Senior clientele? Six tips to open more life insurance salesArticle added by Brian Leising on January 9, 2017
Brian Leising

Brian Leising


Joined: September 20, 2012

Do you specialize in the senior insurance market?  Do your clients think of you as just their Medicare  supplement, annuity or final expense agent?  

Unfortunately many advisors make only one product sale per household and  never ask their clients about other potential life insurance planning needs. If  you were able to uncover the need for one insurance product, why couldn’t you  uncover another?  Here are six open-ended  questions to help you do exactly that.  

       What planning have  you done for your funeral?    Listen to your clients speak.  They might discuss their will, preferred  cemetery, the music to be played or even what funeral home to use.  When they finish, follow up with “How will  your family pay for all that?  Do they  really want to pay full price?”     

This conversation could  lead to a fully underwritten life insurance policy, but don’t neglect basic  final expense policies.  Some people  don’t need anything more than a basic burial plan.  In lower income households, that may be the  only sale possible.  Premiums are  guaranteed to remain level and underwriting is simple and fast.  You should know whether your client qualifies  for coverage before you walk out the door.   People still purchase prepaid funerals from funeral homes, you can  offer them better value with greater leverage on their dollars.   

     When did you last  review your life insurance policies?     You should ask this question of everyone, whether you think they have a life insurance policy or  not.  Many people have never reviewed  their old life insurance policies.  They  may be paying too much or not enough.   Their coverage could be too low or missing key features.  Older universal life policies that have not  been funded properly may not remain in force for a client’s full life  expectancy.  Conversely, cash rich whole  life policies may not offer enough leverage for a client’s dollars.     

Newer universal life plans with a no-lapse guarantee can  help in both cases.  Find an annual  review fact finder you like and complete it at every appointment.  You will help your clients and uncover more  new business than you have in the past.        

How will you pay for  physical assistance as you age?    Once you have determined your client has the proper amount  of life insurance coverage, you should ask how they have protected themselves from  the high costs of extended care should they become ill or frail as they age. The  high cost of long term care is the greatest threat to a client’s retirement  funds by far.  After a fall, the stock  market bounces back, the elderly do not.      

Long term care insurance has traditionally been used to help,  but is not a good fit for everyone.  Life  insurance based long term care policies offer protection with guarantees not  found in traditional policies.  The life  insurance based solutions guarantee the client’s premiums will never  change.  They also guarantee a benefit  will be paid out.  If the long term care  benefit is never used, the death benefit will pass to the insured’s heirs.  Your clients are not really protected until  they have some form of extended care coverage in place.        

Where do you keep  your safe money?  What is the purpose of  those funds?     

Aside from emergency money, many seniors have funds they do  not plan to spend in their lifetime.  The  money is earmarked for their children or grandchildren and usually not sitting  in a tax-favored vehicle.  Many seniors  are not aware of the tax implications of their current arrangement.     

CD’s, savings accounts and mutual funds lose net value every  year due to taxes.  Annuities and  qualified plans can defer taxes, but that just means the value to be taxed will  be greater when received by the next generation.      Why not move those dollars into a vehicle that offers  immediate leverage (no need to wait for the funds to grow) and also avoids  taxation?  A single premium life  insurance policy works perfectly in these cases.  The death benefit will always be greater than  the single premium paid by the client and will pass tax-free to their heirs.        

What steps have you  taken to minimize your taxable estate to your heirs?   

Do you need a good way to open up an estate planning  conversation with a prospect you think may have a problem?  Maybe a business owner?  This question offers an easy way to lead into  the conversation.  You are assuming they  have already done some planning, even though we know most people have done very  little actual estate planning.    

Based on current exclusion amounts, the Federal estate tax  may not apply in many situations but your state may impose its own state estate  taxes at much lower thresholds. Additionally, income or capital gains taxes may  also apply.  Make sure you are working  with an attorney who specializes in estate planning to minimize your client’s  taxable estate first.  If needed, life  insurance can provide immediate funds to pay any remaining tax without  liquidating assets.        

Who  handles your grandchildren’s life insurance and college funds?   

When you meet in the home of a  grandparent, what photos do you see on their walls? The photos of their  children are long gone and the walls are now adorned by their adorable  grandchildren. Just try to ask a question about their grandchildren and see if  you can get a word in edgewise for the next hour. They love to talk about their  grandchildren and would do just about anything for them. Did you ever think to  ask about the life insurance or college plans of those grandchildren?    

Chances are your senior clients are in  a better position than their adult children to help with both needs.  They are at a stage of their lives where  their primary concern is leaving a legacy.   Two gifts their grandchildren will always remember will be their first  life insurance policy and their college tuition paid for by Grandma and  Grandpa.        
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