Technology-678-247Do you remember…..when we actually got the true news of the day between 7:00 and 7:30 PM? When TV on a phone was a fairy tale? When cell phones came in a battery pack case with a phone larger than our heads? When a PC had all of its storage space residing solely on external floppy discs?

Do you remember George Jetson and his flying car? OK, we haven’t gotten there yet but I’m sure you get the point. Besides, driving around in New Jersey, I’m scared of that one. Drivers are bad enough on the ground, couldn’t imagine flying cars out there.

It’s all about Technology. Technology has certainly changed our lives and will continue to do so for years to come. We are bombarded with information daily. We used to get our news once a day, now it comes in as it happens on our Smartphones. Every aspect of our lives has changed. In fact, every business, including our own has undergone a tech change.

When I first started in the business, we sat with clients and quoted life insurance premiums, guaranteed cash values, projected cash values, term rates, etc. with a special tool called a RATEBOOK. Yes, a RATEBOOK. NO sales illustrations. If you had a yellow pad, you were on your way. We also had to make sure we kept an ample supply of applications in the trunks of our cars so we could take an app at any time. We would then go back to our offices, make photocopies, submit the app and store everything in file cabinets that took up an entire storage room.

Through technology, that entire process has changed. Even the actual sale is different today. Here’s a real life sale that took place several months ago. An advisor that I deal with was on the golf course and starts a conversation (as only an insurance agent can do), and proceeds to tell what he does for a living. The client he is talking to tells him that he was just looking into buying $5,000,000 of term life insurance. The advisor asked him some questions (age, health, etc.), takes out his iPhone, utilizes the quote engine on our ASG Mobile App, comes up with the premium within seconds and winds up selling a policy on the golf course. After finishing their round, they had lunch at the clubhouse. The advisor downloads the application for the carrier they selected, our HIPPAA form, has it printed out at the golf club and has a signed app, an exam order and a new client all by utilizing the technology to his advantage.

That’s a lot different than how it used to be done. It’s possible that the conversation could have led to a future meeting between the two and resulted in an “old- fashioned” sale but the client was HOT to buy and got it done that day, on the spot! That’s a great story but a testament to how things have changed through technology. As we point out, our mobile app is truly “A Virtual Office in the Palm of Your Hand.” This just proves it.

There are so many other ways to improve your practice using technology. Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great ways to reach and stay connected to your current clients. By utilizing this media, you can increase your touches by informing your clients of important information that affects them. You may not have been able to do that by individual one-on-one contact since there is only so much time in a day. In the world we live in, the culture has changed to an “I need it now” mentality. Social Media affords you the ability to get information to your client “NOW.”

There are great apps/programs that will even allow you to send documents such as applications, service forms and delivery requirements that they can sign on their Tablets and iPads and instantly send back to you. That’s efficiency at its finest. Not to mention the countless savings on overnight packages associated with obtaining signatures the old-fashioned way. There is also an intuitive underwriting tool that allows you to accurately quote impairments within minutes. This can surely differentiate you from your competition by allowing you to pinpoint ratings and more efficiently manage your client’s expectations.

The average person will check their Smartphone 150 TIMES A DAY (That’s one look every 9.6 Minutes or 6 times an hour). Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Alert Messages, e-Mails, Blog Posts, Articles, etc., these are the things that people are looking at during those 150 looks. Why would you want to miss out on using this technology?
Through technology, we have gone paperless. All of client data is stored electronically either on local drives or somewhere in the cloud, where we can access the information virtually anywhere. Information is available for any of our clients as fast as we can type their names on a keyboard. This is so much more cost effective and lowers our overhead, which increases profitability.

1. Why change anything? I have always been successful doing what I have been doing?
2. My sales & marketing methods work just fine.
3. This stuff is too complicated to learn.

As you’re reading this, one of the three “excuses” may have popped into your head. The fact is that there is proof in numbers. You don’t have to accept it , but you will feel the negative effects of it if you ignore it.

Technology has changed everything around us. The Life Insurance business included. In a recent meeting I attended, there was a speaker talking about technology. He used a phrase called “Humology,” which he explained as the joining of humans with technology. If you don’t embrace it, you will not survive long in the business world. The Life Insurance Industry is no exception. It has definitely improved the way we conduct business and can be responsible for more sales down the road. The trick is to fully embrace it. If the average person looks at their Smartphone 150/day, wouldn’t we want that look to be meaningful and get OUR message across. We have their attention, let’s make it pay off.

