Close Close

Life Health > Health Insurance

Why Arent The Split-Dollar Alarm Bells Ringing?

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

To The Editor:

Thank you for the excellent articles by Douglas Friedman and Barry Higgins in the Oct. 20 National Underwriter. We need a lot more like these.

The predicament that advisors find themselves in regarding their split-dollar clients is both unprecedented and troublesome. The latest salvo came from the Internal Revenue Service–after 40 years of permissive treatmentas a complex act with little grandfathering and little time to react before the deadline arrives.

I have found that more than a few advisors are not up to speed yet in this very important area and apparently have little interest in becoming informed.

Perhaps they are waiting for the insurers of their split-dollar clients to start the ball rolling. But most of these insurers do not even know which of their policies are operated as split-dollar coverage.

Others may be waiting for the writing agents to call. But many of those agents are dead, retired, relocated or simply remiss.

Part of the problem may be that commentators and other industry leaders have not elucidated the material in their normally stellar fashion. After reading many articles and treatises and having attended several seminars on the topic, I still am not comfortable with my grasp of the material.

And, I have seen conflicting interpretations. But most troubling is the lack of guidance on how to respond to certain parts of the new requirements. I would like to see, “Here is what your client should be doing and why” and “Here is the risk that he or she runs if this is not done.”

I am sure that the shortness of time before the Dec. 31 deadline has a lot to do with the lack of sufficient commentary. But advisors and their clients are ill-served at present and crave industry leadership to hammer out a consistent and reliable interpretation of the new requirements.

This, together with a warning knell for both advisors and clients for the need to review, might just save a lot of taxes, insurance policies and our industrys reputation.

J. Brendan Ryan, CLU, ChFC, MSFS
Robert A. Ryan Insurance Agency Inc.
Cincinnati, Ohio

Kudos For NUs
Advising Boomers Section

To The Editor:

Compliments to everyone who contributed to the Oct. 27 Advising Boomers section of National Underwriter.

Each and every writer addressed the issues facing baby boomers in a very informative fashion. Agents should use these articles as inspiration when working with their boomer clients. There is often no better authority than ones peers. Boomer clients may not listen to you, but if your colleagues are saying the same things, it is wonderful reinforcement.

I especially enjoyed Linda Kocos Inside Products column. Clients definitely will buy flexibility, but they want guarantees and flexibility. The proverbial ability to have your cake and eat it, too!

We are fortunate as agents that the industry understands this psychology and has provided the tools for our clients.

Moira Moldenhauer, CSA
Seniors Financial
Buffalo, N.Y.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, November 7, 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.