I was reading an aricle in a trade publication today concerning orphan life insurance policyholders. No, this isn’t some group of lost children’s life insurance clients. An orphan, in the industry sense, is a client whose agent has moved, died, or more likely taken all too common route today of treating a sale as a one time event. These agents sell and are never heard from again.

I’ve often railed on the big internet agencies that have hundreds of thousands of clients and have had to abandon ongoing service as too expensive and too hard. I’ve shared my experience of working for a short period for one of those agencies and leaving because of the lack of service mentality.

The article in National Underwriter 2/11/08 written by Warren Hersch details the size of the problem, which would be much smaller without Selectquote, Reliaquote, Intelliquote and the like. The problem with lack of service is that clients are left to fend for themselves, and when they do, they are not going to spend their time trying to track down their agent who abandoned them, but rather find a new agent.

This is bad for the client and bad for the agent. The client who isn’t serviced over the years is left often not knowing what coverage the have and what their options are for continuing or improving their situation. The will come to the end of a term insurance policy with no one to help with a transition into a new policy or a conversion.

For the agent, and this is what slays me, clients are a gold mine of new sales and referrals if they have been serviced. My clients that hear from me 1-2 times a year don’t buy from someone else, and they don’t know anyone else to refer family and friends to. As important is the fact that my clients are never left with questions or concerns about their coverage. It is personally reviewed and discussed annually so that they never lose track of where they stand. If health changes occur, there is time to work on the long term solution rather than scrambling to find affordable coverage with a new agent at the end of a term.

On the upside for me is the fact that a good number of my new clients were abandoned or orphaned by another agent or agency. On the upside for my new clients, they will not be left behind again.

Bottom line. When you buy life insurance it is fair and prudent to ask your agent how often you will hear from them after the sale. If there is any hesitation in the answer, you are going to be orphaned. Find an agent who is committed to service.