Jay Scheiner, Executive VP

 

Many families can preserve precious assets by using life insurance as a stand-in for a long-term care policy when the insured is unable to qualify for LTC coverage.

Often, our clients apply for long-term care (LTC) insurance or combined life with LTC rider, only to be denied coverage due to adverse health history. Frequently these clients already own, or can qualify for, a life insurance policy without an LTC rider. In this situation, families can accomplish similar goals by using life insurance as a stand-in for a long-term care policy or LTC rider.

Example:  Denise, age 60, is a non-smoker, in reasonable health except for type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. She applies for $600,000 of Universal Life with a qualified LTC rider that would provide up to $12,000 per-month for up to 50 months of care. The $600,000 policy with LTC rider would cost Denise $11,800 per year at standard. The same $600,000 policy without the LTC rider would cost her $9,800 per year. While Denise is accepted as a standard-plus risk for life insurance, she is denied coverage for the LTC rider. Denise accepts the policy as offered – without the LTC rider.

Fast-forward 20 years:  Denise, now age 80 and disabled, requires long-term care services and would qualify for an LTC claim. She remains disabled for 36 months before she dies.

If Denise had a policy with LTC she would have paid $236,000 in premiums until the time she became disabled, and another $29,900 until she passed away. After a 90-day elimination period – during which Denise would pay $36,000 for her care – the policy would pay her $12,000 per month for the remaining 33 months of her life, for a total of $396,000. At her death her beneficiaries would receive the balance of the policy, $204,000, as a death benefit. The total Denise and her heirs would receive from the policy would be the combined policy limit of $600,000.

If Denise had a policy without LTC she would have paid $196,000 in premiums from the time she became disabled, and another $29,400 until she passed away. By spending down her savings, Denise would pay $12,000 per month for care for the 36 months of her disability, for a total of $432,000. After her death her beneficiaries would receive the $600,000 death benefit tax-free – effectively replenishing all of the costs of Denise’s lengthy illness and care plus an additional financial legacy for her loved ones.

Life Insurance AS Long Term Care Insurance:  As you can see from Denise’s story, life insurance can act as an ideal asset to replace the cost of care even in the absence of LTC. We have worked with agents and advisors in structuring hundreds of insurance plans for the purpose of funding the cost of care. Sometimes the solution comes in the form of a traditional LTC policy. More often than not it is in the form of life insurance with an LTC rider, and certain situations call for a single premium LTC hybrid product. There are times, though, when a family like Denise’s, which bears the burden of long term care expenses, can best be reimbursed using the death claim from a life insurance policy.   ~JS

 

Sam Kaufman,
President, Agent Support Group

My Mother would occasionally give me a kick in the rear and tell me I better straighten up.   The Covid 19 Pandemic gave the life insurance industry a big kick in the rear triggering an unprecedented acceleration in sales processes and underwriting that I have never witnessed in the over 45 years in this industry.   Many new sales opportunities have resulted from these enhancements and if you have not taken advantage of them – shame on you.

Now more than ever client engagement is a necessity.   Your clients need servicing not only concerning their life insurance policies, but also their estate planning.   Opportunities for sales abound, but you must reach out to your clients to capture these sales.   Waiting for your telephone to ring will not work.

Last week an advisor 80 years old submitted two applications via e-app with 15,000 of target premium.   I will admit that he had some assistance from his grandchild, but he got the job done and policies will likely be issued within ten days.   Another advisor had a client, age 54, that we were able to get 5,000,000 with John Hancock without an examination.   From application to e-delivery in 10 days.

There are no excuses for not taking advantage of the multiple accelerated underwriting programs available from multiple life insurance companies. There will never be another opportunity like the present for you to engage your clients and demonstrate your professionalism and concern for their families.

The entire team at ASG is here to help you get started.

Gary Bleetstein, Senior Vice President

 

I have been in the life business for over 30 years and have never seen the situation the way it is today.

Carriers are increasing rates, reducing death benefits or not even entertaining applications at older ages, and auto mated underwriting appears to be in our near future for cases under age 60 and face amounts in the 3-5  million range.

We have state insurance departments extending the premium paying dates for up to 90 days, with or without financial justification, and carriers are removing certain products as a result of both covid-19 and zero interest rates.

But there is some good news to report:

  • People are still asking about buying life insurance.
  • The Life Insurance Industry stayed alive even after the two world wars and the 1918 flu virus.
  • Our industry is nimble and has found ways to overcome some required medical requirements via auto underwriting and some good logical thinking, using aps client portals.
  • While the markets may have tanked, some people still have estate and other planning needs- especially now.
  • For larger cases- some clients are still willing to be examined under the correct circumstances.

