The Long Term Care Storm

By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC


A forecast is always helpful. It helps us prepare for events that can severely impact our lives. That’s why millions of us look to The Weather Channel when there is a storm coming. We want to know the facts. We want to know what is headed our way so that we can not only stay safe but properly prepare so that we can mitigate risk. So why should this be any different?

As a leading General Agency, we feel an obligation to you, the advisor, to provide you with insights and resources to guide you through “the storm” that we all face every day. To that end, we feel very strongly that the coming years will bring unprecedented challenges to you and the clients you serve. The Boomer generation is facing a huge crisis that we refer to as “The Silver Tsunami.” By the year 2030, it is projected that there will be over 72 Million older Americans over the age of 65. Of that, it is predicted that 70% of them will require some type of Long Term Care and over 40% will need a nursing home at some point in time.

The math is staggering. If nothing is done to prepare for this, it is apparent that many lives will be changed. Not only will the seniors requiring this care be affected financially, but the families around them will be as well. After all, less than 10% of the care provided will be from paid caregivers. So, what does that mean? Family members will be providing the large majority of care which will have a negative financial impact on them as well. Considering that almost 50% of children of retirees expect to eventually take care of their parents, it is even more impactful.

So, where is the money coming from to pay these expenses? Sure, it can come from personal assets, but we all know how that story ends; it’s gone before you know it. Why would anyone want to deplete a lifelong nest egg and sacrifice all they have worked for and built over the years when there is a better, more economic approach to mitigating that risk?

The answer is that today we have so many ways for you to provide products for your clients that can provide a full circle of benefits to protect against the threat of a Long Term Care event. They range from Stand-Alone LTC Policies, Blended Life Alternatives and Life Insurance with Long Term Care Riders.

The standalone marketplace has just seen even more contraction with additional carriers exiting the space. This leaves only a few players left. The long term sustainability of these types of policies does not look promising as the costs are not guaranteed and it is difficult to sell to a client when the premium structures keep going up. This has led the way for LTC Planning Alternative products that have been offering viable options to this marketplace.

The Blended Life designs are attractive havens for lump-sums of money that can be heavily leveraged to provide large Tax-Free pools of LTC benefits. There are several carriers offering these types of products on both a Universal Life and Whole Life chassis. Further, depending on the carrier, product and state of issue, there are a host of options available such as reimbursement or indemnity style benefits. There are also options available on a Survivorship Life platform with blended age ratings that can be used for Spouses, Same-Sex couples and Parent/Child variations. There are even provisions for un-capped lifetime benefit pools.

The next plan design, and probably the most popular, is the use of Guaranteed Universal Life with Long Term Care Riders. Unlike standalone LTC policies, the rates for these plans are guaranteed and do not have a “use-it or lose-it” approach as they relate to potential claims. If you never go on claim for the LTC benefit, there will always be a death benefit payable to your named beneficiaries. These are also available as either reimbursement or indemnity style and may also be available with certain carriers in a Survivorship GUL form.

Keep in mind that not every client will qualify for the Long Term Care/Life products outlined above. However, it’s important to note that it is possible to offer sub-standard rating classes for some of the above designs. In those cases, where clients would not qualify for the LTC options, there are also Chronic Illness variations available with some carriers that can provide similar types of benefits.

By utilizing these products, there a number of creative approaches that can be employed to help you guide your clients and their families through the risk management process of potential Long Term Care events. Every client has a different story and we can help provide solutions for a large number of them. Some of the techniques may include the repositioning of assets, such as Social Security benefits and “lazy cash positions.” Without getting too complicated however, paying smaller annual premiums to provide a guaranteed pool of money to guard against these threats can be the best approach.

As the forecast mentioned earlier, there is a Silver Tsunami approaching. Like any disaster, being forewarned gives us an opportunity to prepare. You will be able to get your clients ready for the coming storm and with the resources we can provide and properly protect them from the risks they can likely face.

Fall Is In The Air

By:  Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC

I love the Fall.  Of all of the seasons, it is definitely my favorite (and the reason why I will likely never move out of the Northeast).   On a fun note, and as a huge sports fan, for me fall brings us into Playoff Baseball, Football and the beginning of Hockey season.  And of course those Fall foliage trips that my wife loves so much (and makes me go on every year).  It also represents change as the leaves of the trees start shedding and we transition to the winter months.  And change is something that we have seen a lot of.

