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What Are Real-Time Insurance Leads?

Buying Insurance Leads
May 31, 2022
minute read
Nectar Team
What Are Real-Time Insurance Leads?

Stale. Outdated. Stagnant. Regardless of what you're trying to describe, what image do these words convey? It's not a pretty picture by any stretch of the imagination. And when your success in the insurance business hinges on leads that might be described with words like these, it's probably time to find new prospecting methods.

For decades, agents have purchased long lists of names from reputable sources. Most of the time, expectations aren't very high with these leads, but a sale or two from a list of 500 keeps them coming back for more. If this sounds familiar, you need to track your return on investment (ROI) for these leads and gauge the effectiveness of your current methods. You might not be thrilled with what you find, but then again, you might not have any other system to compare it to.

You can change the ways you prospect and the results you get by seeking out warmer leads. A warm lead is someone who is unhappy with their current insurance — or simply uninsured — and combing the market for better service and/or better rates. When a prospect like this calls your office, it's usually a slam dunk, but these potential customers are few and far between. That said, life would be pretty grand if you had a steady stream of these folks phoning in to your agency on a daily basis.

Does that sound like a pipe dream? It's not a fantasy when you leverage real-time leads.

What Are Real-Time Insurance Leads?

As the name suggests, real-time leads put you in touch with insurance shoppers at the moment these prospects are actively searching for an insurance policy. Here's how it works:

  1. People shopping insurance rates take to the internet to find quotes.
  2. Certain websites provide information on these shoppers to lead providers. This information includes what type of policy is needed, the location of the shopper, and any demographic information.
  3. The lead provider's software helps eliminate tire-kickers and requests that may be generated by something other than a real person.
  4. The lead provider immediately delivers qualified leads to agents who subscribe to their real-time lead service.
  5. In some cases, customer service reps for the lead provider contact prospects and hand them off via telephone to a live agent. (This is known as a live-transfer lead.)

If you were to draw a picture of the ideal prospect, it would look a lot like the shopper we outlined above — one who's calling into your agency and ready to buy. And if you were to define your ideal day in the insurance sales arena, it would probably involve a steady flow of these types of prospects calling your office.

Most likely though, under ordinary circumstances, your business doesn't work this way. But, using real-time leads might help get you closer to a sales utopia.

Real-Time vs. Aged Leads

Now that you have a basic understanding of how real-time leads work, let's compare them to aged leads. Once again, as the name implies, aged leads are generated long before you receive them. And they don't age like a fine wine.

A prospect may have been shopping any time from 30-90 days before when the lead shows up in your mailbox or inbox. With any luck, you might make a well-timed call to an aged-lead prospect who is approaching renewal on a health insurance policy. Unfortunately, this scenario might be the exception rather than the rule.

One advantage of aged leads is you'll pay less per name than you would with a real-time lead. If you set aside time for telemarketing each day, it will be more affordable to dial 50 contacts daily as opposed to having 50 real-time leads funneled into your agency.

The recurring problem with aged leads, though, is that the prospect has often cooled off considerably since they originally submitted their information. Anything could have happened in that time frame, and the chances are slim that the prospect will still want or need to buy.

Pros and Cons of Real-Time Leads

Every prospecting method has its ups and downs. It's prudent to do a cost-benefit analysis of the process before you put the plan — and your dollars — into action. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of real-time leads:


  • Real-time leads cost a lot more than aged leads, so you must figure out your ROI very quickly to indicate how effectively your money is being allocated.
  • Not all real-time lead providers are created equal. You might run into a company with a supply of leads that don't meet or exceed the promised quality level.
  • With significant money invested, you might not have any performance guarantee that offers some financial protection if the leads do not pan out.


  • Busy shoppers are in peak buying mode when they carve out a specific time to hunt for insurance quotes. One-stop shopping for insurance saves them time and aggravation.
  • All the legwork of pre-qualification is done before the lead hits your inbox. All you need to do is shift into sales mode and close the deal.
  • When you use real-time leads, you can divert significant time you'd normally spend smiling and dialing toward more productive activities such as relationship building.

Whether you choose real-time or aged leads, you need to set up a tracking system to measure the ROI of each type. This way you can have an objective method to determine which leads give you the most value.

You might also choose a lead category based on your lifestyle. Perhaps you're on the road a lot and would prefer to make time for prospecting when conditions allow. You can schedule the delivery of real-time leads as you see fit. After careful examination, you might find a combination of aged and real-time leads meet your needs.

Types of Real-Time Leads

Within the realm of real-time leads, there are various subcategories to choose from. You might select types that complement a current marketing campaign for seniors eligible for Medicare, for example.

Two main types of real-time leads have become immensely popular with agents. First, you have real-time online leads that suggest you should contact interested parties as soon as possible. You can also opt for live-transfer leads that put you in immediate contact with a prospect. Let's take a look at both.

Online delivery

If you consider our scenario in which a prospect shops for an insurance policy, you can envision that person filling out an online form. It likely asks for basic contact information and possibly a reason for the visit.

Within seconds after the form gets submitted, the information is delivered to your agency. That moment, right then and there, is the best time to call the prospect. That's when purchasing a policy is foremost on their mind. Buying signals get even stronger when, for instance, a prospect lists detailed info on the form such as a VIN or driver's license data. Those actions point to a prospective customer that's moved from warm to hot.

Live-transfer leads

With live-transfer leads, everything works as described above, with one major difference. The lead provider makes phone contact with the prospect and further qualifies the intent to buy. If all systems are go, the provider's representative puts the prospect on the phone with you at that moment.

There is flexibility with your workweek in terms of when you choose to receive live-transfer calls. You can have calls come into your office at a specific time so your schedule isn't disrupted. Also, you can target a detailed subset of prospects by using ZIP codes, age, driving history, and more. And with mobile capabilities, you can speak with potential clients and sell from anywhere at any time.

What You Need in a Real-Time Lead Provider

The optimal real-time and live-transfer partner will provide you with leads that can significantly improve your conversion ratio. To put it simply, you want to increase the number of qualified prospects and the percentage of those leads that become customers.  

With real-time lead providers, the difference-maker for your agency is the process the company uses to screen out the dead-end leads. When spending more dollars on live transfers, the fewer lackluster leads you encounter, the greater your ROI will be. The more highly innovative real-time lead generators use sophisticated algorithms to deliver a higher percentage of quality prospects — and that's the goal.

Let Nectar Be Your Real-Time Lead Partner

If you're looking to get out of the gate fast with a new lead-generation campaign, Nectar can speed you along with real-time leads. Our proprietary technology filters out the duds so you're not left spinning your wheels. Customize the program to your schedule and your needs, and get started receiving quality leads right now.

Reach out today to learn about our real-time insurance leads.

This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.


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