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There are a lot of people that are suspicious of the whole annual review process on your insurance. It is perceived to be a thinly veiled attempt to sell you more insurance, and I have to admit that with some agents that may be true, but not always. It’s worth consideration as a valid practice.

I have a client that I have been working with for 4 years now. He has a history of a type of lymphoma that can certainly kill you, but if it doesn’t, the further you get away from the scene of the accident the less likely it is to have any impact at all. As he put, “if it doesn’t kill you and goes into remission, it is as good as cured. It doesn’t come back”.

When we first met he had not found anyone that could get an approval. He had been declined for life insurance several times. After he explained the “if it doesn’t kill you” scenario, with him being a physician and a clinical pathologist, I asked him to write something that I could present to underwriters and accompany that with some documentation and see what we could do. That year we did get an offer from Empire General (now Protective Life) and he accepted the highly rated offer. His annual rate for the $1,000,000 term insurance policy was nearly $12,000, but it was a victory and for him relief that he had finally been able to secure life insurance for his family.

The next year when I called for his annual review we discussed how we had been able to pull him out of the decline spiral and get a policy. I asked him if he thought he could put together a more comprehensive package to present to underwriters in order to shop it and see if we could get a better rate. This time Banner Life came through with a substantially lower rate and we were able to secure the same policy for $7800 a year.

Needless to say he was pleased and asked if we could give it a try again the next year. He put together more documentation and this time we were able to get a modestly rated policy with AIG American General for $4980 a year. Which leads us to now and today I just sent him a new application with Banner Life as we just received a tentative offer at standard plus rates which will bring the annual premium down to $3800 annually.

Things were just perfect for us to be able to achieve the results we did. First, the client was totally committed to doing whatever was needed to secure insurance. That is a breath of fresh air when a lot of clients won’t even make a phone call to help their own cause. It also helped that he was an expert in pathology and knew how to build a factual case for what he felt was fair treatment, given his specific type of cancer. I know most clients can’t come to their own defense in that way, but given records and facts, we can put together the same type of battle plan for most clients. And lastly it helped that with each year and each good checkup his claim of “if it doesn’t kill you” became more solid.

I wish we could have success like that in all cases, but we don’t. Having said that, we do help people improve on their original approval all the time. I keep meticulous notes on exactly why a client didn’t get what they wanted and I let them know when they put a policy in force exactly what it will take to improve on their rate. When I call for their annual review they know exactly what my mission is.

Bottom line. Annual reviews are good for the client as long as the agent has a commitment to service with sales. No doubt there will be times when a new policy is appropriate and that’s OK, but just as important is a client knowing that the agent is keeping them up to date and making sure their questions are answered and needs are taken care of.