potusBy: Gary Bleetstein
Partner, Agent Support Group

 

By the time you read this, the election for our next President will be a few days away and whoever wins will bring some forms of change – some popular and some unpopular.

We have had change forever in our business- this is nothing new and nothing to really be concerned about right now. To make changes, there are vast numbers of committees, voting and dealing with the two parties even before these changes get to the place where it is in final draft.

We have all lived through changes in Section 79, 419, Pensions, Minimum Deposit, changes in the Estate and Gift tax laws, Split Dollar etc.

Furthermore, it takes more than a new President to affect these types of changes-

We have no idea what the makeup the Congress or the Senate will look like, how the stock markets in and abroad will react and what kind of changes may be in store for our business.

We have already experienced DOL, Coli Changes, Increases in Costs of Insurance as well as promises to change Obamacare, Medicare, Estate Tax Laws, the inside build-up of cash values and more and more and more.

We cannot and should not let these possible changes interfere with our day to day operations of selling Life Insurance which is still one of the best financial products available.  A product that allows families and businesses to maintain their financial stability.

While we deal with changes every day, we do not have to deal with changes in our business until that time has come. If you would like to get involved in our business regulatory environment and assist, a great way to do this is to join AALU – our best advocate organization for our product and our business.

So congratulations to our new President, and all of us in the Life Insurance business should just go forward and sell our great product as we do have so much to offer.

partnersinsight

 

makethemanoffertheycantrefuse

By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Partner, Agent Support Group

 

 

 

Let’s face it; Life Insurance is not an easy sale to make.  Aside from the emotional aspect of the sale, the reality is that when you get past that point, most people look at life insurance as nothing more than an expense.  That is what makes it so difficult to sell.

You will encounter objection after objection.  You may hear…

  • It’s too expensive
  • If I die, they’ll live off savings and be fine
  • If I don’t die, there’s nothing in it for me
  • It’s a waste of money
  • I have insurance at work
  • I hate insurance

And the list goes on and on.  We know that most of these, although valid in a prospect’s mind, are nothing more than excuses which often leave them underserved and underinsured.  In today’s world, we have to impress upon individuals the importance of taking care of themselves and their families.  After all, they can’t rely on The Go Fund Me approach after its too late.

We have so many tools at our disposal that if you present it properly, you can get past most , if not all, of the most common objections that arise during the life insurance sales cycle.  With one product, you can accomplish most solutions to a host of threats that will face any family.  The three most likely outcomes that will affect a family’s financial plans are a premature death, a catastrophic health event or a temporary disability.

You can provide the needed life insurance benefit with the ability to grow potentially tax free supplemental retirement assets, In addition, you can create a tax free pool of money to protect against a long term health event or waive premiums during a short or longer term temporary disability. And if they want, we can also include a Guaranteed Refund Option to get their money back at pre-designated points in the future, regardless of the cash accumulation performance of the contract.

So, let’s take a look at those earlier listed objections and the solutions/responses that we can offer:

OBJECTIONS SOLUTIONS/RESPONSES
It’s too expensive

 

The costs are all relative.   The growth of cash value will overtake the amount of premiums paid, so essentially the net cost will be zero and then some.  Couple that with tax deferred build-up of cash and the potential of accessing those funds tax free and you have a significant positive impact on that client’s bottom line at some point in the future.

 

If I die, they’ll live off savings and be fine

 

We all know that this never works out.  Even if they had “so much” cash on hand, which they usually don’t, it is just not a wise use of funds.  By leveraging small dollars today into a properly designed life insurance program, there will be a large tax free death benefit and little or no invasion of other assets that may not have advantaged tax treatment when needed.

 

If I don’t die, there’s nothing in it for me

 

Today, via living benefits, we can show significant cash value growth that can be used to supplement retirement income.  In addition, in the event of a Chronic Illness or other Long Term Health event, a policy can provide a pool of money, usually equal to the death benefit face amount.  This pool can be utilized to assist with the expenses associated with those types of situations while shielding other assets at the same time.  Also, if there was a temporary disability, riders can be added that assure premiums are being paid during those periods.

