How to Automatically Track Commissions by Carrier, Product, Agent, State, and anything else you want.
Zack Lewis : January 11 2021
In a previous article I talked about in 2020 you can now manage your entire agency from a single internet tab.
For 2021 we’ll kick off the “awesome toys you may not have known existed that can make your Medicare business thrive” with automated commissions tracking – as an agency owner or IMO you can automatically reconcile and track your commission statements across all Carriers, product lines, agents, regional distribution, and anything else you want to view for that matter.
You can also view and compare all of these variables against each other in whatever way you’d like to make adjustments to your sales process and marketing budget.
It’s real, and it’s spectacular.
Why is it so hard in the first place?
Depending on the Carrier relationships your agency or IMO represents will determine how complicated tracking commissions can be:
- “In 2020, private insurance companies offered an estimated 3,148 Medicare Advantage plans.” – Medical News Today
- While the majority of beneficiaries subscribe to major companies like UnitedHealthcare, Humana, BCBS, etc., KFF reports that the average person will have 28 plans available to them in their region through Medicare Advantage.
- There are also an estimated 40-50 Medicare Part D plans available in each State or CMS region.
In short – there are a lot of different plans across a large number of Carriers, and each Carrier has its own individual commission’s report template (i.e Excel, CSV, PDF) they send on varying schedules.
If you’re an agency that employs 30 agents writing plans across 30 different Carriers and multiple product lines without any type of technology solution beyond an Excel spreadsheet, tracking your commissions and overrides requires at least one full-time administrator on salary.
What about ensuring you’ve been paid properly?
Mistakes happen, but unfortunately, errors always favor the house – so it’s your responsibility to make sure that every policy you’ve written is accounted for. To do this, you also have to reconcile these statements against your own internal database and make sure each policy and corresponding commission is listed on the monthly Carrier statement.
There is a solution
The solution lies in a tool we nerds refer to as “Business Intelligence” or “BI Analytics software”.
How does it work for Medicare commissions reporting?
- Identify the tool you want to use through your Agency Management System (we use Tableau in AgencyStack).
- Map the corresponding fields you want to track across all Carriers. Paid dates, commission totals, splits, etc. may be titled differently on each Carrier’s statement, so by mapping these fields we ensure that every time we upload a statement the tool knows which field we are referencing for our reports.
- Create a shared drive that integrates with your BI tool. This way we only need to drag-and-drop statements into their respective folder once a month.
- Design the reports to reflect the data you want to see using tables, charts, graphs, etc. You can use every data point that’s listed on the Carrier statements to create your report. i.e. commissions by Carrier, by agent, or by Carrier vs State, downline, etc. If the data exists within the Carrier statement, you can include it in your reports.
- When you receive a new statement, drag-and-drop it into the appropriate folder and click “refresh” in your Agency Management System – all of your pre-built reports will be updated with the information accordingly.
*Total time commitment: 3-5 minutes per Carrier per month
How do I use it for reconciling commissions from statements against my database of policies?
- In order to this, you must have an Agency Management System or CRM used for managing your customer data.
- Set up your BI tool to create reports that compare what’s shown on your Carrier statements vs what’s listed in your CRM/AMS. This is the key difference between Business Intelligence Tools and standard CRM reporting. BI tools can compare objects outside of your CRM/AMS to those that are within it.
- In AgencyStack we set it up into four categories: unmatched new policies, unmatched canceled policies, unmatched AgencyStack policies, and unreconciled Cancellations.
- Unmatched AgencyStack Policies represent policies that are shown as “active” within AgencyStack (your CRM/AMS) but are not listed as active policies on any of the Carrier statements uploaded for that month.
- Review the unmatched canceled policies and unreconciled cancellations to see if any of those in your CRM/AMS listed as active have been recently canceled or for typos in the client’s name or policy number.
- If not, contact the Carrier with your hard data.
*Total time commitment: 3-5 minutes per unreconciled policy.
Donna Karan famously said that “every problem has a creative solution”.
In 2021, we’ll continue to help find creative solutions to perceived impossibilities preventing your agency from being it’s very best!
For more valuable insights about Medicare technology, check out our blog at https://stackboost.io/blog/
P.S. I started a LinkedIn group called “Success-With-Tech for Health Insurance Agency Owners” where you can ask tech questions and get answers from experts and other agency owners experiences. If you’re considering putting some of these strategies into action and want some feedback before buying any new fancy toys, ask and ye shall receive the feedback you need.
The Best is Yet to Come…