Inside the Life Insurance Industry

What you need to know about the life insurance marketplace and products. Includes commentary on political, legal, and economic trends that affect the industry.

We Need Holy Days As Well As Holidays

Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us! For many of us, that means a break from work, time spent with family, and hopefully, some rest and relaxation. Taking the time to unwind during the holidays is much-needed and should be a priority, but is there more to it than just putting your feet up?

A Shift In Mindset

We often spend our holidays the same way we spend our weekends. We separate ourselves from work (at least for part of the time), and relax and enjoy a hearty meal at home or at the home of a relative or close friend. We might get together with others at a restaurant or hit the links at a golf course if the weather allows. If it’s too cold for golf, maybe we’ll head off to a resort. Other times a simple movie is all we need to unwind.

But for many, turning the holiday season into an extended weekend is not enough. Some of us want to dive into the deeper meaning of the season, attending special religious services or participating in community activities like volunteering at a soup kitchen or buying gifts for families in need. We want to observe the holidays in a spiritual way.

Holiness During The Holidays

I see all this searching for a deeper experience of life as an attempt to become part of something larger, to become dedicated to a higher purpose. Deep down, people truly need this. No matter how fulfilling or rewarding they find their job and their everyday activities, there is still a desire for something more. Holidays may be a break from the same old same old just like weekends, but just going through the holiday or weekend motions doesn’t make things special or memorable. It doesn’t create an atmosphere of holiness or cause us to focus on something higher than ourselves.

Unfortunately, many people are not comfortable taking traditional paths that lead to a holier life or they don’t know where to start. They can’t relate to formal religion and even the “spiritual” alternatives that have been developed don’t fit the bill. While we wish for one sole source to lead us to a life of holiness, we find countless available resources that only fill small pieces of the whole. It’s our job, then, to gather all these pieces into a cohesive, meaningful picture that will transform our lives.

Even if we are convinced we need to incorporate this philosophy of holiness into our lives, it’s often easier said than done. In his book, 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, Steve Siebold alludes to the idea that leading a holy life is part of the journey to becoming world class and gives us some ideas of how to observe holidays in a holy way.

Formulate Your Life Dream And Vision

Siebold’s research has led him to the conclusion that in order to reach the world class level, you need to be intrinsically motivated. The world class lets their dreams, desires, and passions lead them and they stick to their beliefs when the going gets tough. Since the great ones move from logic-based motivators to emotion-based motivators, it’s essential to take some time to hash out your life goals, priorities and vision and learn how to motivate yourself to achieve them.

Remember Your Roots

The past has a lot to teach us. Going back and remembering where you came from and how far you’ve come will reinforce your belief in yourself and give you even more confidence to move ahead (1) (Siebold, 53-54). As we immerse ourselves in the holidays, reflect on your roots and remember that success is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Engage In True Rest

In our society, we have lost the meaning of rest. We burn the candle at both ends and only let ourselves relax out of desperation, when we’ve hit rock bottom and can’t go further. Balance in this area is difficult to achieve. Even when we’re “off,” we’re usually “on” mentally. Find ways to recharge and strive to attain equilibrium between achievement and relaxation. Your soul will thank you.

Seek Solitude And Meditation

Many of the world’s highest-paid individuals are able to tap into the vast resources of their creative minds to produce products and services that solve the problems of the masses. This level of creative thought requires significant intellectual energy, which must be followed by intellectual rest and recovery. The great ones know the power of a quiet mind, and many invest time in solitude on a regular basis. They recognize that their performance depends on rest in mind, body, and spirit (Siebold, 219-220).

Apply And Practice

If any of this resounds with you, I encourage you to carve out some time to reflect, remember, and respond. Don’t let busyness and distractions turn these holidays into an extended weekend. Let your heart, mind, and soul observe the season fully and you will enter the new year with resolve and excitement for all 2018 will bring! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this concept of holy days instead of holidays. You can reach me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with over 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling? More of Your Questions Answered

If you’ve been following our Special Handling series, you know that we’ve covered prequalification and underwriting and the challenges the life insurance process can pose for different situations. We’ve also spent some time answering questions about those who are high-risk and how the life insurance marketplace works. Now, in our fifth installment, we will continue that dialogue and address concerns surrounding life insurance for businesses purposes.

11. How Much Life Insurance Should I Apply For?

Many people want life insurance, but they worry about how much it will cost them. As such, they want to see some rates and “back into” a purchase by balancing the amount of life insurance they would like to have with the amount of money they are willing to spend.

To help you make your decision, I will either give you a reliable quote as quickly as I can or get you into a “price ballpark” as soon as possible. This number would represent our educated opinion as to what the lowest possible premium would be. If it works for you, then we can continue with prequalification and solidify the price. If you don’t like the number, then you can reassess your purchase, possibly identifying an additional source of premium, or reducing the guarantee period for the coverage you want.

12. I Need This life Insurance Policy To Obtain A Loan From My Bank For My Business. Can You Ensure The Policy Covers The Loan?

The typical way to make sure this happens is to collaterally assign the benefits. Once your policy has been delivered and all delivery requirements have been submitted to the carrier, such as premium payment and signed receipt, coverage will go into effect. At that point, the carrier will assign the benefit to your bank.

Should you pass away before the loan is paid off, the claims department will notify the bank and require proof of the balance due. The bank will be paid the balance to clear your debt, and your beneficiary will receive the rest of the death benefit, if any exists. In these circumstances, both the client and their banker are usually anxious to close the deal. We work to fast-track the underwriting of your application and keep your banker updated on the status of the policy. My reassurance that the process is moving along is usually sufficient for them.

13. I Need This Policy To Be Owned By A Trust. How Does That Work?

The number one concern in this situation is to make sure the trust has been completed by the time your life insurance application has been approved. This way, the policy can be issued to the appropriate owner and beneficiary designations. We can submit the application without the trust, but then you and your attorney would have to expedite the legal work.

It’s important to avoid a scenario in which you get a good offer from the insurance carrier, but can’t accept the policy due to delays in finalizing the trust. You would then run the risk of something happening to your health, or otherwise affecting your eligibility for coverage, and losing the good offer.

14. My Business Will Be The Owner Of This Policy To Cover A Partnership Agreement. Will That Make Things Complicated?

The underwriting will be more complex in this case, but we handle these situations all the time and can manage them efficiently. You will need to provide basic financial data about your business, then, if you like, our underwriting team will coordinate with your controller or accountant. The underwriters will also need information regarding coverages on your partners to make sure there is parity. We also offer the option to bring in attorneys and financial planners to guide you in the structuring of the agreement, at no charge to you.

15. Once You Complete Prequalification, Am I Under Any Obligation To Do Business With You?

The simple answer is no, you are not. You do not sign a contract, nor do you pay for the prequalification service. However, as you will witness, I make a significant investment in giving you a competitive and reliable quote. I only provide this service for “ready buyers;” those who know they have a need for life insurance, have the means to pay for it, and desire to obtain a policy now. If you appreciate the value of becoming prequalified for coverage because it gives you confidence in the final outcome, my services are the right fit for you.

If you go through our prequalification process, you will not be submitting an application only hoping to be approved, let alone at the price you were quoted. We specialize in providing you with an application approved at the rate quoted. Our goal is to make life insurance quick, easy, and painless to purchase, regardless of your situation.

If this appeals to you, then contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I would love to help you on your life insurance journey.

