I am often asked, “Joel why do you always talk about life insurance?” There are endless reasons, but the #1 reason I am so passionate is I never want to see a family lose it all because they are not prepared.
At the end of this blog post there is a video I watched this morning, and I would encourage everyone to watch it as well. It’s a video of a fellow insurance agent who had to sit down with a family following a tragedy and have a difficult discussion with a widow. Before you get to that let me back up 11 years. Let me take you back to 2003, the year in which I became an insurance agent. I was young, just out of college, recently married and I was eager to make as many sales as possible. This was also a time in which I, as an agent would learn a very important lesson. I would learn that as an agent there is more to this job than selling a policy, there is more to this job than closing deals, or winning awards. My job as an insurance agent is to protect you, and to insure your family that should tragedy strike you wont be left stranded. Its my job to make sure your family won’t be left having to sell everything you own if you die suddenly. Today’s insurance world leads us to believe that all there is to insurance is a price. With every fiber of my being I hate that stigma, I hate the market that has been created by the 1-800 companies and the .com’s of the world. It drives me crazy, that you as a family, as a client, and as a friend might be left high and dry because some companies and some agents focus on price vs protecting your family.
Back to 2003 – I come across a new client, and for the purpose of this blog lets call him “Bob.” I met with Bob several times closing the sale on his personal home, personal auto and personal umbrella. As we wrapped up that sale we moved onto his business insurance needs which consisted of a deli, and several apartment buildings. Over the next few weeks we went over each property and one by one we closed each of those properties and I quickly became his go to agent. “Bob” and I met several times over the next few months. During each meeting we would add another piece to his insurance portfolio, we started with his home and auto, went on to his business, and then set up his health insurance. During each of those meetings we would discuss life insurance, but it was never a priority on Bob’s list. He believed in life insurance, and knew he needed to get it, but he was more concerned with setting everything else up first.
A few months went by, and then it happened, it’s a day that I will never forget. As an agent, it changed me forever. I recall the events of that day as if it were yesterday. It was a cold brisk March morning. I had just got to the office and I had a message to call “Bob’s” brother, he said it was urgent. “Bobs” brother worked at the deli with Bob so I got to see him all the time. Bobs brother became a friend. When I got the call Bob’s brother asked me if I could drop everything and come up to the deli (the deli was less than 1 mile from my office at the time). I get to the deli and “Bobs” brother asked me to come down to the office with him. At this point I could clearly tell something was wrong. We sat down in the office, and all I heard was “Joel, Bob had a massive heart attack last night, and he passed away.” Bob’s brother went on to say “I know you and Bob set up all of this insurance (holding papers in his hand that had been laying on the desk) so I know we have coverage, but I need to know how to process the life insurance claim.” In that moment it was like a ton of bricks fell on me. It felt like a scene right out of the movie the matrix – everything went into slow motion, and my heart fell into my stomach. I looked up in shock as “Bob” was a healthy 40 yr old male. He had been an engineer in a large city. He left that city to move back to Ohio to run the family deli that his parents had built over many years. This deli was not only Bob’s business, but it was a family business. Bob’s brother, his mom, his dad and uncle all worked in the Deli. As an agent, I had to sit there and tell that family that Bob had no life insurance. I had to tell them that Bob did not make life insurance a priority – He felt that he was 40 and he had time to get it. In that moment Bob’s brother hung his head, he started to cry and all I could was sit there.
Over the next 6 months I watched as Bob’s family had to sell his home and his car, they sold all of his rental properties, and in the end they had to sell the deli. We tend to think things like this won’t happen to us. We tend to think that only happens to the families down the street. We tend to make things our priority vs our future – for Bob his priority was insuring things, not his income that allowed him to have those things. From that day forward I swore to my self that I would never watch another family go through that situation. I swore that with each and every family I met with life insurance would not just be a discussion point, but it would be a priority. I never want to see another family lose everything they have, I never want to see another kid be removed for their home. Do it with me, or do it with another agent, but PLEASE if you have not made life insurance a priority in your family do so.
I will leave you with this…..If tragedy struck your family, would you lose it all? Would your kids lose their home? Would you have to sell your family business? Make Life insurance a priority…….