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.

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.

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.

________

(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.

Honoring Your Parents: Do You Know How to Die?

honoring parents how to die

Do you know how to die? That’s probably not a question you get asked every day. Most people don’t want to think about it, and I can’t say I blame them. While those in dangerous occupations, such as police officers or soldiers, are forced to deal with the reality of death, the rest of us tend to put it off until a terminal illness or other tragic event occurs.

When people decide to buy life insurance, they are, in some way, acknowledging the fact that they will die. But very few consider how they will die. The clients with whom I have broached this subject with often brush it off with a sarcastic or humorous response, which is one way to avoid the more serious side of the issue.

In my career as a life insurance salesperson, I have expedited many death claims. I also accompanied both my parents in the final stage of their lives, helping them make their final preparations. One critical lesson I have learned from this experience is that how you die is very much a result of how you live. The more peace you have found in this lifetime, the more peace you will have when you leave it

Here are three ways in which a peaceful life can lead to a peaceful death:

Get Your Financial House In Order

Nobody wants to deal with money issues. If you make financial mistakes when you are young, you have the luxury of time to recover from them. But when you are old, your capability of generating new income is limited. When you enter the last stage of your life, you don’t want it to be fraught with financial worries.

What does it mean to plan ahead and prepare? Think through a big-picture blueprint for all of your assets to protect your investments, your legacy, and most importantly, your loved ones, then start taking steps to get all the pieces in place.

Find Peace With Those Around You

When people realize their last day is coming, they understand they are out of second chances. There is no time left to tell people how you feel or to apologize for your misdeeds. You don’t want to die with regrets and remorse on your conscience, so get in the habit of clearing your slate with those in your life. If you owe someone money, make sure you pay off the debt in full. If you owe someone an apology, give it immediately. Delaying may only result in running out of time.

Set The Stage For A Comfortable Transition

It’s crucial for people to feel that they are in a good, safe place with the right relationships, the right job, the right school. Don’t settle for less by sticking it out in an uncaring environment. This will be especially important to you in the final stage of your life.

I have found that people really care about where they die. Both my parents were adamant about not ending their life in a nursing home. They wanted to die at home, in familiar surroundings, amongst caring people. Because it was a priority to them, my family made sure it happened the way they desired. As an example, one of the most inspiring stories I’ve heard was of a gentleman who spent almost his entire life in one home, tending a luscious garden for many years. When he knew that his final day had arrived, he simply walked into that garden, his favorite place, and lay down. That is where his wife found him.

As a life insurance sales person, family member, and friend, I feel it is my duty to help people set the stage for their passing as comfortably as they can. That often means helping them decide how to live comfortably, with peace of mind and confidence in their plans. If you or your loved ones have never considered the question of how you will die and know that you have some missing pieces to take care of, contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I am happy to help you make the most of your life.

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: Feeling for Them, Not with Them

honoring parents feeling

Getting old is a challenge. For many people, it is probably the ultimate test in life as they realize they are not invincible and that their mortality is a reality. As each day goes by, their strength, vitality, and overall physical condition weaken. They may find that everyday activities are harder to get through and that they don’t bounce back as quickly.

Aging is also difficult for family members. Those of us who have walked with our parents through the final stages of their lives have experienced this hardship. There is an unnatural role reversal, where those who took care of you through your life now need you to take care of them. This dependence can be taxing on your time and finances and cause a heavy emotional burden for you to carry. How do you handle this painful process? How do you approach this situation with grace and sensitivity?

The Burden Of Empathy

Empathy is usually seen in a positive light. We consider it a noble venture to feel another’s pain and try to understand their plight. That may be true, but there is a limit to empathy. If we go through life feeling the pain of all the people around us who are hurting, we will quickly become overwhelmed and overloaded. This is especially true when caring for ailing elders, whose typical day can be full of suffering.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 85% of caregivers care for a relative, with 49% of them taking care of a parent or parent-in-law. This refers to any level of care, from a few hours a week to a full-time situation. The report shows that caring for a parent is more emotionally stressful, especially for those who feel they have no choice in taking on the caregiver role.

We want to show respect and repay all the love and care that was invested in us, but how do we do it without burning out?

Compassion, Not Empathy

A recent Wall Street Journal article by psychologist Paul Bloom shows us an alternative perspective. He declares that the emphasis should be on compassion, not empathy. According to a neuroscience study in Current Biology, compassion is distinguished from empathy in that it doesn’t mean sharing in the suffering others. Instead, compassion is centered on concern, care, and a desire to improve the other’s well being. It’s about feeling for someone, not with them.

