The Dreaded Public Bid Opening

I love being an insurance agent.  No seriously.  I love meeting new people, helping them solve problems, and the competitiveness that comes with the business.  

That being said, there is one thing that I am not fond of (besides paperwork).  It’s the opening of a public bid.  However, I have begun to appreciate the humor that comes with a public bid opening. 

You may ask, “What is a public bid?”  Well, in our industry there are few scenarios where a consultant or another third-party organizes the insurance buying process.  Agents are asked to submit insurance quotes (bids) with particular specs.  After working for weeks on their quotes, the agents then submit the bid to the consultant or third-party and also deliver the bid to the prospect.  No big deal right. 

Let me walk you through how this usually goes.  Let’s say the bid opening time is 3pm. About 2:45 several agents (who are all competing with each other) show up at the prospects office with their bids.  They all look at each other and smile, but inside they are all saying, “I’m gonna take you down bubba.”  Remember, these are all Type A competitive personalities.  Fake small talk ensues for about 10 minutes until all the agents are asked to come back to an office.  The office usually fairly small so sometimes you can have five agents all smushed together sitting at one table. 

The prospect then calls the consultant or third-party and announces that we will begin to open the bids.  This actually kind of reminds of movie dramas where they have “the reading of the will”, but I digress.  One by one, the prospect opens the bids and announces the premiums for each line of coverage.  This is where it gets fun because as you look around the room you can see the other agents thinking to themselves, “ha ha, your quote is awful” or “there is no way your premium is that low.”  As much as the agents want to respond and explain their quote, they really can’t.  The agents frantically write down all the other agent’s premium numbers, but there really is nothing they can do at that point. 

Once the final bids are read you are told that they will be in touch in a few weeks.  So after working for several weeks on a quote, having awkward conversations with competitors, and having all your work displayed in front of everyone, you now to sit back and relax for just a couple of weeks.  By the way, you can’t contact the prospect directly to discuss any advantages to your bid.  You just wait. 

There is a reason I don’t work under these types of situations if I can help it.  It takes almost all control away from the agent.  Although I may not be a big fan of this process, by taking a step back I can definitely see the humor.  Like anything in life, you just have to make the best of a bad situation. 

What part of your job do you not like?  Can you find the humor?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.