By Mark Milbrod, CLU, CLTC
Partner, Agent Support Group-April 2019

 

It is April, spring is here, baseball season is off and running and of course, as American as apple pie, our favorite Uncle has his hand out for his piece of that pie.  Tax season is upon us and with it comes our best prospecting tool, THE TAX RETURN.

As we are waist deep in tax season, what better time to remind ourselves of the countless sales opportunities that arise out of this time of year.   The best part is that with the focus on taxes, all of our clients are aware of the things that affect their financial lives. Whether its retirement plans contributions, annual gifts, charitable contributions, etc., it is all fresh in their minds. From just those few items, I’m sure a few sales opportunities come to mind.

As stated above, a tax return is probably our best sales prospecting tool.   As financial professionals, where else can you get a roadmap that leads you directly to all facets of someone’s finances?

Here are some examples of line items on a standard 1040 Tax Form that can lead you to where potential sales opportunities exist:

  1. Dependents– knowing how many dependents raises the question to whether there is enough life insurance in force to protect those family members who are reliant on someone. For younger dependents, the college planning conversation usually starts.
  2. Taxable Interest– See where this income is coming from.  There can be a more tax efficient way to invest funds.
  3. Business Income– knowing where business income comes from can start the conversation for business succession planning, key employee coverage’s, etc.
  4. Qualified Plan Contributions– this opens up the retirement planning conversation.  Are they maxed out in qualified contributions? What about retirement goals? Perhaps some supplemental non-qualified vehicles could be appropriate.
  5. Partnership/S-Corp Income– knowing if there are partnerships, perhaps buy-sell planning can be in order.
  6. Social Security Benefits– are they receiving SS benefits?  Do they need it?  Perhaps a more efficient use of those funds can be the answer.
  7. Capital Gains– where are their assets? Is there a better use of those assets?
  8. Medical Expenses– knowing what their medical expenses are can open up the Long Term care conversation.  Do they have any or what assets would they tap into if they had an LTC event?
  9. Interest Paid– mortgage interest paid can tell you more about their home.  For clients older than age 62, a Reverse Mortgage can be an option.
  10. Gifts to Charity– if someone is charitably inclined, you can discuss the leverage of life insurance for legacy gifts.

As you can see, there are a number of sales opportunities that exist by utilizing the 1040 Tax Form as a roadmap.  The examples above are just the tip of the iceberg.  By using this approach, you can start conversations with your prospective and current clients.  In addition, centers of influence, such as CPA’s and Tax Attorneys are excellent sources to have this conversation with.

With tax season upon us, there are excellent opportunities that will drive new business.  I have been using this approach for many years to huge success.  At ASG, we have tools designed to help you with this approach to marketing.  Contact us today so we can guide you through the process and navigate you through this road map provided by our favorite uncle. 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC-March 2019

 

Talking to agents on a daily basis, we are always asked for ideas on how to approach clients.  Sometimes we hear that they have nothing new to speak to their clients about.  So if anyone out there has that problem, I have put together a little list of some good conversation starters.   As you will see, there are a great deal of opportunities in today’s market.

 

  • SPIAs

SPIA’s continue to be a great (but underused tool).  The payouts continue to offer some of the best alternatives to maximizing income today.  The payments are guaranteed and will last forever.  For some, the payouts can be as high as 8 ½ – 9%

 

  • Guarantee Income Roll ups

For some looking to defer income, you can purchase annuity contracts with guaranteed roll-ups that for income purposes, will double in value by year 10 regardless of actual performance.

 

  • Uncapped LTC Benefits

It is possible to provide Uncapped/Unlimited Long Term care benefits by utilizing particular products.  This is one of the strongest values available in the Hybrid LTC space today.

 

  • Longevity Protection Using Death Benefit

To protect against longevity risk, your life insurance death benefit can be used as a living benefit by drawing down your face amount as income.  There is NO health trigger to exercise this option.

 

  • ROP Provisions

Many GUL policies have a return of premium window that allows you to receive your premiums back regardless of product performance.  These windows usually open up in either policy year 20 or 25.