Keep an eye out for part 6 of this series, where we will answer even more questions about life insurance and the need for special handling.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with over 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Spiritual Business Practices: It’s the Process That Makes Us Rich

Success and money. These are two powerful driving forces in our society. Everyone wants to be successful, and I don’t think anyone would turn down an opportunity to be wealthy. But attaining those things is where the trouble lies. What are your motivations? What perspective do you have as you go about your daily work?

What We Have Is Not Really Ours

Here is a contemporary rendition of an ancient fable:

The world’s most prominent scientists gather together and call God to a meeting. The group includes an astrophysicist, a molecular biologist, a geneticist, and the most accomplished professional of every other scientific discipline.

With as much respect as they could muster, they basically tell God that the jig’s up. “Anything you can do with life, we can do. All the power, knowledge, and technology needed to control life are now in human hands. We can modify it. We can prolong it. We can eliminate it. We can even create it!”

God listens to them patiently and raises an eyebrow at their last statement. “You can create life? Really? Show me.”

So the head of the group reaches down to scoop up a handful of soil to put into his test tube. “Not so fast,” declares God. “Get your own soil!”

The moral of the story is that no matter how much control people think they have over their lives, everything they do is still using material on loan from the Creator. This is an important perspective to have in everyday life, and even more so in business.

Perspective Of Ownership

Here’s why the lesson of this fable is significant: it puts the whole idea of ownership in proper perspective. Ownership is a way of distinguishing between my property and yours. For example, I own my home and you own yours. I own my business and you own your business. I have my own my life insurance policy and you have yours. What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours. No one is going to argue with that. We can certainly share our respective properties, but that’s through an intentional agreement that we make with each other.

Ultimate Ownership

But even those basic examples only explain ownership in a relative sense. The idea of ultimate ownership is that the true owner is Whoever initially created it in the first place. Whether that’s our home, our business, our assets or all the other stuff we build, collect, and value. In the end, everything passes through our hands because when we die, we can’t take anything with us. Even the biggest building or the most precious stone ultimately returns to the dust it came from.

Does that thought sober you as much as it does me? This perspective reveals the true purpose behind what we actually do when we conduct business and engage in the marketplace. At best, we strive to obtain something that will be in our hands for a comparatively short amount of time. It makes us appreciate the process of getting there, of making the acquisition or selling the policy rather than focus solely on the final result.

Process And Priorities

In this series, we’ve looked at how success guru Steve Siebold believes that faith in a higher power brings true success. When it comes to the process and perspective of business practices, he states that the best decisions in life are made when people prioritize how they get what they want:

“The masses repeatedly attempt to create happiness from the outside in, whereas the great ones know sustained happiness stems from being and becoming, not acquiring and possessing. Average people have mastered short-term happiness, easily gained through instant gratification mechanisms…[but] the world class vests a substantial amount of time ensuring their future happiness by creating congruency between who they are, what they’re doing, and where they’re going. Champions are masters at doing such things as marrying the right person, selecting jobs they love and building friendships with people they admire and respect.” (67)

I know this is a lot to dwell on. But as you dive into your motivations and your everyday business practices, take some time to think about your perspective. Do you take control of everything you have or do you recognize that it was given to you for your time here on earth? Do you put all your energy into obtaining some end product or do you glean as much wisdom from the process as possible? I’d love to hear your thoughts and find out how your business perspectives affect your day-to-day life. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling? More Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions

There are some things in life that seem so complicated that we often completely avoid them. In our Special Handling series, my goal is to make sure life insurance doesn’t fall into that category. I will answer some common questions and address concerns that come up in the life insurance process. In Part 3, we started discussing some issues that tend to arise for those who are considered high risk and require special handling. Let’s continue that dialogue now.

6. I’ve Been Declined Or Rated On Prior Applications. Will This Hurt Me?

Thankfully, the answer is no. It’s true that the underwriter will order a copy of your file from the Medical Information Bureau, which has your history of insurance applications. They will know what underwriting decisions have been made on your prior applications and if they see declinations or ratings, they will want more information.

My job is to make sure that this experience is not held against you. One of the benefits of prequalification is that it puts your application history into context. Many times people get declined or rated because they applied with the wrong company or because their broker did not sufficiently represent them. I will be able to put everything into perspective and make sure you get a fresh start.

7. How Long Will Prequalification Take?

It all depends on how long it takes to get thorough and accurate quote information. The obvious goal is to deliver a quote that is both competitive and reliable as quickly as possible. If I can get everything I need from one personal interview, then I should be able to give you numbers within a week. If medical records are required, then it could take a few more weeks, depending on how quickly your physician’s office hands over a copy of your file. We currently use a third-party service that stays on top of this process and increases our efficiency.

8. I Already Have Some Of My Medical Records. Can You Use Them?

The more documentation you have the better, so the answer to this question is yes. Odds are they will be useful for prequalification as long as they document and support your verbal disclosures about your medical condition. When you submit a formal application, the underwriter will probably order additional records to confirm there are no other underwriting issues to address.

9. Will My Personal Information Be Protected Through This Process?

We are all concerned about our privacy, especially these days when we hear about hacks to major companies on a weekly basis. We work hard to protect your information. Safeguards are built into the process to ensure we are following Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards. We do our part to protect you so that only authorized personnel have access to your quote information.

10. I Have A Policy But Would Like To See If There Are Better Options. How Can I Make Sure I Don’t Lose My Current Policy Before A New One Is In Place?

You are in control of this aspect of the process. Only the policy owner can terminate coverage and no broker has the authority to do so. Here is a plan to make sure you have continual coverage:

  • Hold on to your policy and keep making the payments.
  • If need be, change the premium mode to quarterly so you don’t end up paying too much past the time it takes to get the new policy in place.
  • When the new coverage is in effect, you can contact the existing carrier to cancel your previous policy. They should refund any unused premium.

It is my hope that these questions will give you some confidence and peace of mind and encourage you in your journey of finding life insurance coverage. If you want to have a personal conversation about any and all questions you may have, contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com and be sure to download our free guide to buying life insurance.

Since there seems to be an unending list of questions about life insurance, we will continue addressing this topic in Part 5, so stay tuned!

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Spiritual Business Practices: The Power of Saying “Thank You”

If you do a quick search online for “secrets to success,” you’ll end up with a massive list of tips with everything from having vision to taking risks. But in my previous article on spiritual business practices, we learned from success guru Steve Siebold that “Faith in God, a higher power, or an infinite intelligence is…a trait of many champions.” (89) (1)

That’s all well and good, but how exactly does one tap into that higher power or infinite intelligence? How does that spiritual connection play out practically in everyday business practice?

Live With Gratitude

Fortunately, Siebold’s answer is simple: it’s all about having an attitude of gratitude. Here’s what he says about this:

“Champions know the ultimate creative force is located somewhere beyond our everyday consciousness, and they must tap the source to generate their best ideas. The secular sometimes refer to this source as the unconscious mind. The spiritual often call it God. Whatever label their belief warrants, few deny the power of the source, whatever its point of origin. Champions know the fastest way to connect to the source is through gratitude. Thoughts and feelings of gratitude seem to elevate the performer’s consciousness to a higher plane than is accessible through any other means. Professional writers call it being connected. Athletes call it being in the zone. Psychologists refer to it as a state of flow. No matter what name you assign it, the experience is the same…Gratitude is their mindset of choice when they need to awaken the giant and tap their genius.” (37-38) (2)

In my religion, Judaism, we start our day by saying thank you to God for restoring our soul and entrusting us with it for another day. If said earnestly, this expression can be extremely enlightening. It makes you realize a number of important truths:

  • We need our soul/spiritual resources to do our day’s work
  • These resources are given to us by the Creator
  • They are “on loan” and should not be taken for granted

In light of this insight, I think any one of us would be led to feel appreciative and say thank you, either to God Himself or at least in general. Most certainly, we would say thank you to anybody and everybody who helps us accomplish what we do throughout our day. Just as we can’t take what God gives us for granted, we can’t take what anybody else gives us for granted either.

