The Value Of Working With A Broker (Short Story)

The value of working with a broker, a short story…

It was a Friday afternoon in February and my family and I were anxious to leave for a week long vacation on a family cruise. Before closing up shop and shutting down my computer I get a new request for information (RFI) from a person who is interested in discussing life insurance.

I give him a call, he picks up and we have a wonderful conversion. I learn about his situation and become enamored with his success and his reasons for looking at life insurance. 

This prospect, we will call him Joe for the purpose of the story, tells me about his life as an entrepreneur, a Phd in Finance from an IVY league school, an author on Economics, his green businesses, his income and net worth. We get to talking all the details but more importantly he tells me about his lovely wife and how they have been together since high school and married for over 40 years. Then he tells me about all of his children and how proud he is of them and how much he loves traveling and vacationing in Colorado. He goes on and tells me what he does to be active and stay in the best health possible and how he makes sure to exercise everyday and explains to me how passionate he is about living a healthy lifestyle and how it has been a part of his life and a foundation of his success is making his health a priority in his life.   

We talk and talk and I discover that naturally he has a lot of life insurance already in place with a very expensive company. I give him our best price on a $10,000,000 policy and I remember thinking about how big of a number the premium was and being worried to tell him the cost. So I stalled a little bit to gather my confidence and told him, Joe, for you a $10,000,000 – 10 year term would be about $32,000/year. I wait for a reaction from Joe, a comment, a noise, anything. Then after a few seconds of silence which seemed like minutes, I hear him hollar to his wife and say, “Hey Caroline (alias), agent David over here says he can get me a $10,000,000 policy for $32,000/year.”  I hear Caroline say, “oh that’s great dear.” I am in pure disbelief but slow playing it. Then Joe says, ok Dave, let’s do it. What do we need to do?  I stumble over my next few words but mumble something like, Joe are you sure?

And he says,

Well you know Dave, I just want to make sure my wife and family are taken care of no matter what happens, so it really doesn’t matter what the cost is.

In complete agreement, I explained the process, write the application and scheduled the medical exam. 

About 2 months later…

I get a notification, a devastating notification.  Joe was declined. He was not declined because of any health issue, not because of any medical ordeal or financial underwriting but for a very silly reason. He tested positive for THC without disclosing he uses it. After finding out the details of a relatively funny prank that his kids pulled on him at the vacation house in Colorado, Joe was given an edible and didn’t even know it. He forgot about it and so didn’t disclose it on the application. Naturally the insurance company saw this as a bad thing calling it “lack of candor” and decided not to participate. 

Now as a broker, not tied to just one company we were determined to search out other companies that would be willing to offer Joe a policy. 

We have a client who wants insurance and a company not willing to offer it, so it is really time for us to go to work and find Joe a policy. Whatever it takes! After about six months of applying and being denied by four different companies one after another, we finally get Joe approved with the Fifth and final company. 

I had some good news to share with Joe but also some bad news as the price was no longer $32,000/year it was now $55,000/year.   

I called him and said, hi Joe, We have you approved! I could tell he was delighted but the first question he asked was, “how much is it?” I said, “Well Joe, the final price came in at $55,000/year for the $10,000,000 10 year term.”  Without hesitation, he said, “ok David send me the documents to sign and I will pay for it monthly.”

After disconnecting the call, I remember sitting back in my chair in complete denial of how big this policy was and the entire office was delighted for Joe and everyone was celebrating. 

Naturally Joe did what he said and activated the policy as soon as he received it. 

About 2 more months go by and I send Joe an email checking in on him. I remember he had that other insurance he was still paying for with that expensive company and asked if he could provide me the details. He replies back and based on his recent approval with us we are able to do another $7,500,000 for him at $40,000/year which was actually saving him money.

All together Joe bought $17,500,000 of life insurance from us for about $95,000/year or just about $8,000/month for his Term policy.

I often ask myself about the thought process of a client and how they think about paying for life insurance. Joe taught me a very simple yet profound lesson. A good provider will do anything to protect and provide for his family, at all costs. Money is no object when it comes to protecting our family. 

Sadly, 15 months after Joe’s second policy was activated he passed away of a massive heart attack. Joe had zero cardiac history and out of the blue passed away. Beyond tragic! 

The insurance company paid the claim. 

Caroline had called me when she received the $17,500,000 unaware that we had increased the coverage from $10,000,000 to $17,500,000.   

I was able to tell Caroline that Joe made it very clear to me how much she meant to him and all he wanted was to make sure that her and the family were alright. 

That is exactly what he did.