Inside the Life Insurance Industry

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

Should Millionaires Get Obamacare Tax Credits?

The Dailysignal reports that financial advisors are helping their millionaire clients receive Obamacare tax credits.

How can this happen?

It has to do with eligibility requirements based on income, not assets. The report describes the law as an “income-related welfare benefit.” If the millionaires are receiving taxable income lower than the maximum allowed, then what they are doing is perfectly legal. Even if they have substantial assets.

I don’t think this is quite what the law intended, do you? I mean, wasn’t the law supposed to help poor people? Read the rest of the article and tell me what you think. To get the discussion started, I’ll put some of my points on the table now.

Here’s my two cents:

I think Obamacare should be repealed. The government has no business in the health insurance marketplace. Insurance is not an entitlement.

Nothing wrong with being a millionaire. In our great country, everyone has the chance to be one.

Also nothing wrong with rich people taking advantage of laws designed to help poor people. Their advisers would be remiss if they didn’t tell clients to do so.

Should rich people refrain from applying for tax credits they don’t really need? That is an individual decision. I personally think rich people get gauged enough by an onerous tax system that nobody could blame them for taking advantage of every little break.

Maybe the government should stop passing laws that favor one part of the population over another. Creates nothing but class competition.

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.

Our Country Needs a Policy Audit

policy audit

by Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF

In the life insurance business, we promote the practice of obtaining a policy audit on a regular basis. As that policy serves as the bedrock of your financial security, you need to make sure it is still performing as expected.

Why? Because things change. Life changes. The circumstances that were in place when you originally bought the policy very likely have changed. For one, better deals may be available in the marketplace. Or perhaps your needs have changed, and the face amount and guarantee period have to be adjusted. You may now require coverage on your spouse, kids, new business partner, or key corporate personnel.

Makes sense, right? Of course it does.  It’s all a matter of keeping your finances strong.

Medical practitioners have been promoting the idea of a “health policy audit” for years. That’s why we get annual check-ups. We may learn that we need to adjust our diet, exercise routine, or frame of mind.

Makes sense, right? Of course it does.  It’s all a matter of keeping your health strong.

My father used to call it planning your work and working your plan — staying in touch with your core mission and making the changes needed to stay on track. Financial success experts suggest it and human development gurus advocate it.

Now here’s the question: when was the last time you heard a politician call for a policy audit?

These men and women set policies that affect the life of every citizen, as well as the nation as a whole. Foreign relations. Immigration. Environment. Energy. Jobs. National unity. What they do impacts the lives of over 300 million people, not to mention the lives of billions of others across the globe. We are, after all, the United States of America – a supposed world leader.

You would think that these people in Washington – more than anybody – would know the importance of auditing the policies they design and implement. When they get it right, great things can happen the world over. But when they get it wrong, bad things can happen the world over.

At the very least, these people owe us a policy audit on an annual basis. The State of the Union should really be a leadership self-assessment to make sure we are still on track. What’s working? Leave it alone. What’s not working? Get rid of it. Try again.

When you and I mess up, it could impact our own lives. Our families. Businesses. Communities. It is incumbent upon us to learn from our mistakes, put fixes in place, and move on. For the better. We can’t get away with denying problems and whitewashing the picture. It all hits too close to home. A good, hearty, policy audit of the way we run our lives is the least we owe the people who depend on us.

Our politicians owe us the same thing, big time. We should all be reassured that the government is in good hands.

Makes sense, right? Of course it does. It’s all a matter of keeping our nation strong.

Thank God we have elections. Maybe next time we’ll get leaders who know they owe us a policy audit.

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, which you can see in the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

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.

Tax Us Entrepreneurs Less!

taxes-223x300People often think politics is just another topic you can choose to talk about, or to not to talk about – and that not talking about it will mean they don’t really affect you. Kind of like the weather (“Let’s not talk about the snow. Maybe it will disappear!”).

But of course, the snow never disappears just by not talking about it. The weather is always there impacting our lives. Same goes for politics. Like it or not, they impact our lives 24/7/365.