The Power Of Thankfulness

Robert Emmons, considered to be the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, found that living a life of gratitude improves mental, physical, and relational health to the point of having higher energy levels, less stress and depression, and heightened spirituality. (3) Finding ways to integrate gratitude throughout your business day can make a world of difference in your life and the lives of others.

I like to thank my employees for putting in a hard day’s work. I take the time to thank my prospects for giving me the opportunity to give them a life insurance quote. I say thank you to my vendors for excellent work in prequalification and underwriting. I like to thank my clients for giving me their business and for going out of their way to spread the word about my services.

And once you start saying thank you, your eyes are opened to everything around you that deserves your gratitude. It starts a chain reaction, and my day often involves one positive and productive interaction after another. Sure, there are ups and downs, but these expressions of gratitude keep me on track and connected. It’s a good way of “getting into the flow” in a business sense.

Thankfulness and Business

As you can imagine, there are also business benefits to saying thank you. Not only do I get a stronger work ethic out of my employees, but I also receive great service from my vendors and more opportunities to quote life insurance. Saying a simple thank you has led to more sales and referrals from my clients. It all boils down to this: if you take things for granted, they diminish pretty quickly, but if you’re grateful for them, then they multiply.

Do you live a life of gratitude? Have you reaped the rewards of this spiritual practice? Do you need some practical guidance on how to start living with thankfulness?  I’d love to hear your stories and answer your questions. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

(2) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

(3) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-kamen-gredinger/the-transformative-power-_2_b_6982152.html

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Taking a Knee – for the Free Market

The hot controversy over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, has an angle that has been under- played, but which is nonetheless crucial. It deals with the corporate responsibility – or lack thereof – of the league. Consider the following:

The starting salary for an NFL player is almost $500,000 per year. Yet, a significant majority of them end up in bankruptcy once their career is over. Clearly, they are lacking a basic financial education.

Not only that: each year, dozens of players are arrested for crimes ranging from DUI, to domestic violence, to rape, to murder. Clearly, they need moral training and guidance.

In addition, many of these players are from black communities. The problems in these areas are well publicized: fatherless homes; drugs; gangs; families living in poverty. Clearly, the family structure in their communities needs to be rebuilt.

Unfortunately, none of this seems to be clear to these athletes. At least, these ills seem undeserving of public attention. Instead, the players have chosen to focus the national spotlight on racial issues. This is tragic, and a huge misuse of mass media. The fact of the matter is that you could cure every cop in the country of racial bigotry tomorrow, and none of the above problems would go away. Sure, racism should be protested, but in this case, it’s being protested by people who beat their wives, throw their money away, and live in cities with families that are falling apart. Bashing America is a convenient way to cover up their problems that have nothing to do with race, and which they have the responsibility to solve on their own.

But hey – we shouldn’t be surprised that they are blaming the other guy. They work for one of the most exploitative employers in the country. The NFL has a long practice of getting the other guy to do things for them, by whatever means possible. It gets tax breaks not offered to other companies; sweetheart deals with billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize stadium construction; and a monopoly in the pro football marketplace, with the help of crooked politicians.

I don’t expect the NFL to take care of its players from cradle to grave; it is, after all, a business. But at the same time, it’s morally irresponsible to let so many of its employees crash and burn under its watch. The situation is strikingly similar to that old movie “Rollerball,” which portrayed athletes working for a big entertainment corporation as pure cannon fodder.

And so while the players are drawing national attention to allegations of racism in America, the plundering and abuse of the league avoids the spotlight. Fortunately, we have started to hear of congressional inquiries into NFL exploitation, and I hope fan boycotts of the games increase, so these hearings can pick up steam.

For me, the best outcome of this knee-taking would be the national realization that the corrupt NFL needs to be overhauled, so that more teams and leagues – and more socially-responsible teams and leagues – could enter the pro football marketplace. That way, players could have more options for employment, and choose a company that would take better care of them. They would then have less to complain about.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling? Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions

If you have ever purchased a life insurance policy or even just researched the requirements to start the process, you probably had many questions along the way. Obtaining life insurance can be a difficult endeavor with numerous challenges that arise when going through prequalification and underwriting, which we discussed in Parts One and Two of this series. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions asked by people who want to buy life insurance.

Life Insurance Q&A

These questions address the particular concerns of those who are considered high-risk or who have needs that require special handling.

1. Do You Represent A Company That Takes Higher-Risk People?

There is no one company that specializes in “higher-risk” candidates. Personally, I represent dozens of top-rated carriers, such as American General, John Hancock, MetLife, Prudential, and others.  Each one of these companies specializes in underwriting certain types of risk. My job is to know which companies like which risk and build strong connections with them so your application has the highest chance of success.

2. How Will You Know Which Company Is Right For Me?

I will take you through prequalification. This means I will obtain thorough and accurate quote information through personal interviews as well as any necessary medical record documents. Every underwriting risk you pose will be identified so we are aware of potential challenges at the outset of the process.

My prequalification team, headed by my general agent, will then identify the carrier or carriers that would be most competitive for you. We will then report back to you with a summary of rates the market has to offer, along with our recommendation of the carrier with whom you should apply.

3. Will I Then Be “Pre-Approved” For Coverage?

No. There is no such thing as pre-approval in life insurance underwriting. You receive official

approval only after you submit a formal application and go through underwriting. What prequalification does offer is a quoted rate of which I am confident you will be approved. You can submit a formal application confident of the outcome.

4. Can You Guarantee You Will Find A Company For Me?

There are few things in life that are guaranteed, and unfortunately, some people are simply not insurable. Whether it’s severe organ failure, a hard drug habit, or other extreme medical, lifestyle, legal or financial risk factors, there are certain risks insurance companies will not be willing to take. But these cases are few and far between. The vast majority of people are eligible for coverage immediately.

5. Will I Have To Pay A High Premium Because I Am Considered “Higher-Risk?”

Not necessarily. The key, as I mentioned above, is finding a carrier with a high degree of comfort in underwriting the particular risk you represent. Because of their level of expertise, they may not consider you a very high risk at all. Often, people get charged exorbitant rates because they apply with a company that does not specialize in their risk. Once you choose the right company for you, the underwriting becomes much more intuitive.

Knowledge Is Power

My hope is that you feel much more informed and at ease with what is involved when acquiring life insurance. In our next installment of “Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling?” we will continue examining questions about the life insurance marketplace. In the meantime, if you have a specific question about your situation or would like more insight about one of the topics mentioned above, please do not hesitate to contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com and download our free guide to educate yourself further.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Spiritual Business Practices: The Connection to Faith

When you hear the word, “spiritual,” what comes to mind? The concept of spirituality has taken on a wide variety of meanings, ranging from new age and esoteric to traditional religion to Eastern philosophy. The common theme running through all these examples is that of the human soul, something beyond the material and physical world we live in, and certainly something above the realm of money and finance, right?

Can Business and Spirituality Work Together?