Change is definitely in the air and we have had our fair share.  We have seen product changes. Guaranteed Universal Life products are only available by a handful of carriers and even those have experienced major jumps in premiums.  We have seen a shift in term products as well with most carriers shifting towards Accelerated Underwriting Platforms in an effort to streamline the application process.  And in the very near future, it appears that we will have a significant overhaul in the estate planning world as we await guidance from Washington regarding tax law changes.

As we enter the last quarter, we are all thinking about how our sales year will end. Will I finish strong? Will I hit my goals, etc.? In an effort to bolster activity for year end, as well as giving us momentum into the new year, Policy Audits are probably the greatest source of generating instant client engagement and lead the path towards new sales.

The best thing about conducting policy audits is that the clients are already buyers of insurance products. When reviewing policies, we need to be looking at many things such as:

  • Health Changes
  • Underperforming contracts
  • Needs changing
  • Ownership & Beneficiary Issues
  • Life changing events
  • Tax Law Changes

Health changes can be a huge source of policy audit activity. Perhaps a policy was issued many years ago when there was a negative health event that was close to the time of the issuance of a policy that resulted in a sub-standard rating. For example, we recently completed a case where a replacement was made on a policy that was issued 8 years ago on a 61-year-old who had been rated Table 4 due to a cardiac event that took place 3 years before the original policy was issued. Now, 11 years past that event, and with stability, that same insured was issued with Standard rates. By utilizing a 1035 Exchange, premiums were lowered significantly and full guarantees to age 121 were achieved. These types of scenarios happen all the time. Sometimes they are as simple as uncovering an insured with smoker rates that has since stopped smoking.

One of the largest areas of opportunity that we see through Policy Audits are through life changing events. Older life insurance policies were purchased for different reasons (i.e. Income replacement, college planning, etc.). In many cases, the original need for the life insurance has diminished or gone away all together. In these situations, we are transitioning into the Long Term Care conversation.

These older policies, many of which have significant cash value, are being repurposed via 1035 exchanges into either income annuities and/or Hybrid Life-LTC policies. This type of transaction often uncovers the necessary funds to help protect against the threat of a long term health event.

Although the Policy Audit technique is an excellent way to work with existing clients, it is also a great way to open doors with new prospects. Asking them for the opportunity to review their existing coverage is an effective way of breaking the ice with those new prospective clients. In addition, it is also a way to get referrals from CPA’s, Attorneys and Trust Officers.

The fall represents a renewal and process to start a cycle all over again. In sales, our seeds have already been planted for the year and hopefully we are reaping the harvest by now.  With all the changes going on, have you planted the seeds yet for the new year that is fast approaching?  There is so much to talk to our clients about.  Use the changes wisely and as a backdrop to have powerful conversations with them that will undoubtedly lead to new sales opportunities.

Either way, don’t sell the Policy Audit short.  With all the changes going on, use the audit process to get in front of both existing and prospective clients.   The process will increase client activity, which in turn, will lead you to many new sales for year end and beyond.

Fall is in the air. Be sure to make it your best season ever!

by:  Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC

When I first started in the business, I worked for The Prudential as a District Agent. As “the new kid on the block,” the old time agents in the office would tell me that I would never understand this business until I delivered my first death claim. Fast forward a few years later, low and behold, they were right. When you deliver that check, you really do get it.

As I write this post (and as strange as it sounds), I am celebrating my 36th year in this business. As true as those words were (and still are), I pass on that same wisdom to newer agents today. But I add one more line. I tell them that in addition to that death claim, they won’t understand this business until they have processed their first Long Term Care claim.

The life insurance policies that we sell today have greatly evolved compared to what used to be sold. They have a number of living benefits built in such as Long Term Care or Chronic Illness Riders. These types of benefits play such an important role as we navigate our clients through the planning process.

