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To many people, life insurance is much like any other form of insurance: the bill is paid, and in exchange the client can know that their loved ones will be cared for in the event the unspeakable should occur. Few people realize all the benefits that are considered life insurance, but for those who do, those benefits are more than a worst-case scenario trump card, they are quite literally a lifeline. The people behind the policies may have a declaration stating the cash value of their insurance or investments, but there is no measure of how much the unwritten benefits are worth.

“Clo,” an 83-year-old woman with a husband suffering from Alzheimers disease and no way to pay for the rising costs of his care, found peace in an annuity, turning assets that were otherwise too large to qualify for Medicare into a stream of income. Medicare assumed the bills and the added income allowed “Clo” to maintain her standard of living comfortably even after her husbands Social Security benefits were withdrawn.

“Michael” felt secure, protecting his growing family in case their income was lost by his untimely death with a plan that fit into his limited budget.

“Shauna,” mother of a toddler and infant twins, found hope knowing that at a time when saving was difficult, she had set up a permanent plan of protection with tax-deferred savings for herself and each of her young children.

Because of their unique situations, each client has a reason to feel special, and the individualized help they receive builds a lasting relationship that is demonstrated with continued contact and holiday cards for years after the underwriting is complete.

As an agent, I am blessed with the opportunity to meet many different people in different walks of life. I share in stories of birth and death, of medical traumas and life-changing events, mingled with joy and pain. In the first 15 minutes with an individual or family I often know more about them than some of their closest friends. I am there to help them, and they look to me as a confidant and professional, someone who can diagnose their situation and prescribe the plan that best suits their needs, grafting much-needed confidence onto their faces and into their strides. For me, life insurance is rewarding beyond its standard compensation.

For agents and clients alike, life insurance isnt the unsettling topic of death and financial hardship, but rather a key to living more fully.

Peace, security, hope and, of course, comfort: These are the unwritten benefits that exist between the lines of every policy. Life insurance is not a legal obligation and it is not merely a bill to be paid. Life insurance is the clients investment in themselves, in their own future and in the people they love. It is individual, it is special and it is real. Like an invisible friend, it is a hand to hold and help cling to when life itself takes an unexpected turn. Life insurance is assuranceit is people helping people when they need it most. It is the vehicle of hope; it is the combined efforts of every neighbor in small-town America condensed into a few pages of text, because in times of hardship, it takes a village to raise a broken spirit.

is a life insurance specialist with AAA Life Insurance Company in the Santa Clarita, Calif., office.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, September 16, 2004. Copyright 2004 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.