"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.


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.”

"Eye opening sales ideas for 2016"10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Another year in the books and we find ourselves back to square one. Hopefully 2015 was a successful year and you have your goals set and a plan to get there for 2016.

So it wouldn’t disappoint us, our industry once again presented us with some challenges. It is still uncertain as to where the DOL Fiduciary rules will take us and it seems that the attack on cash value build up has been shelved for the time being. We did however see a number of carriers raise their COI charges on Universal Life products and that is likely to continue in 2016. On the bright side, we have seen a lot of opportunities arise as well. There have been many product improvements and innovations that have given us more products and services to present to our clients.

To start the year off right, here are a few sales ideas to get you going…

Low-Interest Rate – Income Alternative – Many clients are still experiencing very low yields on fixed money instruments. Don’t forget the power of Single Premium Deferred Annuities (SPIAs) as a part of a portfolio. SPIAs can provide significant, measurable guaranteed income that can greatly enhance the income bottom line. Utilizing SPIAs properly can not only provide modest returns to the recipient but can also be used to purchase life insurance in addition to or in place of income. This will depend on a number of factors that will vary from client to client, but if you’re not looking at SPIAs as a planning tool, you should.

Guaranteed Premium Refunds – We have all come across that cynical client that won’t buy life insurance because “there’s nothing in it for him.” By utilizing Guaranteed Refund Options, that client, at defined window periods, can receive all their premium payments back with no questions asked regardless of the cash value build up in the contract. Basically, it’s a contractual guarantee by the insurance carrier. This is also helpful when there are insurance needs today that may not be there down the road. It offers a unique planning option that would not ordinarily be available.

Matrimonial Attorneys – In most divorce decrees, there are provisions providing for life insurance for the ex-spouse and usually term insurance is used. You should be talking to Matrimonial Attorneys about adding Long Term Care language into their documents. After all, if a couple applies for LTC together, they receive a large premium discount. This is because the healthy spouse, upon claim, becomes the primary caregiver to the stricken spouse. Using that logic, wouldn’t it make sense to have Long Term Care language placed into a divorce decree? After all, through a divorce they are losing their primary care provider. They are quick to add life insurance, but the likelihood of death is less likely than an LTC event. Life Insurance with Long Term Care Riders can then be used to fund the provision. In most cases, this also leads to an individual sale to the spouse(s) for their individual LTC needs.

Longevity Protection – Outliving money is a common concern of most people. Unlike Long Term Riders that will provide access to your death benefit after a health trigger, there is also a way to access that same death benefit as if it were cash WITHOUT a health trigger. This becomes extremely helpful and creates a guaranteed pool of money as a hedge against longevity. If you live too long, you can start accessing your death benefit as cash. In short, someone buys a Life Insurance contract today and provides their families with the needed protection in case they die prematurely. If they don’t and the need for the life insurance is no longer there, the same policy can become extremely useful as a means of providing additional income when they need it most and can lessen the fear of outliving their retirement funds.

As you can see from the sales ideas above, Living Benefits are becoming a more integral part of the planning process and gives us, the insurance professionals, so much more to talk about. These sales ideas are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s available to you. Our industry will always have turmoil and uncertainty but it is our job to not get caught in trap of negativity and focus on what the positive aspects of the business are.

Again, I hope you’re 2015 was everything you wanted it to be but I am sure that with the tools available to you that 2016 can be your most successful year ever.

Happy New Year and Happy Selling!


christmas-decoration_fJMy-NcOIsn’t that what it’s all about? Stuff !!!!!! I recently read that this holiday season is supposed to be one of the biggest ever for retailers. Something to the tune of $965B. So while we rush out on our families on Thanksgiving afternoon to get a jump on those Black Friday deals and trample our fellow shoppers for that “deal,” let’s take a step back and think about things for a moment.

With the commercialization of the holiday season, the true meaning of the holiday season has definitely been lost. But that’s an entirely different topic for another day. That number up above is staggering. Materialistic things are purchased with the notion of making the recipient happy. But I can guarantee that the large majority of “gift givers” are not thinking of the ultimate gift that they can give to their families, which is financial security if something that were to happen to them. Of course, I’m talking about life insurance.

