Every client is an individual, with different needs and goals. Shouldnt his or her life insurance be just as unique?
Although some life products like universal life and variable universal life are inherently flexible, the only way to truly customize a clients protection is to add a rider or series of riders to the policy.
Today, virtually all UL and VUL policies have riders that can be easily elected or added at time of issue. Built-in riders are included in the overall cost of coverage. Add-on riders have an additional charge. Riders fall into two categories: those meeting specific personal or business needs and those providing peace of mind through guarantees.
Because such a large selection of riders is available, and because all riders are not for all people, its important to understand what riders can do for your clients. For instance, what specific needs can riders address? Here are some:
1) The need to pay for long-term care. Relatively new to the insurance scene, LTC riders allow life policyowners to use their death benefit to pay for LTC expenses such as nursing home, assisted living or home health care costs.
2) The need for funds if faced with a terminal illness. Known as an “accelerated benefit,” a living benefits rider allows life policyowners to use all or part of their policys death benefit if they become terminally ill.
3) The need for additional coverage for a certain period of time. One of the oldest riders in the industry, the term rider allows policyowners to increase coverage for a particular period of time for a low cost. Clients may need this extra protection while their children are in school or may want to cover potential estate tax liability (in case estate taxes return in 2011).
4) The need to counteract large premiums that can affect a business bottom line. Premiums on corporate-owned policies can be large enough to affect business earnings, especially in the first few years when the surrender charge is highest. Typically known as the honeymoon provision, this optional feature lowers the surrender charge in the first years; this potentially increases the cash value that the business can then claim as an asset, thereby offsetting the premium payments.
5) The need to “switch” insureds if a key person leaves the business. Most people change jobs every few years. To protect against turnover in a companys top positions, companies can purchase a life exchange of insured rider that allows the corporate-owned policy to change the insured as needed.
Sometimes a rider just adds security and peace of mind for the insured by way of a guarantee. But what kinds of guarantees can riders offer?