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I got in a bit of a tiff with Zander Insurance Group about a year and a half ago over, at that time, their not showing the best preferred smoker rates when their clients were getting on line quotes.

Being a long time Dave Ramsey fan and moderator for his Financial Peace University at our church several times, I had a real problem with Dave’s philosophy of not spending money foolishly and his recommended life insurance agency not quoting the best rates available. I tried to talk to Dave directly about it and got shuffled around his office and finally told that it would be a conflict to share my side of the story through them.

So I wrote a post or two about it which brought quite a response. After initially blasting me for the suggestion that at least in the preferred smoker underwriting category, if the client were me, I would be spending $1000 a year more with them than I needed to, they changed their mind. They let me know that they were adding Liberty Life to their portfolio to get the best smoker rates available.

There are those out there that think I just go around looking for fights with big names as a way to drive traffic through keywords. The truth is it just ticks me off that those that claim to have their clients best interests at heart simply don’t. They decide who to represent based on contracts and commission schedules and whether they are administratively easy to work with. So, just as a passing look 18 months later I ran some rates on Zander’s website today and compared it to my own website to see how the competition is doing.

Using myself at actual age 57, nearest 58 I ran rates at preferred plus non tobacco and preferred tobacco for $500,000 of 20 year term.

On my website preferred plus non smoker:

1.$1,895.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years
Cincinnati Life Insurance Company

2.$1,975.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years
Pruco Life Insurance Company

3.$1,990.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years
Western Reserve Life Assurance Co of OH

4.$2,015.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years – Zander #1
Banner Life Insurance Company

5.$2,043.02 per year – $500,000 for 20 years – Zander #2
Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Co

5.$2,060.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years – Zander #3
Savings Bank Life Insurance Co of MA

And preferred smoker:

1.$6,330.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years
Liberty Life Insurance Company****

2.$6,466.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance****

3.$7,270.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years
Western Reserve Life Assurance Co of OH

4.$7,289.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years
MetLife Investors USA Insurance Company

5.$7,485.00 per year – $500,000 for 20 years – Zander #1
Transamerica Life Insurance Co (TIIG)

OK Mr’s Ramsey and Zander, where’s the beef? The last time I went off on this issue I really said some things I regretted. I apologized for my brashness and asked for forgiveness. But really, if Dave Ramsey is all about using money prudently and Zander is all about Dave Ramsey which is apparent from their website, why do they refuse to quote the best rates.

It may not appear to be that big a deal on the non smoker side of things unless you have an agent that will tell you the real story behind the products and their conversion options. While Pruco (Prudential Financial) is only $40 a year under Banner and $68 a year under Genworth, there are some significant product differences.

Prudential offers a guaranteed level premium term insurance policy with a conversion to any of their permanent products up to age 65, but no less than 5 years. Banner is a guaranteed level premium term insurance with a conversion to any of their permanent products for 5 years only, and to a single product after that. Genworth is a Term/UL product that does not have a conversion option. It does offer a guaranteed level premium after the initial period, but in my case I would not be able to convert during the 20 years. You need to put some thought into those differences.

The differences in the smoking rates still speak for themselves with a couple of asterisks. Liberty Life has been purchased by a holding company and those rates will only be available for a short period. Would it still be worth locking them in? Yes!!!!! They are still hands down the best and they will still be guaranteed level after Liberty sells. The next asterisk is Northwestern Mutual. I don’t sell for them, but I also don’t keep their rates hidden from clients. Western Reserve and Met Life come in at three and four and then Zander finally shows up with Trans as their number one, our number five.

Bottom line. Last time I tried to talk to Dave about this issue his customer care folks wrote back, “About your insurance questions, Dave has been working with Zander for many years now. They have been in business for several years as well. Four generations and 80 years of experience…they offer the best products on the market and have a commitment to debt free strategies (which is what Dave teaches). Dave strongly recommends them and personally gets his insurance through Jeff Zander. This is the only insurance company that we endorse and recommend not just because of their excellent commitment to service, but because they provide the most informative access that our customers and listeners need—when it comes to insurance. They are not only committed in providing excellent service to us (our team members) and families, but to our customers and listeners as well. This is who we recommend and endorse.”

They never did say if Dave himself was aware of the discrepancy between his philosophy and Zander’s practice.