We encourage examiners to use this information to educate all agents.
We also encourage examiners to use this information for marketing purposes.
It gives examiners a ready-response to the "we have to use exam company XYZ for our exams" roadblock frequently encountered when trying to get agents to give independent examiners a chance to handle their business.
PS - NASCPE has volunteered to send emails containing this information, on behalf of examiners, to the examiner's agents. Many examiners want their agents (or agents they are trying to market) to be aware of this information but are reluctant to send it from their own email address. Contact NASCPE if interested. http://www.nascpe.com
For most agents the terms Home Office Approved and Authorized Exam Company are confusing and misunderstood. On the surface those terms sound like a statement about an exam company's quality of work, the skill of their examiners, their time service or their customer service. But, in truth, the terms have nothing to do with those things.
All the terms really mean is that the carrier has accepted the price list submitted by an exam company and has agreed to pay them (at those prices) for their services. Home Office Approved and Authorized Exam Company simply mean the insurance company and exam company have a pricing and billing agreement. Nothing more.
Most exam companies, aka "vendors" (particularly those who get designated as being "the preferred vendor"), got their designation by agreeing to provide exam services at lower prices than other vendors. Their examiners aren't more qualified, skilled, or experienced than another company's examiners. They're just willing to provide the services of their examiners at lower prices.
While this may be good for the carrier's bottom line, it doesn't serve their agents well at all.
The result of underpricing is there isn't enough profit to pay examiners much more than minimum wage.
So the national vendors (responsible for undercutting in the first place) are now having more and more difficulty finding or retaining quality examiners.
Instead of raising their prices to fix the problem, they assign the majority of the work to their lowest paid examiners. Which, not surprisingly, are also their least experienced and lowest skilled examiners. It's also the reason there are extremely high turnover rates in this field. New examiners quickly realize they can't make a living at these prices and leave the business. And the cycle is repeated using the next crop of new graduates from phlebotomy schools.
For agents the bottom line is their clients frequently end up in the hands of amateurs.
Since their clients believe the examiner is chosen by the agent, their perception of the agent is affected by their exam experience. The client doesn't know it but many carriers don't give agents a choice and order the exams themselves using "their" preferred vendor. When carriers do give agents a choice it often comes with an offer to take that "chore" off the agent's hands. Again, so the carrier can choose "their" cheapest option.
For these reasons, agents are strongly advised to get and/or keep control over the right to choose for themselves. And, since agents don't have to pay for the services, they are advised to choose an independent examiner or independent exam company instead of the national exam companies.
Independents, like agents, are invested in their business.
They are career examiners and using them gives agents the opportunity to get to know the person they're sending to their clients. Also, unlike the national exam companies, independents don't have ties to the carriers.
Their allegiance is to their agents and it shows in the personalized service they provide.
The saying "you get what you pay for" has never been more evident than it is today in the exam industry.
Another disturbing trend is agency owners/managers getting kickbacks from the national exam companies or their local branch offices. Not an easy topic to discuss with agents and certainly one that should be handled delicately but, in some situations, agents should be made aware of that possibility as well.
For those who want to pass this on to agents or other examiners copy the link below.