Jun 01, 2015 02:31PM ● Published by Colleen Callahan
I sell life insurance. One of the interesting and gratifying parts of my job is meeting with people that are purchasing life insurance for the first time. It is enjoyable to ask questions and hear their story. I like to know why they are buying. In fact, it is crucial to know why before one can determine how much.
Often the impetus is to cover a mortgage, protect income, or provide for children or a spouse. There is a desire to protect loved ones, assure they will have the ability to stay in their home, and give children a solid education. These conversations are filled with talk of dreams.
A seasoned life insurance agent also experiences the other end of the spectrum, receiving the call that a client has died, offering condolences, and getting to work on processing the claim. This is the less commonly discussed part of the process, and sensitivity is vital.
I was appalled last month, hearing an advisor in an investment office take that call. The first question I heard was, “Do you have a copy of the death certificate?” The advisor asked a couple additional questions and then said, off handedly, “Oh, my condolences, by the way.” I left the office before the conversation ended; I had heard enough.
I have delivered checks to surviving spouses/partners, friends, a beneficiary whose spouse committed suicide, and an estranged son that we were tasked with locating. It is important to handle that painful part of the insurance process with tact. The survivors are grieving.
To those of you that have life insurance, an annuity or a retirement account, be certain that the beneficiary is correct. It is very uncomfortable to discover that a former spouse is still listed as a primary beneficiary.