Over the last year and a half, we have all changed our perspective as we have (and still are), enduring a global pandemic.  The mainstream media has filled our lives with non-stop chatter about sickness and death. To say that the public has changed their perspective on mortality is by far an understatement.  Our industry provides us with one of the most noble professions that one can be a part of. We really are in the business of changing lives. Even through a pandemic, the insurance industry has been able to make products easily available so that our clients can protect their families.  On that note, September is Life Insurance Month and in the spirit of that, I felt it was important to repost the following…


Many years ago, while attending an industry meeting, I was listening to a talk being given by one of the platform speakers.  During the speech, the speaker was talking about the industry as a whole and the importance of what we do for a living. He then proceeded to read the following to the group:


A life insurance policy is just a time-yellowed piece of paper, with columns of figures and legal phrases, until it is baptized with a widow’s tears. Then it becomes a modern miracle, a sort of Aladdin’s Lamp.

It is food, clothing, shelter, education, piece of mind.

It is the sincerest love letter ever written.

It quiets the crying of a hungry baby at night. It eases the heart of a bereaved widow. It is the comforting whisper in the dark silent hours of the night. It is a new hope, fresh courage and strength for the widow to pick up the broken threads of life and carry on.

It is an education for the sons and daughters (a chance for a career, instead of the need for a job). It is a father’s parental blessing to his children on their wedding day. It is the function of a father’s hopes and dreams for his family’s future.

Through life insurance he lives on. There is no death. Life insurance exalts life and defeats death.

It is the premium we pay for the privilege of living after death.


Although it is a bit dated and arguably a bit corny, it is powerful nonetheless. This piece was written back in 1929 by Jack J. Leterman, who established the first John Hancock Agency in the state of Virginia. As a 30 year plus veteran in the industry, I was extremely taken by these words and have had them framed in my office ever since. I take any opportunity to share these words with as many life insurance professionals as possible.

What we do is so unique and powerful. These words are the core of what we do and I believe today, more than ever, it is so important to spread the importance of these words to our clients. This is what life Insurance was intended to do but as we all know it has become so much more than that.

Not only does it accomplish the most simplistic form of protection to surviving spouses and children such as, Income Replacement, Mortgage Protection, or College Funding. It provides solutions to a host of other, more complex problems facing our clients today. Whether we use Life Insurance to provide liquidity for heirs of larger estates, provide Supplemental Retirement Income, funding Buy/Sell Agreements, Key-Man Protection, etc., we are positioned to use this powerful product to find solutions to these, and other planning challenges.

With uncertainties surrounding us, it is a great feeling to know that we can provide so much in the form of “piece of mind” with a simple stroke of the pen.  Although the words above are over 90 years old, the core principles behind them truly capture What Life Insurance Really is.



By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC

I don’t know about you, but I’m an Olympic junkie.  I can’t get enough of it.  Although the Swimming and Diving are probably my favorite, I so look forward to my fix of Water Polo every four years (or in this case five).    I am an awe of all of the athletes that strive for greatness as they come to the world stage to compete.  They are truly inspiring, which is probably why I am attracted to the games.

As all of the athletes compete and strive for their very best, I often reflect on myself to see if I am doing the same, not just in my personal life, but as a professional in the insurance industry.

Have you ever asked yourself, When it comes to selling our products, what is the measure of success?  What puts us on the “medal stand?”  For each of us, the answer may be different.  For some it may be as simple as an income goal and for others it can be how many families they have helped or how much face amount they have put on the books. Whatever it is, are we striving for the best that we can be?

On a daily basis, I measure my successes by how many agents I speak to and assist with their respective clients.  My experience in the industry, and the knowledge that I have, allows me to reach many more consumers and exponentially provide solutions for them.

Like the Olympics, our field of play includes a number of “events” that measure our journey to the podium.  This last year we were introduced to a new event called “Zoom Selling,” that challenged us in new ways.    Whether you are selling Life Insurance, Annuities, Disability Income or Long Term Care protection, it is important to keep up the level of professionalism and keep bringing these important products to your clients.

The products we sell are so vital and play such an important role to the many families we serve.  In fact, these very products can make such a difference for these families by allowing widows and children to strive for the all the things they want and their dreams and aspirations of a secure future.

The good part is that we, as insurance professionals, don’t necessarily have to make it to the medal stand.  We can miss it by a fraction of a second and still win because of what we provide.  It really won’t matter when the check gets delivered.

In the true spirit of the Olympics, what will be important, is that you were there and you competed.

Keep up what you do best. Continue to strive for excellence and keep providing your clients with financial security through the many products you provide.

