Key Man and Buy Sell Insurance Simplified

business-meetingWhile each and every employee has an opportunity to provide your business with value, it’s up to you to protect the business in the event of losing someone who proves so vital to your success.

If the success of your business is primarily dependent on one specific individual, what would happen if they were to die unexpectedly? How can your business maintain continuity, for the benefit of your employees and clients, in the interim?

One way to do this is choosing to take out Key Man Insurance on a specific employee.

Such protection can go a long way towards helping your business stay afloat, specifically in the event of the death of a key employee. This type of life insurance includes a death benefit that would cover certain losses. Additionally, this benefit is often used to recruit a key man’s replacement.

Choosing to protect someone who serves as a primary income producer and/or generator is a smart business decision, because their contributions will be difficult to duplicate. This can apply to non-revenue generating employees like office/operations managers as well, because they, too, can be critical to your business functioning smoothly. Their overall skill and/or knowledge may not be as seamlessly replaceable.

Now that you know the benefits of Key Man Insurance, what’s the difference between that and a Buy Sell agreement?

As mentioned, Key Man Insurance is purchased to help preserve the financial viability of your business, in the event that the key person passes away. Buy Sell Agreements are legal contracts that dictate how the firm's equity is handled in the event a partner leaves the business, retires, dies or becomes disabled. However, a Buy Sell Agreement is incomplete without the mechanism to fund a transfer of ownership.

This insurance only covers the owners. In the event a business owner passes away, the death proceeds are either paid to the business, or to the surviving partners, who in turn use the proceeds to "buy out" the estate of the deceased owner.

The Buy Sell Agreement insurance benefits the deceased partner's estate by liquidating the shares of the business and releasing their family from the burden of managing a business they are likely unqualified to run.  This insurance also benefits the surviving business owners by relieving them of the burden of being in business with someone they wish not to be, while also providing the means to buy them out.

What type of insurance is best for Key Man and Buy Sell? 

A permanent policy is an asset that grows in value and is often out of the reach of creditors. This makes sense for a key person with an ownership stake in the business. The cash value is accessible during the insured's lifetime and can help fund the buy-out of a departing owner. Business owners also enjoy the tax advantages of permanent life insurance.

For non-owner key persons, term policies are generally recommended because they are inexpensive and easily cancelled if the employee leaves the firm.

To speak with a trusted insurance advisor who can design a policy that best fits the needs of your business, contact us today.

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