It’s a tough sale to start talking to clients about life insurance during holiday time, but what is interesting is that family is on the minds of people most during this time of year. I’m not saying to run out and buy a life insurance policy, wrap it with pretty paper and bows and leave one under the tree in place of all the good “stuff.” What I am saying is that the topic needs to be brought up. If people are spending all of that money on gifts for the ones they love, wouldn’t it make sense to take a small amount of that to make sure that regardless of what happens, there will be financial piece of mind to make sure that all of the important things such as a home, food and other essentials will always be there. And guess what, there will still be money left over for the fun stuff.

Because of the leverage of life insurance dollars, it doesn’t take much to provide large legacies. Of the total amount of expected retail sales this holiday season, can you imagine how much life insurance can be purchased with just ½ of one percent of that figure.

Today’s marketplace provides for some of the most diverse products that we have seen in years. There is Traditional Term, Whole Life, Guaranteed Universal Life, Indexed Universal Life as well as unique Long Term Care solutions. All of these products address the needs of our clients in many different ways. Whether it’s a spouse providing income continuation, a parent providing funds to provide for their children or a grandparent leaving a legacy, each product sale comes with the real value; financial security.

So just keep in mind during this holiday season when families are on the minds of most, it’s not just about those diamond earrings, the X-Box or the iPad, its more than that. It’s about giving the most thoughtful, loving gift of all…Financial Security.

Just some thoughts to ponder during this holiday season.

What Is Legacy

what_is_LegacyMiriam Websters dictionary defines the word Legacy as follows:

1: a gift by will especially of money or other personal property
2: something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past

That’s how they see it and that’s how most people understand it. But how does it relate to our everyday life as Insurance Advisors? A life insurance policy is an instant legacy that can be used in so many ways. It can be looked at as the continuation of income provided by a father or mother to replace the income they would have provided if not for a tragedy of some kind. It can also be used to pay off a mortgage and provide for a college education. That’s life insurance in its most simple form. But let’s look beyond that for a moment.

In a large majority of planning scenarios that we come across, we find that parents (Gen 1) are monetarily helping their children and grandchildren more and more. It’s simply harder today for their children to have what they had. It’s more expensive to live, incomes are dropping, college costs are soaring and the future does not look financially bright. Via life insurance, namely Second-to-Die Life insurance, we are seeing a large increase in sales that Gen 1 is looking to secure a lasting legacy so that their children & grandchildren are protected long after they are gone.

Small annual gifts are being utilized to leverage large legacies through life insurance proceeds. The legacies provided under the life insurance policies are certainly meaningful. There are psychological implications to this sale as well. A parent, knowing that their children are provided for so that they can have a comfortable life is a good feeling for most. Especially when you factor in grandchildren, who are usually the apple of the eye of most grandparents. Knowing that you can be responsible for a grandchild’s college education, paying for their wedding or the purchase of a new house is something of a lasting legacy. People want to be remembered and what better way to be remembered then to leave a legacy that can do so much.

In fact, there are some grandparents buying Joint Life Annuities with themselves and their grandchildren as the joint annuitants. Every year on the grandchild’s birthday, a new annuity payment is made to them. It’s a pretty interesting idea to know that every year when the check comes in, it’s from your grandfather or grandmother. A far cry from the $5 bill that was in the birthday card we would get in the mail as kids. And what’s interesting, because the joint annuitant is so young, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to set that up and will last a lifetime.

Bottom line, it’s a good idea to include the Legacy conversation when talking to clients, especially their Attorneys and CPA’s. They know what the client’s desires are and in a lot of cases their Gen 1 clients want to help their children and grandchildren. As we near the end of the year and tax season is around the corner, you might want to start some of these conversations now.

I’ll leave you with this. I came across an old Greek Proverb and thought it was fitting as it relates to this topic…

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

If you think of all your clients and prospects, you should yield lots of forests in the years to come.

Building The LTC Bridge

LTCBridgetheGapBy now we have all heard the argument for Long Term Care Insurance. We know how important it is and why our clients should have it. The irony is that 95% of the people that should have it don’t, and if a Long Term Care event happens, 95% or all of what someone has built over their lifetime can be gone before you know it.