If you are in a season of walking through some trials with your parents, compassion will make more of a difference than empathy. Your parents don’t need someone to feel their pain, but someone who can support, encourage, and treat them with kindness and respect. It’s a difficult road to walk, but one on which our parents need us. Have you seen this concept of compassion versus empathy play out in your life? Have you, or are you currently, watching your parents age and struggle as they enter the final phase of life? As someone who has been through it, I’d love to chat with you and hear your thoughts. 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.

How Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Take Care of Their Estate

estate

Many successful businesses are family-owned and operated. You can find family-run enterprises in every industry: manufacturing, construction, real estate, insurance, law, financial services, hotel and restaurant management, and the list goes on. Every trade, every profession. The business often becomes a way to create a family legacy, to achieve a reputation as people of quality, of service and of commitment to one another, their employees, their clients and vendors, and the community.

But when it comes to planning for the future of your business, how do you handle the tricky matter of estate preservation?

The Value of Life Insurance

Many of us know the importance of life insurance for providing for our families, covering loans, or making charitable gifts, but it is equally important when it comes to preserving your estate and equalizing estate distributions.

Family businesses can get complicated. Some children choose to join their parents’ profession and eventually take the company over to continue the family legacy. At the same time, however, many children choose their own paths. This type of situation creates a dilemma for the parents when they create an estate plan. They can certainly leave the business to the child who has decided to join it, but what can they bestow to child who has opted out? In addition, they need to think about strategies to shield their assets from estate taxation. The last thing they want is for their heirs to be forced to sell off properties just to pay hefty tax bills.

This is where life insurance provides a solution. Let’s suppose a business is worth $10 million. The parents can make arrangements to pass on their shares to the child who will carry it on, but they could also take out a $10 million life insurance policy and make their other child the beneficiary. In this way, each child would be the recipients of a gift of equal amount. Any other assets worth more than the available estate tax credit could be protected with a separate life insurance policy.

If this is something you want to pursue, here are three quick tips for using life insurance for estate preservation and equalizing estate distributions:

1. Use The Opportunity To Reflect

Estate planning is all about making sure your life continues to have meaning after you pass away. What was your life all about? What is your legacy? What did you stand for? For whom did you care? People will understand what is important to you by your document declarations, the assets you transfer, and the gifts you leave. Don’t be afraid to throw yourself into the process and make the most of it.

2. Get The Help Of An Expert

Estate planning is both an art and a science. It is also a specialized area of law due to all of the intricate details. When businesses and other significant assets are involved, you need the counsel of an attorney who specializes in estate and business planning so that your plans are legitimized and you can have peace of mind that everything is in order.

3. Research All Your Options

A sophisticated estate plan could meet multiple needs for life insurance. Various products can apply to your situation, such as single life, joint survivorship, term, guaranteed universal life, and whole life. Think outside the box when investigating what will work for you, and make sure your attorney and insurance broker team up to design the proper mix of policies.

Your estate is of utmost importance. You’ve dedicated your life to building something significant so make sure your life’s work and those you love are protected and provided for through life insurance. Let me help you find the perfect policy for all your business needs. Set up an appointment by contacting me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I look forward to hearing from you and helping your business succeed.

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.

Pot and Life Insurance: Answers to the 10 Biggest Questions

pot and life inusrnace

Society’s perceptions of marijuana have undergone a drastic change since I was in junior high. Back then, it was normal for schools to assign Tuned Out as part of the curriculum and show “Reefer Madness” in class, with the intended purpose of teaching us that pot would turn you into an acid addict who would eventually go crazy or that getting stoned would result in a horrific car crash.

It’s true that pot could be a gateway drug for some people, and driving while impaired is always dangerous, but society as a whole has developed a much greater comfort level with marijuana. Is this change reflected in the life insurance industry? Through the years, I have helped many pot users purchase a policy, and these are the questions that often come up.

1. How Does Marijuana Affect Your Mortality?

While there is certainly valid information that shows the positive health effects of marijuana use, there is equally compelling data that points to the downsides of the drug on your health. Life insurance underwriters look at the impact on the total body. Here are some of their primary concerns:

  • Impaired driving
  • Acute respiratory illness and infections
  • Addiction, leading to risky behavior
  • Increased heart rate, potentially leading to a heart attack
  • Mental illness, including temporary psychotic reactions, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and personality disturbances
  • With pregnant women, postpartum neurological issues

Clearly, each of these conditions could potentially impact your mortality.

2. Is Smoking Marijuana Treated The Same As Smoking Tobacco?

To a large extent, yes. Carriers tend to view both activities the same way, but they can differ from one another in how they treat these activities. Some will make their best underwriting class available while others will automatically assess an extra premium with a table rating.

A number of factors impact this determination, including frequency and dosage, how the marijuana is used (smoking, ingestion, or vaporization), and the age of the insured.