Agent Support Group- an AmeriLife Company is in business and here to stay and serve our advisors and their clients from submission to commission.

We have great technology, great underwriting and sales programs, but most important, we have great people who work for us. ASG is proud of each and every one of our employees who work every day to make your lives easier and we applaud their work and work ethic.

Together, we will wind this battle, win this war and continue to move forward in the financial services business.

 

Jay Scheiner, Executive VP

Welcome to Agent Support Group’s 5th anniversary edition of ASG NEWS coming to you direct from New York City. ASG remains open for business with all employees operating remotely. Our staff has the training, technology and experience to successfully work from remote locations without interruption. We will guide you through the new ways of doing life business, assisting you with accelerated underwriting programs and electronic applications.

Many of you have been touched by the events of the past month and we pray for you and those you love. Everyone in the ASG family has been affected as well with family members or friends taken ill. And then there are the heroes among us: ASG family members include those who serve as healthcare professionals and as volunteers and workers in businesses tirelessly providing needed resources such as food and medicine deliveries to our neighbors. My daughter Marissa is on the front lines as an RN at a medical center in the heart of Manhattan. Several of our employees help care for the elderly who are most vulnerable. We have seen the very best of our people in this most uncertain time.

In this issue of ASG NEWS we’ll show you exciting ways ASG can help insurance advisors continue their practice in these trying times – here is a brief sampling of this months newsletter content.

  • Important carrier bulletins.
  • Mark’s Blog, “The New Normal.”
  • A 3 ½ minute video with tips to improve your webcam communications.
  • ASG’s coronavirus business continuation plan & ASG staff directory.

As you know, ASG recently became part of AmeriLife. We welcome our new relationship and expanded offerings of products and services. We also welcome the many AmeriLife affiliated agencies that can now offer the cutting-edge life products in ASG’s portfolio. Wishing all of you health and safety during this time.  ~JS

 

 

 

Life & Health Insurance, Investment and Retirement Planning Powerhouse AmeriLife® Expands its Platform of Advanced Life Insurance Services with Acquisition of Agent Support Group

 

Clearwater, Fla. – AmeriLife Group, LLC (“AmeriLife”) – the national leader in marketing and distributing life, health and retirement solutions – has acquired a majority interest in Agent Support Group (ASG), a leading multi-company life insurance brokerage agency group in the New York metropolitan area.

 

Agent Support Group, founded in 1973, is a LIBRA Insurance Partners (formerly known as LifeMark Partners) agency and one of the oldest and largest life brokerage agencies on the East Coast, with offices in the New York metropolitan area. ASG provides advanced case and underwriting support in structuring estate, business and personal insurance plans for domestic and foreign national business. ASG was one of the first agencies to offer brokers computerized sales illustrations and continues to provide advanced case support and state-of-the art tools, such as the ASG Mobile App.

 

ASG’s three partners, Sam Kaufman (CEO / President), Jay Scheiner and Gary Bleetstein, are respected leaders in the industry with over 150 years of combined experience and will continue to lead ASG from their New York office as part of AmeriLife’s annuity and retirement planning brokerage distribution channel.

 

“This new partnership allows us to leverage AmeriLife’s vast resources, while also contributing to our mutual growth, providing AmeriLife’s career and brokerage distribution with new sources of revenue via ASG’s platform,” said Kaufman. “We are excited to become part of one of the fastest growing, full- service brokerage marketing organizations in the country and believe this strategic alliance will bring tremendous value to our advisors and agents, their clients, and the industry as a whole.”

 

“We have been looking to enhance our platform to provide a growing base of financial advisors and sophisticated life insurance producers with more advanced life insurance solutions, such as split-dollar plans, deferred compensation and options for higher face amount coverage” said Scott R. Perry, CEO of AmeriLife. “ASG’s expertise in serving the business and high net worth markets, along with the power of the LIBRA network, further strengthens our position as a leader in delivering life and health insurance, investment and retirement planning solutions.”

 

“During the past few years, Scott and the rest of the AmeriLife team have evolved the business to provide a full spectrum of insurance and planning solutions,” said Bill Shelow, President & CEO of LIBRA. “We are pleased to welcome AmeriLife as a LIBRA partner company, joining an elite group of independent brokerage agencies in the United States.”

 

About AmeriLife

AmeriLife is a national leader in developing, marketing and distributing life and health insurance, annuities and retirement planning solutions to enhance the lives of pre-retirees and retirees. For nearly 50 years, AmeriLife has partnered with the nation’s leading insurance carriers to provide value and quality to customers served through a national distribution network of over 140,000 insurance agents and advisors, 20 marketing organizations, and 50 insurance agency locations. Visit www.AmeriLife.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

About Agent Support Group (ASG)

Founded in 1973, Agent Support Group is one of the fastest growing life insurance brokerage agencies in the U.S. New York-based ASG provides insurance services for professional advisors, including advanced case design, impaired risk underwriting, and point of sale assistance for life, annuity, disability and long term care insurance. ASG will continue to be a member of LifeMark Partners.

