Protection Products

Introducing Life PreView


Protection

There’s nothing worse than starting a life insurance case, having your client sign the paperwork and waiting 30 days … only to uncover an obstacle in underwriting.

“Oh, I didn’t tell you about that surgery? That medication? That DUI I had a few years ago?” No matter how much your clients trust you, there’s often a tiny – but hugely important – bit of information they forget to share.

When this happens, the last thing you want to do is re-apply with another carrier, or explain to your client why the quote you gave them was way off. We get it. While we can’t give you perfectly healthy clients, we CAN help you see potential roadblocks BEFORE they become a setback.

Private. Convenient. Secure.

With Life PreView, you email your clients a personalized, secure questionnaire to get an accurate snapshot of their health history. It will ensure you have the right product, with the right carrier, quoted at the right price – no awkward conversations, frustrating delays or reselling needed.

Your clients can complete the questionnaire in their own home, at their own convenience. They just need the following handy:

  • Current medication information, including the name(s) and dosage
  • List of any medical procedures, including dates, within the last 10 years
  • List of any driving violations (speeding tickets, accidents, DUIs, etc.), including dates, within the last three years

Life PreView

Stop looking for perfectly health clients and start looking for perfectly set expectations. When you use Life PreView, you’ll ensure accurate pricing, faster placement and, more importantly, happier clients. Try it on your next application!  

Try It Now

Access requires logging in to the Ash Brokerage Producer Portal. If you have a password, click here to enter your username and password, and you'll be taken directly to the Filter.

Try It Now

If you have single sign-on, connect through your company page as usual, then click Underwriting, then Preparing Your Clients.

Life PreView Underwriting Screening PreScreen Tools Life Insurance

Figuring Out Fluidless Underwriting


Protection

This post covers a new tool on the Ash Producer Portal. Log in now to try it for yourself!

Fluidless, accelerated, express, simplified – no matter the words you use, one thing is certain: More and more insurance companies are offering streamlined underwriting processes.

How do you keep track of them all? How do you know if your clients qualify? Well, you don’t have to. We figured it out – so you don’t have to.

Ash Brokerage is proud to introduce the Fluidless Underwriting Filter. We’ve taken the programs and requirements from leading carriers and put them into one easy-to-use tool. In just seconds, you can see if your client qualifies for expedited underwriting. 

Run a Quick Check

  1. Fill out six data points about your client

    FluidlessFilter_screenshot1.jpg

  2. See a list of all potential options – including Ash Brokerage’s top recommendations

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  3. Compare carriers, qualifications and knockouts side by side
  4. Run a quote or apply immediately – coverage is just a few clicks away!

Place Cases Faster

We see far too many clients going through full underwriting when it’s just not needed. If your clients don’t have major medical issues, there’s a good chance they could qualify for one of these programs – and get insurance in days, not months. Why wouldn’t you check?! You’ll potentially save your clients from the hassle of an exam, and you’ll save your business valuable cycle time.

There’s no exams. No samples. No hassle. No kidding! 

 

Ash Answers

Have questions? Or clients who don’t qualify for fluidless options? We’re here for you! No matter the challenges of your case, our underwriting team is committed to the mission of insuring each client you bring our way. Highly trained and experienced in both medical and non-medical underwriting, we’re your advocates every step of the way. 

 

Try It Now

Access requires logging in to the Ash Brokerage Producer Portal. If you have a password, click here to enter your username and password, and you'll be taken directly to the Filter.

Try It Now

If you have single sign-on, connect through your company page as usual, then click the banner on the homepage (or click Fluidless Underwriting Filter from the Quotes menu).

Underwriting Fluidless Underwriting Filter Accelerated Underwriting Express Underwriting Life Insurance

The Buzz About Marijuana


Protection

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on the Ash Brokerage blog in 2015. To date, it's the most popular post on our website. Why? We think it's because our underwriters aren’t afraid to discuss a challenging and potentially taboo topic that's becoming relevant to more of your clients every single day. The piece below has been updated to reflect changes since the original was posted. If you have any questions or concerns about underwriting, don't be afraid to ask our team! They'll always find an answer.

 

Marijuana use is a hot and evolving topic in life insurance underwriting. For those of us who’ve been around the insurance block a time or two, we can certainly remember the days when any type of marijuana use resulted in an automatic decline. Today, the answer isn’t so cut and dry.

 

To understand the topic, look at today's legal treatment of marijuana:*

  • As of March 2018, 29 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, have laws that legalize marijuana in some form

  • Nine states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Vermont – as well as D.C., have adopted the most liberal laws, which legalize marijuana for recreation use

  • Several more states are either considering legislation or potential ballot measures in 2018

 

Underwriting Considerations

In recent years, our industry has increased acceptance of applicants using marijuana recreationally and for medicinal purposes. We have seen offers from best class nonsmoker to decline.

