By Kenneth J. Smith

Talk about the grass always being greener. I so often hear, “Of course critical illness insurance sells in other countries. Many of those countries have socialized medicine.”

True enough.

But guess what producers in those countries are saying? “Must be nice, selling CI insurance in the United States. With no national health care program, the people dont rely on the government for their health care costs.”

When you think about it, the American condition makes CI one of the most attractive products ever offered. We are creatures of immediate gratification. We want what we want, how we want it, when we want it. And were usually willing to pay to get it.

In short, the producers in the other countries are right: The greener grass is right here in the United States.

Ask anybody here, “If you get cancer, do you want the best treatment your major medical insurance will pay for or the best treatment money can buy?” Given this choice, nearly everyone wants the best treatment money can buy.

Thats the beauty of this coverage: Those who buy CI insurance have the choice.

Educating U.S. prospects and clients about their need for CI and how it works is crucial, however. The vast majority of people do not know a thing about it, and the few who do, really do not know what it is or understand how it works.

Here are a few suggestions to get you going:

Start out by explaining how suffering a critical illness incurs additional costs for things like child care, structural modifications to homes and help with cooking, cleaning and laundry.

These are just a few examples of the many critical illness-related expenses people often dont think about until they arise.

Point out that the CI benefit will pay benefits that will help those who have a CI event be able to make decisions based on whats best for their individual situations. The insureds can focus on getting well without the additional burden of financial stress.

Demonstrate how CI complements disability insurance. Note that while many people have such coverage, it usually pays only about 60% of their total salary. And with group disability coverage that is fully or partially employer-funded, the benefit dollars are taxable. Then, emphasize to prospects that if they are ever out of work on disability due to a critical illness, their income will go down while their expenses go up. They will need more money than they usually have–not less.

There are many resources available to help you become a CI expert, and offering a new and valuable product no one else currently provides will set you apart from thousands of other producers. Opportunity is knocking. All you have to do is answer.

Kenneth J. Smith, CLU, a first vice president of individual products for Mutual of Omaha in Omaha, Neb., manages the companys CI and supplemental health product lines. His e-mail: ken.smith@mutualofomaha.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, June 16, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.