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC



No, that’s not a typo. That’s what I meant. Independence Day is upon us, but with all the freedoms that we celebrate, it is fitting to talk about the freedoms that we can provide for our families, our heirs, our Dependents.

There is nothing worse than witnessing a catastrophic event that can wipe out all that we have worked for our whole lives. Too many times, we see this happen to our clients, friends and others and it all comes down to poor planning. We live in a time where there is so much discussion about outliving retirement funds, what to do in the event of a long term care event, etc. As advisors, we have the ability to discuss a myriad of products and planning techniques with our clients to assure that they have done the proper planning to protect themselves (or their Dependents), against unforeseen life events.

What can we do to fill in the gaps? The short answer…A LOT.

Life Insurance – of course, the simple answer is Life Insurance. This has always been there to help Dependents get back on their feet. It can provide so many things; continued income, college educations, provides life long income for survivors, estate liquidity and the list goes on.

Long Term Care Insurance – providing a policy that will help offset the costs associated with a health care event requiring nursing home or home health care needs. This can be accomplished on an individual basis or under a Blended-Life design.

Disability Income Insurance – providing the replacement of one’s income with benefits should that person be unable to provide income due to some type of health impairment.

Income Annuities – for some clients, we can provide them/surviving spouse with an income that they can never outlive.

The above list is the more traditional approach for Dependent planning. But in today’s marketplace, we can go many steps further…

Living Benefits have become the popular trend in our industry and if you are not taking advantage of them, it’s going to cost you potential clients. Living Benefits enhance the traditional planning methods outlined above and ease the burdens on their Dependents. Here are some of the Living Benefits that you should be implementing with your clients:

Long Term Care Riders– LTCR’s can be added to Life Insurance policies and will allow your clients to access their death benefits should they have a life event requiring Long Term care needs. Although they come with different access definitions (e.g. indemnity v. reimbursement), the end result is the same, an ability to use a life insurance policy as a means to ease the burden on Dependents. They are even available on a rated basis for those that could normally not qualify for an individual LTC policy. Now, when a client objects to buying life insurance because “they won’t benefit from it,” in this case they can. This is a powerful tool to use and a great innovation to a standard life insurance policy.

Chronic Illness Riders similar to the Long Term Care Riders, these benefits allow early access to death benefits for permanent types of illnesses. Once again, easing the strain on Dependents.

Guaranteed Income Riders– through the use of new annuity product designs, these riders can guarantee income to annuitants based upon the high watermark values of a contract. This allows individuals to receive a higher guaranteed income, regardless of market conditions that can deplete values prior to retirement.

Disability – for those of you in the term marketplace, there is a policy available to pay premiums and possibly convert a policy to something permanent in the event of a permanent disability.

Living Benefits have taken the traditional approach to selling our products and taken them to a new level. These benefits are designed with an underlying theme for you to bring to your clients…easing the burden on their Dependents.

So, as we celebrate our country’s independence with our families, eating our hot dogs, hamburgers and watching fireworks, let’s think for a moment about how we assist our clients in protecting what is most important to them and…


By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU,CLTC

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 features that may not been available when they first purchased their insurance.

When reviewing inforce policies, we utilize a technique called The PPH Process

(or Product- Purpose-Health Review)…










This notion of a policy review 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.  To learn more about The PPH Review Process and how it works, contact us today.

And don’t forget…

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


By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC

May is Disability Income Awareness Month.  As a life insurance professional specializing in solving a number of planning issues revolving around someone’s death, it is easy to forget about the importance of providing Disability Income along the way.

After all, we are in the business of risk management and the likelihood of a health event causing someone to lose income is statistically higher than for a premature death triggering a life insurance claim.    Just over  1 of 4 of today’s 20 Year olds will become disabled before they retire. And accidents are not usually the cause. Back injuries, cancer or heart disease lead the way to the majority of long term absences from the workplace.  In addition, most situations are not work related and therefore not covered under worker’s compensation.

With the average disability claim lasting  just over 34 months, the large majority of Americans do not have adequate savings set aside to make up for lost earnings during that timeframe.  Here are some additional statistics from the American Council of Life Insurers, Federal Reserve and The Social Security Administration:

  • At least 51 million working adults in the United States are without disability insurance other than the basic coverage available through Social Security.
  • Only 48 percent of American adults indicate they have enough savings to cover three months of living expenses in the event they’re not earning any income.
  • Almost half of American adults indicate they can’t pay an unexpected $400 bill without having to take out a loan or sell something to do so.

