A colleague and I both watched a Selectquote television ad the other night and the next morning I won the race to call him and cry foul. For years we’ve debated that fine line between active bait and switch in life insurance quoting and just being too stupid to make a recommendation that will help the client. Of course we all want to pay less than a dollar a day for our life insurance, but if that buys a product that doesn’t do the job, well, what’s the point? Selectquote life insurance advertising always uses a visual, usually a family, to make their point about being able to protect that family for less than a dollar a day.

But here’s the problem. The ad will show a family with very young children playing in a park and say “A 38 year-old male in excellent health, $500,000, 10-year policy for under $22 a month.” It has a disclaimer at the bottom that is too small and too fast to read, but Selectquote has addressed what they believe to be our hangup with the disclaimer. They think we’re concerned that they favor one company over another, and they do, but the real problem is the fact that the disclaimer explains that the product being quoted is a 10 year term life policy. In this forum we have beat to death how to use term life insurance appropriately and rule number 1 is to match the term length to the life insurance need. If you have 4 and 5 year old children and buy a 10 year term you are saying that you don’t believe the need, those children and your wife, will still be there 11 years from now.

You might be a 38 year billionaire who doesn’t believe they will need the $500,000 of life insurance beyond 10 years, but really, how many billionaires are going to do the math to make sure they keep their life insurance bill under a dollar a month. We’re talking average people and that is what Selectquote is portraying. To plan your life insurance to run out when your children are 14 and 15 is stupid. The difference between having that insurance for 10 years at under a dollar a month or 20 years, prudent planning because your children will be grown and likely out of college is the difference between $.70 a day and $1.20 a day. Is it bait and switch when you paint a picture of a family with at least a 20 year need and get them to call by showing 10 year prices? Probably not because they haven’t taken an application at that point and will likely show you the more appropriate term length processes before they do, but it is misleading. Once again I offer my opinion that if Selectquote wants to be the leader in term life insurance they should man up and advertise appropriately and show that they believe honesty is the best policy from the very beginning.

Just one other bone to pick and then I am off of Selectquote’s rear for a while. Selectquote has a written or unwritten policy of never doing a second application for a client to attempt to get them a better price. I got a call from a man who, other than a well controlled case of mild sleep apnea, should qualify for preferred plus rates with all companies. But that should doesn’t hold up in reality. Really there are only 2, and on a good day 3 life insurance companies who would offer their best rate class with sleep apnea. United of Omaha isn’t one of them. So this guy applied through Selectquote, came clean about the sleep apnea, and was quoted the best rate class with United of Omaha. Selectquote knew he couldn’t get the best rate class through United of Omaha and now they are telling the guy that, really, the price from United of Omaha is the best they can do. (Read that: We’ve done this once. We maximized our commission by placing you with a company that would give you a higher rate. Take it or leave it). Selectquote isn’t going to break a sweat by doing anything twice and if, as their advertising claims, they shop all of the companies, they are apparently shopping them to maximize their own bottom line, not yours. We’ve shopped it and he will get the best rate class through Prudential, at half the cost of United of Omaha.

Bottom line. Ok, here’s my one concession to Selectquote. They’re huge and even if the mislead you and misquote you, if you accept the policy in the end you will have life insurance and having life insurance is better than not having it. If you have any questions or aren’t convinced you’ve really been given the best treatment in your life insurance quest, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.