3. How Is Age A Factor In Underwriting Marijuana Users?

Some carriers perceive an increased mortality risk in younger users. They have good reasons for this, especially when it comes to automobile deaths. Therefore, they will not issue policies to people below a certain age, or, if they do issue a policy, they may automatically assess a table rating extra premium for those below a certain age. On the other hand, some carriers do not set a minimum age limit for this scenario.

4. Should I Stop Using Marijuana For A Few Weeks To Qualify For A Non-Smoker Rate?

Believe it or not, not every carrier tests for marijuana on every insurance exam. Carriers who don’t are relying on your application disclosures to underwrite you. While some people may be tempted to lie under these circumstances, there is a strong discouragement to do so.

First of all, even if your drug test comes back clean, your medical records may indicate your marijuana use since physicians often make a note of this in their charts. If you don’t acknowledge your use of pot on your application, you run the risk of being declined automatically. Underwriters don’t like it when it appears the applicant is trying to get away with something.

Secondly, your application requires you to sign a statement to the effect that, to the best of your knowledge, your answers to the questions are truthful. If you willingly withhold information, you could be accused of committing insurance fraud. The carrier would be within its rights to not pay the benefit, even if the cause of claim has nothing to do with drug use.

Also, cheating can artificially increase prices. Insurance companies need to make an accurate assessment of the risks they assume to ensure sufficient money has been allocated to meet anticipated claims. If they are not entirely aware of all the risks involved, they may underfund their reserves. This could result in an increase in prices to make up the difference, and you and everybody else could end up paying more than you should be.

Lastly, remember that your broker has an ethical and legal responsibility to report everything he knows about the underwriting risks you represent. This includes both medical and lifestyle-related risks, including anything you tell him about your personal habits. No such conversation is “off the record.” He cannot do you a favor or bend the rules to get your business because he could face fines, suspensions, and/or lawsuits.

5. Will How I Use Marijuana Change My Premium Price?

Many people don’t smoke marijuana. Instead, they eat it in home-baked goodies or vaporize it. How you get the drug in your system could result in a price break. There are some carriers who distinguish between smoking, ingesting, or vaporizing. The difference could be as significant as being rated a non-smoker as opposed to a smoker. Again, many other factors can influence what rate class you are assigned.

6. Will An Underwriter Recognize the Difference Between Medicinal and Recreational Use?

The odds are that you’ll be treated as a recreational user. It still boils down to how much you use, how you use it, and how frequently you use it.

It is crucial to recognize that the medical condition for which you have been prescribed marijuana will also be underwritten. All other factors being equal, conditions such as chronic pain, muscle spasms, and even PTSD may not require too much of an extra premium. But cancer, hepatitis C, and multiple sclerosis could result in a higher payment or even a declined application.

7. If I Purchase Insurance Now But Stop Smoking Later, Will My Rate Be Reduced?

It’s a good decision to get the policy now. If you need the coverage, you get it. You don’t want to wait for the optimum time to buy, because tragically, a claim may have to be paid in the meantime. You don’t want to shortchange your beneficiaries on the money they will need upon losing you.

Once you are insured, we can work on reducing the cost. When you have stopped using marijuana for a full year, you could very well be eligible for a lower premium. If things don’t work out for you, and you develop an unforeseen medical condition, then at least you will have life insurance in play! We can always try again the following year.

8. Will I Get In Trouble For Disclosing That I Use Pot If It Is Still Illegal In My State?

That’s a valid concern. Many people are uncomfortable with acknowledging their pot use when it is deemed illegal. However, you are protected by very stringent privacy protection regulations. Here is verbiage that is very typical among carrier contracts:

(Company) does not disclose any non-public personal financial or any non-public personal medical information about our customers or former customers to anyone, except as permitted or required by law. It is (Company’s) current policy not to disclose customer information to, or share customer information with, other businesses for marketing purposes.

9. Is It Possible To Get A Policy That Has A Marijuana Exclusion?

Yes. There are excess-market carriers that would not factor in your pot usage when they underwrite you. Your policy would have a clause that states they are not liable for a claim that is drug-related. Bear in mind that these policies are typically available only under specific business or financial circumstances, and can be more expensive than policies from mainstream carriers.

10. Marijuana Has Great Profit Potential. Will I Be Able To Obtain Life Insurance To Cover The Business?

We are all aware of the importance of life insurance for buy-sell funding, key person coverage, business loan protection, and other business needs, but is life insurance available for those on the business side of marijuana?

This question is perhaps the biggest indication that marijuana use has become an accepted norm in our society. If you can legitimately go into business selling it, then there can’t be a problem with it, right?

Of course, the key word here is legitimate. On the one hand, life insurance carriers don’t take on the responsibility of determining the legality of any applicant’s business. At the same time, I have not come across a domestic company who would offer a policy to somebody in this business, probably because they are still waiting for legalization. Nonetheless, there are foreign insurers that would provide coverage in this situation. While they often insure business people who provide services around the sale of marijuana, they would consider prospects directly involved in selling.

