Several of the staff at Creative meet monthly with our Creative Agent Advisory Board (CAAB) to discuss our programs and services, and get feedback from these representatives of our independent agent field force. Interesting questions come from these meetings. One CAAB member, a registered securities representative, teed up this question: “If today’s extremely low interest environment causes a fixed annuity issued today to have low credited rates for its entire term, what is the effect of volatility on caps in indexed annuities, because most policies rebuy options every year and re-declare caps?” I thought you might want to know my response.
October 2012 - Creative Edge
We place value on just about everything in our lives. Some things like family, friends and mementos from our past we consider invaluable. Sometimes we assign a dollar amount to an item, which is necessary when we go to buy, sell or trade it. Yet when you think about the inherent value of your book of business, how do you determine how much a client is worth to your practice? It can be a lot more complex than simply taking into account his or her assets under management. It’s important you consider the potential clients have for helping you grow your business … and that you act accordingly by showing them real appreciation.
From James Bond and the X-Files to real prisoners of war, individuals have been using invisible ink for years to create secret messages that can be revealed through light, heat and acidic reactions. As a child, you may have experimented with your own invisible ink messaging and passed around decoder pens with your friends to share in the fun. Today, as a successful insurance agent or advisor, the last thing you want is for your marketing messages to be hidden from those clients and prospects you’re trying to reach. Yet, if you haven’t developed a professional-looking, functional website filled with valuable content to serve as a foundation for your digital presence, consider your practice “invisible” to those searching online for information on your services.
Life insurance awareness is critical to the continued success of your practice not only in September, but year round. As someone who’s worked in this business for more than 20 years, I’ve witnessed a growing number of individuals, families and charities who’ve benefited from a life policy when they least expected. As we proudly launch our Moments in Life campaign, I’d like to take some time to share the details of our first featured story. Not long ago, my own family was dramatically impacted by life insurance, and I learned first-hand just how much of a difference it can make to a family’s future. Here’s the story of my cousin, Kerri, and how one moment completely reshaped our lives as we know them.
The old saying “things aren’t always what they seem” is one that proves itself true time and time again in the life insurance business. Just when you think you have a client completely figured out, you may learn something about his or her lifestyle that dramatically alters the case design, underwriting outcome or both. And sometimes the most conservative business clients can lead the most unconventional lifestyles outside of the office. The next time you have a business insurance case that isn’t what it seems, consider identifying all of your options and alternatives to ensure that you don’t let opportunity slip through your fingers. THE FACTS
If not handled properly, financial matters can create sticky situations both in our personal lives and our professional ones. Whether determining how to pay the bills or how a business is going to protect its interests, individuals and families have lots of important financial decisions to consider. If you have business owner clients, one of these financial decisions may be to purchase key person insurance on an employee who’s crucial to the success of the organization. Yet proving the need and being able to financially justify the amount of coverage desired is an important component of the underwriting process for any business case. As the agent, it’s critical for you to have the knowledge and know-how to step in and get the policy placed.
From the time we are born through our time growing old, we’re constantly expanding our minds and learning new things. Whether taking our first steps, earning our diploma or settling into retirement, we must adjust to changing circumstances and adapt to life as we know it. Many people attribute this to the never-ending process of education. As American philosopher John Dewey once said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” And nowhere is this more evident than in the life insurance business.
Over the last few years there have been many questions, discussions and debates over what insurance-only licensed agents are allowed to discuss with their clients – particularly when it comes to a situation that may include a securities product without providing investment advice. Can an insurance-only licensed agent talk about the S&P 500® index? Can he/she talk to clients about their current financial products, investment objectives and risk tolerance, or how annuities might fit into their overall plans for retirement when the clients currently own securities?
Related terms: Annuities
Have you noticed what seems like a 10-fold increase in the number of articles on when to claim one’s Social Security retirement benefits? It’s as though we’re witnessing a 2012 phenomenon. The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, several financial industry publications, and various consumer-facing magazines and newspapers all have opinions on when individuals or couples should claim their Social Security Income and why. A few companies have even been marketing their Social Security “claiming” guides, calculators and client seminars to address the issue. The goal of all these tools and articles is to help users and readers learn how to maximize the income benefit.