Life Insurance: Protecting The Family And The Business

For the self-employed, having adequate life insurance is essential. As tempting as self-employment can be, the reality is that it takes up every available hour—especially in the start-up phase. With the goal to get their company up and running, business owners often push aside other equally important tasks, waiting for that “someday” when they will have time to deal with them.

That was the situation insurance agent Raymond L. Adams, CLU, ChFC, CFP, president of Washington state-based CEG Life Insurance Services, found in 2008 when he emailed his friend Connie about his newly created company website. His site, featuring an online quoting system comparing the prices of more than 20 life insurance companies, allows visitors to submit an application with the company they choose—without any contact from anyone. Adams had sent a personalized email describing this service to many of his friends who were not currently his clients, among whom were Connie and her second husband, Jim.

“I knew Connie recognized the importance of life insurance, since she had been widowed before at a very young age and left with two children to raise,” said Adams. “Fortunately, her late husband had a policy that provided for her and her children.”

Soon after receiving the email from Adams, Jim responded. Since his own life insurance policy had recently lapsed, he was considering getting a new policy. However, he had recently started a new business and was hesitant about buying a lot of life insurance at that time. As Adams recalled, despite being in his late fifties, Jim felt there was not a compelling need, since his health was excellent.

The combination of insurance not being a financial priority and his busy schedule resulted in Jim delaying the application process. But knowing how important life insurance can be, Adams kept in touch with him through phone calls and online. Finally, months later, Jim signed the life insurance application and faxed it over to Adams on December 2, 2008.

“Of course, as life insurance agents know, the application process was still far from over,” said Adams. “It also took some time and encouragement to get a paramedical exam scheduled and completed for Jim.”

Finally, almost five months after the application was submitted and a full year after an initial conversation about life insurance had begun, Jim paid the first premium for his life insurance policy, putting his life insurance in force—having received the top health underwriting class.

“About a month later,” Adams recalled, “Jim sent my office a very kind and sincere thank you note for all of our help in getting his life insurance policy issued. However, what I didn’t realize is that this would be the last time we would ever hear from Jim.”

Two months later, Adams received an email from Connie, telling him that her husband had died and that she wanted to make sure that his life insurance policy was in force. “She told me that, not long after he paid his first premium, he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and passed away just a few weeks later.”

While this was undoubtedly a terrible tragedy, both Connie and Adams quickly recognized how fortunate she was that her husband had followed through with purchasing life insurance, despite the time-consuming demands of a new business.

“Although Connie told me that my help with guiding her husband through the process of getting the life insurance he needed to protect his family was instrumental in both the timing and amount of his purchase, she herself had provided the biggest encouragement,” said Adams. “She had told her husband once that if he really loved her, he would get the life insurance policy.”

As it turned out, the death benefit left to Connie became her husband’s final act of love. It allowed Connie, now in her late forties, time to mourn and then move forward in life as well as take care of the couple’s 16-year-old daughter.

Perhaps no one has a more convincing argument for the importance of life insurance than Connie herself, who is now considering becoming an insurance agent. With conviction, she recently wrote, “One thing is certain in my feelings—that life insurance is the best decision a person can make in life—to show true love for their family. I guess that I’m a living example of that, twice over.”

By Nancy Christie for December 2012 issue of Broker World Magazine. Nancy  Christie is a freelance writer based in Ohio whose articles appear in national publications. Christie is working with The Life and Health Foundation for Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers make smart insurance decision, on this series of articles.

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