 

 

Gary Bleetstein, ASG Partner-Oct. 2019

 

There has been as you know much discussion and questions as to why there is such a fuss being made about PBR- Principle Based Reserves and the 2017 CSO Mortality Tables.

 

Well, the fuss is because effective December 31, 2019 – ALL CURRENT LIFE PRODUCTS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN ADJUSTED CANNOT BE ISSUED ANY LONGER!

 

Principle Based Reserving – PBR is an NAIC requirement effective January 1,2020 that states a carrier must have compliant products or the old non-compliant products may not be permitted to be issued. For over 100 years, products were reserved based on actuarial assumptions. The new PRB is a required modeling valuation based on new technology, product pricing and reserves which are based on a Given reserve structure throughout the industry.

 

The 2017 CSO rules which give the Insurer’s in calcultaing cash values, statuartor reserves and pricing.

 

So why such as fuss ?

 

The fuss is really over which products and which carriers will have approved products by January 1, 2020, and the big issue is which carriers will have completed the re-pricing and what products will be availabe where and when ?

 

Consensus is that term pricing may be reduced and permanent product pricing may decrease or increase but in no case substantially.

 

In other words, the industry expects products that are re-priced should look similar to those being sold today.

 

At ASG, we will try and send updates on a regular basis to keep you informed about the products and availablilty and we also have a link on our website to assist you with questions.

 

 

Congratulations, it’s your birthday in September and you are a year older.  The bad news is that your cost for life insurance has increased.  Don’t put off protecting your family and business – It only cost pennies a day.

 

Perhaps too many of us, as professional advisors, complicate the message and create confusion to demonstrate our professional expertise. Did you ever consider that this only serves to create confusion, leaving the client completely bewildered and unable to make a decision.  

 

The “Keep it Simple” approach still works and not only results in a sale, but also establishes an advisor/client relationship that will continue into the future.  It is this type of relationship that creates a base for bonding between the advisor and client that will continue into the future.

 

Engagement is the next most important factor in growing a strong network of clients that will help you grow your client base.  Check in with your term policyholders as they near the maturity of their level premium term duration.  Review their business to determine if changes are needed.  Advisors need to be pro-active doctors and not wait for the patient to call with chest pains. 


September is Life Insurance Awareness month.  Advisors, it’s time to give a shout out to all of your clients and let them know your interested in the health of their life insurance program.  After all, you know they’re not going to call you.

Jay Scheiner, Partner, Agent Support Group-August, 2019

 

“Your Long-Term Care Insurance Rate Spiked. Now What?”

According to the New York Times, about twenty years ago insurers blundered by failing to predict the future: “Not only did they underestimate how long policyholders would live, they overestimated how many people would drop their policies, which meant insurers would not have to pay claims.” As a result, premiums for stand-alone Long-Term Care (LTC) policies have been steadily increasing.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/23/your-money/long-term-care-insurance-prices.amp.html

 

Even mere rumors of rate hikes lead to anxious calls to insurance advisors from policyholders unsure of what to do about their existing policies. These conversations are stressful for everyone involved. The clients, who are generally older, have few options other than keeping the coverage and paying higher rates, or reducing their benefits with the goal of minimizing premium increases.

 

Traditional Stand-Alone LTC has several major weaknesses:

–         An insured who dies suddenly or after only a brief illness never benefits from the insurance

–         Premiums are not contractually guaranteed – insurers underestimated the number of insureds that would go on claim, resulting in premium increases that forced clients to search for ways to afford maintaining their LTC policies.

–     The policies were almost exclusively based on a reimbursement model rather than indemnity.

 

The new generation of LTC policies eliminates the shortcomings of the prior generation of products. Clients may now choose contracts that have:

–         A pool of money available to fund a set amount of benefit, whether the insured ends up using LTC services or dies without having gone on claim.  The client can choose a policy where the total pool of funds is the same for LTC and death benefit, or opt for a greater pool for LTC dollars than life insurance.

–         Premiums that can be contractually guaranteed for up to the life of the insured with no possibility of rate increases, eliminating the angst experienced by the holders of non-guaranteed premium products.  Policies can be purchased as single-payments, 10-pay, or under a variety of flexible funding scenarios.

–         Indemnity models are now available in addition to the traditional reimbursement policies.