Just like alcohol and tobacco use, a history of using marijuana can affect your access to life insurance, but as times have changed, so has the life insurance industry. Prequalification would determine exactly how your particular use of marijuana would be treated by an underwriter, but you can still qualify for life insurance. If you have questions that were not addressed in this post, or if you are concerned about the premium costs for your unique circumstances, I am here to help. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com so we can research your options and find a life insurance policy that will fit your needs.

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 Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Cover Business Loans

how business owners use life ins loans

If you are a business owner, you know that businesses need infusions of cash on a regular basis. Whether you are starting a business or growing an established company, you need capital to get going. Capital, in the form of cash, is necessary to open the doors of your business. It’s required to expand into a new marketplace. Cash is needed when setting up a new branch or division.

Sometimes you can access this money from currently-owned business assets or accounts, but more often than not, you need outside resources to make your dreams a reality. You have multiple options when it comes to getting a business loan, such as turning to commercial or private lenders and even investors to obtain the capital you need. But regardless of where the money comes from, one thing is consistent: your lenders will want their money back if you default on the balance or die before the loan is paid back.

Why Life Insurance Matters

This is where life insurance comes in. Lenders typically will not close a deal until a policy is in force. They simply don’t want to have to chase down the surviving family members, or the executor of the estate in order to get their balance due. The life insurance benefit will provide the exact amount needed exactly when it is needed. That’s one major creditor that family and business associates don’t have to worry about.

Here are three quick tips for business owners for using life insurance to indemnify a bank loan or other debt:

1. Purchase Your Policy First


Life insurance underwriting can take several months, especially if a history of serious illness has to be reviewed. Don’t wait until the last minute to get prequalified and submit an application. The last thing you want is to be conditionally approved by a lender, only to have to delay closing because your insurance is not yet final. If there is an overlap of time and your banker starts getting antsy, make sure your broker reaches out to him to reassure him that the process is underway.

2. Forget About Loan Protection Policies


Lending institutions will often offer life insurance to indemnify their loans. These products are sometimes called “Loan Indemnification” policies, or “Mortgage Protection” policies. They are simply term insurance with a face amount that decreases as your loan is paid back. But the vast majority of the time, they are more expensive than a straight term policy you can buy in the open marketplace.

3. Choose Your Beneficiary Wisely

Sometimes business owners think the lender has to be the owner and beneficiary of their life insurance. Not only is that not true, but it’s also not a good idea.

Let’s suppose you have a policy for $2 million, to match the initial amount of the loan. After five years, you have paid off $500,000, leaving a balance of $1.5 million. Tragically, you pass away, leaving the loan unpaid. If the bank is the beneficiary, they will get the full $2 million, $500,000 more than they are owed.

The wise choice is to make a family member or other sensible entity the beneficiary and then use a collateral assignment to ensure the lender receives his benefits. When a claim is paid, the insurance company will then make the lender prove the balance due, pay them, and give the beneficiary the rest. In this way, everybody gets what they deserve. As an added bonus, by making yourself, your business, or a trust the owner of the policy, you prevent the lender from tampering with the policy.

As we’ve seen in previous articles, life insurance is vital to the success of a business owner. It protects you, your family, and your business, and gives you peace of mind if unanticipated events happen. With so many details involved in running a business, it’s easy to overlook something like the need for life insurance to pay back loans. Let me help you find the best policy and answer any questions about how life insurance can make a difference for your business. Ask anything by emailing 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.

3 Tips For Buying Life Insurance For People Who Smoke

smoking

It’s a known fact that smoking carries many health effects, such as a higher risk of death, chronic disease, diabetes, and dental issues. But a side effect of smoking that isn’t as obvious is the increased cost of life insurance. Did you know that if you are currently a smoker, you can expect to pay two to three times as much for a policy than a nonsmoker? The good news is that you can get a policy, and if you were a smoker in the past and have quit, your premium cost will decrease.

And, under very special circumstances, you may even be able to pay non-smoker rates.

We have extensive case files that show that people who pose this particular underwriting risk were able to purchase a life insurance policy at a reasonable rate.

Here are three tips to keep in mind to overcome this obstacle and get insured:

Tip# 1: Be Honest. Really.

It is very tempting to think, “I don’t smoke much at all. What if I stop for a few weeks before the physical exam and tell them I have quit for good?” There’s a term for that: insurance fraud. Don’t do it. If you do, you could jeopardize the benefit getting paid. Plus, any broker who encourages you to lie on the application is steering you in the wrong direction.

