Calvin Bagley was interviewed by a journalist from the Las Vegas Business Press to talk about the Medicare Store. This is the transcript of that conversation.
What is it that you do? What are you about?
I’m one of the Managing Partners and founders of the Medicare Store and we are changing how people choose insurance to go with their Medicare. The Medicare Store is made up of insurance agents, administrative professionals, mentors/trainers, and management who specialize in helping people with Medicare Insurance. We are a leader in delivering Medicare insurance to people in Nevada.
How long have you been in the industry?
I started working in the financial services industry in 2003 and was in banking. I worked my way up at Bank of America and was a Consumer Market Manager for several years before leaving the bank for insurance in 2011.
What made you want to start the Medicare Store?
When I started in insurance, and specifically in Medicare Insurance, I was surprised at how difficult it was to get the most basic questions answered. So many agents are just sent out into the field with little or no training. Some recruiters and agency owners openly talk about how they bring people on and throw them against the wall like spaghetti to see who sticks. I knew that lack of training was going to be the first thing we would solve when we opened the Medicare Store.
What sets you apart from your competition?
For people on Medicare, we are refreshingly different. Before the Medicare Store, people had to choose between working with lone-wolf insurance brokers or insurance company salespeople. Both options lacked something. With the independent agent, there are no service standards and supervision. You would just have a guy or gal, but what if they weren’t available one day when you needed something? With insurance company salespeople, there isn’t full transparency of all options. They have to sell you what’s in their briefcase or they won’t make their quota, regardless of whether there is something better for you or not.
The Medicare Store breaks up this status quo. Our agents are employed and work full-time in Medicare like an insurance company employee, but they are also unbiased and can compare all of the options like an independent agent. In addition to that, there is a full team working behind the agent making sure we deliver the highest level of service and making sure that we will always be there when our clients need us. When you couple the team with rigorous training, and the down-to-earth good people we have working here, you end up with something really special.
For the insurance agents who work for us, it’s also a unique opportunity. We are really bringing people up in the business and providing them with mentorship and success. Our agents get to help people every day and meanwhile, their lives are being changed too. It’s an amazing thing to see people’s lives changed. We find these amazing people (agents) who came into insurance because they wanted to help people but ended up in the wrong place. In some cases, they were even lied to. At first, they think that what we are doing is almost too good to be true. But then they find out that they really can make a living helping people.
What was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
Insurance is a difficult industry. It’s hard for people starting out to find good mentors because there is so much competition. It really is unfortunate. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out who your friends are. It’s difficult to determine who is telling you the truth and who is withholding information. Once I found an honest mentor who was interested in my success, I knew I had made it through the hardest part.
What would you do differently from day 1 if you started over?
I live by this philosophy that you should never wish to change the past. When you get to a place where you have accomplished something and you are happy with who you are and what you are doing, you have to accept everything that brought you there. If you changed something in your past travels, you might also change your destination. I feel the same way about difficult things I’ve gone through personally and professionally. It’s okay that I’ve made mistakes and that some bad things have happened. I love this company and I’m happy with who I am, therefore, I accept everything that has brought me here and has made us the company we are.
What is the most difficult part of being in business today?
One of the challenges is getting our message out. There is a lot of static out there. Sometimes people don’t make informed choices because of it. Or they think they are making an informed choice, but it turns out they’ve only heard one part of the story. Because of the constant bombardment of advertising, especially to folks on Medicare, sometimes people’s attention spans are very short. That’s why our slogan is simple: So many plans, one place. We want people to know they can come to one place to make sense of all the chaos.
What role does the internet play in your business?
We provide a service, so the internet is very important to us. Some people still say that people on Medicare aren’t online. That’s just not the case. Our clients are online writing reviews, researching, and shopping just like everyone else. We are always interacting with people through our website and Facebook page. People are googling us and reading what others are saying about us. We know this because sometimes people read all of our agents’ bios on the website before calling to request an appointment with a specific agent.
Where will the Medicare Store be in 6-12 months?
In the future, the Medicare Store will be a household name for Medicare Insurance. The more people interact with us, the more they take notice of how different we are. When their friends and neighbors have questions about Medicare, they’ll be saying; “Call the Medicare Store!”.
Other facts and information you want people to know about the Medicare Store?
What we do is complementary to so many other businesses. Because our focus is Medicare, we can work with so many other businesses without conflicting with their interests.
Here are a few examples:
- Doctor’s offices – We help them retain and grow their Medicare panel
- Senior communities & Senior centers – We volunteer and do educational presentations
- Other insurance agents/agencies – We handle the Medicare insurance for agencies who refer Medicare
- Financial Planners – Health insurance is becoming more important to the full retirement plan.
- HR managers – We assist employees with Medicare, particularly those who are dropping or losing group coverage.
- Attorneys, CPAs, Real Estate agents, and other professionals – We have relationships with various professionals who work with people on Medicare.
One last thing that I haven’t mentioned, but is important, is that our services are free to our clients. Their insurance premium is the same whether they use our help or not. We’re out there helping people. No wonder we love what we’re doing!