 

Minimal use is acceptable with some carriers; while moderate to daily use may result in a decline. Multiple factors impact risk assessment for applicants using marijuana, including:

  • Amount and frequency of marijuana used

  • Method of delivery into the body

  • Underlying condition for which marijuana was prescribed

  • Other potentially related factors: avocations, driving record and occupation

 

Some carriers will offer smoker rate classes to an applicant who smokes marijuana, while others will offer nonsmoker rates if use is minimal and potentially preferred rates if the client otherwise qualifies.

 

Applicants with a valid marijuana prescription to treat symptoms of an impairment may be assessed an additional rating for their impairment. Certain impairments or co-morbid conditions will result in an automatic decline, even if the applicant has a valid prescription or lives in a state which has legalized recreational marijuana.

 

Applicants with a history of alcohol or drug treatments, or applicants currently using multiple recreational drugs, are considered an unfavorable risk. Likewise, applicants with significant mood disorders and past criminal activity are also considered unfavorable.

 

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, can be derived from hemp or marijuana. CBD products created from marijuana have very high levels of THC, therefore applicants using CBD products created with marijuana will fall under the carrier’s guideline for marijuana use. Applicants using CBD products produced from hemp will not be considered as marijuana users.

 

Other things to note for underwriting:

  • Today’s insurance labs cannot measure quantity of use, nor how the marijuana was delivered into the body

  • Some carriers automatically test for marijuana, while others will reflex the test as deemed necessary

  • Most carriers will request an attending physician statement (APS) and/or copy of the valid prescription for applicants being treated with medical marijuana

 

Business or Employment Considerations

Marijuana sales remain illegal at the federal level, but the marijuana industry is growing like a very profitable weed. According to Tom Adams, managing director of BDS Analytics, national marijuana sales will rise to $11 billion in 2018, and to $21 billion in 2021.*

 

With the federal government still viewing marijuana sales as illegal, almost every insurance carrier will not offer insurance on any employee of a marijuana farm or dispensary, or owners of farms or dispensaries. As of today, only a small handful of traditional life insurance carriers will consider select clients on an individual basis for personal coverage only. 

 

Don’t Let Your Case Go Up in Smoke

Since there are so many variables influencing the underwriting decision for both recreational and medical marijuana users, it’s impossible to recommend a carrier without having all the facts. The good news is at Ash Brokerage, you have a dedicated staff of seasoned underwriters available to answer your questions regarding marijuana usage and assist you every step of the way. We’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your client’s specific needs.  

 

Additionally, the Ash Brokerage website has numerous impairment questionnaires, including a marijuana questionnaire, which are useful in evaluating medical, financial or avocation risk. They’ll help you uncover potential issues before collecting a formal application, and ensure your call with your Ash underwriter is productive.

 

About the Author

For more than 34 years, Charlie Kuhn has taken a personal interest in every case. To her, it’s more than a file – it’s a person trying to protect the people they care about, and she can think of no better vocation than to help provide financial and emotional security for others. Through her personal commitment to continuous professional growth, Charlie is one test away from becoming an Associate of the Life Management Institute. She is already an Associate of Customer Service with LOMA, has passed all three of the Academy of Life Underwriting exams, and is certified in EKG interpretation.

 

Learn More

Ash Brokerage Questionnaire: http://go.ashbrokerage.com/WC2018-04-UW-8151_LP-Content.html

*CNN Money, “The U.S. legal marijuana industry is booming,” Jan. 31, 2018: http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/31/news/marijuana-state-of-the-union/index.html

Underwriting Life Insurance Marijuana Medical Marijuana Recreational Marijuana

Why Max Guarantees May be Costing Your Clients … and Damaging Your Credibility


Protection

One of our key programs at Ash Brokerage is our Life Audit. This program looks at currently in-force life insurance policies and performs a stress test to see if the policy is still performing to meet the client’s needs. 

 

When we first introduced this program, we were inundated with requests on policies that, in the advisors’ words, were blowing up. Most of these were interest-sensitive universal life policies or variable universal life policies that had not performed according to the original illustration that was presented to the client. 

 

Let me be clear: Nothing was wrong with any of these products. They were solid policies sold by, mostly, reputable insurance agents and financial advisors. The problem is they were sold with unrealistic long-range interest rates or woefully underfunded premiums and ignored for long periods of time.

 

Stop Overcorrecting

This UL implosion has led most advisors to run 180 degrees in the other direction and continually ask for more guarantees, sometimes lifetime guarantees, in order to protect their clients. Guaranteed UL isn’t a new concept, but in the past 15 years it has been the highest sold universal life product in the industry. 

 

Many of these sales are appropriate, as older clients are using insurance to take care of potential estate taxes or leaving a legacy to their families or a favorite charity – I love to see that type of planning and appreciate the positioning of the guaranteed product. 

 

However, many illustration requests we receive are for younger individuals who, by positioning them into a GUL, are being blocked by the many other benefits that a life insurance policy can provide. 

