Protection Products

Insurance Awareness: What everyone should know


Your job – and ours – would be a lot easier if everyone knew more about life insurance. Unfortunately, it’s one of those financial tools that’s often neglected or misunderstood. 

Pulling from their experience in the field, our Regional Vice Presidents recently answered a simple question: 

What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about life insurance?

Check out their responses below – they could be a great conversation-starter for your client meeting … or they could even be an eye-opener for you! 



Adam Warner

Simply how inexpensive it can be. Most people overestimate the cost of life insurance by about three times. In reality, you can potentially protect your loved ones or business and provide peace of mind for less than the cost of your cable or cell phone bill. What’s more important to you, flipping through 300 channels or protecting your family?

Gary Cyr

I wish people understood that shopping for life insurance isn’t about finding someone to run you the cheapest quote. It’s about finding someone to take your actual medical file (paramed exam and attending physician statements) to the insurance carriers and highlighting all the positives you have to negotiate lowest premium you can personally obtain.

David Pergande

Many people approach life insurance from the wrong direction. It's not a car or a television or tickets to a movie – it's a strategic tool. At the end of the day, everyone should plan for an unexpected death. Life insurance is not always the answer, but it is often the most efficient way to protect your family's quality of life should that happen. The beautiful thing is these vehicles are becoming more flexible, so you're often able to mitigate more than one area of exposure with one purchase. 

Kevin Orth

We all insure “things” – cars, homes, boats, motorcycles, etc., and may not ever “use” the coverage.  I think we would all agree that people are more important than things, so why not insure more lives?! We know we will “use” the life insurance!

Sharlene Woerther

Life insurance is not an option. It is peace of mind. If you have a family, a business or a favorite charity, life insurance is the perfect solution to protect those who depend on you.

Kevin Harty

Life insurance is really about providing people peace of mind – it is an act of love. No other product can ensure your loved ones are financially secure, provide educational opportunity, help pass on a legacy to future generations and provide living benefits should you need them. It is the single most important tool in putting together your financial plan.

Liz Gibbons

You don’t want to think about it until the inevitable happens and it’s too late. One simply MUST include insurance in their financial plan.




Mike Pompei

Simple: That you don’t have to die to use its benefits.

Erika Ghaffari

Life insurance is not a death sentence, and you don’t always have to die to benefit from it. Life insurance is not here to stop you from living your life – it’s here so you can live continue to live your life to the fullest, your way.

Shane Kimmel

I wish everyone knew there is more than one use for life insurance. As products adapt and change in the financial space, why is life insurance overlooked and not viewed as evolving too? The financial services industry is about leveraging the assets you have to protect yourself and family from any unforeseen and negative events. With life insurance now being able to pay for long-term care and chronic illness events, solve estate tax issues, grow money and distribute it tax-free, etc., the proper solution can be beneficial for all.

Bobby Pesakoff

I'm all about living benefits ... I think more people need to know about the ways they can use life insurance to protect their families and businesses in situations that don't involve death – chronic illness, critical illness, long-term care, and waiver of premium are under under-utilized.

Steve Sangeorzan 

Couples retiring at 65 will experience $220,000 of lifetime health care costs, according to Fidelity Investments. Life insurance with long-term care and chronic illness riders can provide protection for those expenses.




Damon Strickland

Life insurance is a diversification tool! Diversification isn’t just about bonds, stocks and cash – it also includes the rest of your financial portfolio, which are products outside of bank accounts and retirement plans. Diversifying your income stream and overall risk are two pillars when it comes to a comfortable financial plan. You may be exposed to risks you were not even aware of. Have a plan that is consistently flexible and you can win most situations – life insurance can help you do that!

Steven Jessup

I think folks need to understand life insurance is no longer just a death benefit/protection product. Where else can you get tax-free growth/income, and yes, eventually a tax-free wealth transfer without income limits, age restrictions, IRS imposed penalties, etc.? It's another tool to help manage YOUR life ... not just other people's lives after your death. 

Jaie Locke

One of the more notable improvements to life insurance has been the integration of fully guaranteed death benefits with the strong potential for cash value accumulation. Today, we're fortunate to have many products that can provide both benefits simultaneously and, as a result, give customers more flexibility and options as they log miles down the road of life. You really can have your cake and eat it too!

Mark Doherty

I wish every advisor or wealth manager had the experience and satisfaction of seeing the benefits of life insurance in action. Whether it’s loans offering financial flexibility, living benefits for long-term care or chronic illness, replacement of income due to an untimely death, the liquidation of a deceased partner’s equity in a business for their family, or the retention of a business and/or estate’s value through the payment of estate taxes, insurance coverage can change lives.

