The Blizzard Of 2016 – What Did We Learn As It Relates To Life Insurance? I know what I learned – make sure your snow blower works at the beginning of the season!

    As many of us do, we take things for granted.  With so much going on and the mild winter we had to date, I wasn’t thinking about snow.  Moreover, I wasn’t thinking about my snowblower.  So, as our good friend Murphy would have it, his law applied to my snowblower not working when I needed it most. Basically, it was too late to do anything about it so the good old-fashioned shovels were put hard to work (very hard for that matter). I gained pains in my back and, more importantly, the awareness that a lack of planning put me in that position in the first place. So looking for a Snow blower for sale was first on my list as I cursed the snow.

    This brings me to my point. We, as insurance professionals, have a responsibility to help our clients get through the “Blizzards of Life”. Are they prepared?  Do they understand the importance of the products we sometimes seem to shove down their throats? Do they take it for granted?

    Our clients have lots of snow to clear.  They have responsibilities,  incomes to replace, college educations to fund and futures to secure.  There are so many new and innovative products available today that can help you properly plan with your clients.   Here are some quick reminders of approaches to selling life insurance products.

    Sell to Need and Not Cost
    Always determine the correct amount of life insurance needed.  If the cost becomes too high for the client, find other ways to provide the needed amount.  You can always ladder different term durations to bring the cost down or simply build a “portfolio of products” to provide the needed amount of coverage. 

    Don’t Forget Policy Audits
    Policy Audits are a great way of helping clients either save money or enhance their product portfolio.  There have been significant price reductions and product enhancements that can expand the types of benefits provided under their current plans.  People review their auto or homeowners’ policies all the time as well as refinance mortgages for a better deal.  Life insurance should be no different.  Besides, most enforce policies are not adequately protecting their needs and often have improper ownership and beneficiary arrangements that were originally put in place by the writing agent.  This service proves to be invaluable and solidifies your credibility. 

    Supplemental Retirement Planning
    With limits on qualified plan contributions and the uncertainty of Social Security, it is important to have multiple vehicles for retirement savings.  Let’s not forget that cash value life insurance policies still provide tax deferral and ultimate tax-free withdrawal capabilities.  And if an insured dies prematurely, a death benefit is paid to their beneficiaries.  Believe it or not, this is one of the most overlooked features of life insurance.  

    Long Term Care Planning
    Life Insurance policies are now being sold with long term care riders that allow for an acceleration of benefits should the insured have a long term care health event.  These products create a guaranteed pool of money that acts as protection against assets that would potentially be lost otherwise.  With the long term care crisis looming over our aging  Boomer generation, this has become one of the most integral planning benefits that we can provide.  Individual LTCI policies have non-guaranteed rate structures and are “use it or lose it” in terms of claims exposure.   The life insurance/long term care hybrid products usually have guaranteed premium structures and ultimate death benefits payable, making them self-completing and very attractive.  

    So the lesson of The Blizzard of 2016 becomes a metaphor for insurance planning. Don’t get caught with that snowblower that doesn’t work when the storm has already hit.  It’s just too late at that point to do anything.  The plows come and the snow will eventually melt away, but families will be better off if they plan properly for those “Blizzards of Life”

    Agent Support Group

    is a principal of Agent Support Group, a brokerage general agency located in Edison, NJ. This fall will mark his 30th anniversary in the insurance industry. Milbrod's real passion is for the brokerage business, where he assists independent producers by showing them how to open doors, seize sales opportunities and realize new revenue sources.Milbrod sees himself as an insurance producer and knows what it is like to walk in producers' shoes and what it takes to close a sale. He has been a featured speaker at numerous industry events and is the author of the popular blog Mark's Barks. Milbrod also holds the Chartered Life Underwriter designation from The American College.Founded more than 40 years ago, Agent Support Group, a LifeMark Partner Agency, is a leading multi company life insurance brokerage agency with operations in New York, New Jersey and North Carolina. They serve as a general agent for many of America's strongest and most competitive insurance companies, offering a broad spectrum of products to suit many life, annuity, long term care and disability income needs.Milbrod can be reached at Agent Support Group, 343 Thornall Street, Suite 660, Edison, NJ 08837. Telephone: 732-917-6081. Email: