Is the life policy guaranteed? If not what are the risks? There are many excellent policies, some are guaranteed some completely not. Depending on the buyer’s circumstances and understanding of the non-guaranteed products; either type may be appropriate. The bottom line, work with an agent who really understands the products.
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 Allan Kaplan, CLU, ChFC & CPA.
Allan represents the third generation of Kaplans providing continuous service to their clients. Allan works with businesses and owners in designing executive benefits, business continuity, and wealth transfer plans. Allan’s family’s firm was the first Chicago firm invited to be a member of the M Financial Group.
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?
After graduating college I took the CPA exam and then took off for almost a year traveling in South America. When I returned I sent my resume to the then Big Eight accounting firms and didn’t get the responses I was hoping for. Living then at home, my dad suggested I find employment. Growing up I watched the careers of my grandfather and Dad, both of whom were very successful. This made the decision easy.
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 take away you learned from that?
On my first calls, I called on a friend’s older brother and my best friend and his wife. I followed the training script that my General Agent had provided. After making both presentations I asked, “How did I do?” Both responded I was too scripted. Since then, I have always tried to be myself.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We have a few projects. The first is an automatic underwriting which is enabling one to obtain life insurance without a physical exam. With the concerns about social distancing, this will permit people to get the insurance needed without having someone enter their space. Another project is Guaranteed Issue of large amounts of coverage for groups of white-collar employees. Once again, no exam and available through age 70.
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 lesson that others can learn from that?
Initially, I was calling on people close to my age and who all had the same issue, “they needed life insurance to protect their families”. When I started calling on business owners is when my career changed. They have all kinds of other problems that business ownership brings which life insurance will solve such as business continuity planning, executive benefits and wealth transfer planning.
What advice would you give to other people in the insurance field to thrive and avoid burnout?
Get technical and know thy product
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?
- How much life insurance should you carry? There is no correct answer. But, I have my opinion. The hot button today in financial services is retirement planning. Most planners will suggest the 4% Rule as a guideline. This says if one draws down 4% a year off of a retirement nest egg, there is a 90% chance the funds will last for thirty years. This means you need capital of around twenty five times your targeted draw to comfortably retire. I transfer this idea to life insurance. If you want your family to be able to have income for more than thirty years, I suggest a 3% draw. This means a family should have around thirty times annual living expenses in total protection (life insurance plus other financial assets)
- Who is going to administer the program? I suggest using an agent who is part of a firm with a track record of providing continuous service. The turnover rate of agents in the life industry is very high. The average age is even higher. It is important that one works with a firm that has a commitment of providing lifetime service.
- Is the life policy guaranteed? If not what are the risks? There are many excellent policies, some are guaranteed some completely not. Depending on the buyer’s circumstances and understanding of the non-guaranteed products; either type may be appropriate. The bottom line, work with an agent who really understands the products.
- How long will you need the coverage If it is a short term need, term insurance is usually the product of choice. This usually applies to those under age 50. For long term or permanent needs, a lifetime policy should be considered.
- Are you insuring your spouse or partner? A lot of families will only insure the breadwinner. This is a mistake. If the stay at home partner dies, the breadwinner’s future income will be impacted. Often they incurred great expenses and loss of income in caring for the stay at home partner prior to their death. Definitely they should think through the impact of the loss of the non- breadwinner.
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?
The changing event in my career was being exposed to M Financial. My Dad was the first in Chicago to join M. M is an agent-owned insurance company and agency. It was founded forty years ago by the leading agents in the country. The sharing of sales ideas was the foundation of the group. The most memorable moment was when two of the members put on a two-day presentation on the book Strategic Selling.
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. 🙂
If you are under 50, buy term. Make sure it is fully convertible for the life of the policy. Over 50, look carefully at permanent coverage.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Our website www.RFGInsure.com and LinkedIn
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.