But money and finance do not need to run counter to spirituality. At the very least, they don’t in my life. I have always tried to take a higher approach to business, focusing not just on the big sales, commissions, or the huge roster of clients. I want to balance the practical with doing good. When you die, no one will remember all your awards and certifications. Their eulogies will attest to the kind of person you were, the deeds you performed, and how your life impacted others.

This new series of articles will examine how spiritual growth can take place while you conduct business. We will discuss the spiritual practices I employ and am still in the process of researching to make my business activity a way of adding value to others and the world.

The Goal Of Spiritual Living

Everyone has their own objectives when pursuing spiritual practices. Some want to achieve a certain state of mind, of experiencing enlightenment or euphoria. Others want to harness specific “powers” or “energies.” These may be well and good, but I see these pursuits as means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. What good is it to become more evolved if the world doesn’t become a better place as a result?

Spirituality has been closely linked to success in life and world-class performance. In his book, 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, success guru Steve Siebold points out that champions have tremendous faith:

“Faith in God, a higher power, or an infinite intelligence is … a trait of many champions. There are atheists who are tremendous performers, yet as a rule, there seems to be a connection between professional performers and the spiritual side of life. Many pros draw a tremendous energy and power from a deep faith in a greater force. In recent years, many who were turned off by fear-based organized religions in their childhood have turned to new-thought churches and centers…Whatever the source of their spiritual faith, world-class performers do tend to hold strong spiritual convictions.” (1) (89)

I firmly believe that my spiritual convictions raise my work to a higher level of excellence. As we enter this series, I am very excited to explore the connection between the spiritual and the material, in the world of business and particularly in the selling of life insurance. Have you seen this philosophy in action in your life or in those around you? Share your thoughts with me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I hope you join me on this journey.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

_____

(1) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Are You Affected by the Equifax Data Breach? Here’s What to Do

If you have a credit report (and most of us do), there’s a good chance that you were one of the estimated 143 million Americans affected by the recent Equifax Data Breach. If you have been affected, it’s important to be proactive to protect your credit now.

What Happened?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the breach lasted from mid-May through July. Criminals were able to access people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card numbers, and even driver’s license numbers. This means that hackers may be able to open up new credit card accounts with your information or make purchases on your existing credit accounts without your knowledge.

Were You Affected?

To see if you were affected by the Equifax breach, you can find out here. Enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Even the last digits of your Social Security number are sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.

If You Were Not Affected

Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services from Equifax. You can enroll to take advantage of the free services here.

If You Were Affected

If your data was included in the breach, you will need to take steps now to protect your credit. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for free by visiting com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your information for one year. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. While a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts, it will help prevent new accounts from being opened.
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • Consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
  • File your taxes early. As soon as you have the tax information you need, file your taxes before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund. Be sure to review and respond right away to letters from the IRS.

Moving Forward

It’s always a good idea to monitor your credit and use identity theft insurance, which will pay to repair your credit if your identity is stolen. To monitor your credit on an ongoing basis, consider using a service like Credit Karma, where you can set up proactive alerts to warn you if there’s a big change on one of your credit reports.

Identity theft insurance provides resources if your identity is stolen. One provider, Zander Insurance Group charges $75 per year and includes:

  • $1 Million Stolen Funds Protection
  • $1 Million in Reimbursement Protection
  • Certified ID Theft Specialists 24/7/365
  • Data Breach Notifications & Credit Report Reminders

As always, be mindful of the charges on your credit card and bank accounts. I recommend reviewing all of your charges at least once a month and disputing any charges you do not recognize. Unfortunately, data breaches are becoming more and more common, so it pays to be proactive about protecting your credit score.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Application Need Special Handling? Challenges Beyond Mortality Assessment

In Part One of our Special Handling series, we focused on the key roles prequalification and underwriting play in helping people buy the policy that best meets their needs. Now we turn our attention to additional eligibility requirements and the challenges beyond the mortality assessment that could affect your eligibility for life insurance coverage.

Hurdles On The Path Of Underwriting

While mortality risk is a key factor in determining your insurability, it’s not the only obstacle that can prevent you from purchasing a life insurance policy or obtaining an affordable price for your coverage.

What Does Underwriting Involve?

Underwriting is the process by which insurance companies figure out how risky you are to insure and how likely your beneficiaries will collect the death benefit. Underwriting is probably the most comprehensive vetting process required for the purchase of any financial product. In order to make this decision properly, companies use various methods of investigating the risks you pose, such as:

  • Written life insurance application
  • Phone interview
  • Medical record review
  • Medical exam
  • Financial credit survey
  • Motor vehicle report
  • Insurance application history
  • Prescription medication history

Underwriting Complications

With that much information on the table, it’s easy to see how complications can arise. Here are some examples of things that can cause problems in underwriting:

  • If English is your second language, can the phone interview be conducted in your primary language?
  • What happens if your medical records are missing or misleading?
  • How can you be effectively underwritten if you haven’t seen a doctor in years?
  • How will you undergo the medical exam if you have a fear of needles?
  • Perhaps your history of insurance applications shows a number of declinations and ratings. What has to be done to prevent these from being held against you?
  • Maybe you’ll be in the state or country of the sale for a short amount of time. How can your itinerary be accommodated?

Business Concerns

As if all of the above obstacles were not enough, still other challenges relate to the administrative or business end of your purchase. Both your ability to pay and the financial justification of the face amount of the policy based on your income and assets are valid business concerns.

Additionally, you may want atypical designations for your owner and beneficiary that challenge the premise of insurable interest. Maybe you want to insure somebody without their knowledge, in a case of exceptional hardship. Or, you intend to sell your policy to a third-party

once it is in effect.

All of these factors require special handling. This is why being “high risk” is only part of the challenge. Someone may pose a comparatively low mortality risk but still have trouble getting a policy due to special needs in underwriting or business qualification.

Special Needs In Insurance Purchases

This is why I prefer the term “special needs” for folks that might have trouble buying a policy.

Here is a summary of the types of cases that would require special handling:

  • Addictions: Recreational drugs, prescription drugs, gambling, alcohol, sex
  • Application history: Declined or rated on prior applications
  • Citizenship/residency: Non-U.S. citizen, temporary U.S. resident, foreign resident with business or financial ties in the U.S., U.S. citizen living or traveling abroad
  • Criminal record: Charges, convictions, time served, probation
  • Face amount: Extraordinarily high face amount, multiple policies, multiple carriers
  • Financial record: Bankruptcies, liens.
  • Health issues: Everything from the neurological to the psychological, from immune system deficiencies to build and weight
  • Hobbies: Mountain climbing, scuba diving, parachuting, extreme sports, and other adventurous pursuits
  • Medical exam issues: Aversion to needles, difficulty drawing blood
  • Medical records issues: No current records available, inconsistencies and inaccuracies in medical records
  • Motor vehicle record: Excessive points, license suspensions, DWI history
  • Occupation: Higher-risk job duties, environment, workplace.
  • Owner/beneficiary designations: Charitable giving, corporate-owned, trust-owned, third-party involvement
  • Travel: Job-related, leisure, missionary work

Find Your Advocate

If you find yourself discouraged after reading through all the potential challenges that could arise in your pursuit of purchasing life insurance, don’t be. The “special needs” that might be present require special handling by a life insurance expert who will go to bat for you, walking you through the process and finding ways to deal with the hurdles as they arise. If you want to discuss your unique situation, contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com and we will work together to find solutions.

