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Having run across bait and switch situations often during my years in life insurance, and having just run head on into again today, I thought I would share a few thoughts starting with an analogy.

Have you ever wondered what a fish must go through when they’re caught? Just swimming along minding their own business, looking for some lunch when they come across the oddest thing. A big old fat worm hanging right out there in the middle of the water, wiggling. Pretty tasty looking, but it seems a little too good to be true…but definitely tasty looking. So the fish circles around it a few times trying to figure out if there is some reason not to eat it. His friends who have been there, done that, tell him to back away but finally he can’t stand it and eats the worm and, well, you know the rest.

I have a 75 year old client who called the other day and asked if I could get quotes on a new term insurance policy for him. I had written one 8 years ago, just a year after he was treated for prostate cancer. As prostate cancer goes he had it pretty easy with a Gleason grade 6 and a stage T1c. His PSA had been at 0 since the radical prostatectomy. I shopped it for him and his best offer came from Prudential at standard plus.

When I called him today to discuss the quote I had emailed him he said that he had been talking to an agent at Selectquote who told him he could get a better rate than what I had quoted. I explained how that seemed a little far fetched since it would have had to be a preferred rate and that just doesn’t happen, but he said he was going to go with it anyway. He ate the worm.

The Selectquote agent hung a rate out there that looked too good to be true, and the client knows it, but he will try it anyway and find out that what I had warned him about was the real truth.

Bait and switch is a crime. Offering someone a rate that you can’t come through with in order to win their business, in the hopes that they will buy anyway when you don’t come through, is illegal. But you seldom hear of anyone who’s convicted of it because it’s so hard to prove whether the agent was crooked or just ignorant.

Bottom line. My client did listen to my advice not to fall for the switch when it comes and he assured me that he would only buy from the other agent at the price quoted.