By: Ken Leibow
Broker World Magazine
It’s finally here—online tools for life insurance agents and clients to do basic tasks like change beneficiaries, look up paid-to-date information, see account values, and address changes without having to fill out a form or call a customer service phone number. It’s no longer a one-off but being implemented by most life insurance carriers today. You are also now seeing Artificial Intelligence (AI) chat tools for clients to get the information on their policies or to answer basic insurance questions on demand. Readily available for agents is new technology leveraging Big Data Analytics to analyze a policy resulting in new sales opportunities with products that better fit your client’s needs.
As an agent, you should do a review with your client on their life insurance policies at least once a year. Policy review should also occur when there is a life changing event or a family’s situation has changed, which could result in the need to increase or decrease coverage. Interest crediting rates on certain policies are much lower today than when the policy was first purchased. This can affect the future performance of your client’s policy, which could result in having to pay additional premium dollars to meet your client’s needs. Because people are living longer or if your client’s health has improved, then they may need to make an adjustment on their policy. On permanent insurance like universal life policies, loans and withdrawals and other changes to the policy, like premiums not paid as planned, may have impacted the current performance. Of course, if premiums have increased then you should do a policy review with your client. If the client is an owner or co-owner of a business and that business has grown or changed, then that is a compelling reason to do a policy review. Occasionally a life insurance company’s ratings or financials have changed, which may no longer meet your client’s risk tolerance.
The objective of the policy review is to do a thorough analysis of current insurance holdings vs. current needs. There are also industry and product changes to consider as well. I would recommend to carefully look at older life policies because of the way life insurance is designed today—the current changes in pricing, and how it’s medically underwritten, may have a significant difference in 2019 compared to five, 10 or more years ago. Also, you need to be up to date on the current tax, business and estate law changes. Higher life expectancies (mortality tables), lower interest rates and dividend crediting rates affect performance. There are new products on the market today to consider like indexed universal life products. Look at your client’s goals: If their goals are the same, is there a better insurance product for them today? If their goals have changed, then what’s available today to best meet those financial needs? For living benefit needs there are linked benefit products to consider. Should your client consider a way to financially maximize a policy he no longer needs by looking at a life settlement option?