People who are self-employed often bear an extra-heavy burden from political decisions. In addition to all the regulation and taxation on our personal lives, there are measures in force on our business activity. A large amount of life insurance sales people have to deal with this double trouble because we form our own businesses to sell the product. Even when we are sole proprietors, the government is our partner. And not a very silent partner.

My home state of New Jersey has a reputation for being particularly onerous when it comes to taxing businesses. Unfortunately, it consistently lives up to this bad rap. Let me give you but one example.

Every year I get a bill from the authority that manages the unemployment insurance fund. This invoice represents the amount I owe them for my part of the interest they owe to the federal government. Why do they owe money to the federal government? Simply because they mismanaged the unemployment fund and had to go into debt to meet their obligations.

To be clear: they impose an unemployment insurance tax on us business owners. They then mishandle the hard-earned money they force us to give them. They then borrow money from the federal government and force us to pay the interest. And of course, they liberalize benefits in the meantime so even more money has to be paid out/collected/borrowed.

Since when did the government go into the unemployment insurance business? Why is there no penalty imposed on them when they mess up? Are government personnel protected from layoffs? Can nobody get fired for violating the public trust?

It really takes some nerve to go back to the people you are exploiting for your social services and makes them pay the price for your mistakes. Don’t you think?

And you know the worst of it is? If I could give less money to the wasteful and useless government bureacracy, I would have more money to market my life insurance services to people that need coverage.

You can’t handicap a business with an unnecessary tax burden and expect it to thrive. Hear that, Trenton? Hear that, Washington?

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.

Our Country Needs a Policy Audit

magnifying-glassIn the life insurance business, we promote the practice of auditing your policy on a regular basis. That policy serves as the bedrock of your financial security. You need to make sure it is still performing as expected.

Why? Because things change. Life changes. The circumstances that were in place when you originally bought the policy, very likely have changed.

Maybe better deals are available in the marketplace. Maybe your needs have changed, and the face amount and guarantee period have to be adjusted. Maybe coverage is now needed on your spouse. Kids. New business partner. New key corporate personnel.

Makes sense, right? Of course it does. It’s all a matter of keeping your finances strong.

Medical practitioners have been promoting the idea of a “health policy audit” for years. That’s why we need to get annual check ups. Maybe we have to adjust our diet. Exercise routine. Frame of mind. Make life changes. Leave a bad job? Take a vacation?

Makes sense, right? Of course it does. It’s all a matter of keeping your health strong.

My father used to call it planning your work and working your plan. Staying in touch with your core mission and making the changes needed to stay on track. All the financial success experts suggest it. All the human development gurus advocate it.

Now here’s the question: when was the last time you heard a politician call for it?

These men and women set policies that affect the life of every citizen, as well as the nation as a whole. Foreign relations. Immigration. Environment. Energy. Jobs. National unity. What they do impacts the lives of over 300 million people, not to mention the lives of billions of others across the globe. We are, after all, the United States of America – a supposed world leader.

You would think that these people in Washington – more than anybody – would know the importance of auditing the policies they design and implement. When they get it right, great things can happen the world over. But when they get it wrong, bad things can happen – the world over.

At the very least, these people owe us an audit on an annual basis. The State of the Union should really be a leadership self-assessment to make sure we are still on track. What’s working? Leave it alone. What’s not working? Get rid of it. Try again.

When you and I mess up, it could impact our own lives. Our families. Businesses. Communities. It is incumbent upon us to learn from our mistakes, put fixes in place, and move on. For the better. We can’t get away with denying problems and whitewashing the picture. It all hits too close to home. A good, hearty, audit of the way we run our lives is the least we owe the people who depend on us.

Our politicians owe us the same thing, Big time. We should all be reassured that the government is in good hands.

Makes sense, right? Of course it does. It’s all a matter of keeping our nation strong.

Thank God we have elections. Maybe next time we’ll get leaders who know they owe us some policy audits.

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.

Should You Wait to Get Married?

downloadBack when I got married, it seemed that young people for the most part followed this path:

Find the right girl (or guy)

Get married

Start a family

Get a house – or get on the road to buying a house some day.

