Chances are you've never heard of critical illness (CI) insurance. To be honest, it's gained little exposure in this country. That said, it is a very big seller abroad in countries like Britain, Canada, and throughout Southeast Asia.
But I don't want to urge you to rush out and start selling CI protection quite yet. Your clients are not educated enough on the topic. What I want you to do is consider the following four facts:
- Fact No. 1: Some 1.4 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer cases this year. American women have a 63 percent chance of living at least five years after a cancer diagnosis (for men it's 66 percent).
- Fact No. 2: Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke. Six hundred thousand people will experience their first stroke this year. Ten percent of stroke victims recover almost completely; 25 percent recover with minor impairments; 15 percent die shortly after the stroke.
- Fact No. 3: Every 34 seconds, an American will suffer a heart attack and 785,000 will have a new coronary attack this year. Where defibrillation is provided within five to seven minutes, the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest is as high as 30 percent to 45 percent.
- Fact No. 4: A whopping 1.5 million Americans will declare bankruptcy this year; 60 percent due to medical bills (an increase of 50 percent throughout six years). Meanwhile, 78 percent had health insurance, but were impacted by deductibles, co-payments and uncovered expenses and living expenses.
If you are in your 40s, chances are you are just starting to realize you face a risk of a critical illness. You've likely heard about or even know someone who has had one. It devastated you at least for a few minutes, and then you moved on with life, as we all do. Chances are, they survived. But at what cost?
If you are in your 50s, like I am, you definitely know a friend, a loved one who has had a critical illness. You're going to the doctor more often for regular physicals. You are eating a little better (or trying to be more cautious). You are exercising (or intend to be more fit). You are doing everything you can to reduce your risk of a critical illness. It may work; but you still think about it more frequently.
If I've struck a nerve, it's not because you are in the insurance business; it's because you are human, just like every one of your clients. They are having the same thoughts. They share the same fears. They want to worry less.
So, the question I'd like you to answer is; "how would surviving a critical illness impact your life ... and that of your family?"
What if at least part of the financial worry could be removed from the equation? What if you could receive a tax-free, lump-sum cash payment of, say, $20,000 upon diagnosis? Would that be helpful? What if the cost for that peace-of-mind was $20 a month for a woman age 40; a little more for a man?
I am a firm believer that it is much easier to sell any product once consumers understand the problem and the solution. Unfortunately, that's not the model adopted by the insurance industry, which tends to look to insurance agents to educate consumers.
Thus, I am not urging you to start selling critical illness insurance quite yet. I believe our new trade association will be successful in building a good foundation of consumer awareness upon which sales will grow. But what I am suggesting is that you get familiar with the concept. Learn more. Start talking to people about it and testing the waters.
And, consider buying the protection yourself. I am indebted to Ken Smith at Assurity Life for sharing this concept with me. Ken suggested that people consider buying critical illness insurance protection equal to two years of mortgage payments. First, imagine the peace of mind of knowing you have the funds to cover your home payment while you recover, miss work or learn a new career. Second, it's an amount of protection that most can afford. Third, it's a simple way to get prospects to arrive at a value of desired protection.
If any of this resonates with you, then consider the protection for yourself. There's no more powerful way to begin a conversation than by saying "I've been worrying about something, so I did this and I think you should consider it too."
For more information visit the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance
*For further information, or to contact this author, please leave a comment and your e-mail address in the forum below.