Survey after survey finds most Americans possess little knowledge about life insurance and what it actually costs. But what are real-life producers finding out in the field? Are consumers as uninformed as they seem?
Three top producers share their thoughts on Americans’ life insurance education levels.
For part one of this article, see: How do you educate prospects about life insurance?
Q. In your experience, is the market you serve generally aware of the importance of life insurance coverage, or are people generally uninformed? And how does that factor in to your personal sales approach?
Michael L. Weintraub, CLU, president of the retirement division of Ascension Benefits & Insurance Solutions: Most of the people in my market, as well as most people in the United States, understand the importance of life insurance. According to a number of LIMRA studies, the majority of those asked say they are going to buy more life insurance because they know they need it. The wild card is always when?
A big part of motivating someone is to take action now. Go to a time share sales presentation and it’s all about “do it now or you won’t get an extra 50,000 points that will get you three nights at the Paris Marriott.” We need to talk about crossing the invisible line of insurability. Once that happens, life insurance is no longer available at any price. Talk about a friend or colleague or even a prospect who tried to get coverage and couldn’t because they crossed the invisible line or were rated so high they could no longer afford to pay the premium.
Sherry K. Barton, CLU, registered representative for NY Life Securities LLC, in Oklahoma City: What I am finding in Oklahoma, as I talk to many employers and ask to work with their employees, is that the majority of adults have never been asked to buy life insurance. And at the same time, they do understand what the product can do for their families. That is when I spring into action and write an application. We have three jobs as agents: to find clients, to service them and to promote the value of life insurance. We can delegate the service, but we cannot delegate the finding and the selling.
When clients or prospects come to see me and want to discuss a rollover or setting up an IRA, I can help them, but rest assured, the last item we discuss before they leave the appointment is the importance of life insurance in their overall planning. We, as agents, need to continue to ask.
Arkady Milgram, CLU, ChFC, financial strategist and special care planner with Walker Financial Partners LLC, in Westlake Village, Calif.: Unfortunately, the general level of understanding of life insurance concepts, as well as overall financial education, is very low. Most people are confused and overwhelmed with contradictory information they receive through multiple sources, like the Internet, direct mail, TV and radio advertising, etc. So I usually show a lot of patience and try to ask as many questions as I can to understand where my prospects currently stand. From that point, I choose which of my approaches and resources would be effective in that particular situation.
There are many other specific and general topics I use to discuss life insurance, depending on a prospect’s overall knowledge and understanding of it. The most important quality of the producer is the ability to adjust client conversations to the appropriate level. You don’t want to complicate or oversimplify. This is the art and science of the selling process!