Do you want more information on this topic? In the next four installments of this series, we will present the twenty most frequently asked questions about the purchase of life insurance, including the concerns of those who are considered higher-risk or who have other needs that require special handling.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Application Need Special Handling? The Key Role Played by Prequalification and Underwriting

Life insurance is a product that almost all of us need. Regardless of whether we purchase policies for the benefit of our family, business, or favorite charity, life insurance can be difficult to acquire. Even those of us in perfect health can run into roadblocks during this process due to the complexity of the mortality assessment. Other factors that affect eligibility for coverage include complications in the underwriting process itself, as well as business standards that must be met.

In this new series, I will identify the various trouble spots that you may encounter in your quest to purchase life insurance and walk you through ways to avoid them. This information will help those with special considerations or people who are considered “high risk” navigate the process successfully. In Part One, we will explain how the processes of prequalification and underwriting are the key to helping people buy the policy that best meets their needs and goals.

What Is Your Objective When Buying Life Insurance?

In my experience, consumers typically have one of three objectives when they buy life insurance. They want to:

1. Spend As Little Money As Possible

To meet this objective, many people buy cheap term insurance. They also will buy smaller whole life, universal life, indexed universal life policies, or variable policies “just to have some permanent coverage without spending a lot of money.”

2. Target A Specific Living Or Death Benefit

Here, the product is used to accumulate a specified amount of cash for retirement or some other purpose. It could also be used to maintain a specified survivor benefit for estate or business planning.

3. Get An Offer, Period

People who pose a high underwriting risk due to a medical or lifestyle issue just want to get

an offer. But even if it’s difficult to obtain coverage, they want to make sure the premium or cash potential is still the best the market has to offer.

Prequalification And Underwriting As The Solution

When you think about it, life insurance underwriting is what makes it possible to meet each one of these objectives. To qualify for the lowest premium, you have to get the best rate class. To accumulate a lot of cash inside your policy, or to maintain a certain death benefit over a long period of time, the cost of insuring you has to be relatively low. Otherwise, the premium would not be worth it.

To get a policy when you have diabetes or when you climb mountains, you have to get underwriting that will favorably assess that condition. Once you consider the multitude of factors that are weighed in life insurance underwriting, you can see why it is possible for many people to be considered higher risk. These factors include current health, medical history, family medical history, vocation, hobbies, lifestyle, travel habits, and legal/financial/motor vehicle record.

Prequalification Tells You What Underwriting Is Available

Most people want to confirm the buying price before they make a major purchase, and this is true with life insurance as well. This is where prequalification comes in. Through this process, your underwriting challenges are identified before you go through formal underwriting. Carrier assessments of your risk are obtained so that tentative pricing can be determined. At that point, you can apply for coverage reasonably confident that your application will be approved at the rate quoted and your overall strategy for the product can be realized.

Prequalification is especially important for applicants who pose a higher risk. In this case, underwriting can be more complicated because atypical or abnormal health or lifestyle factors must be considered. It is critical that preliminary rates are solicited from the carriers who specialize in underwriting these types of risks and that the solicitation is made with thorough, accurate, and favorable information. This way your mortality risk can be assessed fairly and the rate quoted can be considered fair and reliable.

How I Can Help

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by the thought of purchasing life insurance? Maybe you’ve started the process but gave up when things got complicated. Many people don’t even pursue life insurance because they think their application will be denied. This is where I come in. I am here to help you overcome the obstacles and find a policy that is right for you. Ask me anything at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

Stay tuned for our next installment, where we will identify the other challenges you will face when purchasing a policy.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Honoring Your Parents: Accepting the Death of a Loved One

When someone close to us dies, it turns our world upside down. Whether it’s a friend, a coworker, or a neighborhood acquaintance, death often evokes upsetting emotions. These emotions can go to the extreme when it’s a parent’s death you are facing. As our parents reach the end of their life, it can be excruciatingly difficult for us to deal with the fact that their days are numbered. Why is that?

Facing The Reality Of Death

The death of both of my parents was long and drawn out. I accompanied both of them in the final stage of their journey, and I have other family members who are also getting close to the end. In my community, I have known and loved many people who passed away. You will have to face and deal with death when you are involved in the lives of others.

To go even further, the life insurance business has exposed me to death over and over again. Isn’t that the purpose of life insurance – to make sure your loved ones receive benefits when you die? Once you have been in the field long enough, you can’t help but get involved in processing claims and often end up creating close relationships with some of your clients.

Every death hurts, some more than others. The death of a close relative can be devastating, while others may be less painful, but nonetheless sad. As I continuously work to process both the small and significant traumas, I’m attempting to identify what I have learned so I can handle the next one a bit better. I have had the good fortune of getting my hands on beneficial books, both practical and spiritual, and have a network of friends and advisers who offer valuable guidance. These resources have assisted me in forming a perspective that, as it turns out, helps me deal not only with death but with life as well.

Here are three lessons I have learned that I want to share with you:

1. Life Is Precious

Both my mother and my father fought hard to get something out of their last days. They knew the end was near but still wanted to make their last bit of life worthwhile and meaningful. They wanted to be surrounded by loved ones, even if just for a few minutes, and savored the last sips of their favorite tea or enjoyed the final strains of their preferred music. But they also desired to be left alone to make their final preparations.

Their actions taught me that no matter what stage of life you are in, you can’t give up. Even if you are nearing the end, you should desire to go out with a warm spot in your heart and a smile on your face. Our job is to gift our parents with these humble yet significant things that make all the difference in the world: the moments of pleasure, small joys, or peaceful solitude. They may not seem like much, but they mean everything to those who are dying. When we focus on how precious each moment of life is, it helps us to keep a smile on our face too, even amidst our tears of grief.

2. Fight The Good Fight For Them

When people are incapacitated due to illness or injury, they become dependent on others for their care and welfare. This can be an incredibly humbling and disheartening time for those in this position, so you need to step up and be an advocate for their needs. Many resources are available, including doctors and nurses, home healthcare aides, and facilities such as nursing homes, adult day care centers, and dialysis centers.

Like every other business, the healthcare industry includes the good, the bad, and the ugly,  especially when it comes to dealing with seniors. We have capable doctors and poor doctors, great aides but also inept or even downright abusive caretakers. I became personally involved in making sure my parents received the proper care and I continue to do so today for other family members who are ailing. Doing my part was and is cathartic. While it’s challenging to know what people need when they are dying, don’t just be a bystander. Find tasks to complete that will help them retain their dignity.

3. It’s Not About You

In a time of intense emotions, it’s easy to take things personally or become too invested in issues that shouldn’t be taking up your time and energy. If you are on the front lines of your parents’ care, you are often exposed to more of their pain and suffering, which can stir up your own feelings of remorse, guilt, empathy, or denial.

It’s easy to take out your emotions on the various care providers you come in contact with throughout the ordeal. The slightest mistake or act of neglect can seem like the crime of the century. You may become angry when the medication arrives thirty minutes late or when a nurse acts too rough.

The solution is not an easy one, though. You need to look inside and work on yourself, processing and filtering your own feelings so you can control and channel the whirlpool of emotions inside of you. Good caregivers also deal with some level of grief in this situations, and the best reaction for everyone involved is to step back, let go, and never forget the main purpose: doing what’s best for the patient. If we can be strong enough to let go, then your parent will feel the freedom to let go when it’s time for them to take their last breath.

