I’ve talked to and helped enough people over the last 16 years, PTIE, post traumatic insurance experience, to know that when people say they were treated unfairly when applying for life insurance they usually really were.
The majority of unfair life insurance treatment is meted out by inexperienced agents tackling cases that they aren’t prepared to tackle. We all have to start somewhere in our careers but it is genuinely unfair to life insurance clients to inflict our lack of understanding and experience on those cases that take understanding and experience to win one for them. Unfortunately for life insurance clients that have health or business challenges, there just aren’t enough truly seasoned agents to go around. Life insurance has one of the highest first year mortality rates of any business with just 5% on average making it to their 2nd year. So in order to avoid that life insurance application result that is like having a hot stick poked in your eye, here are five things you really need to look for in an agent.
- I hate to come down hard on people just starting in the business, but if I personally had a challenging situation like type 1 diabetes or bipolar disorder, I would look for an independent agent with at least five years experience in impaired risk life insurance. How will you know? They will understand your situation and know what questions to ask. You’ll know. If the questions make sense and are relevant to understanding both the up and downside of your risk, the life insurance agent probably knows what they are doing. If the questions don’t make sense or the agent doesn’t ask the tough questions like suicidal thoughts or attempts in relation to bipolar, you got the wrong agent.
- With business life insurance it’s also one of those areas that newer agents should steer clear of for the sake of the client. A new agent sees $$$ when a business person starts talking about large key person or buy/sell policies and the agent doesn’t understand the impact on the business if they don’t do it right and get the job done in time. It can cost the business person $$$ if the policy isn’t in force when it needs to be. Most business life insurance policies are tied to a date that they need to be in force, so to go into the process knowing all of the information and, as we do at Hinerman Group, having a back up plan to always ensure the date can be met with an in force policy is not just prudent, but essential.
- Always!!!! Always use an independent life insurance agent. There is nothing quite so tenuous in the life insurance business as having one agent that represents one company. The chances of that scenario working to your advantage are slim to never. An independent agent can find underwriting that fits your situation by shopping your situation through a large number of companies and a good independent agent doesn’t have a favorite company. We go where we find the best outcome for our client.
- This is a tough one because clients that have already had that hot stick inflicted on them are tired, but a good agent is going to ask you to do homework. You want an agent that wants a copy of your most recent stress test if there is a cardiac issue, or your most recent labs especially if you got bashed by a previous company due to lab results. Taking your best guess as the answer to a question that is vital to successfully shopping your case is the route of a foolish agent. Just like any good professional there is nothing like documentation to back up their work.
- Getting challenging life insurance cases approved takes teamwork between the agent and client. When you find the right independent agent try your best to shake off the bad experience(s) and get on board with the attitude that this time will be different.
Bottom line. We know how to manage large business life insurance cases and turn declines into approvals. If you have questions or would like to see how we would do things differently to put you in the winner’s column, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.