Along the way, they would, of course, buy life insurance.

Today, it seems that this is less of a trend. From a business point of view, this is no big deal. Single people can still buy life insurance. Single parents can still buy life insurance. Domestic partners can still buy life insurance. Being married is certainly not a precondition to buying a policy.

But I wonder why fewer people seem to be tying the knot? Dennis Prager addresses this topic in a thought-provoking article on his website. Here are some of his very interesting conclusions:

You don’t have to be in love to get married.

If you wait until you are older to get married, you do not decrease the possibility of getting divorced.

It makes no sense to wait until you earn more money.

There is no such thing is “feeling ready.” You “act married,” then you’ll “feel married.”

This perspective seems to be contrary to common thinking, don’t you think? Tell me whether you agree or disagree, and why. PS: in the interest of full disclosure, I got married at age 26 and last year celebrated my 32nd wedding anniversary. My father got married at age 32 and had been married almost 58 years when he passed away.

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.

Is Life Insurance a Superior Savings Product?

savings-growingA reader on the InsuranceLibrary recently asked this question. With my answer, I tried to lend some perspective on the product. The savings can be really competitive, but that is not the whole story. Here is what I said.

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.

Help! My Term Insurance Has Renewed at a Ridiculous Rate!

I feel your pain. And I understand.

Back when you first started a family and bought a house, your chief concern was price. Lots of things to spend money on. Your life insurance should be as cheap as possible.

So you bought low-cost term. 15-year, maybe 20.

Now two of your kids are still financially dependent on you. The mortgage is not yet paid up. You still need life insurance. Your term policy has renewed, and the renewal premium is CRAZY HIGH!!

It happens all the time. And it happens for any number of reasons. Perhaps the carrier is concerned about its reserves. Or the availability of credit. So they need infusions of cash from those policyholders who will stay with them.

Or perhaps they want to back out of that marketplace and drive people away. Maybe they are being acquired by another company with different underwriting priorities.

Either way, they will renew your coverage, but only at that higher price. But don’t worry. In all likelihood, you do have options.

Get prequalified and see what kind of numbers are out there for you. Give some good thought as to how much longer you might need coverage. Give serious consideration to a permanent product so you don’t have to go through this kind of scare again. Obviously, you won’t replace the current policy until you have been approved for a better one.

Such is the nature of the beast when you buy low-cost term insurance. If you need the coverage past the guarantee period, it can morph into high-cost term insurance!

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

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.

Does Life Insurance Cover Terror Victims?

destructionInsurance companies inevitably have a role to play during times of war. People tragically die, and get hurt. Property gets destroyed. Business is interrupted.

Once people get through the grief and terror, they need to move on. They need money. Bills have to get paid. They need to know the insurance company will come through for them and pay every dollar of the benefit deserved. And quickly.

This concern was raised recently on Quora:

“Are people who sadly passed away during terror attacks covered in terms of life insurance? In light of events in France, Lebanon etc. Will their claims pay out, those who have claims?”

Here is my answer. May those in mourning find comfort. And justice.

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.

Should the Insurance Company Stop the Suicide?

moralThe moral dimensions of selling life insurance can be really interesting.

Such a question was asked recently on Quora: What moral obligation do insurance companies have? (Say a person has life coverage at a company and he phoned them to ask if suicide will be covered. This will surely send alarm bells off with the consultant, as he may know that a suicide is on the way. If the suicide then is committed by the same guy, would the insurance company not feel they could have done something to prevent it. 2. And from a financial point of view, they could have prevented a claim from being paid out?)

Here is my answer.

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.

Should My Children Be My Life Insurance Beneficiary?

FamilyWhen men and women buy life insurance, they want to make sure the benefit will go to the beneficiary. Is there any reason why a life insurance company wouldn’t follow your instructions? This question was recently asked on Quora. Here is my answer. Hint: it has to do with naming your children as your life insurance beneficiary.

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.

Medical Records Not Needed for Life Insurance?

medrecsIs it possible to get life insurance without a review of the medical records?