 

  • Complimentary Business Valuations

For your Business clients, you can offer them Complimentary Business Valuations to determine the value of partnership interests.  This is a tremendous value add since it can save your clients a great deal of money.  This also paves the way to Buy Sell, Key Man & Personal Insurance sales.

 

  • Underwriting Enhancement Programs

A number of carriers offer underwriting programs that move table ratings down to Standard risks.  There are also carriers that offer single rating improvements that can boost your client to the next (higher) rating class.

 

  • Hybrid Guarantees to 90

Instead of a full GUL contract, take a look at the hybrid guarantees.  Often times, you can get a guarantee on a UL chassis that can last up to age 90.  These plans are extremely competitive, have increasing cash value and are a great alternative to a plain vanilla GUL.

 

  • Automatic Chronic Illness Rider

For clients that can’t get approved for any form of Long Term Care, there are options with certain permanent plans that will automatically issue a Chronic Illness Rider.  This comes in very handy for those client that cannot usually qualify for LTC benefits by offering some degree of protection.

 

  • Substandard LTC Options

For some contracts that offer LTC Riders, the LTC portion can be issued at a sub-standard rate (up to Table 5).  In these cases, it is another great alternative for a client that is not able to get approved for Stand-Alone LTC.

 

  • Non- Medical Limits up to $2.5M

It is possible to secure very large lines of life insurance without a medical exam.  This is offered by many carriers and can often be combined and pieced together.  The turnaround times with these types of plans can be 48 -72 hours.

 

  • Non-Smoker Rates For Cigar Smokers

For your Cigar Smoking clients, it is possible to get them Non-Smokers rates.  Many of these clients have older inforce policies that were probably rated as smokers.  This is a huge opportunity.

 

  • 40 Year Level Term

It is now possible to get a 40 Year Term policy up to age 45 for non-smokers.

 

  • Tax Free Supplemental Retirement Income

The old standby (permanent/cash value life insurance).  Where else can you show someone how to grow their money on a tax deferred basis and ultimately withdraw income on a tax free basis?

 

There are even more opportunities out there.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  If something sparked your interest in the list above, something on that list will surely catch the attention of either your existing or new prospective clients as well.

For more information or to see how it all works, reach out to us today so we can help you start the conversation.

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

DON’T OVERTHINK IT!

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC-Feb. 2019 Blog

 

When I first started in the business, I worked at a Prudential district agency.  A lot of things were different then.  For starters, there wasn’t one grey hair on my head but most importantly, there were not as many distractions around the sale of life Insurance.  It was pretty simple, we sold to true need. We sold Life Insurance!

 

I can vividly recall many of those kitchen table sales and the many lives that were changed by that stroke of the pen.  It was always a good feeling when we left a house at 10:00 at night knowing that we just insured the husband who had a wife and two kids that relied on him to keep the lights on.

Some of the old time agents in the office would talk to “the new guys” and tell us that we would never understand this business until we delivered our first death claim.  You really can’t understand that until you have done it.  Those words, as I learned years later, were so true.

The power of what we do is truly amazing.  Today however, I believe that many agents have lost sight of the simplicity of the life Insurance sale. We get smothered by abstract ideas and sales concepts that take away the true meaning of who we are.  We are Life Insurance Agents. Be proud of it.

On any given day, we see carriers releasing charts and graphs showing how competitive their particular product is for a 65 year old Preferred buying $1,000,000 of life insurance.  We see the IRR calculations, the interest fluctuations, etc.  We see complex sales ideas showing financing techniques, white papers and tons of interpretations to justify these techniques.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many situations where the esoteric stuff is appropriate and works just fine. But the basic “core” life insurance sale seems to be taking a back seat.

The life insurance marketplace is still one of the most underserved consumer bases out there.  If left on their own, consumers can turn to the internet and purchase commoditized versions of life insurance.  There are plenty of websites out there attracting these consumers.  But the reality is that that they will simply not buy or not buy enough life insurance.  They do need someone to guide them through the purchase.  After all, life insurance is a product that is “sold” and not bought.