When you get prequalified for coverage, you will be required to complete a smoking questionnaire, and it will need to be thorough and accurate for an underwriter to make a fair assessment of the risk involved. Give some thought to the answers so that all parties involved can be confident they know the full story.

Tip# 2: Look For Carriers Who Offer the Best Rates

You may not believe this, but you can bank on the fact that some carriers offer outstanding rates to smokers. The life insurance industry has become very sophisticated in underwriting people who smoke. As a matter of fact, non-smoker rates are available for people who smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or e-cigarettes, or to those who chew tobacco or Nicorette. This even extends to people who smoke marijuana.

These exceptional rates aren’t guaranteed. A number of factors have to fall in place for you to qualify for non-smoker rates, but the point is this: odds are you can get an excellent rate, even as a smoker.

Tip# 3: You Can Always Search For A New Policy

If you need coverage immediately, buy a policy. It’s as simple as that. It makes no sense to postpone a necessary purchase on the hope and prayer that you will qualify for a better rate later. Your insurability is critical, and you simply cannot assume that some medical or lifestyle condition won’t emerge down the road to throw another wrench in the plan.

If you’re that confident you will kick the habit, then the smart thing to do is to cover yourself while you do so. Then, when you succeed, you can simply re-shop your coverage and go for a lower price. If you qualify, great. Just replace the policy. But if you don’t, then you will be very glad you bought the policy when you did.

It’s a known fact that smoking carries many health effects, such as a higher risk of death, chronic disease, diabetes, and dental issues. But a side effect of smoking that isn’t as obvious is the increased cost of life insurance. 

I am here to help. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com so we can research your options and find the best life insurance policy for 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.

3 Tips For Buying Life Insurance For People With an Alcohol History

alcohol

Many people believe that you have to be in perfect health and live a low-risk lifestyle to obtain life insurance, but that’s not always the case. Did you know that you can purchase a life insurance policy at a reasonable rate, even if you have a history of alcohol abuse? We have seen success stories first-hand, drawn from our extensive case files of people who have done just that, despite the underwriting risk they pose.

Here are three ways you can overcome this obstacle in order to get insured:

Tip# 1: Get The Facts Straight

People who drink a lot often lose track of just how much they drink. Is it every day? A few times a week? How many glasses each time? How often do you drink for business? What about in the evenings or on weekends? Excessive alcohol use can cause long-term health problems, which is why life insurance companies pay attention to this issue.

When you go through prequalification for coverage, you will be required to complete an alcohol consumption questionnaire. You will need to be thorough and honest for an underwriter to make a fair assessment of the risk involved. Give some thought to this factor so that everyone involved can be confident they have the complete picture.

Tip# 2: Know What’s In Your Medical Records

Underwriters pay particular attention to lab reports to see the effects of your drinking on your organs, especially your liver function. They will want to see a history of results over time to see if any trends appear.

Underwriters also place a lot of weight on physician notes. They want to see if your doctor has instructed you to cut down or stop drinking altogether. Make sure you and your doctor are on the same page.

Tip# 3: Share Your Success Story

Everybody has ups and downs as they walk through life. But those who battle a drinking problem often have higher peaks and lower valleys than many others. However, you should be proud that you have reached a point in your life where you have a need for life insurance and the means to pay for it. This shows that you are on the right track.

Your underwriter will be keenly interested in the support system you have built along the way. Share about your participation in alcohol support groups. Be sure to mention your involvement in community groups, religious or fraternal organizations, and every other resource that has helped you find strength and courage. You are now on the straight and narrow, right? Brag about it! Sharing your story and your success can make a significant difference when your application is under review, so don’t underestimate the value of this step.

We have all made mistakes at some point in our lives. Just because you have a history with alcohol doesn’t mean you should be excluded from the benefits that life insurance offers. While you will need to go through prequalification to determine what pricing the insurance marketplace will offer you, you are not disqualified based on your lifestyle. If this resonates with you, or if you know someone who is in this position, I am here to help. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com so we can research your options and find the ideal life insurance policy for 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.

Honor Your Parents and Choose a Long Life

honor-your-parents

Our parents are often the most important influencers in our lives. As such, our relationships with them can significantly impact the quality and even quantity of our years.

I recently laid my mother to rest. She fought a long battle with illness and at every step along the way she attempted to fend off death and embrace whatever ray of light the new day brought her way. Prior to her passing, I also laid my father to rest. He too had a great determination to live and tried to dedicate his last days to a most worthy cause.  

The Reward of Honoring Your Parents

I am sure that many of you have also had a similar experience with your parents or know of others who have. You understand the tremendous stress, strain, and fear of facing the demise of a loved one. It can wear you down and make life feel like a burden you are anxious to cast off. Yet the Bible tells us that caring for a parent can have the opposite effect. In the Fifth Commandment, it says:

“Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20.11; Deuteronomy 5:15)

Can caring for an ailing parent actually increase the length of your own life? I think it can. Here’s how:

An Opportunity to Honor

It’s no secret that mental anguish and emotional disturbance can negatively affect your health. Unresolved conflict, resentments, and anger, among other destructive emotions, have the power to cause illness.  If ignored or not treated properly, they can even lead to death. Such is the poison of unfinished business.

