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.