Heck no! That would lower them to the level of, well, most of corporate America. Before I throw too big a noose here let me say that there are some life insurance companies that are absolutely oozing integrity. If they ever do something wrong they do whatever it takes to make things right and they do it right then.

But on the other end of the spectrum are companies like Protective Life. Whoa! Jumped into that too fast. Don’t you just love the names companies have. Assurity Life, Forethought Life, Golden Rule, Integrity Life, and one of my favorites Funeral Directors Life. And of course Protective Life. Doesn’t that kind of sum it all up. They’re going to protect us, protect our families, protect our lives because they are Protective Life. Frankly I think they would have been more straightforward in calling themselves Unprotected Life.

Those who have followed this post know that I had a bit of a tiff with West Coast Life some years back and you would think I would be happy that they are gone now, swallowed up by their big sister Protective Life. But alas I’m not content. Protective Life is West Coast Life under a fatter name. They still treat their long time valued Protective and now West Coast Life customers like bastard step children. Their integrity left several years ago and they still actively tell agents to lie to their customers.

I know some would think this is just sour grapes because West Coast and Protective canned me. Actually my business has grown substantially without them in my portfolio. They took away my appointment because I called them on the carpet repeatedly in this blog for changing the conversion option on their term life insurance. In a nutshell they changed the conversion option from a product with a lifetime guarantee to a product with a 10 year guarantee, a decidedly nasty thing to do to their faithful customers.

Even though they won’t allow me to write business anymore they still bombard me with flyers about how wonderful they are and I would just like to put their most recent in some real life, factual context. It’s a four page flyer and the first page is titled “Do the Right Thing”. “Character is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. We have a collective responsibility to do what’s right by our customers to ensure their financial needs are met today and tomorrow.” Is this the same company that changed the above mentioned conversion option WITHOUT informing clients or agents that the change was coming. “Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking”. No, wait. I get it. They thought that ripping the guts out of one of the most important features in their term insurance policies was the right thing, so it logically follows that they would wait until no one is looking to make that change. I am still a little disappointed though because that collective responsibility thing they talk about in taking care of our customers is, well, the company and the agents. If you don’t tell the agents about something this damaging to a customer’s financial picture then it seems they are being selective with their collective (liked that one).

The next page is titled “Serve People”. “To help our customers protect tomorrow and embrace today, we must put their financial needs first and take the time to truly understand the challenges they face in life.”  OK, let’s be real. There aren’t any life insurance companies anywhere who put your financial needs ahead of theirs. That would be the description of a non profit organization and Protective Life is most certainly a for profit company. What I would like to know is how they want an agent to protect your tomorrow when without a guaranteed conversion option. If you take out, say, a 30 year term 25 years in to the policy you have a run in with some fairly nasty colon cancer and while you survive, because of the high stage and grade of the cancer you can’t get new life insurance. This is when it is so cool as an agent to step forward and say, “don’t worry, you have a conversion option that will give you coverage at the rate class you were originally approved at, and guarantee a fair and level premium for life”. Five years ago a West Coast Life or Protective Life agent could have said that but because their actuaries were asleep at the wheel they claim they can’t offer that anymore. They took that away from clients and from agents and remember when I said they did it without warning to either agents or policy holders. That was three years ago and they still haven’t told the policy holders, so those without a heads up agent still don’t know. How can they protect tomorrow when they won’t even talk about it.

The next was :”Build Trust”. “Hard won but easily lost, earning the trust of our customer is just as imperative as keeping it for a lifetime. Do the right thing and serve people and do it with sincerity and transparency.” My gag reflex just kicked in. Did they really say “keeping it for a lifetime”? Did they really say “sincerity and transparency”? You take away a lifetime guarantee conversion that was there when a client bought the policy and you never tell them about it??? That is so sincere and transparent as to be almost unbelievable.

The last page of the flyer is titled “Simplify Everything”. “From product design to choice and delivery to service support our goal is to make doing business easier by making it as simple as possible. We educate customers using relatable concepts and terms to address their specific financial needs. It is our belief that an informed customer is an empowered customer.” Empowered customers are good. So, if that is truly Protective’s belief, why have they left hundreds of thousands of long time loyal customers uninformed?

Bottom line. Do life insurance companies lie to get your business? Some do. Protective Life does. Oh, and just in case you think this is just confined to West Coast Life and Protective Life policies, hold your horses. Over the last 10 years Protective has snarfed up Federal Kemper, Zurich Kemper, Chase and West Coast Life and they did the same thing with all of those policies. Once they became a Protective policy you became vulnerable to all of the great service they claim above. If you have any questions or need to know what you conversion privilege is, no matter what company, call or email me directly. Let’s talk.