Did I say something about free beer? I meant that September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. These topics are equally exciting; pardon me for the confusion.
How do you get people to read an article on something as boring as life insurance? Short of offering free beer, I’m not certain. The topic doesn’t exactly lend itself to creating a buzz on the internet.
Life insurance remains one of the most significant purchases an individual will make in their lifetime, yet the topic is so off-putting (not least because of life insurance salesmen) that many Americans refuse to take it seriously. Building a solid case to review your life insurance needs is not easy, but I have developed a four-part system that will help you move your life insurance needs up the priority list.
First, you throw in some statistics:
According to the non-profit Life Happens organization, 79% of consumers say they need life insurance, yet only 59% own it. This gap between need and ownership has only expanded over time. For numerous reasons, we remain aware of the role life insurance can play in our financial lives, but so many of us refuse to act on it.
Also, 39% of people wish their spouses or partners had more life insurance, which is an increase of 10% since the Life Happens study began in 2011. That is great you are comfortable with the amount of life insurance you have, but guess what? You don’t ever get to use it. Your spouse will be using it, so perhaps asking him or her if they are comfortable with your current amount of insurance coverage is a good idea.
Then, you tell a heart-wrenching story:
At this point in my career, I would guess I have at least five clients per year that are dealing with a cancer of some kind. This year was particularly rough, however, as a father of two children was diagnosed with a type of cancer that is basically untreatable. His options, and his time, are limited.
Dealing with a terminal illness is not only an emotional challenge, it is also a financial one. My clients and I had to have a real conversation about providing income after the death of the spouse. Did they have enough insurance? Would the other spouse have to go back to work? Would the kids be taken care of?
If something happens to you, I (or someone like me) will have a real conversation with your family about how to pay off debt, generate income, and take care of the loved ones you are leaving behind. What tools will you equip me with when that conversation happens? Will empathy and understanding be my only tools, or will a substantial death benefit also be with me?
In my experience disease takes a toll on the dying, and then it takes a toll on the living.
Next, I inform you of new products that are available:
If you have not reviewed your insurance in the last 2-3 years, you are long overdue for a second look. Competition in the insurance market is fierce, and the consumer has been the beneficiary of the price and product wars that are taking place.
Term insurance is cheaper than it has ever been. We have access to products that can provide additional protection for your family today, and give you the option to convert your policy to permanent insurance should you have a need down the road.
Also, most of today’s products come with benefits that allow you to access the death benefit of the policy while you are still alive, often called “living benefits.” If you have a terminal illness, chronic disease, or even a long-term care event, the majority of products we use allow you access to your money while you are still alive and can benefit from the investment you made in a life insurance policy.
On average, our expenses increase at the cost of inflation. Life insurance premiums do not. Insurance products are cheaper, more flexible, and packed with benefits as never before.
Lastly, I convince you only I can solve your life insurance problems:
Life insurance can be an extremely confusing product to analyze; there are so many different options from so many different companies that a consumer usually winds up comparing apples to oranges. Because insurance companies and salespeople are so skilled at presenting complex insurance policies as the solution to all of your financial needs, keep these tips in mind when shopping for a life insurance solution:
1. There is no magic insurance solution that the salesman you are talking to has exclusive access to. We all have pretty much the same stuff.
2. There are about 1,000,000 insurance agents in the US, most of them held to the standard of “don’t hurt your client on purpose.” There are approximately 75,000 Certified Financial Planners in the US, all of which have a legal obligation to act in your best interests, even when selling insurance. Sometimes math isn’t hard.
3. If you buy insurance online, you are not saving money. You are simply paying the commission to a faceless online company instead of somebody you can meet with personally. Online quoting sites have access to the same products for the same rates as I do.
4. An independent agent can represent multiple companies and have them compete for your business. No two people are alike, and no one company is right for everyone.
Life insurance is not as exciting as free beer, but it is equally important. Even though my office is next to a brewery (by coincidence, of course), the Insurance Commissioner would frown upon me bribing you to add more insurance coverage in exchange for a
few cold ones.
I suppose you will have to settle for that feeling of a refreshing drink, well-earned at the completion of a tough job. If you can muster up the courage to discuss your life insurance, I will have the tools and resources to find you the best solution available and see it through to the end.