Reader Blasts Articles On Buying Term Life Online

To The Editor:

I read Ara Trembly’s Aug. 20 article, “Term Life Price Quotes On The Net,” where he makes the same gross mistakes and assumptions as in a previous article in the March 26 issue.

As a vendor of a term quote engine, we deal with hundreds of Web sites that sell term insurance, some of which he mentions in his article. It’s obvious by his comments that he doesn’t have a clear grasp of how the whole thing works. It pains us so to read his article…his research is so underdone and he calls it journalism.

I think it may be helpful for him to understand how these sites get their “Quote Engines” and how “Quote Engines” work. He mentions several times that the quotes are from the carriers. They are actually not from the carriers but from the agent or agency that supports the site.

The agent or agency has control over the assumptions made by the quote engines that generate the number for each carrier. Often times the engine assumes a rating class or doesn’t support a class that another site offers and therefore you will see different rates for the same carrier. The agent has chosen to quote online based on assumptions, usually because they don’t have enough information about the client to create an exact quote. Many agents feel that if you ask all the questions needed the client will get bored and not ask for the quote.

Once again it all comes down to how the agent sells the insurance. If the agent is just trying to get leads they will most likely not ask a lot of information and default to a standard or preferred class. Some agents default to a Super Preferred Class (not always ethical). Other agents think it valuable to ask all the questions necessary to get an exact quote and are willing to lose clients with short attention spans.

There are many different vendors who create “Quote Engines.” They all differ and it’s important to understand them before you can really understand this issue.

I would encourage Mr. Trembly to write an article about the “Quote Engines” and how they work and why quotes can be different for the same individual. I think that would be newsworthy.

We have enough fear and misunderstandings about the Web by carriers as it is and his half-written article doesn’t help. If he wants to help, try doing all the work and writing the real story. Look below the surface, call and ask the Web site owners how they filter products and generate quotes, ask the engine vendors how the quotes can be customized etc. This would truly help your readers, not just scare them.

Also, keep in mind that on most of these sites the carriers have nothing at all to do with what numbers are generated. So when he bashes them in his article it really shows his lack of knowledge. If he’d like some help on his next article about term Web sites, we’d be happy to help and put him in contact with others who can help.

One last comment. Any 13-year-old could cruise a few term sites and find how they don’t match and write a paper on it. A journalist would find out why they don’t match. Get to work.

Andrea Brown