Exploring the past may be a good way to determine what the future holds for life insurance. Most of us were around when MEC contracts were sold to eat up the old policy’s cash value and create bigger cash values (as long as the dividends held) or when “buy term and invest the difference” came into play.
Predictions of the demise of whole life ran rampant. But, with a policy that is appropriate for the client that continues to offer the protection, tax advantages and accumulation potential, life insurance will likely not go gently into that good night.
Making the purchase
However, the method by which the consumer obtains his coverage is changing with the speed of thought. Will there be a place for the agent in this definite but cloudy future? Will people simply go online and place an order for X amount of dollars of life insurance? Why not?
Think about the appeal for consumers. Lower cost? Less pressure? It certainly shouldn’t be due to better service. Good copywriting will bring the consumer to the point of clicking and purchasing a policy, but where will that copywriter be when it comes time to deliver the policy proceeds to the grieving widow or widower?
As providers of life insurance, we need to understand just what it is we bring to the table. Fortunately it’s not really what’s in the mind of the prospect that makes a difference, but what’s in the mind of the agent.
If we see ourselves as nothing more than an order-taker, responding to a request by the consumer to give them a product, then that’s what we become, and that’s what the consumer sees. If that’s the case, then why shouldn’t they go online and place their order? They do it for their car insurance, why not life insurance?
However, if we see ourselves as trusted advisors who will be there when the family is going through a most trying time, then there’s a good probability that the client will see us that way too. We will be the person they turn to in those times.
Selling the sizzle
How many times have we heard that old adage “Sell the sizzle, not the steak?” Keep in mind the major reason people buy life insurance is to cover the financial effects of an unexpected or untimely death. Life insurance also can be one of many ways to plan for the future.
Will the future change any of the reasons we need life insurance? Will people know all the reasons for buying life insurance without the help of a good agent? We can lead them gently into the future by having them ask themselves questions such as these:
- How much of the family income do I provide? If I were to die, how would my survivors, especially my children, get by? Does anyone else depend on me financially, such as a parent, grandparent, brother or sister?
- Do I have children for whom I’d like to set aside money to finish their education in the event of my death?
- How will my family pay final expenses and repay debts after my death?
- Do I have family members or organizations that I would like to leave money to?
- Will there be estate taxes to pay after my death?
- How will inflation affect future needs?
What does the future hold?
Will our clients need supplemental income sources in the future? Will their survivors need help in getting by? Will their children still want to go to college? Will taxes still be here in the future or will inflation be around in five, 10 or 15 years? If we had asked these same questions 20 years ago, what would the answers have been? The same as the answer today–most likely a resounding “yes.”