Are you ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mutual of Omaha’s never ending show Wild Kingdom. I was an obnoxious 10 year old when Marlin Perkins first took over our TV’s and started teaching us how life and health insurance were delicately woven into wrestling with alligators. I can still remember Marlin, during a show on the giant tortoises of the Galapagos, slipping in that “Just as the tortoise has a shell, you too can have protection with Mutual of Omaha”. Fifteen years later I became a life and health agent for Mutual of Omaha in Wyoming.
I remember my first client, a health insurance sale, in the thriving metropolis of Dad, WY, population about 50. She owned the local cafe and wanted health insurance so we figured out just the right product with the benefits she needed and within her budget. After she had signed the application I told her I needed a check for the first month’s premium. Well, Dad is about 75 miles from the nearest town with a bank and she didn’t have a checking account…..but she did have a cash register. From that she paid her first month’s premium with a combination of money, paper and a lot of coins, plus signing over several very small checks made out to her. Heck, I didn’t know any better and I was for sure not walking away from my very first sale just because the payment method was a bit odd. Mutual of Omaha accepted the envelope full of cash and signed checks.
So why am I reliving the good old days? I just placed a United of Omaha life insurance policy and the client sent an eft form asking the company to draft the initial premium. This is becoming more and more common as fewer people use checks. Online banking is the language for almost everyone but me and over the last few years we have seen almost all of the companies in our portfolio embrace ways to accommodate those who don’t do it unless it’s done electronically. Almost! United of Omaha (Mutual’s life company) won’t do an eft of an annual premium because, “they aren’t set up to do that”. They are set up to draft monthly. They are even able to draft up to three month’s initial premiums in the instance of a backdated life insurance policy. But they aren’t set up to draft an annual premium. And if your policy is backdated more than three months, they have to have a check before they can draft it.
Before I started ripping heads off I tried to get my mind wrapped around what that change might entail. I’m kind of thinking that Mutual of Omaha has its’ own bank so it’s not a bank issue. So, it should be a process something like this. “Ring, ring. Hi, this is John, President of the MOO bank. Hi John, this is Joe the President of MOO. What can I do for you Joe? John, can you change our system so we can accept electronic payments for people that want to pay annually, semi annually or quarterly the same way we do monthly now? Well of course Sir. When would you like that to start? Can you do that by tomorrow? Yes Sir. Just a memo and a little overnight programming. That’s great John. One more thing. Even though that isn’t set up yet can you do me a favor and run an eft for an annual payment today? Just one case but it would mean a lot to our customer. No problem Joe. Just have the eft form sent to me and we’ll get it done. You’re the man John. Thanks Joe. See you on the golf course. Click, buzz.”
Bottom line. Hey, this isn’t Obamacare and the process most certainly isn’t rocket science, so how about it Joe. Can we get er done for all of those fans of Wild Kingdom. I can hear Marlin now, “Just as spinner dolphin can rotate up to 6 times, you too could have more cash if you would just accept it.” If you have any questions please call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.