It seems that a common and primary source of our unfinished business is our relationship with our parents. Father issues, mother issues, problems with each of them and with both of them, stretching over decades. What a burden to carry!

But then they reach their final stage of life and they become the dependent one. You now step into a caregiver role and have the responsibility to be there for them and take care of them. As a result, all the unfinished business often comes rushing to the forefront. This unique time is a prime opportunity to unload past issues and work through them as you attempt to give your parents the honor they deserve.

When you take these steps, you become clean of the poisons that can harm your life. You free yourself of the mental and emotional hazards that can cut your life short and you restore your potential for a naturally long life.

Have you experienced something similar? Are you currently going through this kind of situation? I’d love to hear your story. Ask anything by emailing 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.

 

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 Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Protect Against the Loss of a Key Person

As any business owner knows, when it comes to running a company, everyone counts. You can’t bring in money without a salesforce. You can’t count the money without an accounting department. You can’t run the computers without an IT specialist.

You can’t secure the building without security personnel. And you can’t keep the floors clean without the maintenance staff. The same goes for every clerk, administrator, secretary, supervisor, manager, and executive. Your business runs on the shoulders of many people in a variety of positions. Have you made sure that the loss of a key player won’t harm your business?

Why Do You Need This Coverage?

While everyone is integral, some people play principal roles. For example, revenue may suffer if you lose a top salesperson, and investors and shareholders might get anxious if you lose a chief executive. Clients and vendors might get nervous if a key manager leaves, and future production may be jeopardized if you lose a key technician, inventor, scientist, or idea person.

These situations show why businesses insure leading personnel. They take out life insurance to protect themselves against the loss of men and women whose death could impair the operation. The insurance benefit protects you by giving you the time needed to recruit the right replacement. In the meantime, client service continues, bills get paid, and employees have reassurance that the show will go on. Business can take place as normal.

Here are three quick tips for business owners to make the right decisions when insuring key personnel.

Determine the Policy’s Face Amount

How do you value the services of primary employees? Your answer to that question will vary according to the role they play. The service of a key chief executive would be assessed differently than the service of a key technician. Your firm’s accountant or chief financial officer should consult with an insurance company advisor to calculate the appropriate insurance benefit for your situation.

Decide on a Time Period

Key person coverage came about at a time when the main employees tended to make long-term commitments to their employers. Today, many key men and women tend to switch jobs more frequently. If you think that is the case in your business, then term insurance might be more applicable than permanent insurance.

Establish Your Options

What should you do with the policy on a vital person if he or she does leave? You have a number of options to choose from. You could simply terminate the policy, or, if it is a cash value policy, you might be able to surrender it for value. In some cases, the former employer keeps the policy in force and collects the benefit when the former employee passes away. The policy may also be sold for cash in a life settlement depending on the age, medical condition of the insured, and other factors related to the policy.

Your business is built on the shoulders of all those who work for you. How protected are you if one of your principal players passes away? I’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. Ask anything by emailing 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.

 

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 You MUST Change Your Life Insurance Beneficiary When Getting Divorced

29894340172_1f9c654e89_nCertified Divorce Financial Analyst™, Michelle Ash has a must-read article about financial issues after divorce in womensdivorce.com. Here’s an overview:

The divorce is finally over, the decisions have been made, and now life proceeds anew for the client. But it’s never really that easy, is it? For the newly-divorced client, the legal work may be done, but there’s often a long list of financial clean-up that lies ahead.

Expert advice

As a life insurance broker, I pay special attention when experts offer advice on how to avoid troubles with your policy. Michelle points to a big one regarding the need to change the beneficiary designation when the divorce is finalized:

According to estate planning attorney C. Randolph Coleman of The Coleman Law Firm, “There usually are a half dozen cases during a typical year where someone will call and ask whether there is anything they can do to avoid the ex-spouse of their recently deceased spouse, parent, child or sibling, from taking the life insurance or retirement plan that the ex-spouse was still the beneficiary designated on the decedent’s plans/policies. The short answer, there is nothing you can do. The beneficiary designation will trump the will or intestacy every time.”

Again from estate planning attorney, C. Randolph Coleman, “I probably see about 6 or 8 people a year who typically come in for estate planning 4 to 5 years after a divorce to ‘finally get around’ to updating their estate planning. Usually, during the course of our discussions I will suggest to them that they go back to their employer and check on the beneficiary designations for their life insurance and retirement plans. Invariably, about half of them will call back and tell me how much they appreciate the counsel to check because their ex-spouse remained their beneficiary.”

