I got an email blog post today touting a product, a monthly kind of email newsletter, product introduction tool that essentially lets life insurance agents off the hook for true customer service, as in, well, calling their customers annually, sending birthday cards, anniversary cards, etc. Whatever happened to just staying in touch because it’s the right thing to do without doing it with a bent toward selling more product or pitching something? Even saying old fashioned is old fashioned, but let’s bust this topic right where it needs to be busted.
Life insurance is not about the agent who makes a commission and it isn’t about the insured who hopefully has done the right thing by purchasing it. It’s about the beneficiaries for whom the insurance was bought, the family left behind minus one, if not all incomes for the family. OK, so Ed’s making a big deal about customer service because he’s one of the few left doing it right? No, not because I do it, but because it should be done. I call every client every year 1 month prior to the anniversary of their policy. Why then? Well, one month is a reminder that the policy is coming due and they should watch for a bill unless it is set up automatically. I never say your bill is coming due, but they know that. The other reason for one month? If they want to make a change, again never presumed by me unless it is late in a term policy, we have the one month plus a one month grace period to get it done without gaps in coverage.
So this blog post today told a story about a life insurance client who had faithfully paid into a Northwestern Mutual policy for 20+ years and separated and in deep depression let it lapse. Shortly after that he died. There was no servicing agent and it wasn’t assigned to an agent as an orphaned policy until it lapsed. The wife tried to have it reinstated, but by that time the client was dead and the reinstatement was denied. She took the big guys to court and NWM won. Claim denied. No one but the client and the beneficiary were held accountable for the mistake which in my way of thinking is a damn shame because NWM is rolling in such massive amounts of money that there is no reason that an orphan policy holder (one abandoned by death or laziness by their agent) shouldn’t be followed by the company. There is no reason in a company that actually still trains agents that they don’t drill into the men and women leading the charge that if they leave a customer behind they will be fired and the death claim will come out of the agent’s errors and omissions insurance.
Bottom line. All of you who are Zander Insurance, Selectquote, Reliaquote, etc clients aren’t going to have anyone following up with you 20 years from now because the policies you buy don’t really, except in the loosest of terms, have life insurance agents attached to them. Look at it this way. If you didn’t feel horribly served during the application process, how do you think you’ll be served in the 2nd and subsequent years when those agencies aren’t making any money from you. If you have questions or are lacking the service you feel you deserve, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.