So, why aren’t we selling more of it? The truth is that it is a very emotional sale and most people will back off for many reasons, but primarily because it is too expensive and people would much rather spend that money on other things. There are a host of other objections/excuses that are thrown out to us, such as:

  • “I’m in good health. I’m going to live a long time and won’t need it”
  • “No one in my family as ever needed it”
  • “I’ll drop dead suddenly and not need any on-going care”
  • “I can give away our assets and have the government pay”
  • “I can invest the money and make out better “
  • “My medical insurance will pay”
  • “My kids will take care of me”
  • “I’ll deal with it when the time comes”
  • “I’ll put some extra money away”

Do any of these sound familiar? I’m sure they do. What many people don’t realize is that when something does happen, and statistically 6 out of 10 people will require some degree of long term care in their lifetime, it is often financially devastating to the family. Aside from the emotional toll, savings, retirement plans and homes can be lost.

There are a number of ways to help protect against the financial threat of Long Term Care. Obviously Traditional LTC Policies are available or the Blended Life Alternatives, such as MoneyGuard. But the product that has been growing in popularity is The Life Insurance Policies with Long Term Care Riders (LTCR’s). These are available on a GUL or IUL chassis. What makes these so popular is the fact that unlike a traditional LTC policy, the premiums are guaranteed to never change and if you never go on claim, there is a death benefit ultimately paid to a beneficiary.

These are great policies to sell to clients in their late 30’s and 40’s. The rates are so inexpensive now that it pays to take care of this planning scenario today. But the bigger picture is that these clients have parents who are in their 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s. Does that generation have adequate assets to protect them (or their families) from the threat of a Long Term Care event?

Simply stated, we are living longer today. With advances in modern medicine, conditions that had previously caused “sudden deaths” are now resulting in prolonged life that impairs health to the extent that there is a potential need for long term care. The “older age” segment of our population, which is considered to be 85 and older, is the fastest growing age group in the country. In fact, over 50% of that age group is receiving some form of long term care. By 2035, it is predicted that the over 65 population will double to approximately 77 million. Furthermore, when it comes to provided care, over 75% of the daily care hours are provided in home by family members.

So, when we look back at some of those excuses people have for not buying some type of long term care protection, who will be affected most by those inactions? The answer is, those clients today that have parents in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Would it not make perfect sense to bring the topic up to them since statistically something is going to happen to their parents in the foreseeable future? By planning now, you can help Generation 2:

  • protect against potential loss of future inheritances
  • protect against fire sales
  • protect against lost wages while caring for a parent
  • assure the dignity of loved ones
  • and most of all, mitigate or eliminate the financial burdens associated with the emotional strain of caring for a loved one during a prolonged illness.

Most advisors think they are not in the LTC Market with clients that are in their 30’s and 40’s, but they really are. It’s all in how you perceive it. Not only can you help them plan now for their own future while the costs are low but you can Build a Bridge to assist them with an event that can potentially impact them more profoundly, their parent’s long term care event.

Want_vs_NeedsLife Insurance is definitely not something that people want to buy. There is something about pondering one’s mortality that turns people away, and rightly so. After all, who wants to talk about dying? Not a fun subject in anyone’s book. As Insurance Advisors, we have a knack of clearing rooms when the infamous question comes up…What do you do for a living? If we say we sell Life Insurance, the conversation can be real short, and often is.

But let’s face it, what we do is so powerful and few people can truly state that what they do changes lives. But we do! When I first started in the business, I was told that I would never understand the power of what we do until I delivered my first death claim check. There is no statement more true until you have done so. So let’s talk about WANT v. NEED. People (all of our clients and prospects), want certain things. They want…

  • Their families to be safe
  • To have enough money to not struggle
  • To be successful in their careers
  • To provide for their families so they can enjoy life

Sometimes the WANTS are materialistic in nature. New Cars, Big Houses, Large Screen TV’s, the latest Smartphone, Video Games, etc. are often on the list. These things fall under the category of their families enjoying life, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But if we step back a moment and think about the dreaded WHAT IF Scenario, will all these things be there ? What if the major breadwinner of a family dies early before they were able to provide all of these things? What happens to the families? Will they have enough money to not struggle, can they go on and enjoy life? The truth is, the average family doesn’t really have the means to continue on financially since they rely so heavily on that major breadwinner to maintain all of the things that are often taken for granted.