A big takeaway

One take away from the story is this: if you wait for a life event to prompt an update of your policy, you may end up doing too little too late. This problem can be avoided if you get into the practice of conducting regular audits of your policy. Policy audits can frequently head off trouble at the pass. To learn more, read here.

What about your policy?

What about your life insurance policy? Is the beneficiary designation is current?
Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.

If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

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.

Financial Independence vs. Independent Wealth

This was my view of Macy's 4th of July Fireworks. It was an awesome show. I'm really happy that I got this shoot from this position. Nikon D3000, shot in RAW, edited in Adobe Lightroom 5.

Today we celebrate the independence of the United States of America. Happy birthday, USA! Let’s talk about what independence means from a financial point of view. There are two common ideas related to independence and money: financial independence, and independent wealth. What is the difference between them?

Two ways of taking advantage

Here’s a quick way to answer the question: do you want to be rich? Of course you do. If you were rich, you wouldn’t have to answer to anybody. You could tell anybody you wanted to go jump in the lake. That could be your boss. It could be your biggest client who drives you crazy. It could be the banker or other lender who puts the squeeze on you because he knows you don’t qualify for better terms. Or anybody else taking advantage of you.

On the other hand, it could be the parent who very kindly bails you out time and time again. It could be the government agency who throws money at you simply because you qualify for big government benefits due to a technicality. Or any other entity of which you were taking advantage, albeit legitimately.

The focus is on freedom

Financial independence means you are finally on your own. But here’s the catch: once you are on your own, do you want to have to work 60 hours a week to stay on your own? To put up with all the stress and aggravation and problems of retaining your independence? No, you really don’t. You would like to have a life free of the rat race, even if it is your own rat you are chasing. You want enough money to work because you want to, not because you have to. To do the things you want, on your own time. To not have to worry about paying your bills, or working for the Man – even if you are the Man, your own boss. To do this, you have to be more than financially independent – you have to be independently wealthy. There is the difference between the two.

So, when we plan for our careers and our businesses, let’s strive for Independent Wealth. When we purchase life insurance and plan for the welfare of our survivors, let’s help them remain independently wealthy. And when we chart a course for the future of our country, let’s reclaim our independence and get ourselves wealthy enough to keep it. God bless America. Land of the free, home of the brave, and a country that should be the most prosperous on earth.

Here are a few more resources for you on this topic:

Finally, A Definition Of ‘Independently Wealthy’ We Can Really Get Behind

What Does Independently Wealthy Mean?

Financially Independent vs. Independently Wealthy

Does the distinction between financial independence and independent wealth make sense to you?

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question. If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

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.

5 Reasons Why You Should Disclose Your Prior Drug Use on Your Life Insurance Application

28108832021_13765ce10c_nLife insurance is probably the most comprehensively underwritten financial product in the marketplace. Everything from current health, to family medical history, to criminal record, is covered – with various lifestyle and health factors in between.

Many people are not comfortable disclosing personal information in these areas. Maybe they had a tough time battling depression. Perhaps they feel ashamed about a criminal conviction back in the day. Some are reluctant to talk about income, or prior financial issues.

Recreational drug use is a common sensitive topic. This is true for a variety of reasons, including concerns about illegality and social stigma. While I understand the hesitation to talk about it, I am here to report that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by giving thorough and accurate answers to this and every other question on your application.

Here are five reasons why I believe this to be true, based on my 25 years selling the product:

1. If you don’t admit to usage, you are committing insurance fraud.

Your application contains verbiage very similar to this:

Any person who knowingly with intent to defraud any insurance company or other person, files an application for insurance or statement of claim containing any materially false information or conceals for the purpose of misleading, information concerning any fact material thereto commits a fraudulent insurance act, which may be a crime and may subject such person to criminal and civil penalties according to state law.

So if you did smoke pot or do coke back in the day, but deny doing so on the app, that is a materially false answer. So what can happen? The claim can be contested.

Your policy will contain verbiage very similar to this:

This policy shall be incontestable after it has been in force during the lifetime of the life insured for two years from the issue date, except for… fraud in the procurement of this policy, when permitted by applicable law in the state where this policy was delivered or issued for delivery…

I have always understood this to mean that if the company finds you lied about drug use, for example, then they could contest the claim even if the cause of death was not related to drugs. Why risk depriving your beneficiary of their money?

2. It probably won’t affect the rate anyway.

Your recreational activity 10, 15, or 20 years ago or more, does not necessarily affect your mortality now. Today, you are older and wiser, and engaging in activities that are better for your health. Underwriters understand that. Unless they have reason to believe you are at risk for going back to your old ways, odds are they will not hold your past against you pricewise.