 

I have insurance at work

 

In past generations, it wasn’t uncommon for people to stay employed with the same company for a lifetime.  This is simply not the norm today and most benefits provided by employers are temporary, limited and usually not portable.  Having an established external plan is far better and will provide more robust benefits.

 

It’s a waste of money

 

Seeing all of the benefits listed above will hopefully show how the benefits outweigh the cost.  We can even include a Return of Premium guaranteeing the return all of their premiums paid.

 

I hate insurance Life Insurance is a necessary planning tool.  Granted, it’s not a fun topic to talk about but with the additional of all of the living benefits, the conversation can be a little less intense.

 

Whether it’s the cash value potential,  the provided death benefit or  the ability to provide a large pool of funds in the event of a catastrophic health event , the most common objections can be set aside much easier.    And if all else fails, you can offer them an option to have all of their premiums returned to them on a guaranteed basis.  All of this can be accomplished with one product, and you can truly MAKE THEM AN OFFER THEY CAN’T REFUSE.

Life Insurance Awareness Month

Life Insurance Awareness Month

Sam Kaufman, Managing Partner
September 2016

Partners Insight  Partners Insight

Insurance buyers are always concerned with insuring their homes, cars and other valuables for their “Replacement Value”. Perhaps, as part of Life Insurance Awareness Month” life insurance advisors should talk to their clients about replacing their “Life Values”.

What could be more important, the loss of your home by fire or the loss of the financial provider or providers that enable the family to live in their home? The answer is evident, but amazingly the primary focus is the financial loss of the property and not the person or persons who are paying the mortgage, electric and taxes.

Mortgage loans normally contain due-on-sale clauses, or “acceleration clauses,” that allow such loans to be made payable upon borrowers’ deaths. By law, a deceased mortgage borrower’s estate must settle the borrower’s debts, including any mortgages. If enough equity exists in a deceased mortgage borrower’s estate to settle the mortgage, the estate’s executor may decide to pay it off. However, deceased mortgage borrowers frequently bequeath their mortgaged homes to inheritors, which is legal and acceptable to do.

Mortgaged homes being bequeathed to heirs don’t necessarily have to be paid off upon their owners’ deaths. Rather, the mortgaged homes of deceased people can be passed to heirs, with the heirs becoming responsible for settling those mortgages. In some cases, the mortgages on homes being passed to relatives of deceased homeowners may even be assumable by those relatives. Until a deceased mortgage borrower’s home is transferred to inheritors, though, the deceased borrower’s estate should continue making mortgage payments.

Mortgage due-on-sale clauses give lenders foreclosure rights when mortgage borrowers die. Deceased mortgage borrowers’ estates or inheritors of mortgaged homes not wanting to pay off existing mortgages can allow foreclosure. However, foreclosure is expensive for lenders and when borrowers die they may search for other solutions with heirs, including mortgage refinancing. Inheritors of mortgaged homes, then, could be given an opportunity to settle those mortgages in some way other than foreclosure.

Sometimes we need to return to basics and what better time than Life Insurance Awareness Month to make people aware of the socio-economic importance of life insurance. Whether it it’s the importance of keeping a home for a family after a death or maintaining continuity in a business, advisors have important function in communicating to their clients the need for life insurance.

JayonboatJay Scheiner, Principal

If you knew you would live to 100 would you still buy life insurance?

Recently I read that billionaire philanthropist, David Rockefeller, has successfully undergone his sixth heart transplant in 38 years at the age of 99.  The article said Rockefeller, now 101, had a team of private surgeons perform the last transplant at his Hudson Valley, New York estate.  After fuming about how unfair it is that the very rich could essentially “buy” decades of additional lifespan by procuring an unlimited supply of human replacement parts, I decided to check out this story further.  To my relief the article was untrue, a total fabrication, and probably designed to malign Mr. Rockefeller – who is purported to be a very generous and kind man.

But what if it was true, and you knew that at least regarding your own health (let’s assume your car or plane could still crash) you’re reasonably sure you will live to be 100 or beyond… and of course nobody else knows this but you (so the actuarial tables don’t change).  And, as with David Rockefeller, you retain your full faculties and suffer no serious disability along the way.