The words of those old Prudential agents about delivering that first death claim hold up quite strongly today.  In fact, we can probably add a few words and take it one step further and add…“you won’t understand this business until you deliver your first death claim or facilitate your first Long Term care claim.” 

There are plenty of opportunities out there to sell life insurance.  Whether it is a plain vanilla sale or one that includes LTC benefits, don’t lose sight of the importance of what it is we do.

There is a virtual never ending market waiting to be sold and most times it is the simple sale that we overlook.

Don’t Overthink It!

 

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

 

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC –January 2019

 

 I recently had a conversation with a friend that was in need of some life insurance to protect his family.  With the exception of some small amount of group coverage, he basically had no life insurance.  This was concerning since he is 38 years old and has three children ages 12, 9 & 7.   He is the sole wage earner in his household, has a fairly large mortgage and his savings are modest.  It is a logical conclusion to say that if something were to happen to him, his family would surely suffer financially. 

He asked me about life insurance and he, like most people, was reluctant to talk seriously about the topic.  Before you read on, relax, this is not one of those stories that ends with me telling you that he tragically died and his family was left in financial ruin.  He wound up buying some term insurance but it took some convincing on my part.  It does prove the point however, that life insurance has to be “sold” and not bought.  He really didn’t understand how much he needed and what type was best for him so he could adequately protect his family. 

The main objection that kept resurfacing was the cost of the insurance.  The “cost“of life insurance is one of the most convenient excuses to not buy it.  The reality is that the cost is very low when you think about it, especially when you understand what it represents.  The paying off of a mortgage, income replacement, food on the table, etc.  The list can go on and on.

What’s funny is how much money is thrown away on the things that really do not matter.  As it turns out, my friend likes his Starbucks coffee every day.  His Grande costs him $2.10 every morning before he gets to his office.  That’s over $46 per month without even thinking twice about it.  His cell phone bill is $173 per month and his cable bill $256 per month.  These three things “HE CAN’T” do without and they amount to over $475 per month.

The irony is that if something happened to him, these are just a few items of a very long list that his family would have to do without.   For just about the cost of his cup of coffee ($46/mo.), a $1,000,000 term life policy could offer a great deal of financial security. 

Ultimately, he ended up procuring $2,500,000 of laddered term policies, some 15 Year and some 30 Year for a total $120 per month.  That worked out well for him but it never fails to amaze me how people will so easily shell out money for things like their Cell Phone Plans, Cable TV and even a cup of coffee and not realize the bigger picture.

This example has to do with an old fashioned sale of life insurance but the concept of the big picture is scalable.   It applies to almost any sales scenario involving the sale of the products that we provide.  It can just as easily be for a large estate planning situation, the funding for a buy-sell agreement or the purchase of Long Term Care protection. 

The bigger picture is what matters most.  It may be a bigger cup, but it all comes down to the price for that cup of coffee.

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Sales Vice President, Agent Support Group

By far, one of the largest fears of retirees is the notion of outliving their retirement assets. As the holidays are upon us, the focus is on spreading cheer, gift giving and being with family and friends. But we also can’t help being distracted by the daily market volatility that we are seeing on a daily basis. This definitely causes anxiety and feeds into those fears.

Knowing full well that outliving one’s retirement assets is of paramount concern, we as advisors have a tremendous opportunity to help our clients put plans in motion to help insulate and protect them against many of the financial threats that can destroy their plans for a sustainable financial future.

When planning for retirement, most people think that it is all about protecting their assets when the truth of the matter is that it is all about protecting INCOME. They often will not spend money and hoard their assets, tucking them away until they may need it. Through techniques at your disposal, there are many ways that you can protect your client’s income and truly guarantee that it will be there for as long as they live.

Some of the most common techniques used to guarantee income are through the use of individual annuity products. Most people will tell you that they don’t like annuities or simply don’t trust the insurance companies. The truth is that they don’t fully understand them. Here is the ultimate irony, Social Security and Pensions are nothing but “annuity” payments and I don’t see anyone turning away those checks when they arrive. So isn’t it reasonable to add another guaranteed annuity payment through the use of a “repurposed asset.” By purchasing an annuity, you are essentially adding an additional bucket of guaranteed income, because after all, it’s about protecting income and not assets.