Even if your drug use was more recent, it could affect your eligibility for a policy only temporarily. In the worst case, maybe an offer would be postponed. Perhaps additional premium would be assessed on a short-term basis. In both of these cases, your eligibility for coverage could be reassessed year after year until a carrier is found who would make a decent offer. Good deals that are not available now could be available later.

In some cases, current drug use would not preclude an offer now. For example, people who use marijuana can qualify for low rates, including non-smoker pricing in certain situations.

3. Going through full disclosure builds the confidence of underwriters.

Life insurance as a business. Like every good business deal, it has to be a win-win for all parties concerned. The consumer needs a policy that gets the job done. The company needs a paying customer. The broker needs to earn a commission once the sale is finalized.

Nobody wins when applications are declined for incomplete or contradictory data. If information emerges in underwriting that conflicts with other disclosures, then the deal can be off, and all parties involved will have wasted precious time and money.

Full disclosure in the prequalification stage of the purchase is essential for avoiding this problem. Once an underwriter sees that you have provided thorough and accurate answers on the “minor” stuff, like drug use long stopped, they are confident underwriting won’t uncover major inconsistencies that could kill the deal. They are much more likely to put their best rate on the table from day one and stick to it. You have established credibility with them.

4. It is a private matter.

Privacy protection regulations keep your application information within the strict confines of the insurance company and its affiliates. These laws are taken very seriously. You can see this with all the authorizations you have to sign for even those parties involved to have access to your application and underwriting file.

This means that nobody else gets to see your answers to the personal questions. Not your spouse, not your children. Not your business partner or employees. Not the bank who needs the life insurance to cover your business loan, or the investor who needs you covered as a key person.

It also means that the life insurance company is not going to report you to law enforcement agencies for having done something illegal back in the day. Go ahead and ask a criminal attorney if he’s worried about that happening. I don’t think so.

5. There is no stigma.

I understand that in the greater social environment, recreational drug use is considered “bad.” I recall being in “health” class in junior high school in the 60s. I think the instructor took great relish in forecasting doom if you smoked pot. First it would be marijuana, then you would move on to heroin, and finally you would end up in jail – or dead. Today, guys like that are still waging the “war on drugs” and trying to pack the prisons full of drug users.

Putting the politics aside, the fact of the matter is that many extremely successful and wealthy people have used recreational drugs. For some, it was a phase; with others, it became an addiction that needed treatment. Some still use them.

Since drug use can in some way impair health and functioning, it is valid for a life insurance company to determine how it may be impacting your mortality. With the proper direction from your broker, this assessment could and should be done fairly, and with the upmost respect and sensitivity. Find a broker you can trust, and you will be in good hands.

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question. If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

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 Glad You Paid for Your Kids’ College?

students-admission-bad-college-gradesWhen you first bought your life insurance, you sat down with your broker and discussed your financial needs. What should this policy cover?

Income replacement? Check. Mortgage protection? Check. Supplemental savings plan? Could be. Check. Policies for your business? If needed, check. Also maybe cover your estate and charitable interests. Check and check.

And, of course, college funding. That was pretty standard in those days, 20 or 30 years ago. So you added a few hundred thousand dollars onto your face amount, and considered yourself to be doing a good thing.

Why a good thing? Because in the 1970s and 80s, a college education still meant something. If you were on a professional career track, you got a solid grounding in academics. Extremely necessary for any architect, engineer, physician, lawyer, and so on.

If you chose liberal arts, then you got to broaden your mind. Innovative studies. Interdisciplinary studies. Working with others. Social awareness and responsibility. And you know what? Even this track was good for your career. I took this route myself and graduated with a liberal arts degree from a state school in 1980. One big reason I did so was because I understood that employers and corporations considered a liberal arts education to be great training for management. Successful people in business need to see the big picture. And work with anybody. And resolve conflict.

So, many of us bought life insurance to cover college, wanting the same good thing for our kids.

Now you and I have moved on to the next stage of life. Our kids have gone through school, or done whatever they could do. Our life insurance to cover college funding did it’s job of securing the opportunity for our kids to get the same growth experience we had back in school.

But to tell you the truth, I have my doubts as to whether the vast majority of our kids got anything close to that.

Have you been paying attention to what’s been happening on our campuses? “Safe Spaces?” Free college? “Inclusive language campaign?” “Interactive sex workshop?” “Gender binarism?”

Here’s the key question: are the young men and women pursuing these ideals and experiences being equipped to lead responsible lives as adults in this country?

I don’t think so. And I think many of us have a little bit of buyer’s remorse because of that. We can’t be confident that our children can become successful in either their personal or professional lives.

What a shame. And a waste of money. Don’t you think?

Thanks for dropping in!

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.

If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818.Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

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.