Yes. You have two options.

One option is in the family of products called “simplified issue” or “guaranteed issue.” Applicants for these products are underwritten based simply on the disclosures in their application. (And the qualifying questions are pretty simple). Neither a review of medical records, nor a medical exam, are required.

These products are provided with smaller face amounts – typically under $100,000, usually under $50,000. Policies with a larger face amount can be available, however. Coverage in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions of dollars can be offered, if the applicant financially qualifies.

There would have to be special circumstances for a company to waive the requirement of a review of medical records. One example could be that the applicant recently moved to the United States from another country. Another possibility is that the applicant simply has not been to the doctor for many years.

You can see that an insurance company would be careful as to what factors need to be in place for them to waive this requirement. It goes without saying that heavy emphasis will be placed on the disclosures in the application and also the results of the insurance exam.

 

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 have received, the best thing to do is call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. 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.

Recent posts, including, “What Will Disqualify You From Life Insurance?” and “What is the one thing that every human being wants?”

recent-postsHere are some of my recent posts on the topics of life and life insurance.

As you can imagine, these two topics are very intertwined.

Feel free to comment and share. Thank you!

What will disqualify you from life insurance?

What is the one thing that every human being wants?

I’m 19 married with a kid on the way. I’m a welder so my professions is relatively dangerous. How much life insurance should I have?

Why Is A Flexible Premium Life Insurance Policy Better Than Fixed Premium Permanent Life Insurance?

When Is It A Good Idea To Buy Whole Life Insurance?

What Are Important Provisions In Most Life Insurance Policies?

When Should You Drop Life Insurance?

Can Life Insurance Be Left To A Trust?

When Is Life Insurance Part Of An Estate?

What should you do when you feel like you’ve wasted an integral part of your life away?

What Is The Best Life Insurance To Have?

What Is Guaranteed Premium Life Insurance?

Should I think about what happened in the past (today)?

How Much Money Can I Make Selling Life Insurance?

 

 

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.

Continuous Underwriting Continued

life-insurance-17-terminosI was just featured in an article by Cyril Tuohy on InsuranceNewsNet, “Health Data Leads to Floating Premiums in Some Life Policies.”

My opinion was solicited in an analysis of “continuous underwriting.” Here is one quote:

“If you make it convenient for a person to stay with you, there’s less temptation to shop it out but if I’m a consumer I wouldn’t want to prevent the convenience of getting a better deal elsewhere,” Kobrin said.

(Read the full article)

Continuous underwriting remains a hot topic in the industry. I addressed it in two prior blog posts:

http://planrisklive.com/power-to-the-policyholder/

http://planrisklive.com/its-5am-does-your-insurer-know-where-you-are/

There’s a lot to think about here. What do you think are the pros of continuous underwriting? How about the downside?

 

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 Climbers & Divers Can Save Money

dreamstime_xs_30093945Greedy life insurance companies are NOT out to rip you blind.

Men and women who enjoy adventurous hobbies like scuba diving and rock-climbing do NOT have to pay an arm and a leg for coverage.

As a matter of fact, the rates charged can be surprisingly reasonable.

I know this contradicts everything you have been taught about big, bad insurance companies.

Bear with me as I give you the rest of the story.

Risk Less, Pay Less?

Writer Aubrey Cohen does a great job of explaining how people with adventurous hobbies are assessed for life insurance rates in Nerdwallet.

He asks the all-important question:

What happens when you retire from that activity?

When you bought life insurance, perhaps you had to pay more because you engaged in a dangerous hobby you’ve since given up. Or perhaps you’ve quit smoking in the years since you purchased your policy. Now that you’ve stopped, how can you get your insurance company to lower your premiums?

His inquiry gives us a good opportunity to explain further how premiums are set for “higher-risk” applicants, with regards to both lifestyle and also medical condition.

Here’s the big news:

Life insurance companies will be reasonable when assessing the level of risk you represent.

If you pose a lower risk, they will lower the rate.

Surprise!

How to Drop Your Premium

Nobody wants to overpay for anything, let alone life insurance.

