If there were official rankings for public knowledge of all the themed calendar dates in a year, Life Insurance Awareness Month would probably fall somewhere between National Bath Safety Month (January, in case you were wondering) and Pet Peeve Week (October).
This September marks the 10th anniversary of LIAM, yet, while the event is well known among industry insiders, it’s barely on the radar for a significant portion of the general population.
Brock Jolly, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CLTC, CASL, for one, would like to change that.
Last year, Jolly, an associate with Capitol Financial Advisors in the Washington, D.C., area, made use of the many LIAM-themed marketing resources available to producers and encouraged his clients to take a few minutes that September to think about their life insurance needs.
The payoff? An uptick in life insurance purchases and reviews, and a few conversations that revealed other needs, such as long-term care insurance. It’s no wonder, then, that Jolly’s preparing to launch the same push again this year.
“If you look at the statistics, it’s startling how underinsured we are in this nation,” he says. “It’s my mission to have that life insurance conversation with every person we touch.”
And that’s a lot of lives. Jolly has about 500 clients, mostly mass affluent families and professionals, that he assists with investments and insurance products as well as all the legal and tax implications that come with them. He specializes, in particular, in helping parents pay for their children’s college education.
“You’ve got a lot of parents concerned about the rising price of college tuition, and for most of them, life insurance is the last product they think of,” he says.
Jolly hosts a two-hour seminar for parents called “Little-Known Secrets of Paying for College” at local schools throughout the year. Some of the parents take the information and use it on their own; others enlist Jolly’s help and become clients. “College fundraising is what gets them in the door, but then we look at everything,” he says.
Jolly also works with business executives and small-business owners on retirement issues. He and some college friends traveled to Nepal and trekked to Syangboche near the base of Mount Everest last year, where he learned that “something like 70 percent of the deaths there occur on the way back down,” he says. The experience reminded him of retirement challenges and inspired him to create a “Retirement Mountain Adventure.” The program’s white papers and seminars help his clients navigate the distribution of the “mountain” of retirement assets they’ve accumulated.
Spreading the word
Whatever Jolly’s clients come in for, though, he’s sure to talk to them about life insurance.
“I’m a big believer in all types of insurance, but especially life insurance,” he says. “A customer could go their whole life without their house burning down or getting in a car accident. But you can’t go the rest of your life without dying.”
And Jolly has seen first-hand the benefits of a life insurance payout. He delivered his first death claim in July 2011 — for his own mom, paid out to his stepfather. “I’ve written a few hundred policies in my life and only one has paid out, and it just happened to be for one of the people I’m closest to in the world,” he says.
That’s why he’s made the celebration of Life Insurance Awareness Month such a priority at his firm. At the beginning of the month, armed with his email lists, Jolly sends out a message reminding his clients and contacts that LIAM has arrived.
“It just says, ‘Hey, Life Insurance Awareness Month starts today, and it’s just a good time for all of us to think about life insurance,’” he says. Jolly includes links to resources from the LIFE Foundation and different carriers and updates his website to feature some of the LIFE Foundation’s realLIFEstories.
For clients coming into the office, Jolly plays the realLIFEstories videos on a loop in the lobby. and hands out the LIFE Foundation’s booklet on life insurance. “It’s a much better piece to give them than the usual marketing propaganda from insurance companies,” he says.