Knowing you’ll live to 100 negates the need for life insurance, right?

Yes and no.  When you are young and raising a family, you may still want some life insurance to replace your income just in case that plane you are on falls from the sky or the drunk driver comes out of nowhere to find you.  It will be harder for you to bear writing a check for insurance in these years with the chance of death so remote.

Life insurance as an investment – no joke!

However, you can use both insurance and your new-found knowledge of longevity to create a venerable super-fund for yourself and your family.  Remember, now that you won’t die young, you will have to fund for your extended old-age, which will last decades.  This will require savings discipline, being able to set-aside as much as you can tolerate saving each month.  Knowing you will have such a long life ahead, you will use the power of compounding for a financial product that:

–          Grows tax deferred through the power of compounding

–          Can be accessed in a tax-advantaged manner to supplement your long retirement

–          May be protected from creditors (check your individual state laws on this)

–          Has a death benefit that far exceeds the life value of the investment – for those great-grandkids (who you’ll already know)

Which type of insurance will support your exceptional longevity best?

In choosing the “engine” that could accomplish the above, we would design a plan using either Whole Life, which carries high contractual guarantees and where the underlying investment is within the insurance company’s general account or an Indexed Universal Life plan, where the underlying investment is based on the returns of a stock index, usually the Standard & Poor’s 500.  Either way, the plan we would create would have the lowest possible amount of insurance allowed and still retain the tax benefits of life insurance.  The insurance would grow in value over time and would be set up so that the cash value can be accessed in life for many years, which is appropriate given your newfound knowledge of longevity.  When you do eventually pass from this world, the remaining life insurance benefit can be used to create a legacy for your family or as a charitable gift to your alma mater or house of worship so you’ll never be forgotten!

You can crack the code by buying an immediate annuity!

If you know you will outlive the average Joe/Jane by twenty years, then why not buy an investment that pays you principal and interest over your lifetime?  It’s called an immediate annuity and with your knowledge of longevity you will receive far more in benefits than the actuaries assumed, creating a moral dilemma for you, but also exceptional personal wealth, as your monthly income will continue until you die.

Do you need insurance if you know you will live to be 100?  Mr. Rockefeller might say, “only if you are smart enough to uncover the power of life insurance and its hidden potential!”

– Jay Scheiner, JD, CLU, has been a Partner at Agent Support Group since 1992 and manages ASG’s Manhasset, NY office.  He is the author of, “How I Turned an Orphan Lead Into a $50 Million Dollar Insurance Sale” and “Insurance Company Apology Tours.”

 

VEI logoBy: Gary Bleetstein, July 2016
Principal, Agent Support Group

ASG is pleased to announce we have engaged with Virtual Enterprises International, Inc., a national initiative designed to help transform students into young professionals while building a major talent pipeline for our organization.

The program was created to give High School Juniors and Seniors with advanced skills, the opportunity to intern at financial service firms while the costs of these interns is essentially paid for by the program.

These students are proficient in marketing, social media, accounting, business development and business planning.

We have hired our first intern who will work in our marketing department and hope that if we like each other, we can hire her as our employee after the internship is completed.

This is not a new program, however it is widely used in major CPA, Consulting firms, Banks and Financial Service Companies,

This is an area ASG feels strongly about – If you are interested in learning more about VEI go to www.veinternational.org

JayScheiner
Jay Scheiner, Principal

ASG Partner Jay Scheiner discusses how an insurer’s past behavior in the marketplace can and should influence you, the advisor, in recommending certain companies while possibly avoiding others.  The flight to quality should be more than just about ratings.

The past year has been notable for several insurance companies going on apology tours in announcing such bad news as:

–          “Sorry… We are increasing your client’s current cost of insurance (COI’s) on Universal Life policies effective on the next policy anniversary.”

–          “Sorry… That cutting edge product (or valuable rider) that you can’t sell enough of… we have decided to eliminate it from our portfolio effective three days from now and any applications not received by then will not be underwritten.”

–          “Sorry… Our new term conversion guidelines state that the only policy your clients can now convert to is a separate conversion only policy” (one that makes a Preferred conversion illustrate like a Table-2).