If your lifestyle or medical condition changes so you could be eligible for a lower cost, there is a procedure available for you to do so.

Take heart!

You can save money when budgeting for your life insurance.

And – here’s the clincher – it is not true that completely dropping a risky habit/hobby is the best/only way to get better rates.

  • Very reasonable rates can be available for people who still enjoy the hobby. Life insurance companies specialize in the risks they underwrite. Some are strong for cardiac cases, others for diabetes cases, others are strong for rock climbers, while still others are strong for scuba divers. As a matter of fact, an underwriter with a very clear understanding of the hobby may not assess much comparatively extra premium at all.
  • Waiting periods are not always necessary for a rate reduction. If the broker provides proper perspective on the lifestyle change, an underwriter may provide a lower rate immediately. For example, if an avid rock climber retires due to a new child, the right underwriter may completely understand that he or she really doesn’t want to climb any more and put his family at risk. The rate reduction could be immediate.
  • Many companies will wait just 12 months after smoking cessation to allow for non-smoker rates. This would be proven by a written statement on the application, as well as a negative test for nicotine in a urine sample. It should also be noted that some companies actually specialize in smokers (this includes both tobacco and marijuana.) Depending on the amount used and frequency, non-smoker rates may actually be available!

How to Find a Good Rate

The life insurance industry is full of specialization and subspecialization.

The job of the broker is to find the underwriter who is the best match for a particular client.

A thorough prequalification process will accomplish this and give the client confidence that the rate quoted is the most competitive available, and also one at which he or she will be approved.

What do you think? Are you surprised that life insurance could be affordable for people with higher risks?

 

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.

High Touch in High Tech

millWouldn’t you like hundreds and thousands of young people to be your clients?

Can you imagine how many prospects there are in their late teens, 20s, and 30s?

Think about it.

Decades of potential fees and commissions lie waiting in this demographic.

But the life insurance industry as a whole isn’t doing a very good job of reaching them, is it…

No worries.

It’s NOT about the sales pitch.

USA Today just laid it out for all to see.

Insurers are doing a poor job of reaching millennials:

Faced with slumping sales, life insurers throughout the developed world are targeting young adults for a massive infusion of little-risk income. Trouble is, their would-be customers distrust their objectives; see their products and sales methods as antiquated; and aren’t thinking about death, given their record life expectancies.

That kind of sums it up.

With such a horrible disconnect with their future customers, one would think that life insurance will go the way of the dinosaurs in just a few short years.

But the fact of the matter is that millennials will need life insurance for their families, their businesses, and their charitable pursuits.

And they will buy it from us brokers if we can modernize (meaning PERSONALIZE) our approach to them.

But personalize in a high-tech environment.

It IS about the people.

I am a second-generation life insurance salesman.

Believe me when I tell you that I know how to pitch the virtues of buying life insurance for peace of mind.

Doesn’t work here.

Let me tell you what will work:

  • Getting online. Sales people who can manage electronic relationships with their clients will be able to connect with them. Consumers who like to be wired can be contacted via wires. As hard as this may be to believe, face-to-face appointments with their vendors is just not that important. This may be a tough idea to swallow for those of us who were trained to make personal presentations, but it is true.
  • Your company is secondary. These are people who switch vendors for their internet connection, their smart phone, and all their other amenities at the drop of a hat. They switch jobs a lot.  Do you think it really matters that your insurance company is 100 years old? Or that their rating is A+ and not just A? If you come across as a company man, you will lose credibility.
  • Short-term is a good starting point. People with an expected mortality of over 100 tend to think that time is on their side. It is hard to relate to ideas like locking into long-term guarantees. Fine. So think short-term, get something in place, and build from there.

RELIEF = High Tech AND High Touch.

It seems that every time the life insurance industry comes across a problem like this, they start tinkering with their products.

Fine. That could help a bit. But it only goes so far.

The real tinkering should take place in our sales and marketing approach.

Insurance sales people need to restore the trust consumers once had in us.

We need to connect with people on their terms.