The annuities can come in many different forms. The three most popular are Single Premium Immediate Annuities (SPIAs), Deferred Income Annuities (DIAs) and Deferred Annuities with Guaranteed Roll-Ups/Income Riders. With either one, or a combination of different types, you can provide your clients with very large streams of guaranteed income. If your clients truly understand what these products can do, they will most likely welcome them as part of their retirement portfolios and allay some of the fears of outliving their money.

Even if Guaranteed Income Annuities are incorporated into a “well balanced” income portfolio, the INCOME is still not 100% safe from all threats. So be sure to include some degree of Long Term Care protection into any retirement plan. In my opinion, no retirement program is complete without it. After all, you are not trying to guarantee that the nursing home gets their money, you want to protect your client’s income that was supposed to go to them first. The LTC element protects the income intended for them from going elsewhere and makes sure that there is extra income available for the LTC threat.

One last note, since annuities will usually spin off larger amounts of income than other types of assets, some of the money can be used to purchase life insurance that will be there for the heirs. Remember, the ultimate goal is to NOT outlive your retirement assets. Turning as much of it into guaranteed income is the key.

The holiday season is all about giving.

Just make sure that in addition to giving to others it also “tis the season to plan your future.”

Happy Holidays!!

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

The Last Dodo?

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
November 2018

The dodo bird inhabited the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, where it lived undisturbed for so long that it lost its need and ability to fly. It lived and nested on the ground and ate fruits that had fallen from trees. They basically lost their edge, and by the late 1600’s became extinct.

Are we the next Dodo? Are we as life insurance agents losing our edge? Have we become complacent? Have we lost our need and ability to fly?

When I first started in the business, I was fortunate enough to go through the training program of a major mutual company. Under the tutelage of my Sales Managers, I learned how to truly sell life insurance. Sadly, today, that really doesn’t exist anymore. The old fashioned way of training life insurance agents is a thing of the past. This lack of training has created a tremendous void of “new blood” that is able to service a marketplace, that more than ever, needs the products and tools that we provide.

When surfing the internet, looking through our e-mail or within social media platforms, we see tons of ads from insurance carriers that are marketing direct to consumers and trying to sell the same life insurance products that we are trying to sell. At first glance, it can be quite annoying. But when you think about it, what is the true value of that? Can a person manning the other side of the phone or even a totally automated quoting and application process do a better than job than you?

Life Insurance has been and always will be a product that needs to be “sold.” No matter how knowledgeable a consumer may be, they really don’t know the proper way to determine need. They don’t really understand what lies beneath the surface of a life insurance sale. Think back to any client you have sat with that started out by asking for $1,000,000 of term insurance. They think they will have enough, then you explain the subtleties of a surviving spouse being forced to sell their house and uprooting their children from the comfort of that home. And then what about the continuation of income, money for college educations, etc. If you have done your job correctly, they now understand that the amount they were originally seeking was not enough.

Shifting gears for a moment, that was the individual “kitchen table” sale. What about the business client and the need for a funded Buy-Sell Agreement that provides liquidity for the continuation of a business? Or better yet, the estate planning sale that provides funds for the taxes due for literally pennies on the dollar. And last but not least, the real need for Long Term Care Insurance. The list goes on and on.
The point in all of this is simple. The products and services that we, as insurance professionals provide, are needed today more than ever. We live in an age of obsolescence. Technology moves pretty quick. Even in our industry, it’s a real threat, but life insurance is not a commodity and it shouldn’t be sold as such.

There has never been a better time to be in our industry. Perfect your craft! Learn more about what makes our clocks tick and there will be an unlimited amount of opportunities waiting for you. The market is ripe and grossly underserved.