 

If you were buying a car and the dealer said it was guaranteed to last three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first, you would be hesitant to purchase it. While three/36,000 may be the max warranty, most dealerships tout their brands’ reliability and often show their vehicles still performing at 200,000-plus miles. You want to buy a vehicle based on what it can do, not what it’s guaranteed to do.

 

See the Possibilities

In “Apollo 13,” Gene Kranz told his team “I don’t care what anything was designed to do, I care about what it can do.” It’s the same with life insurance. Sure, the basic benefit of life insurance is if you pass away, it will pay a tax-free benefit to your beneficiaries. But what else can it do? 

  • It can provide income to supplement your retirement in down market years
  • It can provide tax-free income to pay for medical expenses should a health care event occur
  • It can provide legacy planning for business owners
  • It can provide a legacy commitment to a charity
  • It can help fund a child’s education … and more

 

A properly designed permanent life insurance policy can do a lot for your client. However, if you’re only asking for that “max guarantee,” you may be limiting their options and hurting your own credibility.

Indexed Universal Life Guaranteed Universal Life Life Audit Guarantees Life Insurance

Tax Reform: 10 Options for That Life Insurance Policy You THINK You Don’t Need


Protection

In our line of work, there’s a question that comes up from time to time. And, it’s being asked more frequently: What should I do with this life insurance policy?

 

With recent estate tax reform, married couples can now shelter more than $22 million from estate taxes at death. So families with a net worth less than $22 million find themselves wondering what they should do. They have life insurance to pay for estate taxes that no longer exist. 

 

These families and their advisors should proceed with caution, thoughtfulness, and all the relevant facts as this is often a long-term and highly consequential decision. Here are 10 options to consider.

 

1. Do nothing. The current estate tax law “sunsets” at the end of 2025. Should the political climate shift – as it seems to do frequently – future legislators could create a more draconian estate tax regime. Our mantra has always been, “It doesn’t matter what the estate tax is today – it matters what it is when you are no longer here.”

 

2. Repurpose the coverage. Even if a family won’t need their life insurance for estate taxes, they may have other considerations – estate equalization for illiquid assets, for example, or the desire to provide a meaningful legacy to children, grandchildren or a favorite charity.  

 

3. Surrender or exchange the policy. Proceed with caution as cost basis planning can be incredibly important and impactful! If you surrender a policy with a significant amount of tax-deferred gain, that gain will likely be heavily taxed. On the flip side, if you surrender a policy with cost basis that exceeds the current cash value, you lose that basis forever. Consider a 1035 exchange for a new insurance or annuity policy and allow the cash value grow tax free until it’s at least back to basis. We recently pointed out this option to a wealthy family. They were able to preserve nearly $2 million in cost basis on the purchase of a sizable, no-lapse guarantee contract that had zero cash value. (Call us for case studies of how this works). 

 

4. Consider a life settlement. Believe it or not, there is a secondary market that acquires life insurance contracts. It’s possible to sell your policy to a third party for a value in excess of the current cash surrender value. However, consider this: If a policy is attractive for investors, it might be pretty attractive to keep!

 

5. Change funding to maximize return. Do a thorough Internal Rate of Return (IRR) analysis on your coverage to find the optimal funding pattern. One of the most common mistakes we see is policies that are funded to age 120, when a mortality study might suggest 90 or 95 would be sufficient. Through our efforts, we have been able to produce rates of return that are 50 to 200 basis points better by simply managing the policy’s funding schedule.

 

6. Consider an asset swap. Provisions of an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) often provide the ability to substitute an asset of equal value for your life insurance policy. This may be a good way to repurpose the policy (see number 2 above).

 

7. Take a “wait-and-see” approach. See if you are able to stop, lower or modify the premium payment pattern to keep options open for future changes. Again, the tax law is temporary. And don’t forget: Your clients likely aren’t getting healthier. You may want to keep their insurability locked in. 

 

8. “Pay up” the policy. Consider reducing the face amount to yield a lower premium, or even no premium. Many policies can be adjusted to a “reduced paid-up” status, or new coverage can provide a guaranteed death benefit with no additional premium outlay.

 

9. Talk to the beneficiaries. Your client’s children may consider funding the coverage for its future investment return. 

 

10. Plan for other needs. Simply because your clients don’t need coverage at death doesn’t mean that insurance isn’t a good solution. Many new policies offer living benefits for extended care or even retirement income. And, the return on these policies is hard to match! Check out our December webinar replay  for details on how this works. 

 

Here is an even better suggestion: Call us. We will help you navigate the new tax laws and make it easy for you and your clients to make an informed decision. Whatever the question, whatever the need. Ash Answers. 

Policy Review - 10 Ideas For Existing Life Insurance

Craving More?

Register for our April 12 webinar where Tim and Sam will walk through each option in a more detail.

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