These are heavy issues, but unfortunately, they are a fact of life. The older we get, the more likely it is that we will face this situation, so it’s wise to prepare yourself now and obtain the right perspective for those difficult days. Have you seen these principles in action? Do you have any other tips or advice that helped you through a similar situation? I’d love to hear your stories. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

 

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

What Qualifications Should Your Life Insurance Broker Have? Part Two: The Role of the Super-Specialist

Life insurance is not something to mess around with. It is an integral piece of your financial puzzle, without which the rest of your finances could be in danger. We recently discussed the reasons why your life insurance broker should be a specialist, both in the product itself as well as the planning and purchasing process. Now that you know how important it is for the person selling your life insurance to be qualified, we’ll turn our attention to the necessity of a “super-specialist,” or “impaired-risk specialist.”

An Expert In Risk

The life insurance super-specialist is an expert in underwriting all varieties of risk. It doesn’t matter if you are perfectly healthy, being treated for a serious illness, love mountain climbing, or are fresh out of bankruptcy. Your super-specialist should be able to give you both competitive and reliable quotes and get your application approved at the rate quoted with no surprises.

What Is Risk?

The life insurance industry gives a rating to all types of risks and determines where you land on the risk scale. If providers don’t use risk factors to determine premiums, they could lose money down the road.

What the industry considers higher-risk or impaired risk includes a wide variety of medical conditions affecting every organ and system in the body, from the neurological to the orthopedic. It also includes multiple lifestyle issues, from smoking to drug use to alcohol use to foreign travel. They also consider your past. People who have a criminal conviction or multiple motor vehicle violations typically represent a higher risk than those who don’t.

Risk And The Super-Specialist

How does the super-specialist handle risk? The key to their mastery is the capability of getting people underwritten who represent higher risks. The logic is simple: if they can obtain policies for people who have heart disease or diabetes, they can easily get policies for those who are lucky enough to be disease-free.

A broker who gets the job done with these harder cases has an easy time getting it done for the simple cases. Remember our homebuilding analogy in part one of this series? The master builder who constructs your dream home will have a straightforward job of building an addition. But what sets the life insurance business apart from the construction industry is that it won’t cost you any extra to do business with a master broker because the premium for the product remains the same regardless of who sold it to you.

An Understanding Of The Personal Side

There is another reason why the impaired-risk specialist is ideally suited to help you purchase life insurance. It has to do with the very personal nature of life insurance underwriting. As we have discussed, virtually your entire life and history are assessed for mortality risk when you apply for a policy. Full disclosure is required to qualify for the best rate and to get your application approved without a hitch.

Everything must be put on the table: your discomfort with your Crohn’s disease, your bouts with depression, your prior and even current marijuana use. You can’t hide your treatment for anxiety and stress during your divorce, your recent job change, or the time you fell off the wagon and went into rehab. All these experiences are extremely personal and highly sensitive and must be handled appropriately. When you work with a life insurance broker, you need to feel that you are being treated with consideration and respect. And it’s not just about getting the details down. Your story must be presented to underwriters in a way that sheds the best possible light on your insurability.

The Highest Level Of Service

Consumers who pose a higher risk realize they need to deal with an impaired-risk specialist. They know that people who pose special risks need special care. Imagine you have a particular medical condition, such as a kidney ailment. To get the best care, you would go to a nephrologist. This is true for the legal field as well. You would go to an estate planning attorney for your will and trust and to a criminal attorney for legal representation.

The difference is that the impaired risk super-specialist isn’t pigeonholed into just the high-risk cases. They’ve mastered the complex so the simple becomes even easier. This is why the impaired-risk specialist is positioned to provide excellent service regardless of the mortality risk posed by any given client.

My Role As A Super-Specialist

In my many years of experience in this industry, I have obtained the expertise needed to specialize in helping people who represent a higher risk in multiple risk areas. Regardless of if you feel you have a unique, challenging situation or if your circumstances are straightforward, I can help you get competitive quotes for your life insurance. I’d love to hear your story. Ask anything at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Transform Small Donors into Major Donors

Your not-for-profit organization is making a profound difference in the lives of those served. You are busy, your staff is busy, your staff is busy, and it’s time to put the pedal to the floor and launch a Major Gifts campaign.

The organization has a strong fan base, and there are those who would like to really leave a legacy. But not everyone may be in a position to part with legacy-level dollars…

…while they are alive.

The answer: Life insurance.

Here’s how it works: A person can make a small or medium-sized donation to the charity of their choice. That charity uses those funds to purchase a life insurance policy on that donor, with the charity as the beneficiary. (The charity also creates a budget line item for the premiums in case the donations to cover the premium stop coming for whatever reason.) Upon the eventual passing of the donor, the benefit that the charity receives will be many times the sum donated over the years.

If it’s so straightforward, why aren’t I hearing about this all over the place? I hear you ask.

Certain institutions do this all the time, notably charities that promote medical research, United Way, and Jewish Federations. It’s also a common practice in estate planning. The word is spreading.
Life insurance is, plainly put, an underutilized way to help people leave a legacy.

A cautionary note: It is better for the not-for-profit to own the policy so that after years of paying premiums, the beneficiary doesn’t get changed by the policy owner. Make sure to run it past a lawyer because it has to be done in a certain way, to the benefit of everyone.

So help someone to hit the Good Deed button, they can make a difference in the lives of the people who will benefit from your organization!

To learn more, contact us today. Visit our website, read our blog, connect with me on LinkedIn, download our free ebook, The Guide to Buying Life Insurance, or request a policy audit today by calling our office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

We thank Jaime Campbell for her co-authoriship of this blog. Jaime is a CPA, CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant), MBA, and co-owner and CFO of Tier One Services, LLC. Jaime’s passion is to combine her analytical, proud-to-be-a-geek mind with her creative, musical side to deliver accounting information in such a way that clients see their business future in a whole new light. She enjoys creating and nurturing fulfilling relationships with clients that help them achieve their dreams. You can reach Jaime at (704) 837-0185 or jcampbellcpa@tieroneservices.net.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Honoring Your Parents: How Long Should You Stay Married?

This may seem like an odd question, but have you ever thought about how long you should stay married? The traditional idea, and what you often hear in wedding vows, is “til death do us part.” My parents certainly came from that school of thought. They fought until the bitter end, and then death did indeed separate them into their respective corners (the boxing analogy says it all).

Is this the path you would choose for your own marriage? Would you recommend it to your children? I wouldn’t. Why would you?

When Relationships Go Wrong

Some people in a relationship are like oil and water; they never quite mix. In some cases, they may even be as explosive as gasoline and fire. Regardless, they have their reasons for staying together.

According to Huffington Post, finances are one of the top ten reasons people stay in an unhealthy marriage. (1) It can be daunting to consider not only paying for a divorce, but also dividing all the shared financial interests. Others stay together due to insecurity and fear of succeeding on their own. Then, there are those who have unhealthy mindsets of guilt, over-dependence or manipulation that lock them into bad relationships.

But despite the reason, is it worth it to stay in such a relationship? In my conversations with my parents, elder relatives, and personal and business contacts through the years, I have heard some heart-wrenching stories about people blowing up their marriages when they arrive at the golden years of their life. You would be shocked to know that I have come across situations of murder, suicide, rampant cheating, and plenty of psychological, emotional, and physical abuse.

Sadly, I have no answers or keen insight as to why people stay married and torture each other in this way. But I can identify several principles for living that can prevent your marriage from going down a tragic road. Since I am passionate about martial arts, consider these my tips for marriage self-defense:

1. Never Accept Second-Rate Treatment

No one person is better than another. We all deserve to be treated with respect and kindness as human beings. While there are hierarchies and power dynamics in every relationship, such as inequalities in income and social position, none of these factors makes somebody a lesser person. If somebody starts treating you in this way, correct the situation immediately. Don’t let it become a habit.

