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The General Reason

You want advice from a “fiduciary” – an advisor who puts the client’s interest first in a way no insurance agent or broker can. That requires:

  • full disclosure of compensation and minimizing sales commissions and product expenses wherever possible;
  • access to any company and product, including no-commission products;
  • no ties or obligations to, or licenses with, a particular company or group of companies;
  • and an overriding commitment to providing the best possible value available from an investment in life insurance products, consistent with an acceptable level of risk.


Specific Reasons
 (click each item)

Life Insurance
Term Insurance
New Term Insurance for the Lowest Cost
  • Will I get quotes from all the least expensive alternatives or just some of them?

  • Will I have the right amount of coverage?

  • Would it be most cost-effective to have different policies with different durations (e.g., one for 10 years and one for 20 years)?

  • Do some of the companies with the lowest quotes limit their most preferred health class to a very small percentage of applicants?

  • Should I obtain more term insurance through my employer’s group term insurance plan or shop for an individual policy?

  • If I am a smoker or there are health issues or other factors that might affect my application, how might I still obtain the lowest possible cost? And how can I obtain lower rates in the future if I quit smoking or my health conditions improve?

  • Would I benefit from “return of premium” term insurance that involves a refund of premiums when the policy’s term ends?

New Term Insurance – Possible Future Conversion to Permanent Insurance
  • Should I consider at least some term insurance that can be converted into the most competitive permanent insurance in the future without another medical exam?

  • If interested in a possible future conversion to permanent insurance, should I consider different companies depending on whether I might prefer a permanent policy with a conservative investment vs. a policy that can be invested in equities (i.e., variable life insurance)?

  • Will I get quotes from all the companies with good conversion options or just some of them?

  • Should I choose a policy that has a conversion option for an extended period of years or one where the option is more limited in duration?

Existing Term Insurance
  • Should I keep the coverage I have, or might I qualify for a less expensive policy?

  • Should I obtain a policy that will last for a longer period of time?

  • Should I replace my employer’s group term insurance plan and shop for an individual policy to replace it?

  • If I am now interested in permanent insurance, am I better off converting all or part of my term insurance or buying a new permanent insurance policy instead?

  • If there are health issues or other factors that might affect the cost of new insurance, how should they influence my thinking about possible new term insurance?

Existing Term Insurance – Possible Conversion to Permanent Insurance
  • Should I convert all or part of my existing term insurance policy to permanent insurance?

  • If I do convert my existing term insurance policy, to what kind of policy or policies can I convert, and how can I achieve the best value in doing that, including by minimizing sales commissions in the transaction?

  • If I am now interested in permanent insurance, am I better off converting all or part of my term insurance or buying a new permanent insurance policy instead?

New Permanent Insurance (i.e., it is intended to last a lifetime)
General Questions about New Permanent Insurance
  • Should I buy term or permanent insurance or some of both?

  • How can I increase a policy’s value or lower its cost by minimizing a policy’s sales commission?

  • Would I like the sales charges of the policy to be fully disclosed rather than kept a secret?

  • Is permanent life insurance ever a good investment?

  • Is there any reason to be concerned about a policy’s cash value if I am only interested in the policy’s death benefit?

  • If I already own term insurance, should I convert the policy, or part of it, to permanent insurance or buy a new policy?

  • If I consider converting an existing term insurance policy to a permanent one, how do I choose the type of permanent policy that will provide the best value including by means of minimizing the sales commission in the conversion process?

  • If I am a smoker or there are health issues or other issues that might affect my application, how might I still obtain the lowest possible cost? And how can I obtain lower rates in the future if I quit smoking or my health conditions improve?

Traditional Whole Life or Universal Life
  • Am I content with a policy that has much less cash value (the investment part of the policy) in the first year (sometimes none) than the amount of my first-year premium? Is there a reason I have so little to show for the premiums I pay in the first year or two?

  • Am I interested in a policy, which, by minimizing the sales commission, could offer much more cash value initially and over the long run as well as a significantly higher long-term death benefit?

  • Am I interested in a policy, which, by minimizing the sales commission, could offer the same value as a full commission policy but for a significantly lower premium cost?

  • Would I like a policy that compares very favorably with other investments of comparable risk and offers insurance protection at the same time?

  • Would I like a policy that comes from a company with the strongest possible financial strength ratings?