Do we want to follow the path of The Dodo, becoming complacent, losing our edge and our need and ability to fly? I don’t think so. ASG has all of the tools and resources that you need to assist you in perfecting your craft. Reach out to us today so we can show you how to NOT lose that edge.

 

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
June 2018

 

If you are looking for a way to keep up production for the summer months, one of the best ways to do that is to not forget good old fashioned Policy Reviews.  Whether you are talking to existing clients or trying to find some new prospective clients, always ask to review their current coverages.

One of the easiest approaches is to ask a client is they have any inforce insurance policies.  If they do, you know one thing already…THEY ARE ALREADY BUYERS!  People will typically refinance a mortgage; review their auto or homeowners policies on a regular basis.  This is typically done in an effort to save money.   When performing a policy audit/review, you may be able to save a client premium dollars but more importantly, you can introduce some of the newer types of life insurance plans that have some additional more attractive features that may not been available when they first purchased their insurance.

This may sound simplistic but most advisors have been overlooking the opportunities that exist.  Here are some key points to consider:

 Health Changes

When trying to review life insurance policies, it is important to keep in mind that health changes can make the largest impact for your clients or prospective clients.   One of the most common changes can be someone’s smoker status. We come across so many policies that were purchased when insureds were smokers.  Keep in mind that if someone has not smoked for only one year, you can start introducing non-smoker rates.  This makes a huge impact on premiums.  Additionally, look out for cigar and alternative tobacco users that have current policies rated for smoking that can also be considered as non-smokers.   Other impairments such as cardiac or cancer histories can be considered as Standard or better rates once time has elapsed on previously rating cases.

Rescue Underwater or Underperforming Contracts

There are older Current Assumption or Variable Life contracts that are either under water or have limited guarantees compared to newer fully guaranteed contracts.   There are also opportunities with older policies with cash value that can be transferred via 1035 Exchanges.  In any of these situations, you can improve a client’s position with either greater guarantees or lower out-of-pocket outlays.

Needs Change

Let’s not forget that needs change over time.  Perhaps there was a need for life insurance that was earmarked for a specific need that no longer exists.   Clients may need to “downsize” their insurance as those needs change or repurpose them into other, newly formed needs such as Long Term Care protection.  Taking advantage of 1035 Exchanges can be a valuable tool in these situations as well.

Obviously, there are many situations where a Policy Review can be beneficial to a client.  As simple as this sounds, many advisors overlook this.  As we enter into the summer months, consider this as great way to stay busy and generate substantial opportunities during a time that is typically slow for most.

So don’t forget…

To Review or Not to Review…That is the question!

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

 

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Partner, Agent Support Group-June, 2018 ASG Insight

 

 

 

When talking to a client about their life insurance needs, have you ever considered an approach that contains a “Complete Life Insurance Portfolio?”

There are many different types of life insurance products and no one product can accomplish all of the planning needs for a particular client(s).  So it is best to know and understand all of the product offerings that are available.   By understanding all of the different products and combing the best of all worlds, multiple needs are addressed within this “Portfolio of Products.”

Here are some of the different types of products and the main objectives of each:

Whole Life (Limited Pay) – Whole Life products are typically used to provide a minimal amount of death benefit and build the most amount of cash for the purpose of withdrawing tax-free income at some point in the future.   The majority of the cash value is reliant on non-guaranteed dividend payments.  This is the most expensive way to purchase life insurance on a per/1,000 basis.  If all of the available premium dollars are used for Whole Life, you run the risk of being under insured.

Term Life – as you know, term insurance is used to provide a large amount of death benefit for the lowest amount of premium.  This is a great way of providing the needed amounts of death benefit to cover temporary, short term needs for things like income replacement, mortgage protection, etc.

Guaranteed Universal Life – a great hybrid approach to providing permanent protection with a cost somewhere between Term & Whole Life premiums.   There are typically very little or no cash values associated with these types of products.  The attraction is the guaranteed premium structures and permanency of the death benefit.  These are most widely used for Estate Planning purposes.

Current Assumption Universal Life or Indexed Universal Life – these plans also offer a hybrid approach to pricing for death benefits and provide permanent protection.  They are designed to build cash values and give a large degree of premium flexibility compared to Whole Life, which offers very limited premium flexibility.   Similar to Whole Life plans, these policies can also be used to build cash value and  provide tax free income.  The values are usually based on either a fixed interest rate (that can be guaranteed) or on a non-guaranteed market index, such as the S&P 500.

As evidenced above, there are so many different products to choose from to address a multitude of planning needs.  In addition to the base products listed, there are also a number of additional features and benefits that can be added to some of these products.   They include, but are not limited to, Long Term Care & Chronic Illness Riders,   Guaranteed Income Triggers, Longevity Protection and Uncapped LTC Benefits.  These additions can appeal to a wind range of needs that cannot be addressed by some of the individual products listed.

By using a combination of the different products, features and/or riders, you can make better use of premium dollars and provide an iron clad “Life Insurance Portfolio” that will address a wide range of needs.  This diverse approach will undoubtedly increase your creditability and differentiate you from potential competition.

Contact your ASG representative to see how you can combine the different product designs for your client’s needs.

Leaving a Legacy

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Partner, Agent Support Group-March 2018

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” – Greek Proverb

As you are reading this today, there has been a large shift in the markets that we cater to. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was one of the largest changes to the tax code that we have experienced in a very long time. It has changed the attitudes of our prospective “buying” clients and has set the stage for different conversations.

The general public thinks that “Estate Planning” is something that was only for the rich and wealthy. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, everyone needs to do Estate Planning. If you own something, you need to have a plan. In its simplest form, an estate plan provides a road map to who gets your “stuff,” when they get it, who handles it and most importantly, sees to it that it gets where it needs to be in accordance with your wishes.

Of course there are many legal instruments that can be used to direct assets to the proper parties, such as Wills & Trusts. The bottom line is to make sure that assets get to where you want them to be. The opening part of this post shows a Greek Proverb that I came across some time ago and the words are very fitting as it relates to Estate Planning and Leaving a Legacy.

Through the planning process, and as a compliment to those legal documents, there are many things that can be done with the products and services that we provide to assure a lasting, meaningful legacy to the ones we care about the most. Here are just a few examples:

Parents Legacy to Children/Grandchildren:
It is often overlooked that annual gifts (measured by small annual premium payments), can leave large leveraged face amounts to children and grandchildren. Take a look below at a chart showing the power of leveraging those small annual premium payments. Using a $250,000 Survivorship Life GUL, the buying power is very strong. It is 100% guaranteed with no market risk.

Grandparents On-Going Gift:
By purchasing a life insurance policy on the life of a grandchild, they can provide a lifelong source of income that can be used as a vehicle to take money out during defining moments in that child’s life such as funds for college, a marriage or the purchase of a new home.

Also, an annuity can be purchased today that can be designed to release funds every year for the life of the grandchild. This kind of transaction has psychological implications. Long after the grandparent passes, each and every year monies are received and they will always be remembered.

Concentrated Stock Positions:
Sometimes we run into a situation where a client has a large concentrated stock position. We then ask what the ultimate goal is. Most times, it will be left to heirs.

In these situations, it may be advisable to liquidate that stock, take the net proceeds and procure a Guaranteed Life Insurance contract in its place. By implementing this strategy, we take out the market/timing risk component and can provide significantly higher tax-free distributions to heirs upon death, which significantly increases their legacy via the leveraging position of the life insurance.

Leaving a Charitable Legacy:
In cases where a client is charitably inclined, don’t forget the value of leaving a charitable legacy. The same rules apply to the leveraging component. Through life insurance proceeds, large amounts of assets can be left to causes that are near and dear to people and through that, they live on.

As an example, in a local township, a large amount of life insurance proceeds were left to a youth baseball league upon the death of its founder. He had been involved with the organization for over 40 years. They always had dreams of a huge, state of the art baseball park, but had limited means throughout his lifetime to do so. Through the utilization of a life insurance policy, a large endowment was created and a park was built in his name.