You’ve heard the saying, High Tech/High Touch?

Well, we need to be high touch via high-tech.

What do you think? How have you been able to reach millennials?

 

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.

Power to the Policyholders

dreamstime_xs_29359935Are you power-hungry?

How much power do you think you can handle?

What would be the first thing you would do if you were granted more power?

How about reducing the rate on your life insurance?

Might as well start at a place where you could save some money!

A Fitbit Update

At this point I am sure you have heard about the partnership between John Hancock and Fitbit.

They are using this technology to allow policyholders to qualify for lower rates as they get healthier.

You plug into the company computers and let them monitor your progress.

I was discussing this new development with a friend of mine. He told me that he did something similar on his own:

“I did something similar to that when I applied for my insurance, except that I used advanced diagnostic testing to affect underwriting outcomes. So, when I started, I planned 6 months out – cholesterol was a bit high. So, I partnered with a cellular biologist (my fiance) and a health coach, and changed those numbers. The research proved pretty powerful and efficacious. The outcome went from preferred with credits to ultra-preferred after a chat with the underwriter.”

Nice.

The policyholder has increased control over the outcome of underwriting.

This could be a very good thing.

Don’t you think that any and all things life insurance applicants are doing to qualify for better rates should be factored into their risk assessment?

Why not give insureds every opportunity possible to control their eligibility for coverage?

“Power to the Policyholders!”

First – a word of caution.

People sometimes are under the false impression that improved health alone will qualify for better rates.

This is simply not true. There are many other underwriting considerations, such as motor vehicle record, financial record, family history, hobbies, etc.

Nonetheless, improved health can be a major influence on rate reduction.

Here’s why:

  • Underwriters can be extremely receptive to information provided by applicants.  Look, they have to get paid too. They need the business. You just have to give them a good reason to take take it – and to put their absolutely lowest price on the table.
  • Communication lines between insureds and underwriters could and should be established to allow applicants to advocate on their own behalf. Underwriters need to know you as more than just a file number and a questionnaire. They need to get a sense of who you are and what you are up to. Providing them with consistently accurate health data is a good way to accomplish this.
  • This is a double-edge sword, however: while improved health can result in lower rates, poorer health can result in higher rates. The data you provide can and will be used against you if merited. That only makes sense. Once you are plugged into a life insurance company’s underwriting department, you have invited the life insurance version of Big Brother into your life. They will assess all the data you give them: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Who’s ready?

Net-net, this could be a good thing.

People are entitled to as much control as possible over their lives.

Certainly in business, clients should be given every opportunity possible to get better value for their dollar.

And as with any form of power, you need to exercise good judgment when using it.

What do you think? Are you ready for more power as a policyholder?

 

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.

Is Your Compassion Practical?

cmas12_BV_daveism_compassionDo you feel bad about the people suffering around the world?

Of course you do.

But what can you do about it?

Give some money? Give a little time?

How about inventing something that can literally improve the lives of thousands?

COMPASSION could and should be practical.

These young entrepreneurs think so.

They have found a way to equip poor people with shoes for five years at a time! Check out this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2zEQE6udPg

We all reach points in our lives when we need help from others.

It would be great to have simple, effective, and cheap solutions available in a pinch.

DESIRE to help others = change!

You know what? Contrary to popular belief, these advances in technology ARE NOT driven chiefly by intellectual curiosity.

It is the excitement of making a difference in peoples lives that drives people to solve the world’s problems.

The folks at The Shoe That Grows are a great example.

Here’s what we can learn:

  • It was the compassion for children who had no shoes that drove this technical innovation. It was not simply a case of some mad scientist retreating into his lab for days at a time. The desire to help people in need, and make a difference in peoples lives, drove the research.
  • Thinking out of the box – putting aside our basic assumptions about the world – can lead to wonderfully efficient and effective solutions to our problems. When our kids grow, we simply go out and buy them new shoes, right? Whoever thought of a shoe that could grow when the foot grows?! You have to suspend your beliefs about what is a shoe to come up with that!
  • If we put our minds to it, and if we collaborate with people whose talents and skills complement our own, we can each do small things that nonetheless can change the world in a big way. Who do you think could help more people over time: big governments with big money and big bureaucrats – and big institutions like the United Nations – or small charitable, entrepreneurial, groups with a hands-on approach to problem-solving?