  • Does it make sense to borrow heavily from a policy as a source of retirement income and to avoid taxation on the use of the cash value in the policy?

Variable Life (insured has various mutual fund investment choices within the policy)
  • Am I content with a policy that has much less cash value (the investment part of the policy) in the first year (sometimes none) than the amount of my first-year premium? Is there a reason I have so little to show for the premiums I pay in the first year or two?

  • Am I interested in a policy, which, by minimizing the sales commission, could offer much more cash value initially and over the long run as well as a significantly higher long-term death benefit?

  • Am I interested in a policy, which, by minimizing the sales commission, could offer the same value as a full commission policy but for a significantly lower premium cost?

  • How can I best limit the extra investment management and administrative expenses of a variable policy?

  • Does it make sense to borrow heavily from a policy as a source of retirement income and to avoid taxation on the use of the cash value in the policy?

Permanent Insurance with the Most Competitive Guaranteed Death Benefits
  • How can I be sure that I will see the full range of companies that might offer the most competitively priced guaranteed death benefit policy, rather than just some of those companies?

  • Will a policy with a minimized sales commission offer either a greater death benefit or a lower premium than a full commission policy?

  • What are the consequences if I miss, or am late in paying, one or more premium payments on this type of policy?

  • How can I avoid the risk of missing or late premium payments that would reduce, or which could entirely eliminate, the policy’s guarantee?

  • Can I be confident that regardless of my age or health or ability to manage my financial affairs at any point in the future, the premium will always be paid on time?

  • Can I be absolutely sure that I don’t want or need the flexibility to change the nature of my insurance plan in the future?

Existing Permanent Insurance (i.e., it was and is intended to last a lifetime)
  • Will it last as long as the insured might live, no matter how long that might be?

  • What can be done to assure, or increase the chances, that the policy will last as long as the insured might live?

  • Is the likely rate of return on the existing cash value and any future premiums I might pay on this policy better than what I might receive with a policy exchange, if I can qualify for a new policy on a favorable basis?

  • Should consideration be given to replacing the current policy with a new one?

  • Is a policy replacement recommendation that has been made the best one available and really in my best interest?

  • If I am considering a policy replacement/exchange, how can I minimize the transaction costs in doing so?

  • Can I be confident that regardless of my age or health or ability to manage my financial affairs at any point in the future, the premium will always be paid on time if the new policy would have that requirement?

  • Can I be sure that I don’t want or need the flexibility to change the nature of this insurance plan in the future if such a change would forfeit the guarantees of the new policy?

Life Settlements (possible sale of an existing policy for more than its cash value)
  • Should I consider selling my policy rather than keeping it or surrendering it?

  • How do I go about exploring the possibility of selling a policy for more than its cash value?

  • How can I best minimize the transaction costs of selling my policy – the difference between the price the buyer of the policy pays for it and the net amount I actually receive?

  • If someone is willing to buy my policy with the expectation of making a 12%-15% profit on it even after paying a large broker’s commission and possible taxes on the policy proceeds, does that mean I should keep the policy myself? In other words, if my policy is a good investment for someone paying these costs, would it be an even better investment for me as the current owner not absorbing these expenses?

  • How can I measure the risk that, if I keep my policy and continue to fund it, I will live long enough that the additional premium expense will become a very bad investment or that the policy might actually lapse (i.e., terminate) altogether?

Long-Term Care Insurance
  • From what company or group of companies should I consider buying long-term care insurance?

  • What total amount of coverage should I buy?

  • How long should the benefit last – for my lifetime or some period of years that might not last my lifetime?

  • What cost-of-living increase feature should I select?

  • What waiting period should I choose?

  • What total out-of-pocket cost am I willing or able to pay if I need long-term care?

  • Should I select a level premium payment option or one which will start with a lower cost but which will increase over time?

  • Should I choose a policy that allows me to share a total combined benefit amount with a spouse?

  • Should I choose a policy that will likely lower the future premium outlay with policy dividends?

  • Will the policy provide adequately for possible in-home, and not just nursing home, care?

  • What is the likelihood that the various companies might increase their premiums in the future?

  • Should I consider the option of paying for the policy over a limited period (e.g., 10) years, and how does that cost compare to the cost, in current dollars, of paying the premium for as long as I might live or until I qualify for the benefit?

  • Will I likely qualify for this coverage and, if so, on what terms (i.e., at what cost)?

