April 14, 2010 was the day that West Coast Life and Protective Life terminated my contract with them. According to Gary Carroll in their compliance department I was terminated “for cause based on your failure to follow company advertising guidelines by posting agent only material on your consumer website and misrepresentation of the company”.
Greg Zabel, VP of Life Sales for West Coast Life indicated that they would reconsider this action if I removed all of the posts referring to their conversion option debacle and my disapproval of it. He assured me that they were working on a solution and I know now I should never have done it, but I relented and wiped out several posts with all of the sordid details they didn’t want out. They then indicated the would reconsider my termination in a year. They have since indicated that their legal department will be monitoring my blog and if I remain compliant they might consider reinstatement next month.
He had assured me in an email late March (29th) of this year that they were working on a solution to the problem we had been discussing for the last 10 months, “Sometimes things take a bit longer than we all want, and, the term conversion issue is one of those situations. We are still working on all the things that I mentioned in my previous emails, including the conversion issue. We hope to have it resolved shortly but I cannot commit to the details just yet. I don’t know if you chose to send other carriers similar emails, but, West Coast Life is not the only carrier that currently does not offer a conversion privilege to a no-lapse product. We do expect to announce some new product offerings that will address that shortfall, but, as of today we are status quo. Please check back with me in 20 – 30 days, I should have more definitive information then.”
I emailed back, “Greg,
I know you aren’t the only company, but I have a very large block of West Coast clients and this issue has impacted and harmed several of them already. That’s not the case with my other carriers. I’m not buying that things really need to take this much time (6/09-4/10). I’ve seen West Coast act as quickly as it wants to in the past. You’re proudly billing yourself as “Your New UL Company” while continuing to deny your in force term clients access to those products.
He emailed back that he had referred my concerns to another department and that’s the department that terminated my appointment with them.
So, as to the charges. I did in fact post an ad from West Coast Life that was simply one of the most distasteful marketing ads I’ve ever seen come from a life insurance company. I would repost it if I could find it again just to embarrass them. Guilty as charged! Did I ever misrepresent West Coast Life? Never. Not even sort of. Not very long after terminating me West Coast allowed a brief period for a limited number of old policyholders to use the old conversion products. That is about to expire for the chosen few and they have introduced their new Term/UL product which takes conversion completely out of the picture because you can’t convert a universal life policy. And they took my customers out of the picture by opening a window of opportunity while I was terminated.
So, why am I speaking out and blowing my chances of ever writing for West Coast again? Simple. With American General now doing a similarly distasteful thing to their term customers, I’ve had it. Someone needs to scream about it and if they all gang up and run me out of the business, so be it. They can’t stop the screaming. It’s just not OK for any company to screw over anyone for any reason, let alone loyal customers.
Bottom line. I’ve been praying about this for a while now and I will not just let it slide. West Coast Life and American General, what goes around comes around. You treat loyal customers like dirt and they will end up being a loyal customer for someone else.