–          “Sorry… Due to the regulatory environment for term and UL products with secondary guarantees in New York only, we will be suspending sales of these products” (effectively leaving the local marketplace)

–          “Sorry… Although we cannot change contractual guarantees, just give us until next month and we will find another way to mess-with your client or render his/her policy less valuable or less secure.”

The apologies usually begin with an email from the home office, or by one of our associates sharing advanced spy information.  Needless to say, I’ve had several weekends ruined just thinking of the ways many of our partner insurance companies have behaved in recent months. And, while none of these company actions involved changes to contractual rights or obligations, that does not mean some harm did not occur, if only in the form of reduced confidence.

What can we as an agency and you, the advisor, do about this?  I’ll tell you what I’m doing about it:

–          I am not willing to forgive a carrier’s bad behavior and go on with business as usual – even if they have strong financial ratings which are unaffected by the changes.

–          I am now more selective than ever in strongly recommending the companies that have not (yet anyway) engaged in the bad behavior and have treated their policyholders… and producers… and agencies with respect, honesty and some level of transparency.  These companies will receive the bulk of our business.

–          Recommending only those term policies that are convertible to the best permanent policies the company offers – and putting warning labels on those that are not.

–          Stressing, wherever possible, policies with the strong contractual guarantees over those where “trust me” is the underlying actuarial assumption.

The flight to quality is more than just about ratings. You have a choice when choosing an insurance company, a product and an agency for your client’s coverage.  it is your right to factor in an insurer’s behavior as well as subtle policy provisions when recommending a company.  We at ASG will continue to keep you apprised of the important changes that affect your decisions through our blasts, e-news and notices.  We hope to continue to earn your trust and we will stand beside you to navigate this quickly changing landscape.

 

–          Jay Scheiner, JD, CLU has been a partner at Agent Support Group since 1992

 

 

 


ASG was a Silver Sponsor for the May 4
th New Jersey FPA conference-with over 200 member advisors in attendance. Mark Milbrod and David Tornabene alongside the ASG conference exhibit table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 FPA_of_NY_logo

 

 

 

NYFPA_4_5-10-2016
ASG was proud to be a Gold Sponsor for the May 6th NYC FPA Spring Conference.  Gary Bleetstein and Mark Milbrod from ASG were in attendance as were over 160 FPA members.  Principal Financial was our co-sponsor and gave a presentation on their Business Owner Platform

Get on board this high speed train before you’re left standing at the station

Get on board this high speed train before you’re left standing at the station

Sam Kaufman, Principal-Agent Support Group-NYC
May 2016

There is a new generation of GUL. Yes, you don’t need to get your eyes examined, GUL is back and it’s back stronger and better than ever.   The new GUL products include a new Guaranteed Return of Premium benefit that may be exercised after year 20 that provides a guaranteed option to surrender the policy and receive up to 100% of the premiums paid.

By now, you probably think I am smoking something or have had one too many.  I can assure you that is not the case and urge you to get on this high speed train and get out to your clients as soon as possible.    Last week I met a prospective client that had purchased a GUL policy in 2011 from a AAA carrier.   The policy was a typical GUL having no cash value accumulation in the later years and the client was paying a monthly premium of nearly 15,000.  I showed the client that for 2,000 more a month he could have an option to surrender the policy and receive over 4,000,000 guaranteed in twenty years.    Yes, for 500,000 in cumulative additional premium over 20 years, the client could have a guaranteed option to receive 4,000,000.  The IRR is off the charts.

The new GUL products combined with the Guaranteed Return of Premium feature provide many planning strategies.   The same client had a 10,000,000 policy with a single exit strategy – death.  He was age 65 today.  By splitting the policy into two new GUL with return of premium we were able to offer a midterm exit strategy at age 85 of surrendering one-half for a guaranteed 2,000,000.   That left a remaining policy with a death benefit of 5,000,000 and provided the beneficiaries, the client’s children, with 2,000,000 when the client reached age 85.  The client believed he had longevity as his Father had just passed away recently at age 98 and his Mother was still living.