Clearly, there are huge financial consequences that come with not planning for an event like the loss of income due to a disabling event.

Anyone that is on any form of social media can attest to the sad stories we see about someone in our community that was in an accident or became suddenly ill.  Often times, a Go Fund Me page is established to help that family who is so desperately in need of financial assistance.  The insurance plans that we offer can be that ultimate Go Fund Me page.

At ASG, we have access to the top Disability Income providers.  Similar to the Non-Medical programs available for life insurance, there is even a way to provide high limits of Disability Income protection non-medically as well.  There are many ways to structure a plan with different elimination periods, plan durations and  optional riders such as Cost of Living Increases and Guaranteed Future Purchase Options.  With all of the options available, you will be surprised just how affordable this important coverage can be.  Get into the habit of requesting a proposal, especially if you are already quoting a life insurance plan.

In the spirt of Disabiity Awareness Month, Don’t forget about Disability Income – It is One More Arrow in Your Quiver!!!

By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC



Annuities are the worst planning tool!  They can do unspeakable things like…

  • Guarantee competitive high rates of interest
  • Act as a safe market hedge
  • Can guarantee to double for income purposes
  • Can guarantee income for as long as you (and/or) surviving spouse live

Yeah!  Annuities are a horrible thing to have as part of a well balanced portfolio.  All of those benefits listed above are just a sampling of the useless advantages that you can get from them. So why would you ever consider purchasing one?   Here’s why…

Unfortunately, when the word “ANNUITIES” are thrown into the mix, there is usually negativity that surrounds it.  Annuities are probably one of the most misunderstood financial instruments.   Like any financial tool, annuities, if used properly, can play an integral part of a well structured retirement plan.

There are many different types of annuities that are available in the marketplace.  They come in many different forms; deferred, variable, fixed, etc.   You have to be very careful with some contract designs that have huge fee and expense charges, so knowing the nuances between products is very important.  However, a plain vanilla Multi Year Guarantee Annuity (MYGA) can provide contract holders with a competitive, safe & dependable guaranteed interest rate that talks to a risk averse client base.  Especially as we continue in the current low interest environment, when compared to other fixed alternatives such as CD’s and other cash equivalents, Annuities can greatly outperform these options.

But annuities are much more than that.  Annuities can be used creatively to help your clients with a number of unique planning solutions.

Single Premium Immediate Annuities (SPIAs) are one of the most underused planning tools. They are extremely versatile and be used effectively in so many sales scenarios.

Market Downturns

In the case where you have clients that have lost money in the market and have not  fully recovered, SPIAs are a great way of making up the difference without risk.    The downturns probably impacted their ultimate desired amount of retirement income and a SPIA can be utilized to fill in those gaps and possibly put them back to where they planned on being.

SPIA/Life Combo

If clients have non-qualified funds that are not needed, you can take income (annuitize), pay the tax and with the net income, make gifts and purchase trust owned life insurance outside of the taxable estate.  This technique is extremely helpful with respect to transferring assets to the next generation.  (Note: Older life insurance contract cash values can be transferred via a 1035 Exchange into annuity contracts (i.e. SPIA’s), maintaining the integrity of basis and lowering the taxable portion that is being distributed.)

RMD Scenarios

For clients that are taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from IRA assets when they turn 72, SPIAs can be a helpful tool.  The qualified funds can be annuitized and the income generated will be fully taxable on an annual basis but the corpus of money will be out of the taxable estate.  In this scenario, the net proceeds (out of the IRA), can be used to purchase life insurance.  The net result is a significant amount of income tax savings and the heirs can ultimately receive a greater amount of assets tax free. This has driven greater interest after The Secure Act was enacted that limited Qualified distributions to Non-Spousal beneficiaries.

Competing with Guaranteed Income Benefit Riders

There is a lot of talk about the Guaranteed Income Benefit Riders, which can be costly.   Often times if you compare the Guaranteed Income payouts to that of a SPIA, the SPIA incomes are guaranteed on a higher level.  It is worth comparing if you have any situations like this.

