something that’s more accurate, right?

But yeah, I think it is.

Cash Value is definitely a great way to build cash value for the future, to store it in a place that’s safe, right. Because it has certain guarantees, and if something aloud be revealed.

Host Renee: So are you familiar with the concept of being your own Bank and how a life insurance policy can do that?

Guest Lorena: I have heard of that yes, they call it infinite banking, right. And so that’s a great term, but the consumer needs to understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, not just Do I wanna be my own bank, but not funding it properly or funding it too little, and then being upset that… Or I don’t have enough cash value, well, you’re only putting 100 a month does not go into cation, it’s really understanding, like everything… Making an informed decision about that.

Host Renee: Right. Okay, have you written many of those… Have you written many of those types of policies? 

Guest Lorena: I don’t really do permanent cash value policies. But I don’t believe in, again, and using your words wisely and not being misconstrued, right, that it’s life insurance is not investments at the end of the day, unless you’re serious I license or something like that, then… That’s a different story, right? But it’s important that consumers understand that it’s life insurance and not really a 401k or something like that, that they’re doing.

Host Renee: Okay, alright, so tell us what was… I would like to ask this, what was your best experience with a client and what was your worst experience with the client…

Guest Lorena:

That’s a good question. Let’s go with my worst experience first, sure. I had a consumer who I was doing a policy review for, she was my existing client, and I remember telling her, Hey, you got this life insurance with me, but you didn’t… But you don’t have anything in place in case of a critical or chronic illness like cancer or a heart attack, right. What would you do if something like that would happen? And so I present to her a solution to be able to have money in case something like that would happen, right.

It was commonly known as life insurance with living benefits, right. That it pays people, not only if they pass, but for other things like a critical illness or chronic ones, so she’s like, Oh, that sounds great. I already have this life insurance with you, so I really need this additional coverage, I said, Okay, there’s not much else you can do at that point, right. So I’ll never forget that she called me a few months later and asked me Hale and I bought that policy with you at the one that paid me in case of cancer or something, and I’m like, No, I remember we talked about it.

Guest Lorena:

And you tell me now that you didn’t need that, but what’s going on? Because if somebody’s asking you a question like that, something probably happens. So unfortunately, she had been diagnosed with some type of cancer and she needed money to do repairs in her house, the doctor told you, Hey, you can get a ramp here.

It was something that she needed to do in the house.

So unfortunately, she didn’t have that policy with me, so there is not much we could do, and she ended up passing like a year later, and she did have that life insurance with me, so at least her family still get that benefit, but I would say that’s the worst thing that happens because it was something that could have been prevented, I would say.

And it’s one thing to sell something, but it’s one thing when you see it actually affecting somebody’s life. Right. And then I would say my best case where… I think that was the question.

What was your best case?

I would say the first year of Affordable Care Act back in 2013 for 2014, I’ll never forget, I had a client who started crying when I told them that, Hey, you’re going to pay zero for your health insurance and is going to cover your doctors, your medication.

Guest Lorena:

If you need to go to the hospital. Everything that it covers. And she was like, What do you mean? Zero. And I’m like, Yeah, because of your income, you qualified for a zero dollar plan, I’m not saying that’s always the best option for people or… It all depends, right?

But I remember her crime because she told me that she had been working here for 20, 30 years before that she was never able to afford health insurance, and she had some medical conditions, and that was also a barrier for her to get health insurance.

So to me, that was a big impact because I remember saying, Man, this is really life-changing for a lot of people who work and they just can’t afford 4 or 500 a month for health and… True, that’s insane. So I thought, This is really nice to be able to help people in this way now…

Host Renee:

Okay, that’s excellent. And just on this one last question on the ACA, there’s been so much controversy around it, but I have heard at times reports like yours where it’s really helped somebody out, so can you sort of in a nutshell of the pros and cons that you see in the ACA. So

Guest Lorena:

I can tell you that unfortunately, this has been politicized and it shouldn’t be because this is health insurance at the end of the day, and their private insurance companies, and you’re just getting a tax and advanced premium tax credit or the taxes you’re going to file in the following year, right?

So I think that’s a con that it’s been politicized, so people sometimes don’t even get the correct information or they just hear what they wanna hear, right? I think some pros for the consumers is that insurance companies now have to accept you no matter what pre-existing condition you might have, whether that’s something minor like asthma, or high blood pressure or something seriously cancer, so people don’t realize that if they’re healthy, but if you’re somebody with health issues.

That’s a big issue, right?

And for things to be covered day one, I think is important, the other pro that I think I see is that there is no longer lifetime caps on what insurance companies can spend, so before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies would say, Okay, we’re gonna pay a lifetime maximum a million dollars. So if somebody is dying of cancer in a hospital, they’re going to reach that million dollars fairly quickly, and then once they would reach that, they would basically be uninsured, so part of the affordable character that I got rid of, the lifetime.

Guest Lorena:

So now there’s no life time capsule of that insurance company has to spend 10 million on the cancer patient… Well, that’s what they have to do, right. And one last positive thing I would say is also, of course, the tax credits, because of course based on income and family sizes, how you qualify for those tax credits, so it’s on like how people say, Oh, if you’re not working, or if this and that…

No, you need to be here legally, and you need to work or depend on somebody that works in order to qualify for that tax credit, the government hasn’t gone here crazy giving people money…

That’s not it.

I would say something negative. Maybe some people with certain higher incomes don’t qualify for tax card to help them pay for the insurance, and so insurance has gone up, like the premium, because now all those things that I mentioned, they already have to accept everybody that I’m taking on a higher risk, and in my risk pool, we look at it that way, but at the end of the day, also, your insurance has to be lesson… I believe it’s like 95 or 85% of your income.

Guest Lorena: So it’s always going to still technically be affordable, and most high income net worth individuals probably get insurance through their employer to begin with, so it’s like everything, right. That don’t like it is because they’re making maybe a little bit too much income and don’t qualify for the tax credit, but it should still be affordable based on their income.

Host Renee: Right, so it sounds like you’re kind of an expert in this area on that policy, when it comes to the ACA, would you consider yourself an expert in it?

Guest Lorena:

I would hope I was what I would say a Pioneer, we were looking at the Affordable Care Act six, seven, eight months before it even started for consumers and really trying to get information so that we could inform the public, we used to go to do events and talk to people about what this new law is and how it would affect them, and then once the market place opens, we were right there dealing with all the issues with the website and everything, now it’s a lot better now, it’s nothing compared to that first year, but…

Yeah, I believe if you’re in this industry is because you like helping people at the end of the day.

Host Renee: That’s excellent. Lorena that’s excellent. So why don’t you tell everybody where you’re located and how they can get a hold of you…

Guest Lorena: Sure, so I’m here in Miami, Florida. I also speak Spanish, by the way, and I’m licensed in Florida, Texas and Nebraska.

Host Renee: Alright, that’s great, I love it. And so is there else that you want to add… This has been great, by the way.

Guest Lorena: Now, I think it has been a great interview and I appreciate the opportunity.

Host Renee: Oh, it’s my pleasure. And thank you, Lorena, and I wish you continued success. Thank you so much. Thank you. Alright, bye now.

If you need a quote, a policy review or are curious as to how a life insurance policy can benefit you while you’re still alive.. give one of our licensed insurance agents a call now!

Find Loren Tomasini and her agency MALM Insurance here and on facebook here…. Their website – https://www.malmins.com/ FB – https://www.facebook.com/malmins22

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