(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

March Madness is here—a season of tournaments, playoffs and ultimately champions. It’s also the season for friendly wagers, betting in the confidence of your favorite team to come out on top. But, bear in mind, there can only be one champion, one winner. It’s a gamble.

With that in mind, let’s talk about insurance. Some people might think insurance is a big gamble. Others see it as exactly the opposite. Consider this:

  • People who think they can control all aspects of future events are taking a big gamble.
  • And, if people want to gamble with their future, they probably aren’t interested in insurance.     

As I see it, gambling is an invitation to risk, whereas insurance is designed to protect your clients against it. 

What’s at risk? Some of the things you depend on most — your life, your health and your livelihood — are all at risk. Think about life. It’s a safe bet that everyone will eventually die so life insurance always pays off. Take medical, dental or vision insurance. Those are consumable benefits (meaning you are encouraged to use them for preventive care) so you’ll always get a benefit, if used.

Perhaps a less sure bet is an onset of disability. Certainly, not everyone will get disabled and be unable to work. Still, a staggering 30 percent of people will encounter a disability at some point during their working years which lasts 3 months or longer, according to the Social Security Administration. This not only lowers earnings potential but simultaneously comes at a time when health care and other costs are elevated, which may cause long-term, severe financial hardship.  

These, along with other health risks, are all elements of an unknown future that really shouldn’t go unaddressed.

The reality is that nothing is certain and no one can predict the future. Insurance is about trading the unknown for the known, which is dissimilar from gambling. Furthermore, insurance is about pooling risk and spreading it out so that it is manageable, predictable and affordable. And, hopefully, your clients will understand that insurance is actually a smart bet because they always get something (protection) for their wager (premium).    

Now, let’s talk for a moment about pricing for risk. During March Madness, it’s reasonably certain that upsets will occur at some point during the tournament. But, the bracket will generally hold form with the best seeds winning and advancing. The same holds true for insurance products. The claim experience of some employer groups will naturally run poorly. The insurer’s overall block of business will generally hold form and, likewise, will generally perform as expected. Essentially, the risk is spread among many groups and pricing becomes predictable. 

As an advisor in this business, you already know the importance of helping your clients understand risk and offering options that provide protection from it. For the unconvinced client, maybe some of the analogies shared here can help your client to view things differently. I’ve found that people want to do the right thing (most people know that they need insurance), but they may foolishly think they can take a gamble and come out ahead. The only winning strategy is to have the right solutions in place. It’s the best way to beat the odds. 

Enjoy the tournament. And, good luck to your team.    

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