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Agent Spotlight: Nick Palarino of Medicare Mentors
Nick emailed his clients and received a question he didn’t know the answer to.
The message read, “I am looking for a plan that provides a hot tub for hydrotherapy.”
For a second, Nick wondered whether his client was being serious and he should ask the Spark navigator team to assist him. But he looked at who the email was from and immediately knew that his client was pulling his leg.
What did he do? He called back pretending to be from a local hot tub company inquiring about his plan and Medicare benefits.
His client caught on and they both had a good laugh!
Nick is the agent who is everyone’s friend. He gets called into someone’s home to talk about Medicare, but ends up with coffee in the kitchen chatting about every topic imaginable. If he’s not exchanging war stories with a veteran, he’s asking his favorite question when he notices young children in pictures adorning the wall.
“What do your grandkids call you?”
As you can imagine, it’s “Omi, Opa, Nana, Popo, or Grandpa” and other variations followed by the origin of how it all started.
Nick’s journey into Medicare was preceded by 22 years of service in the United States Army. After retiring from the army, he was determined to figure out “what to do when he grew up.” After some time as a contractor in Abu Dhabi, he took a role supporting veterans transitioning out of the army and into civilian life at Fort Carson and Mt. Carmel in Colorado.
Then, he had a “midlife crisis.”
“I didn’t want a Corvette or anything, I was just tired and needed a break,” he said.
Instead of going to the dealership, he decided to hike the 500 mile Colorado Trail with his son who had just gotten out of the Marines. Of course, the soldier in him was giddy because the experience called for his military-level planning and logistics skills. The main goals? To unplug and stop thinking about thinking.
40 days later, he and his son finished the trail with his wife patiently waiting for them in Durango, Colorado.
After the hike, Nick didn’t know what was next until he went to an event at Mt. Carmel and ran into a familiar face in Richard Lewis of Medicare Mentors. One coffee later, and he was on his way to becoming a Medicare agent.
As he began the process, he didn’t think that there would be “so many gates to go through.” He had to take the AHIP exam, state licensing, and certify with insurance companies. At first it felt like a bit much, but then he realized that in order to do what’s best for the client, he had to be knowledgeable about the industry, especially the different health plans.
In time, he also realized that to be successful, you have to add the personal touch.He said, “Everyone does everything different — that is what makes us special to our clients and networks.”
According to Nick, comparing yourself to other agents will “suck the life out of you” and you will be discontent with yourself, your job as an agent, and you will forget to take care of your clients.
What new or veteran agents should focus on is, “Systems that you use, how you make presentations, [and] how you interact with people.”
Once you have that down, it’s important to focus on what he learned in the Army: watching, listening, learning, and not being afraid of asking questions.
Nick asks plenty of questions, especially to the Spark Advisors team. He’s constantly asking for new features to the platform so he could optimize his business.
When clients call him for questions, he responds with a greater confidence than he did previously. He says that it’s because now, “[I know] that I have a team behind me to help me help my clients.” The hesitation he felt at times has waned because of the support that our team provides him.
He has had great success with his clients and his life. He credits his family for their support, especially his wife of 28 years.
“My family is what has made me successful.”
In his down time, Nick walks around downtown Colorado city or enjoys a beer at the Red Leg brewing company. If you see him, make sure to ask him about Medicare.
Be careful though, the first 40 minutes will not be about copays, primary care visit costs, or prescriptions costs. It will be about you.
You can get in touch with Nick here.
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