Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The 2 Questions Newly Widowed People Ask

There are times when I meet with a couple and have a discussion about their life insurance needs. Usually one of them is concerned about having enough insurance while the other is typically looking at the cost. This talk can be contentious, especially if young children are part of the equation as well. Here is a hypothetical I would like to run by you.

Let's assume that you are considering the purchase of a life insurance policy from me. You have entrusted me to help you, even though you were not really looking for coverage. Your significant other was the one who made you keep our appointment. We looked at several types of policies with a varying array of premium costs and you made your decision. A few months go by, maybe even a few years, and then the unthinkable happens. 

Suddenly you are dead. Maybe it was a car accident or a short hospitalization. Either way, I read about your untimely demise in the obituaries and, knowing that I sold you a policy, I attend your funeral or memorial service. While I am paying my respects to your grieving family I mention that your spouse should get in touch me with as soon as they can.

A few days later I meet with your spouse and we talk. He or she knows that there is a life insurance policy out there ready to pay out but there are questions. Typically, I will be asked one of two questions:

  • How much will I get?
  • Will I be okay?
These two questions are intertwined, as the amount of money the policy pays out will determine the answer to the second question. Will there be enough to pay off the house so the family can stay in their home? Will there be enough to replace your lost income? Will there be peace of mind or will your family struggle to pay bills? Will your kids be able to go to college without having to take out loans or seek financial aid?

What do you want me to say?

Would you prefer that I let your loved ones know that there is adequate coverage and everything should be fine? Or would you want me to say that, despite my concerns, you did not want to spend the money needed to take care of your family? 

Being a life insurance agent is a difficult job. Constantly looking for prospects is tough, especially for those who are trying to get started in the business. But having to take a claim check to a grieving person is challenging in its own right. And depending on the size of the check, it can be sad or bittersweet. 

Nowadays, nearly all life insurance proceeds are either mailed or electronically transferred to the beneficiaries. The insurance companies don't want to burden an agent with the responsibility of carrying around a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars, so the only time an agent actually delivers a claim check is for smaller policies. Still, I have had some heartwarming moments taking these "small" policies to people.  

At the end of the day, what we in the insurance business do is sell money. Our clients give us money to insure that if something bad happens, we will be able to give them (or their loved ones) the money they need. If you aren't sure how much you need, let us walk you through one of our life insurance needs calculators. In the meantime, please stay healthy!

Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life and disability insurance coverage. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!  

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