When Justin Brock ended his eight-year career in the U.S.Marine Corps., he realized that the skill set he had developed in the military as a operations specialist was not easily transferable to the private sector. He had a friend who was doing well selling Medicare supplement insurance plans so he thought he’d give that a try.
“It was more educational and consulting-focused than just going out and trying to sell something that people didn’t think they needed,” says Brock. And with more than 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, he knew the market was large and promising. Medicare pays for much, but not all, of the health care costs for people over 65. A supplement insurance plan fills in the coverage gaps.
Since he started Bobby Brock Insurance in 2014, Brock says the company has experienced exceptional growth; he was up 40% last year and is on track for another revenue increase in 2022. But it wasn’t always easy. Brock’s early marketing efforts were rudimentary: he sent out direct mail flyers and then knocked on the doors of those who responded. He focused first on the northeast corner of Mississippi. “You’ve got to figure out how to get in front of people before you have a brand,” he says. It didn’t hurt that he was a clean-cut, former enlisted Marine. Still, he says, it wasn’t the way he wanted to do business.
Brock took some online marketing courses and learned about Facebook advertising. “I hit a goldmine,” he says. “My third year in business, I ended up being one of the top producers in the country because I was one of the few agents who had figured out Facebook ads. I stupidly thought that would last forever.”
“[Newsweek Expert Forum] is a tremendous opportunity. The credibility of being able to publish articles and contribute to Expert Panels has really helped.”
As competition increased, his Facebook leads diminished. Fortunately, he had another thing going for him. Selling Medicare supplements isn’t a “get rich quick” proposition; success hinges on repeat business from satisfied customers who renew their plans year after year. “The good news is that I put people in good plans so that renewal income went with me,” Brock says.
In 2018, Brock read that Facebook was starting to favor groups in its algorithm, so he thought he’d hop on that bandwagon. He started two groups — one aimed at consumers and another directed toward agents called Medicare Gurus. “I built a really loyal core audience of people by just giving away information and asking for nothing in return,” says Brock.
Medicare Gurus grew organically to 10,000 agents and, says Brock, has evolved into a media brand with related YouTube and Instagram content. It eventually became a vehicle to recruit agents and to sell gated content such as training programs. He now sponsors a yearly event called MedicareCon, where Medicare agents come together to learn about strategy and trends. “We’ll have our third conference next April at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas,” says Brock. “There will be 750 agents there, so [Medicare Gurus] launched a whole other side of our business.”
Brock’s core business — selling Medicare supplement plans — continues to grow. He now has 30 full-time employees and approximately 3,000 agents who use Bobby Brock as an intermediary with insurance carriers. “I’m very optimistic that for the next ten years, the market will be very strong.” The youngest Baby Boomers, as well as the children of the oldest ones, will turn 65 in a few years, giving Brock plenty of new prospects.
Newsweek Expert Forum gives Brock an “authoritative domain” on which to publish content. “It’s a tremendous opportunity,” he says. “The credibility of being able to publish articles and contribute to Expert Panels has really helped.” An article he wrote about Medicare Advantage resulted in some new clients and sparked a bit of controversy among agents. Brock also has high praise for the community’s networking benefits. “They do a very good job of putting together meetups and creating a networking platform,” he says. “Finding people in our sphere or in secondary or tertiary markets has been good for us. We can build referral relationships through Newsweek Expert Forum.”