A few years ago when Hurricane Sandy struck, I think we were all reminded of the ”things” that we all took for granted like the ability to walk into a room, flick on a light switch and go about our everyday lives. For some of us, that simple pleasure was gone for a couple of weeks.

Using Sandy as the barometer for life’s disruption, let’s go a few steps further and think for a moment of that major breadwinner suddenly being out of the picture and the WANTS now being in jeopardy. Now let’s assume that there was little or no life insurance in place. What happens next? I’m sure we can all agree that the lives of the survivors would be turned upside down to say the least. All of the WANTS listed above can be gone in a blink of an eye when it could have been easily avoided.

Now, let’s shift to NEED. In our scenario above, a means was needed to secure all of the WANTS. Life Insurance could have maintained the integrity of the WANTS. The Financial Security Blanket provided by the Life Insurance can help that family go on and achieve the WANTS in life. We all know that money can never replace the emotional loss, but we live in a world that Financial Security is key to moving forward and allowing us to pursue our WANTS and DREAMS. Whether it’s Income Replacement, Mortgage Protection, College Funding, etc., we all need to take a step back and realize that what we do is so powerful and truly change lives.

WANT v. NEED. It is a Harsh Reality, but in order to protect the WANTS, we NEED to have Life Insurance.

I apologize for the lecture but September is Life Insurance Awareness Month and in the spirit of that, it’s always good to take a step back, put things into perspective and reiterate how important we are as an industry and by the stroke of a pen, we have the power to change lives.

ask_me_about_underwritingA day in the life of a Brokerage General Agency is anything but boring. We work with many types of cases from a large cross section of producers. Some look to us for product while others look for concepts to bring to their clients.

Regardless of the approach, in the end, it all comes down to underwriting. Underwriting makes the difference between closing a piece of business or not. Granted, underwriting starts at the field level and there’s something to be said for the old adage of “Under Promise & Over Deliver.” That is probably a more profound statement when it comes to life insurance sales. If you are with a client that has issues such as Diabetes, Build, High Blood Pressure or a Motor Vehicle Report as tall as the Empire State Building, why would you quote Preferred Best??? But that happens more often than not and we encourage our producers to ask the right questions and give them special tools to be used at point-of-sale to allow them to set the expectation level of the client to real life premium levels at the point of sale.

In today’s marketplace, it’s all about knowing where to go when you have a case that falls below the normal radar screen. Carriers today have changed their underwriting methodologies and have liberalized their guidelines for many impairments that a few short years ago would have been viewed negatively in terms of underwriting. This is due to many factors, but primarily to the great deal of data that is available in the world of medicine today. With modern advances and treatments that are increasing individual mortality, it is only fair that the underlying guideline for these impairments be adjusted.
We are seeing a number of changes being made across the industry that are positively affecting underwriting decisions. Something as simple as Cholesterol Limits, Blood Pressure Control or Family History liberalizations have had significant impact. On a larger scale, there have been great strides in underwriting cases with more complex issues such as Diabetes, Coronary Disease and even Cancer. It is not uncommon today to see Standard to Preferred Offers with some of these types of cases.

We work closely with Dedicated Underwriting Teams at our carriers and know how to leverage those relationships on your behalf. Although they each have their own internal underwriting guidelines, we know where to go to get you the best offers for your clients.

Let’s be realistic. There are just some cases that no matter what you do, they’re just not going to work. But what I will say is that when you have a case that you have had poor underwriting experience with or a new case with some questionable health issues, it is worth a phone call to see if we can help you navigate through a case and possibly be able to make something happen. Most new brokers we work with mention clients that they have that “are not insurable.” When we put it through our litmus test, often times, those same cases are insurable. As a matter of fact, those cases are the ones with the Diabetes, Cardiac or Cancer histories that can get those Standard – Preferred offers. It all comes down to underwriting…

After all, Underwriting is the Real Case Maker!

4th-of-july_my5mRM_LNo, 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/Unemployment Plans – 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. Further, in the event of the insured becoming unemployed, premiums can even be paid for up to one year of unemployment.

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, 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…



what-is-life-insuranceSeveral years ago, while attending an industry meeting, I was listening to a speech. During which, 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 25 year plus veteran in the industry, I was extremely taken back 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.

We live in tough economic times. 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. The words above are over 80 years old, and the core principles behind them say it all… What is Life Insurance?