Disability Insurance
  • From what company or group of companies should I consider buying disability insurance?

  • What total amount of coverage should I buy?

  • If I am eligible for group coverage through my employer, is it adequate, and should I obtain more through my employer or firm if I can, or secure a separate individual policy, or both?

  • How long should the benefit last?

  • What amount of coverage can I get, and how can I maximize it?

  • Should I choose a policy, or policy rider, that will provide separate or additional coverage for retirement contributions I am making?

  • What cost-of-living increase or feature should I select?

  • What waiting period duration before a benefit would pay out should I choose?

  • Should I select a level premium payment option or one which will start with a lower cost but which will increase over time?

  • Should I choose a policy that will likely lower the future premium outlay with policy dividends?

  • Should I pay a higher premium for an “own occupation feature” which would allow me to collect a benefit even if I am working at another job?

  • Should I pay a higher cost for a premium that cannot be increased or a lower one for premiums that might be increased but only if the increase applies to all policies of the same kind?

  • Will I likely qualify for this coverage and, if so, on what terms?

  • Might I obtain a premium savings by obtaining coverage as part of a group?

Annuities
Immediate Annuities (annuities with distributions beginning within one year)
  • Should I buy one and, if so, should it be a “fixed” or “variable” annuity (“fixed” means backed by the insurance company’s general investment portfolio and with a minimum guaranteed return; “variable” means in one or more investments of your choice from a 401(k)-type investment menu and, usually, with no guarantee)?

  • What percentage of my total net worth, if any, should I invest?

  • Should I buy more than one annuity over time so as not to lock in just one interest rate?

  • How concerned should I be about the financial strength of the insurance company issuing the annuity, and should I pick a company with only the highest ratings?

  • If I am considering an immediate variable annuity, should I pay extra fees and expenses for a minimum guaranteed return?

  • Should the annuity distribution be guaranteed to last for my lifetime, or for the life of me and my spouse, and/or also to last for at least a certain period of years?

New Deferred Annuities (annuities with distributions beginning after for more than one year)
  • Should I buy one and, if so, should it be a “fixed” or “variable” annuity (“fixed” means backed by the insurance company’s general investment portfolio and with a minimum guaranteed return; “variable” means in one or more investments of your choice from a 401(k)-type investment menu and, usually, with no guarantee)?

  • What percentage of my total net worth, if any, should I invest?

  • Does an annuity investment make sense in light of my financial situation and the income and estate tax treatment of annuities?

  • How concerned should I be about the financial strength of the insurance company issuing the annuity, and should I pick a company with only the highest ratings?

  • If I am considering a deferred variable annuity, should I pay extra fees and expenses for one or more guarantees - such as a guaranteed death benefit, minimum income amount at certain ages, minimum cash value growth, etc.?

  • Should the annuity distribution be guaranteed to last for my lifetime, or for the life of me and my spouse, and/or also to last for at least a certain period of years?

  • For fixed deferred annuities, how do I evaluate the initial interest rate return, the likely future interest rate, and the interest rate the insurer will credit when I take distributions from the annuity?

  • Are there logical alternatives to a deferred annuity investment that I should consider? Is life insurance one of them?

Existing Deferred Annuities (existing annuities not yet in the distribution phase)
  • Can I reduce the fees and expenses of my existing annuity by exchanging it for one with lower costs?

  • If I can achieve a meaningful savings by switching to an annuity with lower costs, will this savings offset whatever “surrender charges” may exist with my current annuity, and how long will it take for the savings to offset these charges?

  • Does an annuity investment make sense in light of my financial situation and the income and estate tax treatment of annuities?

  • How concerned should I be about the financial strength of the insurance company issuing the annuity, and should I pick a company with only the highest ratings?

  • If I am considering a deferred variable annuity, should I pay extra fees and expenses for one or more guarantees - such as a guaranteed death benefit, minimum income amount at certain ages, minimum cash value growth, etc.?

  • Should the annuity distribution be guaranteed to last for my lifetime, or for the life of me and my spouse, and/or also to last for at least a certain period of years?

  • For fixed deferred annuities, how do I evaluate the initial interest rate return, the likely future interest rate, and the interest rate the insurer will credit when I take distributions from the annuity?

  • Are there logical alternatives to my deferred annuity investment that I should consider? Is life insurance one of them?