2. Commit To Self-Improvement

You won’t become a master at assertiveness or communication overnight. It takes work, sacrifice, and commitment. And it’s not just a question of protecting yourself from bullying; you need to make sure you don’t become a bully yourself and add fuel to the fire. You must find a way to embrace peaceful coexistence in your heart and try to steer your partner to do the same. Any act of self-defense on your part has to be focused on putting an end to the fighting.

3. Be Self-Sufficient

Hopefully, your relationship will work out. But sometimes that doesn’t happen. If you find yourself in that situation, then you need to be prepared to leave and start over. You can do this by having your own money, opening your own accounts, and coming up with a Plan B.  Even if you are in a season of not working or staying home taking care of family responsibilities, you can take steps to put yourself in a position to succeed. Brainstorm ideas of what you could do if you had to end the relationship and start out on your own. Even if you never make the move, having that kind of leverage and confidence could cause your bad apple spouse to back off.

No one wants to think about their relationship imploding, but it does happen. Before things go too far down an unhealthy path, look at ways you could defend yourself and turn the situation around. Examine your life and your future and be excited, not depressed or anxious. Have you been through this? Do you have questions about ways you can protect yourself or set yourself up for a favorable future? Ask anything at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/15/why-people-stay-in-unhappy-marriages_n_6330292.html

 

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Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

What Qualifications Should Your Life Insurance Broker Have? Part One: The Importance of the Life Insurance Specialist

Life insurance is the foundation of your financial portfolio. While you may think that’s an exaggeration, life insurance protects against the most catastrophic loss imaginable, the death of a provider. With so many life insurance companies and products available, how do you know what to choose? You don’t want to gamble with your financial foundation, so how do you know the person selling your life insurance is the most qualified?

Why Do You Need A Life Insurance Specialist?

If you were building your dream house, would you hire your contractors at random? Would you choose an electrician who dabbles in carpentry or a plumber who does construction on the side? Of course not. You want the best of the best, a master builder. Because of the investment involved, you want someone with top qualifications who would get the job done right and deliver the highest value for your dollar.

Your financial portfolio requires the same degree of proficiency and should be handled by someone who is a master of the craft. The legal and financial advice you are given should be rendered by experts in the field. If you take the risk and settle for less than the best, you could end up with inappropriate product choices, or worse, costly mistakes that could impact your financial future.

When it comes to life insurance, a specialist is someone who sells the product exclusively or makes the product their primary focus. A life insurance specialist has the knowledge, experience, and contacts needed to provide the high-end, personal service you require for this significant purchase.

How do you know your life insurance professional is indeed a specialist? Here are the qualifications you should look for:

Underwriting Expertise

Life insurance is probably the most thoroughly underwritten financial product you will buy. Your current health, medical history, family medical history, vocation, hobbies, lifestyle, and financial, legal, and motor vehicle record are all considered. You will need expert guidance to negotiate the prequalification and underwriting processes to experience a successful result. A broker who specializes in life insurance will have this expertise.

Client Advocacy

A very large and diverse team of people will collaborate on your purchase. This team includes the broker’s own office staff, the general agent, and that person’s support staff, as well as the carrier’s underwriters, case managers, and management. Attorneys, financial planners, accountants, and other professionals may also get involved. The activities of all these people need to be coordinated and directed in such a way that your interests as the client are always front and center. A broker who specializes in life insurance will have the skills required for this amount of leadership and coordination.

Product Knowledge

Sure, the benefits and features of the product must be understood, but there is more to it than that. Life insurance is an incredibly unique financial tool in that it is the only form of insurance that guarantees that a claim will be paid. You may have medical insurance, but if you never get sick or hurt, you won’t use it. If you never get into a car accident, you won’t have the opportunity to benefit from your car insurance. But you know for sure you are going to die. If you keep your life insurance in place, your beneficiary will collect the benefit. It’s as simple as that.

As much as we try to avoid thinking about our death, the reality is that that a claim could be filed at any time. We all like to think our death will be some far-off event, but a good diet, regular exercise, positive thinking, and playing it safe are no guarantees against drunk drivers, freak accidents, and many other hazards beyond our control. We are not invincible and must not take our life for granted.

A broker who specializes in life insurance will encourage you to value your mortality. He will help you realize the importance of buying life insurance now and understand the risk in waiting. He will help you form a strategy for improving your insurability and qualifying for lower pricing in the future.

Does your life insurance broker bring all these qualifications to the table? If not, it’s time to reevaluate your relationship and find someone who can help you construct a life insurance foundation that will give you peace of mind. If you are ready to consult with a specialist, contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Stay tuned for my next article to learn why your broker should be a super-specialist.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Honoring Your Parents: Is it Wrong to Want to Die?

What would you do if somebody told you they wanted to die? After the initial shock, your response would greatly depend on the relationship you have with the person who asked the question. For example, if a family member broached this question, you would do whatever you could to help them. If a perfect stranger asked it while perched on a bridge as you passed by, you would be alarmed and call the police. Regardless of the scenario, you would not ignore the question and risk the chance that they would do something to hurt themselves. You would take action.

Let’s look at it a different way. What if the person asking is old and sick? Would you feel as compelled to save them? Would you still be driven to do whatever is necessary to stop them from killing themselves? Without considering suicide, would you try to convince someone who is suffering that life is still worth living?

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill questions, but many children of elderly parents have to face this situation and find a way to deal with the heaviness of it. In my personal and professional experience, I’ve developed the following mindset when confronted by a loved one wanting death to overtake them.

Take Moral Judgment Out Of The Equation

Personally, I believe suicide is wrong. We were given our lives by the Creator, and it’s not up to us to decide when to give them back. Even though I hold fast to my beliefs, it’s not my job to enforce any code of morality. Each one of us needs to uphold our end of the bargain with the Creator on our own.

There are certain situations where we are justified to take measures to protect someone from doing something rash, such as with those who are emotionally or mentally disturbed and aren’t in the right mind to make decisions themselves. But for someone who is stable and just doesn’t want to go on, the best we can do is get them some solid counseling with someone who has the skills to help them deal with their situation properly.

It’s Not About You

When it comes to dealing with emotional family issues, it’s difficult to not take things personally. When family members or friends are in the throes of despair, we often want to save them. We want to take away their pain and set them on the right path. These are noble intentions, but it’s important to examine our motivation behind these desires.

It’s not a bad thing to feel desperate or hopeless. Life can get messy and cause burdens to pile up, and it’s natural for us to feel the pain of those around us and want to help. But we must be careful to determine whose pain it is we want to end. We have to put our loved ones first and not try to make them feel better so that we feel better ourselves. Our pain is our business. Their pain is their business. Our job is to give them the time and space to deal with it.

Accept The Natural Order Of Things

The prospect of losing somebody we love is agonizing. Watching them suffer is torture. And hearing them plead for it all to end almost makes you want to help them do it. But we have to remember that all lives come to an end. There is no stopping the cycle of birth and death that governs our time here on earth. At the end of the day, we have to accept it and work through it as best as we can. So when you are grappling with seeing a loved one suffer, interpret their cries for relief as them sensing that their end is near and struggling to accept their fate.

