How Can We Communicate More Effectively With People Who Want To Purchase Life Insurance?

secrets-to-life-insuranceRecently, I read an insurance periodical that stated that over 15 million people in the United States are really interested in purchasing life insurance. They understand the value of having it and what it could mean to their families if they were to become disabled or die.

However, believe it or not, they can’t make it all the way through the purchasing process.


People are confused by the terms and may be too embarrassed to constantly stop their agent and ask for an explanation of what a specific term means. Apparently, this is not only in the case of life insurance, but other financial products as well as, for example, long term disability. I, personally, can certainly understand not buying something I don’t understand!

When consumers were polled as to why they never made the decision to buy the product(s) under discussion , they used words like unclear, puzzling, mystifying, complicated and frustrating—-in other words, not a positive experience! Furthermore, the subject matter itself deals with subjects most people shy away from discussing to begin with. Death and illness, under the best of circumstances, can be tough subjects to explore. However, using conversation that is easy to understand, explaining the who, what, where, when and the how of the coverage, might help to put a more positive spin on it.

Using terms like “whole life vs. term life, cash value, dividends, universal life, accidental death benefit, accelerated death benefit, contingent beneficiary, waiver of premium, preferred risk, sub-standard risk, and conversion privilege” only serve to complicate matters. Many people would rather just forget about the whole thing and move on to a more pleasant subject. That won’t help them when the time comes to face the eventualities of life.

My husband sold life insurance for some fifty years before he became too old and too sick to continue his career. I distinctly remember accompanying him to the homes of potential clients who had invited us over for a social evening during which the conversation segued into a discussion of the need for life insurance. One of the great gifts my husband possessed was the ability to tell stories. He didn’t hesitate to use this when illustrating what could happen to a family with no life insurance. By the time he was finished even I wanted to purchase the product!

So if you appreciate the value of life insurance, find yourself an agent who is willing to explain, in detail, the types of coverage available given your budget, health, age, family expenses and make sure that you find out everything you need to know on the subject. Heaven forbid that the worst case scenario occurs and you need the coverage, you will have prepared yourself with something to help you over the rough time that is bound to ensue.

By Karen Skoler, CPCU

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