 

Conclusion:  Advisors should be sensitive to the plight of those who own older LTC contracts. Offer solid advice, and separate fact from fiction.  While much of what is reported in the financial press is justified (pointing out the weaknesses in the earlier contracts), the need to plan continues to increase.  Clients now have options in policies with lifetime contractual guarantees, a certainty of payment for both extended care and death benefit, and the choice of indemnity or reimbursement models.

At Agent Support Group we are here to help you navigate through the complexities of long-term care funding for your clients.

Go West Young Man!


by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC- July, 2019 ASG Insight

The iconic phrase “Go West Young Man,” was coined by Horace Greeley in the mid 1880’s. It concerned America’s expansion westward and the opportunities that existed for people to find their fortunes.

Today, a huge opportunity exists for the Insurance Advisor and you don’t have to go west to get it. In fact, you can go East, West, North or South. I’m referring to the Policy Audit space. Policy Reviews (or audits), are at an all-time high on the opportunity scale.

The best part of conducting policy audits is that the person we are talking to is already a buyer. Our goal is to see if we can create an outcome that either lowers cost, gives greater value or addresses new needs that could have come up since they last purchased their insurance.

When looking at current policies, there are many reasons why the Policy Audit is important. The life insurance industry has changed dramatically over the last few years. There have been many product innovations, especially through the introduction of living benefits.

In short, when trying to start the conversation of Policy Audits, a good question to ask is…” Do you have the old kind of insurance or the new kind?” That should easily get the client interested. This is a great chance to introduce some of the newer living benefits such as Long Term Care, Chronic Illness or Return of Premium Riders that were likely not available when the original policies were issued.

Here are some other areas where a Policy Audit can help:

Health Changes – it always pays to look at a policy issue class and understand why a policy was originally rated. With advances in underwriting, many risks are assessed more favorably today.

Rescue underwater contracts – Older contracts that had poor guarantees or are simply underperforming, such as UL & VUL contracts, can be replaced with stronger, sometimes full guarantees.

Needs change – The original intended purpose for the insurance could have changed. Perhaps It was designed to replace income when children were younger and are now grown. The need can now be lessened and repurposed into a newer plan with benefits like a Long Term Care Rider that better suits their current changed need.

Ownership & Beneficiary Issues – Often times there is improper ownership or beneficiary arrangements. Without making changes, there can be unintended tax and legal consequences.

Policies can be sold – For older insureds that once purchased policies that are no longer needed, don’t settle for cash surrender values. There may be a chance to sell the policy as a life settlement. This option should be explored as it may yield a significant windfall for the policy owner.

1035 Exchanges – One of the largest opportunities today is to utilize cash surrender proceeds and 1035 those funds into a newer contract with LTC Riders. This can act as a huge subsidy by providing LTC benefits at a greatly reduced cost.

This just scratches the surface when it comes to the opportunities that exist with Policy Audits. The problem is that advisors are not using them enough. As Horace said, GO WEST (the East, North & South as well).

If you want to learn more about how to use Policy Audits in your practice and increase your sales, click here and join us on August 14th at 10:00 AM for our next webinar…TAKING THE BITE OUT OF POLICY AUDITS.

Gary Bleetstein, Partner-Agent Support Group

June, 2019

 

As Geico advertises with its Hump Day and Camel Advertisement, Do You Know What Day It Is?

Being in the Life Insurance business, as you all know, our days are busy with constant interruptions from clients, carriers, vendors, even sometimes advisors and we tend to forget what our jobs and careers are really about.

This month, June 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day and my belief is sometimes we need to sit back, slow down and remember what it is we should be doing.

As life insurance professionals and advisors, we certainly have all of the tools of the trade to make as many of friends, family and business associates aware of how special life insurance is and can be in many situations.

Life Insurance sold properly can save families from financial disaster, help those with Long Term Care needs to assist with the high costs of medical care, keep a business afloat after the death of a partner or key person and so on. I remember the first time I delivered a death claim and thought this was the worst possible thing to happen. Well, I was wrong and the widow who I gave the proceeds to and I are still close friends. The check saved her life as there were 4 children and little assets other than the life insurance.

Furthermore, where can you buy a financial product, have tax free accumulation of cash, and have a tax free death benefit paid? Where can you buy a product that has guaranteed rates not to increase, guaranteed current or future income with excellent tax avoidance?

Why are there so many people in our country that are either not insured or under insured? Why to so many advisors and prospective clients not understand how life insurance is for the living, not the dead. Life Insurance, LTC, Annuities and Disability products provide excellent solutions to many future problems, yet we continue to get information that so many people in this country have no insurance.

So let’s all celebrate our great industry and products, and begin talking about the needs for Life Insurance products and remember that June 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day.