Old age can be a miserable time. Every day can bring a new form of pain and discomfort. Familiar aches return with a vengeance, and even the strongest and most stubborn of people can fall into despair and depression. Who can blame them for wanting to throw in the towel? Instead of letting your emotions take over, do whatever you can to support them in this sensitive time. While this is an intense issue to handle, know that you are not alone. Many others are also working through similar situations. If you have any questions or would like to share your story, contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I’d love to hear from you.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Why People Hate Buying Life Insurance

elephant in the room

Did you know that only 3 in 5 people have purchased a life insurance policy? Of those who do have life insurance, nearly half have insufficient coverage. Why is that?

In my experience selling this product for over 25 years, I have come across many people who understand the need for life insurance but haven’t done anything about it. Based on their reasons, here are three obstacles keeping people from purchasing life insurance and practical ways to overcome them.

1. You Don’t Want To Think About Dying Soon

Many consumers believe they are in competition with their life insurance company. Their thought process goes like this: you give these companies your hard-earned money year after year, but you (meaning your family or business) don’t “get” anything unless you die. And the sooner you die, the bigger the return on your payments. Companies “win” if it takes longer for you to die because they get more of your money in the meantime. If you die sooner, you “win” because they get less. Who wants to take such a morbid bet?

In truth, it’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not an either/or proposition between you winning or them winning. A life insurance company is an ally, not an adversary. Once you change your perspective of the relationship, you realize that you have taken them on as a risk-sharing partner. No no can predict when you are going to die, so if you can’t afford to self-insure against your family or business losing you tomorrow, you need to bring in a partner to assume the risk.

2. You Treat Life Insurance As An Investment

I’ve heard many people say, “I think I’ll postpone this purchase until next year. I’ll only be one year older, so the premium shouldn’t be that much higher.” It’s like they’re saying, “I’ll invest in this product next year. I’ll have lost only one year of earnings.” This idea assumes that they will be as insurable next year as they are this year.

My experience has been that this is not a safe assumption at all. Think of all the factors that are considered in life insurance underwriting: current health, medical history, family medical history, vocation, hobbies, lifestyle, financial/legal/motor vehicle record. Something could happen in any one of these areas that could increase the premium price dramatically or even make you ineligible for coverage. Once you realize that you cannot take your insurability for granted, then you know that the time to buy is now.

3. You’ve Had A Bad Experience With A Life Insurance Application

Sadly, buying life insurance can be a miserable experience for many people. They may find the underwriting questions intrusive, and the whole process can be exhausting. All too often, they get approved at a rate higher than quoted or not approved at all. Thus, they give up.

All of this is understandable but unfortunate. Believe it or not, though, the experience of buying life insurance can be satisfying. The key is prequalification. Every consumer has a right to be confident of the rate they will be charged prior to submitting an application. It does take some effort from a broker to get a client pre-underwritten and deliver a premium commitment from a carrier, and most brokers and agents do not set up their business this way. But if you find one that offers this service, and I have been doing this for decades, then you can get approved at the rate quoted. Your purchase of life insurance can be managed with the integrity you expect when buying every other product.

Life insurance is critical and will provide tremendous peace of mind for you and your family. Don’t let obstacles or misconceptions hold you back from purchasing a life insurance policy and taking care of your loved ones. Have you experienced these hindrances or others I have not mentioned? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need to Provide for the Emotional and Psychological Needs of Your Loved Ones?

how much life insurance emotional needs

Most of us know and understand the value of life insurance for providing financially for our loved ones. Life insurance ensures that your family will be able to pay the mortgage, continue education, and maintain their standard of living. But beyond the practical basics, life insurance also provides peace of mind for you family members, lifting a burden and providing space and time for them to grieve and begin the healing process after a tragic event. When to comes to calculating your life insurance face amount, how you do factor in the emotional and psychological needs of your life insurance beneficiary?

How Much Insurance Do You Need?

Life insurance is often used to replace the income of a breadwinner. The key question then, is how much insurance is needed to replace that income? Different financial advisors come from various schools of thought when answering that question. Some use basic rules of thumb, such as seven to ten times your income, (1) while others use a financial calculator to factor in additional resources and calculate the exact amount of life insurance to buy. But do these methods capture the true needs of your family?

Consider Your Family’s Needs

Before you crunch any numbers, you should take the time to think about the psychological and emotional needs of your surviving spouse and children. If your tragic demise were to occur, they would be devastated and need time to grieve, heal, and regroup from the trauma. While you will never stop missing a loved one, you eventually learn how to go one without them, but it takes time to grasp the impact of the loss. (2) The life insurance benefit you provide your family with should be sufficient enough to buy them that time.

No one wants to picture their family in such a state of mourning, but their misfortune is the precise reason you are buying that policy. Your sensitivity to the challenges they will face will help you determine how much money they will need.

Here are three benefits your life insurance will provide for you family’s emotional and psychological needs:

1. Time Together

First of all, your children will be without you, one of the two most important adults in their lives. You don’t want them to “lose” their other adult – your surviving spouse – because he or she has to go back to work right away. Your life insurance policy should provide enough money so your spouse can afford to spend more time with your children and help them work through the bereavement process.

2. Peace of Mind For Your Spouse

Next, you have the needs of your spouse. For many people, losing a life partner is like losing an arm. They feel handicapped and incomplete. Some people can rebound quicker than others, but everybody needs time to absorb their new reality and learn how to live their new normal. They shouldn’t feel compelled to remarry sooner than they are ready, simply because the household needs an additional income.

3. Breathing Room For A Fresh Start

Finally, you have to be open to the potential need for your family to start afresh. The death of a loved one can cause many people to take part in serious soul-searching. Your spouse and children may need specialized therapy or healing and growth activities. Maybe a vacation or a family bonding adventure will help them move forward. They might even need to relocate to a new community for a fresh start.

Now What?

Now that you have the emotional and psychological needs of your family in mind, you can calculate how much life insurance to purchase to meet those needs. These are some of the dramatic but real issues you should think through when you prepare your family for your untimely death. You should certainly discuss them with your spouse and together determine what your family will need. If you feel you need extra guidance to come up with the right amount for your policy, or if you would like to further discuss the emotional and psychological impact your death may have on your family, contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I am here to help.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/how-much-life-insurance-should-you-buy.aspx

(2) http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/coping-loss-bereavement-and-grief

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

What I Don’t Want With My Medical Insurance

purchase-health-insurance-policyHere’s my two cents on the Obamacare/Trumpcare debate.
I’ll tell you what I don’t want when it comes to medical insurance:

I don’t want the federal government taking over the entire marketplace just to make sure a small percentage of the population has coverage. The vast majority of people financially and medically qualify for a private plan, either individually or through their employer. Those who don’t can get covered through some kind of public/private partnership. You don’t have to regulate 95% of consumers just to provide for 5%.

I don’t want bureaucrats managing even more of the economy than they do now. The size of the national debt is roughly the same amount as entitlements that have been passed out over the last few decades. These people are incompetent, and responsibility should be taken away from them, not more given to them.

I don’t want corrupt politicians having access to people’s personal health information. There is too much collusion between government and industry. I don’t want pharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers to know which of us have depression, which have diabetes, etc.

I don’t want ideologues controlling the allocation of medical treatment. Some amoral technocrat who believes that elder people are “disposable,” should not have the power to take benefits away from them in favor of younger, more “productive” people.

And I don’t like the political elite taking our money and giving themselves rich benefits while they force us to settle for less – and penalize us if we don’t. This is probably the most un-American aspect of this crusade to nationalize health care.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.