For years agents have debated the merits of different types of life insurance. Some prefer to sell term while others push for permanent types of insurance, such as whole life or universal life. And for the consumer, the differences can be confusing. At least once a month I'll have a client ask me to explain what sets one apart from the others.
Why would an agent push one type over another? Perhaps they were trained to believe that whole life, for instance, is the panacea that cures all financial ills. Or maybe they've bought in on the "buy term and invest the difference" mantra.
The other obvious reason is that they work for a company that wants to promote one type over others, and may not even offer the other types. I knew a husband and wife who ran an office for a carrier that didn't offer whole life, so they trashed the product. "We wouldn't do that (sell whole life) to our clients!" they would proclaim, as if it was unethical.
The truth is this: All insurance products have a need somewhere, but not all insurance products work for everyone. For example, a universal life policy might be a great fit for one person, but not necessarily for everyone else.
An agent worth his or her salt will have the product that fits for you, and won't try to make something else work when they don't have what you need. I use the analogy of the shoe store that only carries even numbered sizes. If you wear a size 5 shoe, will they send you to another shoe store? No, they try to make a size 4 or 6 "fit".
When you hear a life insurance agent say "I'd never sell that product" it's probably because they aren't educated enough on the product to understand when it is suitable or their company doesn't carry it. On the other hand, if all if they sell is one type of insurance, run as fast as you can. Imagine a doctor who only prescribes penicillin, and for everything from headaches to broken bones. That doctor would be run out of town on a rail for malpractice.
In my next posts, I'll discuss go over the various types of life insurances. Hopefully this will help you decide which products is best for you and your family's needs.
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, as well as a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient.