"The Blizzard Of 2016 - What Did We Learn As It Relates To Life Insurance?"I know what I learned – make sure your snow blower works at the beginning of the season.

As many of us do, we take things for granted. With so much going on, and the mild winter we had to date, I wasn’t thinking about snow. Moreover, I wasn’t thinking about my snowblower. So, as our good friend Murphy would have it, his law applied to my snowblower not working when I needed it most. Basically. It was too late to do anything about it and the good old-fashioned shovels were put hard to work (very hard for that matter). As I type this post, I have pains in my back and I am feeling the after effects of the shoveling and more importantly, the lack of planning that put me in that position in the first place.

This brings me to my point. We, as Insurance Professionals have a responsibility of helping our clients get through the “Blizzards of Life.” Are they prepared? Do they understand the importance of the products we breathe down the necks? Do they take it for granted?

Our clients have lots of snow to clear. They have responsibilities, incomes to replace, college educations to fund and futures to secure. There are so many new and innovative products available today that can help you properly plan with your clients. Here are some quick reminders of approaches to selling life insurance products…

Sell to Need and NOT COST

Always determine the correct amount of life insurance needed. If the cost becomes too high for the client, find other ways to provide the needed amount. You can always ladder different term durations to bring the cost down or simply build a “portfolio of products” to provide the needed amount of coverage.

Don’t Forget POLICY AUDITS

Policy Audits are a great way of helping clients either save money or enhance their product portfolio. There have been significant price reductions and product enhancements that can expand the types of benefits provided under their current plans. People review their Auto or Homeowners policies all the time as well as refinance mortgages for a “better deal.” Life insurance should be no different. Besides , most inforce policies are not adequately protecting their needs and often have improper Ownership and Beneficiary arrangements that were put in place by a current agent. This service proves to be invaluable and solidifies your credibility.

Supplemental Retirement Planning

With limits on Qualified Plan Contributions and the uncertainty of Social Security, it is important to have multiple vehicles for retirement savings. Let’s not forget that Cash Value Life Insurance Policies still provide Tax Deferral and Ultimate Tax Free Withdrawal capabilities. And if an insured dies prematurely, a death benefit is paid to their beneficiaries. Believe it or not, this is one of the most overlooked features of life insurance.

Long Term Care Planning

Life Insurance policies are now being sold with Long Term Care Riders that allow for an acceleration of benefits should the insured have an LTC health event. These products create a guaranteed pool of money that acts as protection against assets that would potentially be lost if there were a qualifying LTC event. With the LTC Crisis looming over our aging Boomer Generation, this has become one of the most integral planning benefits that we can provide. Individual LTC policies have non-guaranteed rate structures and are “use it or lose it” in terms of claims exposure. The Life Insurance/LTC Hybrid products usually have Guaranteed Premium structures and Ultimate Death Benefits payable, making them self-completing and most attractive.

So the lesson of The Blizzard of 2016 becomes a metaphor for insurance planning. Don’t get caught with that “snowblower” that doesn’t work when the storm has already hit. It’s just too late at that point to do anything. The plows come and the snow will eventually melt away but families will be better off if they plan properly for those “Blizzards of Life.”

Mark Milbrod

About Mark Milbrod

Mark’s Barks Blog is authored by Mark Milbrod, the Principal of our New Jersey Sales Office. Mark brings over 30 years of experience to his insightful commentary on the insurance industry. Through his Blog posts, you will learn about new sales trends, be educated on selling techniques and overall, think differently about your role as an insurance professional.

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