Staying Compliant While Marketing Events

Coming up with the latest catchy phrases on your marketing materials is challenging. Most agents have been around long enough to know that you can’t claim you’re an expert Medicare agent and aren’t allowed to say you have the Best Plan out there. Ensuring your marketing materials are compliant is just one of the moving parts when hosting an event.

Overall, the Compliance part is relatively simple, but the fact that it changes annually muddles it and makes us question whether or not we are compliant in our efforts. This article will review the key 2024 Educational, Informal, and Formal Events regulations. But first, let’s remind ourselves why these events can be effective and rewarding for an insurance agent specializing in Senior Insurance Products.

Hosting these events can prove to be beneficial to new and seasoned agents. Getting your foot in the door at local community centers or senior centers will help increase your visibility, creating more prospects in your pipeline. Some agents may host educational events on Insurance-related topics, while others provide a need their community has, such as hosting a workshop on ‘Healthy Eating for Seniors” or “How to Use Your iPhone.” Others may choose to set up a table at a local retail store or Medical Professional building, letting prospects approach them with their questions. For agents who do not have a storefront for their business, they often host standing events. This is where their clients expect to see them and allows agents to meet new prospects! These events are very similar to retail events but could be all year round.

Educational, Formal, and Informal Events

Let’s get into the three different events – Educational, Formal, and Informal. We’ll learn what you need to do and can’t do with marketing and hosting these events to stay compliant starting October 1, 2023.

Educational Events are solely for education and communication. Help clients to understand Medicare Part A & B, Medicare Supplements, and Prescription Drug Plans. Discussing Medicare Supplements during these events would be important, though CMS does not regulate them. These events are a general overview, so carrier names are not to be mentioned.

  • Marketing for the Event needs to be compliant. (Call us to use our Event Materials, and we can worry about compliance!)
  • In any email communication, you need to make sure there is a way to opt-out.
  • Carrier permission is not required.
  • Use Permission to Contact Cards for future contact. (UIG has these for appointed agents!)
  • Hand out information about yourself, like a business card.
  • You can use a sign-in sheet, but you must say that any information provided is optional. (We have this for you too!)

Informal Events may offer plan information upon request at a table at a retail store, booth, or within another event, such as the county fair, senior expo, etc. Upon request, the prospect must approach the agent; the agent cannot approach the clients.

Formal Events may present plan-specific information to an audience invited to the occasion. When attending, they will know that you will talk about a specific carrier’s information.

Informal Events Do’s and Don’ts

  • You’ll need to register your Event with your carriers promptly – UIG can help you set your Event up as they may vary by carrier.
  • Marketing must comply with the verbiage used, which TPMO disclaimer is needed, and how to market to your audience. If you choose email, there needs to be an opt-out for the recipient. Remember, you cannot ask for contact information in your RSVP. Again, UIG will walk you through this!
  • Use either carrier or CMS-approved marketing pieces to be sure you are compliant – these are extremely easy to use, and the work is already done for you!
  • You can use a sign-in sheet, but you must say that any information provided is optional. (We have this for you too!)
  • Pass out Business Card during your Event
  • Arrange Follow-up meetings and Collect the Scope of Appointments for subsequent meetings.

Formal Events Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do NOT compare plans; save that for your one-on-one appointments with the clients.
  • Marketing needs to have the disclaimer stating, “For Accommodations of persons with special needs at Sales Meeting call (insert phone number)
  • Think snacks! You can provide light snacks and beverages – for example – fruit, a bag of chips, cookies or donuts, water, pop, iced tea, etc. Remember, you can’t provide a complete meal.
  • You need to inform your audience of all the plans and carriers you will discuss.
  • Be sure to have all the materials needed for a client’s Medicare Presentation.

As you can see, Informal and Formal Events share some of the same dos and don’ts. Understanding what you need to do in each situation to stay compliant with CMS is important. You can always visit the CMS website to stay updated on the marketing guidelines to ensure you are staying in compliance.

Hosting events to grow your prospect list can be very rewarding but can be stressful in the beginning. The more events you do, the more comfortable you will become doing them, just like anything else. Stay consistent in where you will be, become a familiar face, and you’ll reap the rewards of growing your book of business.  

If you are thinking of having an event, please reach out to us, and we can work with you and possibly even join you to help you out! We’ll be there each step of the way!