Broker Words—August 2021

I’ve always been a bit curious about why a bulk of the promotion of and materials for Life Insurance Awareness Month, for agent and carrier use, come out later in August or early in September. And many articles and columns addressing it come out primarily in September as well. I think I’ve actually been guilty of that several times in my years as an aspiring industry wordsmith. As I’m ridiculously late actually “crafting” this very column, my subsequent comments belong firmly in the “Do as I say, not as I do” lexicon. That notwithstanding, it seems to me that taking maximum advantage of LIAM should take a careful, well thought out plan to expand one’s reach into the pool of the un- and under-insured—one that should be conceived, nurtured, tickled and tweaked throughout the month preceding.

Although I’m sure many already know it, for helpful videos, a Life Insurance Needs Calculator, a variety of Real Life Stories and a bevy of other helpful items visit Life Happens at and and maybe drop them some coin too…they do great work, God Bless ‘em.

I apologize to those grizzled veterans who’ve been utilizing LIAM well for years and simply need to drop some new material into existing time-proven systems, although the pandemic has thrown some new challenges, as well as some great new communication tools, to the forefront of many of our consciousnesses (either welcomed or perhaps not so much so—can you say “Zoom Fatigue”?).

Now to meander back to the memory that belatedly came to me as perhaps germain to life sales to the less than affluent—and thus suitable to the LIAM push. Some number of years ago I was at a BGA event somewhere—I can’t even remember now where or which of my friends hosted. I was standing removed from the group and was joined by a young second generation life insurance salesman whose father worked through this BGA and had included Junior for this trip. He must have been a reasonably attentive attendee with a dedication that belied his age, because his comments to me were striking.

To back up just a tad, he didn’t work as an independent agent alongside his father, he was a year or two into what I’m absolutely certain ultimately became just an apprenticeship at a career/captive company. His striking comments juggled guilt, almost anger, remorse and anxiety about the need to, and formulating a plan to, right a number of perceived wrongs he’d committed against his current/previous customers. You see, he’d sold them products his company offered, and only those his company offered, instead of shopping their needs for the best suited and best priced coverage among a variety of carriers as his father did. The light bulb had come on, and in that “moment” his insurance career had become solidly as much or more about best serving people in need rather than just making enough sales (and money) to advance his lifestyle. This changed me too! It was one of those unexpected moments in our lives where we find that clearer understanding of our true purpose in our chosen profession. But it also brought an unsought clearer understanding of the benefit to the public brought by career/captive agents and that whole system.

In stark contrast to my hubris laden belief that ”our” way, the brokerage way, was the truly honorable way to serve the public, I was in that moment moved to console and reassure this young man with two stark and undeniable truths. First, that his efforts at his current company could develop the skills he would need to first survive and then prosper later as an independent agent and thus better serve many more clients in need. Second, and most important—that the people to whom he’d already sold life insurance would not have bought insurance for their families the day they did, and perhaps not at all, if it weren’t for him.

It’s that simple. A whole lot of the instruction and motivation for change that is disseminated within our industry, and often enough in the pages of Broker World, relies on the assumption that if you don’t adapt at the same or better pace than your competitors that they will snatch your prospects and clients away from you…and there is certainly more than a degree of truth in that. The great lifestyle you’ve built for yourself might suffer. But the entire heartbeat of LIAM is about reaching the un- and under-insured, not those lucrative, “fabulously well-to-do” clients for whom you must ostensibly viciously compete. It’s the people whom nearly all agents chase at the earliest points of their careers…those still young enough to have not seriously considered life insurance yet, and those who have in the back of their minds that they might should consider buying some insurance one of these days…

Above all, the spirit of LIAM that I hope you take with you, along with a determined enthusiasm, in the coming September and ideally periodically throughout each year, is just what I (epiphanically sourced to be sure) was able to relay to that young man—if you don’t seek them out and sell them today, then maybe no one ever will. [SPH]