On those occasions when our business has been criticized or under fire from lawmakers, an often heard lament from the field has been, “Dont they realize that what we do is important? Dont they realize how we save families and businesses in times of greatest distress?”
For many years the lament was nothing more than a cry for help from agents who felt they were being unfairly criticized and their products maligned out of ignorance and bias.
But then came the advent of the “Real Life Stories” sponsored and publicized by the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), the industrys answer to the aforementioned distress calls.
Each year LIFE invites agents to submit real-life stories where they and insurance products have made a difference in peoples lives. Out of the many cases submitted, five are selected to be featured in Newsweek magazine and other media in the coming year.
This year I had the honor of being asked to be one of the judges to select the final five. At this writing I have no idea who those final five will be, but I have done my own review of the candidates out of which the five will be selected, and I have a few observations.
First of all, I want to affirm that I have always been proud of the work that we do, the companies we represent and the products we sell. However, I do not believe that I have ever been more proud than when I reviewed the many entries to the “Real Life Stories” program. Some were so emotionally moving that I had to stop reading and do something else for a while to get myself back under control.
As I read the stories, I was reminded of some of my own experiences in the days when I was in the field. One of the interesting facts that was common to every one of the cases was that after becoming a policyholder, the insured and the agent (by whatever nomenclature they used) became good friends. A few had been good friends before they bought–but most of the friendships developed after the sale or sales.
This reminded me of an instance where I called on the owner of a well-drilling company. The prospect treated me rudely and would not grant an interview. As I was leaving, his office manager called me over and said, “Dont feel badly about the way you were treated, the owners only son was killed in a hunting accident two weeks ago and he is very bitter.”