These are just a few examples of how to utilize the products and services that we provide for the purposes of leaving a legacy. Of course there are other ways in which we can provide a legacy, but this is a good sampling of how we can make a difference.

As the proverb stated at the beginning of this post, the one leaving the legacy may never sit it in the shade of that tree they planted, but the legacy they leave behind can provide that shade for many years to come.

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

 

 

 

 

By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Principal, Agent Support Group-2-2018

I was recently at an industry conference where I attended a panel discussion with a group of specialists in the Life Settlement Field. I have always explored Life Settlements as part of my everyday practice. For clients that are at least in their late 60’s and own a life insurance policy, we always make them aware that there is an alternative valuation method worth exploring when they are deciding to either lapse or cash surrender these older policies.

I thought that the life settlement marketplace was at a low, but after sitting through the panel discussion, it was apparent to me that the marketplace is alive and well and positioned very well for the foreseeable future. With the aging Boomer Generation retiring at a rate of about 10,000 per day, the inventory for these policies is tremendous. Many of the seniors who hold these policies originally purchased them at a point in their lives that they were looking for a means of protecting their families if something were to happen to them.
As these Boomers are retiring, their needs are shifting. Their children are grown and now have families of their own and the gap that the insurance policy once filled is no longer needed. Instead, this group’s focus is now on income generation, not outliving that income stream and having an overall worry free retirement. When looking at total assets, life insurance (if they have it), is often overlooked and not viewed as a monetized piece of the puzzle.

Here are some things to consider to determine if life insurance can be used as a tool to solve a number of post-retirement issues:

1. Do they have permanent policies with cash value?
Policies that have some degree of surrender value may be worth many times more than it’s actual surrender value. Depending on it’s valuation, a successful settlement transaction can possibly yield an amount equal to 15 – 20% (or higher) of the policy face amount.

2. Do they have older Convertible Term policies?
Some older term polices may still be convertible up to age 75. Under these circumstances, many policies will simply not be renewed/lapsed. If they are still convertible, there may be an opportunity to sell that policy since it can still be converted to a permanent plan. In this scenario, a large windfall of cash can be created that normally would have been foregone. Think of old Buy-Sell term policies as a good source of these types of policies.

3. Is a client looking to defray Long Term Care Costs?
If a client is looking for funds to help defray costs of Long Term Care expenses, older policies may just be the answer. Depending on the size of the policy, the proceeds of a Life Settlement can be used for those types of expenses.

4. Is a client looking to reduce costs of current coverages?
Some clients still have a need to continue coverage and you may utilize a 1035 exchange to transfer cash surrender values to reduce the out-of-pocket premium costs of a new policy. In these cases, a settlement can possibly produce a much larger amount than a policy’s cash surrender value/1035 proceeds. It can pay to explore this as an option for your older clients.

5. Have clients had a change in “situation?”
Sometimes due to a health issue or financial burdens, some policy owners simply cannot afford the premiums to maintain a policy. If this happens in early policy years, a settlement may help recover premium costs that would otherwise be forfeited.

6. Are your clients looking to produce guaranteed income?
One of the goals of your client may be to reposition assets and produce a source of supplemental retirement income. Proceeds from a life settlement transaction can be used to purchase Guaranteed Lifetime Income via a number of well-designed annuity contracts.

As advisors, it is incumbent upon us to present our clients with “all” options available to them. Life Settlements can be a good way to turn a normally “overlooked” asset into a tremendous source of funds that can be used in a number of ways to further assist our clients in achieving their financial goals. For the most part, start looking at your clients that are at least in their late 60’s and early 70’s that have older life insurance contracts. Pricing looks best when there has been a health change of at least a two tables from how they were originally issued (e.g. Issued at Preferred, Preferred Best or a Standard Rate Class and now would be rated or uninsurable).

As mentioned earlier, the Life Settlement Market is alive and well. There is an abundance of capital available to purchase older life insurance policies. I am not suggesting that it can be used for everyone, but it is an option available to our clients that can assist them with their changing needs. It is worth a look and who knows…

There Just Might Be Gold in Them Thar Hills!

 

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/