Longevity Planning

One of the major concerns of people today is outliving their retirement assets.    A huge benefit of a SPIA is that you cannot outlive the income stream.  Whether you live 5 years or 50 years, the income will continue for your lifetime. This can easily be set up for a husband and wife so that the income will continue until the second spouse passes.  (Note: When structuring life income payments, a common objection is that if the annuitant(s) dies, payments cease.  

We never implement a payout option without an Installment Refund.  This assures that if the annuitant(s) die prior to receiving at least a return of the annuity purchase amount, payments will continue to a named beneficiary until that threshold is satisfied).

Multi-Generational Gifts

SPIAs can also be used to pay income on the life of multiple annuitants.  Perhaps a grandparent wants to provide income to a grandchild.  Funds can be deposited into an annuity with both listed as annuitants.  Even after the grandparent passes, income can continue for the life of the grandchild.   This can be a great way of being remembered for years to come.

Something else to consider, SPIA’s can also be used to either fund fully or defray the cost of Long Term Care premiums.  We have been repurposing funds that were earmarked to cover “self-funded” long term care expenses.  By utilizing those dollars into annuity, and funding some type of LTC or Hybrid LTC product, we are able to create a much larger leveraged bucket that provides far more LTC benefits.

Another area where annuities can be extremely helpful is using the “Guaranteed Roll-up” Options.”    These options, usually found within Fixed Indexed Annuity Contracts, you can guarantee that the annuity deposit,  in some cases, will double for income purposes in as early as 10 years regardless of market conditions.   The older an annuitant, the higher the eventual income payout.  This can be a great longevity hedge or used to fund future life insurance and/or LTC policy premium in the future.  Either way, it can be an extremely effective strategy.

As you can see, annuities are a horrible tool.  

In actuality, annuities are misunderstood and not utilized to their full potential.  They offer a wide range of planning opportunities and if used in the right situation can help a number of clients achieve and protect their financial security.

The above is only a sampling of how annuities can be used effectively in a well-constructed financial plan.  For more information on how to incorporate annuities into some possible sales situations, call us today.

Don’t Overthink It!

Don’t Overthink It!
By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC

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.  With the pandemic still a huge part of our lives, we , as insurance professionals,  can cater to a client base that is looking for something so simple, protection for their families.

Don’t Overthink It!



By Mark Milbrod, CLU, CLTC

Over the next few weeks, our clients will start receiving their annual tax documents in preparation for the filing of their 2020 Tax Returns.  Although many people have had a difficult year, it is still important that planning gets done.  Taxes still need to be paid and as American as apple pie, our favorite Uncle has his hand out for his piece of it.

Tax season is upon us and with it comes our best prospecting tool, THE TAX RETURN.

There are countless sales opportunities that arise out of this time of year.   The clients themselves will be focused on the financial aspect of their lives. Whether its retirement plan contributions, annual gifts, charitable contributions, etc., it will be fresh on their minds.

As stated above, a tax return is probably our best sales prospecting tool.   As financial professionals, where else can you get a blueprint 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:

  • 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.
  • Taxable Interest– See where this income is coming from.  There can be a more tax efficient way to invest funds.
  • Business Income– knowing where business income comes from can start the conversation for business succession planning, key employee coverage’s, etc.
  • 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.
  • Partnership/S-Corp Income– knowing if there are partnerships and K-1 Income, perhaps buy-sell planning can be in order.
  • Social Security Benefits– are they receiving SS benefits?  Do they need it?  For a couple, one income would be lost upon a first death. Perhaps a more efficient use of those funds can be the answer. Maybe they need life insurance to make up for the drop in income?
  • Capital Gains– where are their assets? Is there a better use of those assets? Perhaps annuities would be suitable?
  • 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? Perhaps repurposing assets for the sake of LTC benefits would be appropriate?
  • 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
  • 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.  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, before the CPA’s get too deep into their season, this is also a great opportunity to reach out to those relationships and discuss with them some key items to watch out for when they are preparing returns for their clients.

Once they know what to look out for, they can become a great source of referrals for you.  Perhaps creating a “cheat sheet” as a leave behind for the CPA would be a great tool that they can keep handy.  This “cheat sheet” will identify those line items and how they may lead to creative solutions for their clients.  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 blueprint provided by our favorite uncle.