Put MONEY in the right hands.

It ultimately takes money to make dreams come true.

When products like this come long that can make a real impact on peoples lives, the market needs to take over and get them to where they are needed.

Wouldn’t you love to allocate some of your assets to businesses like this that can make a difference?

If we want to make our compassion practical, we have to put our money where our heart is.

PRACTICAL COMPASSION can be exciting!

Some of us are entrepreneurs, some of us are inventors, some of us are investors, and some of us are givers.

We each have a way to make a difference in the lives of people that need help.

The important thing is DOING IT because believe it or not, the reality of people’s lives can be changed.

And when you do that, life can get very, very exciting.

Are you excited? What are you doing to make a difference in the lives of people that need help? What can you do?

 

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.

It’s 5 AM. Does Your Insurer Know Where You Are?

How much privacy would you sacrifice to save money on your life insurance premium?

Hey – money is money, right?

And life insurance can be pretty expensive!

And don’t you deserve a lower rate if you get healthier?

But would you let an insurance company monitor you 24/7 to get it?

AT LAST! An underwriting innovation.

fitbitInsurer John Hancock just rolled out its new health incentive program in partnership with Vitality.

For those policyholders who sign up, a premium savings as high as 15% is available for good health.

You simply provide them with the data needed to prove you qualify, with a Fitbit tracking device. As reported by KSL.com:

For the first time ever in the United States, a life insurance company is offering a discount — if you’re willing to let it track your health, location and body. It was only a matter of time. It’s increasingly popular to wear a fitness tracker that measures your footsteps, heart rate or body movements. Now, the life insurance company John Hancock is offering deal if you’ll wear one: 15 percent off in some cases. The company unveiled its optional, new program Wednesday morning. John Hancock is partnering with Vitality, which many people probably know as one of those work-related wellness programs. The program is available in 30 states. If you sign up for this, John Hancock will send you a free Fitbit monitor. That’s a tiny, pill-shaped device that some people wear in sleek-looking bracelets to track how far they walk/run, the calories burned, and the quality of sleep.

Premium discount for good health?

For sure.

Giving policyholders more control over their cost?

Can’t argue with that.

But plugging yourself into insurance company computers so they can monitor your body functioning?

Let’s wait a minute.

DO YOU want to sleep with your underwriter?

As you well know, I sell life insurance for a living.

And I am a big fan of this industry because over the centuries, it has poured zillions of dollars into the economy to help families, business, and charities remain self-sufficient.

Good for us!

But let me tell you why we should PROCEED WITH CAUTION with this new program:

  • What goes up, can come down. Sure, you can reduce your premium by proving better health. But you can also lose that savings if you don’t keep that good health. And many people go up and down with their health maintenance. Who wants to get a higher bill next time around?
  • The more they know, the more they can share. Hancock is certainly assuring everyone they will not share your data. Last I heard Facebook and Google did the same thing. But doesn’t the fine print change sometimes?
  • You may not be alone at the gym. No doubt insurance companies take great precautions to protect their data. But unfortunately, hacking does happen. Can you imagine if some bad guy was able to track your whereabouts throughout the day and know when you were sleeping or out jogging at 5am?

IS it worth it?

I can’t blame our life insurance companies for pushing hard to get more business.

We have, after all, lost market share over the years.

And immediate gratification is a big attraction, especially for young people.

But as with many fun and fancy things, there is more behind the scenes to consider before “hooking up.”

What about you?

Would you plug into your life insurance company to save money?

 

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.

Insurance Fraud Doesn’t Pay

jaDo you remember the Dick Tracy slogan?

It was Crime Doesn’t Pay!

You know that the long arm of the law will catch the bad guys.

Okay…it was just a comic strip.

But you know what it meant.

Criminals should not reap the rewards of their crimes.

That includes all crimes – including those involving life insurance.

