My apologies for the title of this post, but I wanted to get the attention of those of you who have procrastinated with getting a life insurance policy. Some of you know it’s something you need to do and “will get around to it someday,” while others have started the process but, for whatever reason, haven’t been able to reach the end of the process, in which you would have a policy.

This letter is in response to a very upsetting call I recently received. If you’re thinking the call was from a spouse or child of a client calling to get my help in filing a claim, you are incorrect. While I have fielded several of those calls during the many years I have been working as a life insurance broker, this wasn’t one of them. While those calls are difficult for me, they also leave me with a feeling of satisfaction borne out of the knowledge that the work I did in assisting the now-deceased person acquire a policy will provide financial support for a family that is undergoing an otherwise rough time.


Dear Jack:
I received a very troubling call a few days ago. It’s taken me this long to compose myself to the point of being able to write you this letter. As you are no longer living on this material plane, you won’t be able to read this. I am writing it, however, for no other reason than to gather my thoughts so I might be able to share this experience with others who might be sharing a similar experience as yours.

The call was from your mother-in-law, who was quite distraught. She was calling on behalf of your newly-widowed wife who was, naturally, in a lesser composed state than she was. She was trying to track down a life insurance policy your widow thought you had purchased. This type of call is never easy for me (even after so many years in this business), but I started looking through my files, while offering her as much comfort as I could muster. We keep extensive records for all of our clients and applicants, including all correspondence between them and our office staff.

I did find your file, but I knew what I found in there was not going to be of comfort to your widow and her mother. While you did start the application, you never completed it. Our records show many emails and phone calls to you from our staff, requesting additional information the underwriter needed to approve your application. It was a simple piece of information we asked you for at least eight times, to which you often replied that you “would get to it soon.” Unfortunately, after several months of trying to get this information from you (which might have taken you all of five minutes to get), the insurance company closed your file. We sent you an email to notify you of this action and also let you know that we would probably be able to get the underwriter to reopen your file if we could send them the incomplete information. After you didn’t respond to several attempts urging you to send us this information, we closed your file here too.

Now, I had to give this information to your mother-in-law, who tried to respond to this information, but I couldn’t understand her because she was sobbing so loudly, which was soon joined by the sobs of your widow in the background.

Jack, I have to say, this is the worst call I have ever had in this business, not only because how uncomfortable it was speaking to your mother-in-law (and widow in the background), but because I couldn’t stop thinking about the fate of your widow and your three children. I’m sure it’s not going to be easy for them financially, Jack (without the $1,000,000 your policy would have left them). What troubles me the most is this could have been avoided if you had taken five minutes of your time to finish what you started, but I’m sure you had more important things to do.

Your Life Insurance Agent

Don’t Put Life Insurance Off for Another Day

According to a LIMRA study, 85 percent of consumers agree that people need life insurance but just 62 percent of consumers have coverage. For many, the reason behind not being covered is a misconception of the cost of life insurance. The truth is, however, that life insurance is a lot more affordable than consumers think. And, one would argue, much more affordable than a situation like the one described above. Get started with a quote today



This piece originally appeared as a guest editorial in the May 2016 issue of California Broker Magazine.

Richard Reich
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