The new generation of GUL provides many strategies for younger people, that prior GUL products did not address.  Take a 45 year old person and create a guaranteed retirement strategy.  A 4,000 annual premium would provide a male age 45 over a 525,000 death benefit and at age 65 a guaranteed option to surrender the policy for 80,000 or at age 70 for 100,000.  Compare this to a 20 or 25 year level term plan and you will be hard pressed to find a better net after tax IRR.

Use the same strategy for a key person age 45 in an employer owned policy.  Target the deferred benefit.    For example, Mr. Employer would like to provide a valued employee age 45 100,000 at age 65.    What better way than a Guaranteed Refund of Premium option that provides both the keyperson death benefit and the retirement benefit all in one package.

The sales opportunities that await you with this new generation of GUL with the Guaranteed Return of Premium Rider are endless.    Give the design team at ASG a call and get on board this high speed train before you’re left standing at the station.  

Modern-Family

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Principal, Agent Support Group.

In today’s world, we as Insurance & Financial Advisors have a great deal of issues to contend with. We must deal with (if we let it), the negativity that will always surround us. But it is up to us to choose a path that will bring out our great abilities and deliver the products and services that we provide. We are all familiar with the “traditional” types of sales; mortgage protection, income replacement, etc. But there is a market under our noses that is tremendously undeserved, “The Modern Family.”
The old Nuclear Family stereotype revolved around a mother, a father and a few children all living in a single household. This was the norm and/or standard for years. That has definitely changed and with it a whole new approach to how we sell the myriad of products and services that we offer.
For those of you that watch the television show Modern Family, it basically throws us into the new realities of what a family unit can look like in today’s world. This is what the show depicts:
• An older man (Jay) in his mid-60’s married to his second wife (Gloria), who is much younger than Jay.
• Gloria has an adolescent child of her own (Manny).
• Subsequently, Jay & Gloria had a baby of their own (Joe).
• Gloria was originally a Non-US Citizen.
• Oh, by the way, Jay is a fairly wealthy business owner.
• Jay has two grown children (Claire & Mitchell).
• Claire is married to her husband Phil and they have three teenage children (Haley, Alex & Luke)
• Phil is a partner in a Realty Firm and Claire runs the family business with Jay.
• Mitchell is gay and is married to his husband, Cam.
• Mitchell & Cam have an adopted daughter, Lily.
• Mitchell is an attorney and Cam is a stay at home dad.
Things have certainly changed a bit and there has been quite a departure from the “Nuclear Family” of a generation or so ago. Aside from the laughs that the show provides, the seriousness of the planning needed for the Modern Family is not so funny. All or a part of this dynamic exists today with many of the clients or prospective clients we serve. These circumstances come with a unique set of planning solutions, most of which can be provided by you, The Financial Advisor.

Aside from the obvious, which is life insurance to cover Final Expenses, here is an idea of the planning opportunities that come to mind for this Modern Family…

modern-family-3

As you can see from the chart above, there are a number of sales opportunities available just for this family. There are many techniques that can be used to plan for The Modern Family, some simple and some that require a little more planning. One example is the use of a QTIP Trust. QTIPs are very popular with second marriages and the dynamics that go along with them. In the world of television, everyone gets along in this scenario, but in real life, this can get quite ugly. By utilizing QTIP Trusts, and other tested planning techniques, you can assist your clients in these situations. In the case of Mitchell & Cam, and other same-sex couples, there are many opportunities available today that didn’t exist before the Supreme Court ruling last year.
The point is, so much has changed. Our culture is evolving and with it, our way of doing business. Whether you are planning for The Modern Family or The Not So Modern Family, at ASG, we are your one stop resource for these and all other sales scenarios. Contact us today, so that we can be of assistance on your next case.

ASG Honored At CAIA Meeting

"ASG Honored at CAIA Meeting"ASG was a Bronze Sponsor at the Annual Chinese American Insurance Association’s 25th Banquet. Sam Kaufman, Gary Bleetstein and Jay Scheiner hosted a table of advisors at the event. The Banquet was held at Terrace on the Park in Queens NY and was attended by over 600 insurance agents, brokers, and carriers.