It’s become all too apparent over the years that most clients buy life insurance, whether term insurance or permanent, put it in the cabinet and because they never hear from their agent again, there is never an evaluation to make sure it meets your needs as well now as it did when you put it in force.
Permanent insurance, whether universal life, variable universal life or whole life should be evaluated annually by means of an in force policy illustration. Since all permanent policies have guaranteed and non guaranteed values that can change with swings in the economy, an annual review of the health of your policy is prudent and all companies that I know of will provide you with in force illustrations at no cost once a year.
Staying on top of a contract that has moving parts is just prudent and as I insinuated, don’t expect the agent that sold it to you to stay in touch and keep you out of trouble. This isn’t to say that all agents are irresponsible, but consider the facts. 95% of life insurance agents stay in the business for about a year. Of the agents that actually make a career of it, maybe 1 out of 5 will actually call you on an annual basis and service you without trying to sell you more.
Along with career agents, the mega internet agencies, should be lumped in. They stay around while the turnover of agents working for them is horrendous. So, it might have been easy (but not always), but the chances are very good that you will never be able to call back to that agency and talk to the person that sold you the policy. And I guarantee you will never hear from the agency. I’ve been there and done that and was asked to move on when I kept suggesting that ongoing annual reviews would be a tremendous value add on.
Likewise with term insurance. I call my clients annually just to see if any questions have come up or if there have been any changes that might require a form (change of address or beneficiary). I also call to make sure that the amount of insurance and the term length still fit their needs. It’s uncanny how quickly a 20 year term goes by and how uncomfortably short that second 10 years is when the first 10 is gone. There are always events that can trigger a decrease in insurance such as the paying off of a mortgage or the last child no longer being dependent. And last it is always good just to touch bases and let them know they can call whenever they need anything pertaining to that policy. I also send them an annual letter hitting all the highlights of the policy, including how long they have left on their conversion option. I send this about 2 weeks before I call just to get them thinking about questions.
Bottom line. Annual reviews are what life insurance agents should do for all of their clients. In the absence of your original agent, call the company and ask them for a referral to a good agent that can help you.