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I have probably been the epitome of redundancy with my non stop rant about the impact of using the wrong life insurance agent almost always leading to the wrong life insurance company which will almost always lead to the wrong result. It is unfortunately true that all insurance agents are not created equal. So, if you are fishing for the right insurance agent, let me offer this.

1. First, and I think foremost, is to remember that whether you are perfectly healthy or have life insurance health issues, the pace of decision making should be set by you. “Closers” are trying to meet their own agenda and frankly, and this may be just me, I find it rather offensive for someone to try to close a sale on me. I’ll walk away from it when it’s attempted on me and I’ll never push for an application in my own business. I always wait to be asked to move to that step.

2. If you are young and healthy never buy life insurance from an agent that can’t or doesn’t explain why their recommendation is the best direction for you. Ask questions. If they recommend whole life insurance, ask they why not term life insurance. If they recommend term, ask why not universal life or whole life. Ask them why they recommend the term length they do and why that is an advantage to you when you come to the end of the term. If they really push for whole life, ask them what their income is (to compare to your own) and what the net cost of their insurance is after they get paid commissions on their own insurance.

3. When you are over 50 life insurance can sometimes become a little more complicated by health issues. There is a portion of the industry that feeds on this and tries to convince you that “no exam life insurance” is the way to go. Ignore the bottom feeders that push in that direction. This is exactly the time when you need to find a good independent agent that knows about your particular health issue, how it affects you, how it is viewed by underwriters, and where to find the best deals. The best deal taking an exam will always beat the best deal without an exam, always!

4. If an agent only represents one company, called a captive agent in the industry, go somewhere else. There are no captive agents that can offer you the best deal available and it’s not like their company’s $1mm death benefit check is going to be worth more than another company’s death benefit check. You want a truly independent agent who puts more weight on your bottom line than their own. Sounds a little far fetched, but there are some of us out there.

5. As much as anything, choose an agent that you are comfortable with on all levels. Not too pushy. Knowledgeable but understandable. Able to answer questions. Able to back up their quotes with emails from underwriters. Able to show you why one company will treat you better than another given your situation.

Bottom line. Finding the right agent isn’t necessarily easy, but it is worth the effort. The effort will pay you back in saved money and frustration.