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Real life heroes

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I find it sad that the majority of the general public is unaware of how truly beneficial life insurance agents are. But how can they appreciate the role a life insurance agent plays when so many are uninsured? According to LIMRA, less than half of middle market consumers ages 25 to 64 have individual life insurance coverage. That’s a rather large segment of the population that is unaware of the services a life insurance agent can provide — in times of good and bad. 

If only they were in my shoes just a few weeks ago. 

On Feb. 6 I traveled to Washington, D.C. to serve as a judge for the annual Real Life Stories Client Service Recognition Program, organized by the life insurance awareness organization known as Life Happens. I sat in a room with seven other peers within the industry, trying our best to do an extremely difficult job: choose three life insurance agents, of all of those who submitted their story, who did their best to serve their client — both in the initial stages of the business relationship and after the unfortunate death of the policy owner. 

Each and every one of these agents did an outstanding job — and we’re supposed to choose just three? It was indeed an excruciating task. 

There was the story of the agent who not only helped two orphaned teenagers with the life insurance details after the passing of their parents, but who also helped them divert the proceeds to safe investments, including a down payment on a house that they could live in together while finishing school. We also learned of the agent who, in her first week on the job, was so persistent in educating one couple of their need for life insurance that, even with little money to spare, the couple purchased a policy — one that the ink was barely dry on before the husband passed away unexpectedly. His wife was the sole beneficiary on a policy that helped provide for herself and her three young children. 

There were also great examples of life insurance being used as a business succession planning tool. In more than one submitted story, a business owner had purchased a policy for the sole benefit of business continuity if the owner should pass — and in all cases the businesses continued to thrive thanks to life insurance policy proceeds, and, of course, the informed agent. 

Hour after hour we deliberated, and eventually we completed the job assigned to us. But I think everyone in that room would agree that the meeting served a much larger purpose than choosing the winners of this year’s Real Life Stories; it reminded us of the good that life insurance agents do each and every day. If only everyone could hear a life insurance agent’s real life stories.