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Clients from hell: Real bad stories about real bad clients

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“Clients from hell” come in many shapes and forms — and none of them are pleasant.

Some simply waste your time while others try to monopolize it. Some continually make unreasonable requests or have unrealistic expectations. Some are know-it-alls, and others will never let you know what they’re thinking. Some try to bully and intimidate while others will constantly find fault in every situation. Some will say “yes” but have no real intention of following through on their commitment; others will never agree to anything you propose.

See also: Would you do business with you?

And then you have the criminal element: those clients who lie, cheat or steal, or — even worse — go to great lengths to try to commit insurance fraud.

Unfortunately, most life insurance producers with a decent-sized book of business will have at least a few clients they wish they never met. But we hope none of your clients are as much trouble as the ones in the following horror stories about real-life clients.

rate increase

Small rate increase too big for wealthy client

I’ve had some “different” clients, but this one took the cake. My target market is the Medicare-eligible and turning-65 prospects. Almost four years ago, I sold a policy to a woman who was looking for any way to save money. Every year, I made sure she was enrolled in the most cost-effective drug plans for both her and her husband. By the way, her husband wasn’t a client of mine. He was with a competing company and his agent wouldn’t help with his drug plan. During the time I serviced her policy, she changed policies twice to “save money.” At one point, she wanted to replace her husband’s agent because she refused to downgrade her husband’s policy. So, I rewrote his policy, even though I wouldn’t receive commission.

A few months after I’d helped with her husband’s policy, her Medicare supplement rate went up by $7 a month. She was livid and demanded that it be reduced because she didn’t have any claims. Yes, I had explained to her several times about rate increases, but she chose not to listen. After going back and forth for more than a week on this issue, I told her it was apparent that I could no longer meet her needs. I nicely suggested that she look elsewhere for coverage because it was clear that she was asking for things that I couldn’t provide.

I should tell you that this couple owned two homes — both paid for — and kept more than $100,000 in their checking account. The $7 increase was clearly not a hardship for them. Neither her nor her husband would provide referrals, even though they repeatedly told me how much I’d helped them.

Bottom line: I “fired” her nicely and we parted ways. There are way too many other Medicare-eligible people who are not as difficult and appreciate the services I provide. I’ve decided not to waste my time with people who are only looking for the best price and who do not appreciate the level of service that I provide.

I look forward to seeing the stories of other agents who’ve had to deal with people like this.

Story submitted by Linda C., licensed independent agent, Papillion, Neb.


A decidedly pre-existing condition

A number of years back, a client asked if I could help her daughter secure health insurance coverage, as she was recently married and wanted to make sure she had maternity coverage on her policy.

So, I met with her daughter and husband, and they decided to apply for coverage. The insurance company application required that the paper application be completed entirely in the applicant’s handwriting, which later turned out to be very important.

The policy was issued with no problem, including maternity coverage. Turns out, this woman was already pregnant when the policy was issued and gave birth to a child about six months after the policy was issued. The maternity claim was denied, and the insured informed the insurance company that I knew she was pregnant and told her to lie on the application, which was totally untrue.

See also: Fraud a concern for one in three North American insurers

More on this topic

I was pretty shaken about this, as I knew I had done nothing wrong. Moreover, I started receiving multiple aggressive phone calls from the insured and other family members that I do the right thing and help pay their bills. This went on for a couple of months, and finally, I was absolved of any wrongdoing as the handwriting of the insured(s) was matched to the application and it was clear that they had falsely completed the application.

Even though the truth finally prevailed here, I never had anything to do with this family again and left myself to be especially cautious that any form signed by an applicant should also be completed by an applicant when involving personal health information.

Story submitted by Arnold J. Hold, CLU, Schiller Park, Ill.

hard work

The three-year marathon

I have known this family since 1998. I handled some of the life insurance plans of the wife and some annuities. In 2008, I started talking to the husband about a 401(k) rollover to a single-premium annuity for life.

I started collating quotes from all companies under the sun since I wanted to land this case and I was the front runner.

During the first meeting, I submitted bids from about 25 annuity companies. I owned the market. What did he do after that? He went to three Internet sites to bid on my deal, plus five other financial planners — locally! — in spite of my telling him that they would do nothing but duplicate some of my work.

Nevertheless, we went at this for three years, and we spent from 5 to 11:30 at night for meetings. I accompanied him to various retirement planning meetings, this in spite of me having had a heart attack! I could barely walk — I could have died on him during one of these meetings.

Every time, I beat everyone else — I was the best deal, the best numbers.

Finally I told him to pay me $5,000 for my time all these years — which would equate to less than the minimum wage — and told him he can buy the annuity from somewhere else!

One day, his wife came to a meeting, and after she heard about the three-year marathon, she told him either sign the deal or pay me off! He signed the deal right then and there.


Story submitted by “Mr. Lucky”

For more, see:

How to attract the right clients

H.H. Holmes: The original client from hell

How to deal with difficult clients