When I was a financial advisor, I worked with a young couple for about three years. They had their whole lives ahead of them and were filled with hopes and dreams. But tragedy struck – the husband was killed in an automobile accident. If I had done nothing to prepare this couple for this type of scenario, I could not have even faced the grieving widow. Fortunately, I had strongly encouraged them, as young as they were, to purchase life insurance, and they followed through. I was able to present the widow with a check that allowed her to move on, as difficult as it was at the time.
Many of us in our industry probably have similar stories to share. And that’s why we need to keep stressing that insurance is an essential element in helping our clients achieve their goals.
September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. There’s certainly a need to bring more awareness of the importance of insurance to our clients. Just 59 percent of Americans even have life insurance, according to LIMRA – and half of those with insurance are underinsured. Several factors are responsible for this inadequate coverage, one of which is that nine million households just have group life insurance, which according to LIMRA, leaves an average coverage gap of $225,000.
Why the lack of insurance? Why the shortage? You’ve probably heard all the excuses: “I can’t afford insurance.” “I’ll get around to it later.” “I’m healthy, so why do I need it?” And if they have a group policy: “I’m sure I have enough coverage – after all, why would my employer offer this to me if it wasn’t sufficient”?
It may take some effort on our part to overcome these objections – to point out to clients that they can afford insurance, that life insurance is essential to leaving a legacy, and that the right amount of coverage can’t be determined by a pre-set formula but should be based on their individual situation – their age, income, number of children, retirement plans and all the other factors that you already know are important.
If we’re going to provide our clients with advice based on their goals, we need to talk about life insurance – because one goal virtually everyone shares is that of taking care of their families. In fact, 71% of retires say they would be willing to offer financial support to their family even if it could jeopardize their own financial futures, according to the Edward Jones/Age Wave Four Pillars of the New Retirement study — and life insurance enables individuals to provide that support without endangering their own future at all.
It’s now been 50 years since Edward Jones began offering life insurance. During that time, how many lives have we impacted – how many stories have we written – like the one I described above? I really don’t know – but I do know that I’m proud of every one of them. As financial advisors, all of us need to partner with our clients to co-develop a long-term strategy designed to help them achieve their objectives – such as protecting their families. And we always need to be able to say something simple, yet powerful: “I will be there for you when you need me.”
So, during Life Insurance Awareness Month, think about contacting those of your clients who you think may be lacking the proper coverage. It could just end up being one of the most important calls you make.