Surreal. Like a movie. Like a dream. Eerie. Scary. It is a good bet that each of us has used one or all of those to describe the situation that we find ourselves in today. We have dealt with crises before, but this time not only feels different, it is different. During the financial crisis, we were afraid of losing our jobs, our homes, and our savings. We feared for our financial futures, but we didn’t worry about a run on the grocery stores. After 9/11, we were afraid that someone wanted to do us harm because of where we were born and what we believe, but we didn’t have to fear the neighbor walking on the same side of the street. Each of these crises involved degrees of uncertainty, financial and political for sure, but not existential. That is what is different this time. Now the unknown can affect our health and that of our families and our friends. It can come from anywhere, so the best thing we can do is stay apart when every instinct we have is to hold each other closer. That’s a lot of uncertainty to handle.
I remember a line from an episode of the television show The West Wing. The President was trying to quantify the potential impact to the beef industry and the U.S. economy of a possible incidence of Mad Cow Disease in a single cow. Though it was only one potential case out of millions of head of cattle, the effect would ripple through the U.S. economy because of the uncertainty it would cause in a crucial part of the food supply chain. “The most costly disruptions always happen when something we take completely for granted stops working for a minute,” he said. Does that not perfectly describe our last several weeks? We had grown accustomed to record-setting markets, record-low unemployment, fully stocked grocery store shelves and all the toilet paper that we needed. Uncertainty around our ability to diagnose and treat COVID-19 upended all of that in a matter of days. That uncertainty rippled through the economy and manifested itself in every grocery store in every part of the country. When faced with uncertainty people try to find something certain, something they can control. In this case, it was stocking up on groceries and, yes, toilet paper.
So what does whole life insurance have to do with all of this? A little bit of certainty. Before COVID-19 there were still many things out of our control, both good and bad. In our new world, when it seems as though there are so many more things out of our control and not many of them are good, isn’t it incumbent upon us to try to help people find a little bit of certainty? For the clients who have purchased a whole life policy, that is exactly what they have.
Certainty in premium. Whole life premiums are guaranteed. Your client can take comfort in knowing that the company cannot increase their premium or the cost of their coverage. Additionally, whole life policies come with non-forfeiture options that keep the policy inforce if your client cannot pay their premium. Most policies offer a number of options to meet different client needs:
- Premiums can be paid from policy cash values.
- Automatic Premium Loan—As the name suggests, a loan against the policy cash values is taken to pay the premium.
- Extended Term Insurance—The policy cash value is used to purchase term insurance for the death benefit amount.
- Reduced Paid Up—The policy cash value is used as a single premium to purchase a paid up policy.
Certainty in cash values. Whole life policies not only provide guaranteed cash values that the client can access at any time for any reason, they also provide guaranteed cash value growth. Every year. The schedule of guaranteed cash values and guaranteed cash value growth is written into the policy and is not subject to interest rate changes or the performance of a market index. If your client pays the premium, the guaranteed cash value grows. Every year. Zero is not your hero when you can have guaranteed growth!
Certainty in death benefits. Whole life death benefits are guaranteed. As long as your client pays the premium, the death benefit is guaranteed to stay in force regardless of changes in interest rates or the performance of a market index.
Certainty in performance. With premiums, cash values and death benefits all guaranteed, your client knows exactly what they will have today, tomorrow and every day. In fact, the only way your client’s policy can change is if the company pays a dividend, and then it changes for the better! If your client elects to have dividends purchase paid up additions, which many clients do, the result is an increase in the guaranteed cash value and the guaranteed death benefit. Those increases are guaranteed for life!
The guarantees in whole life provide your clients with certainty. They know their coverage will be there. They know what it will cost. They know what their cash value will be and they know that they can access it. Whole life can be a valuable part of any financial plan because of the certainty that it provides even when the things that we take for granted stop working. Life is uncertain. Whole life is guaranteed.