Understand Your Health — It’s essential to understand where you stand health-wise before applying for life insurance. This is because insurance companies don’t consider you healthy based on the same standards as your doctor would. While some results are average or “in range” from your doctor’s point of view, an insurance company could see the same results as a reason to rate you higher. Be honest about where you stand. If you have a chronic illness or use tobacco, you can expect to pay much higher for your life insurance. Try to be in the best of health when you buy life insurance.
As a part of our series about the “5 Things You Should Ask Before You Purchase a Life Insurance Policy” I had the pleasure of interviewing Sa El.
Sa El is the Co-Founder of Simply Insurance and a licensed Insurance Agent with over 12 years of experience in the industry. He specializes in Life & Health Insurance and is certified in Long Term Care Insurance in the state of Georgia. He is also an Official Member of the Forbes Finance Council.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Almost 13 years ago, my grandmother passed from Ovarian cancer, and it wasn’t until then that we found out she didn’t have any life insurance. It was a difficult time, losing someone you love and at the same time trying to figure out how to deal with all the financial situations surrounding her death.
At the time, I chipped in as much as I could, but I quickly saw the financial strain that my father and his sisters went through. It wasn’t a good feeling and was a very stressful time.
I decided to educate the African American community on the importance of life insurance and make sure they received the best product.
I soon realized that the lack of insurance knowledge wasn’t limited to just one community; it was a topic that no one seemed to be educated about.
That’s what started me on my journey.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?
After a few months of working, I tried to recruit some friends and family to be agents; I paid for some of their classes and even offered to purchase their first license. However, most of them didn’t take it seriously, and either didn’t pass the test or decided not to move forward.
I learned that if you have to pay someone to change their future, it probably won’t work out for them or you.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am currently partnering with other licensed agents to create content for my site. This will help my readers by bringing them information from someone who might be more specialized than me in a specific area.
While I am very versed in most areas of insurance, my specialty is life and health. Getting another licensed specialist is essential to give my customers the best information.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?
When I took my insurance agency from a telesales agency to an online platform, I started seeing success. Selling over the fun was great, and getting to know the customers and helping people protect their family’s future was great.
However, the 16-hour workdays aren’t anything that I miss, and trying to convince someone that 30.00 dollars per month isn’t “too expensive” for protecting their family was very upsetting sometimes.
Now that we are online, we can create the content to educate our customers and help them buy online at their own pace and without an agent if they decide.
What advice would you give to other people in the insurance field to thrive and avoid burnout?
The Insurance field is a long-term play, you shouldn’t quit your day job, and you need to start a blog super fast. It would be best if you were trying to generate leads from your blog while working your day job. As you start making sales, you can decrease your time at your job and grow from there.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our discussion. As an “insurance insider”, you know much more about insurance than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to buy a policy from another person, which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing to a policy? Can you give an example or story for each?
- Understand Your Health — It’s essential to understand where you stand health-wise before applying for life insurance. This is because insurance companies don’t consider you healthy based on the same standards as your doctor would. While some results are average or “in range” from your doctor’s point of view, an insurance company could see the same results as a reason to rate you higher. Be honest about where you stand. If you have a chronic illness or use tobacco, you can expect to pay much higher for your life insurance. Try to be in the best of health when you buy life insurance.
- Know How Much Your Family Will Need — While most agents recommend purchasing 10 times your annual income in life insurance, I recommend 20 times if you can afford it. The reason is that if you make 100,000 dollars per year and you pass away, that income goes away immediately. If you only purchase 10X or 1,000,000 dollars, you only give your family 10 years of income vs. 20 X or 2,000,000 dollars in life insurance; you give your family 20 years of income. However, the most important thing is to get what you can comfortably afford while making sure it’s enough to cover your family’s financial needs if you pass away.
- Go For Term Life — There is about a 95% chance you won’t need a whole life insurance policy. Go for term life insurance because the rates are much, much cheaper, the product is simple to understand, and usually, you won’t need life insurance for more than 20 or 30 years. After that amount of time, your kids (if you have any) will be grown, and your mortgage and car notes are probably paid off.
- Don’t Look For The “Cheapest” Coverage — It might sound cliche; however, the truth is that you don’t need the cheapest coverage when trying to buy life insurance. You need to get the best coverage for your family at the most affordable rate. Everyone thinks they want the cheapest price, but the truth is that we all want the most affordable price for the best service or product. Go into this with an idea of a budget but don’t be afraid to go higher or even lower if you find a great deal.
- Read Product & Customer Reviews — A.M. Best is known for rating insurance companies for their financial strength and claims-paying ability. However, sometimes even an excellent A.M. Best rating doesn’t mean the specific product is perfect for you or that the company has fantastic customer service. With thousands of online customer reviews and product reviews, you should do your research on any company and the product you’re considering before getting started and definitely before giving payment information.
- Bonus — Apply To More Than One Company — A quick tip here is that it doesn’t cost you anything to apply for life insurance and get an answer. While most agents would prefer you submit payment with your policy, this isn’t something you have to do. The insurance company needs to approve you before you have a policy anyway. This means that until you are approved, there is nothing to pay. Applying for 2 companies is a great idea because you get to decide who gives you the best underwriting outcome and the lowest rate for the same coverage. And guess what, it won’t cost you anything until you pick the plan you want.
Insurance agencies or companies are often known to be very creative and innovative marketers. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
Large legacy companies should transition to an online platform as soon as possible; most of them still have no option to apply online or apply without an agent. With things like the current pandemic and the attention span of us millennials, they need to move faster because online shopping is here to stay.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband, Aten-Re El, is someone I look up to the most. He is the Co-founder of the company and my mentor. He is one of the smartest business people I know, and I wouldn’t be here without him.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The movement I would like to inspire is to increase our kids’ emotional intelligence, financial intelligence, and insurance intelligence in this country. There is nothing that would bring more good than raising the best kids possible in this world. It starts with helping them learn how to work through their emotions, not going into debt without a plan, and helping them understand the importance of insurance.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can reach me on:
Facebook — https://facebook.com/sareamiel
LinkedIn — https://linkedin.com/in/sareamiel
Twitter — https://twitter.com/sareamiel
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.