Faking death to file a claim

You may have caught wind of this news story about attempted insurance fraud. Here is a capsule:

A Florida businessman who authorities say faked his own death to dodge debts while reaping millions in life insurance benefits is sitting in a North Carolina jail after applying for a passport under another man’s name.

It is an all-too familiar formula for life insurance  fraud:

  1. Get into debt
  2. Get desperate
  3. Buy insurance
  4. Fake your death
  5. Live happily ever after (you hope)
  6. But then get caught

Good thing he did not go about it smartly.

You and I might have suffered otherwise.

Why?

Because when people commit insurance fraud, all other policyholders suffer.

Illegitimate claims drive up the cost of products needlessly. Ask any actuary.

No worries, though. The bad guys get caught often enough.

We can rest secure.

Don’t commit insurance fraud!

Of course, you and I would never even consider such a scheme to get rich quick. Nonetheless, temptation is always there to cut corners. Have you ever heard someone say, “What the insurance company doesn’t know won’t hurt me?”

Not good advice. Remember:

  • “Big Brother” is watching. Government databases, corporate files, and the internet can all be combed to find out about you. When you apply for coverage, your record of prior applications, of prescriptions, and of motor vehicle violations are all pulled.
  • Life insurance fraud poses a big temptation. Big benefits can be purchased for pennies on the dollar. The possibility of getting big money for cheap can be very attractive – too attractive, if you don’t keep your head on straight.
  • To commit fraud means having to live a phony life. Consider our friend in the new story:

Once in custody, the former dead man is reported to have signed a form waiving his Miranda Rights using his real signature. “It’s been a long time since I signed my true name,” he told the agents, according to court filings.

Resting easy

Life insurance fraud is a real problem.

Companies can and will go to great lengths to uncover it.

That is why full disclosure is absolutely necessary when you apply.

Everybody involved should be able to sleep at night knowing that the benefit could and should be paid when the time comes.

What about you? Did you find it hard to go through full disclosure on your own life insurance application?

 

 

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.

Government By Prison Gang

We hear so much about prison gangs.

The brutality.

The violence.

Why would anybody join them?

Is it simply because prison life turns you into a savage?

On the contrary…

Once you hear the deeper issues involved, you will see that inmates basically have no choice.

Who’s in charge here?

Check out this video interview by Reason.com’s Nick Gillespie with David Skarbek. Skarbek is a lecturer in political economy at King’s College in London and the author of “The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System.”

David makes a key point. In the 1960’s, gangs did not dominate prisons.

This was because prison populations were small enough for the inmates to “police themselves.” They lived by the “convict code” of behavior.

Each inmate was a known entity. There was peer pressure to behave yourself.

But when the prison populations exploded in the decades thereafter, the average inmate became anonymous.

Gangs formed to fill the “governance gap” and protect members from threats.

But the catch, of course, was that the gangs lived by their own rules – or lack thereof.

Can’t go it alone

Here is the bottom line:

People need to feel safe and secure.

They will do whatever is needed to feel that way – even affiliate with violent gangs, if no other options exist.

Knowing this will give us a better understanding of our criminal justice system and life in prisons.

For example:

  • With a smaller population, people can know one another and be counted on to follow a code of ethics. With a larger population, people lose their individual identity and must follow a group.
  • Because prisons are closed environments, inmates do not have the option of leaving to find a “better” group with which to affiliate. They are stuck with the gangs that are there.
  • Bigger is not better with such institutions. Bigger breeds more anonymity and reliance on ad hoc social groups for safety and protection.

Life insurance for convicts

By the way, someone in jail or prison does have a tough time getting life insurance.

However, someone who has passed through the criminal justice system can get insured.

I was once able to get a policy for someone who was actually sentenced to jail time and about to be incarcerated…

That was an extraordinary case indeed!

Smaller is better

So what’s a convict to do? A lone fish is an easy prey in a sea of sharks.

But the choices of affiliation are tough indeed.

Do you think that a reform of our criminal justice system to reduce the prison populations would be a good idea?

 

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.