Matthew Anderson

You don’t always have to die to benefit from owning life insurance. Life Insurance can create a unique tax efficiencies that make owning it crucial to any financial plan, protecting our financial wellbeing from many uncertainties during our retirement years.   

David Smitherman

People don’t like what life insurance is … but they like what life insurance does. It’s often a scary and unappealing topic of conversation, but do your family a favor to sit down with your financial advisor to learn more about what life insurance can provide – immediate estate creation, cash at a discount when it’s needed most, tax-deferred growth, tax-free income potential, long-term care living benefits, and more!

Adam Schaefer

I think a lot of people only see life insurance as a death benefit product that is “sold” to them, but really it’s a tool that can help solve the client’s overall goals and needs. It’s important to meet with an advisor so they can find out what keeps you up at night, what is important to you – whether it’s saving for retirement, funding your kids’ college education, estate planning, protecting your loved ones if something were to happen, long-term care or whatever it is … life insurance could be an incredible tool to solve those needs.

Jason O’Barr

The one thing that wished everyone knew about life insurance is the full extent of its capabilities. What other financial product can protect your family, protect your business, and provide supplemental income for your retirement?! And by the way, did I mention that most of the time that’s on a tax-free basis? 

Ask an Underwriter: Why do you care about my client’s hobbies?


We hear it often, “My client is healthy as an ox … he just base jumps,” or “I don’t understand why my client is being rated for mountain climbing – she’s clearly a very fit woman.” 

Even if you may be correct in assessing your client’s physical health, the inherent risks remain with their hobbies. While those activities may be on the more extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to commonly seen avocations within the general population, there are risks involved with more readily participated avocations, such as SCUBA diving or auto racing. Those are often dismissed by the uninformed simply because they are more widely practiced. 


But, I’m careful …

Although that may be true, even the most careful individuals get tripped up by circumstances beyond their control. When an individual participates in an activity that elevates their exposure to such harm, they become a riskier investment for insurance companies to insure. 


Mortality Rates for Common Avocations

  • SCUBA Diving: Between 3-6 of every 100,000 participants (Source)
  • Mountain Climbing: 8 of every 100,000 participants (Source)
  • Auto Racing: Between 5-44 of every 100,000 participants, based on the number of racing participants, which is estimated to be between 50,000-400,000 per year (Source)
  • Sky Diving: less than 1 of every 100,000 jumps (Source)
  • Private Pilot: 1 for every 100,000 hours flown (Source)


How can I expect to be rated?

In addition to your client’s age and health status, several other variables contribute to how insurance carriers rate each activity, including level of participation, certification obtained, experience, location of activities, equipment used/not used, etc. Each of these variables affect your level of risk exposure. 

For example, a healthy, 50-year-old private pilot with an instrument flight rating (IFR) with 20 years of experience flying, 2,000 total flight hours and 100 hours per year has less exposure to risk than a healthy, 25-year-old pilot without an IFR who has been flying for five years and has only logged 100 total hours with only 20 hours per year. Clearly, the 50-year-old has an additional certification and more experience. In this circumstance, it may be possible for the 50-year-old to obtain preferred rates, while the 25-year-old may be limited in rate class and have an additional flat extra tacked onto the premium. 

Occasionally, depending on the avocation, some carriers will offer exclusion riders. This is when the carrier will agree to insure the individual and pay the benefit in case of death unless the insured died while performing the excluded activity. While many carriers offer aviation exclusion riders, other avocation exclusion riders are not as widely available – and when they are, the state of sale and more advanced ages further dictate availability. 



When it comes to avocations, it’s important to know: 

  • What activities your client participates in, and the degree to which they are involved
  • How often they participate in the activity, and how long they’ve been participating
  • If they are properly certified, using proper equipment, and obeying all rules and regulations
  • If they’ve had any accidents or legal fines as a result of their participation 
  • If they would be willing to accept an exclusion rider for the activity (should one be made available)

Check out our helpful questionnaire to help guide the conversation with your client. No matter the situation, we encourage you to ask questions and get all the facts. If you have a specific scenario you would like to discuss, please reach out to me at or contact your dedicated Ash Brokerage underwriter. 


About the Author

Joe Taulbee has been in the life insurance industry for nearly 10 years with more four years as an underwriter, and he’s helped numerous families and individuals gain much needed financial security and peace of mind through the procuration of life insurance. He has passed all levels of testing through the Academy of Life Underwriting and is currently pursuing an underwriting fellow designation with ongoing LOMA coursework. 

Fishing for Generations to Come


In my opinion, there’s no greater day than National Go Fishing Day. To celebrate this holiday a year ago, I wrote about the legacy my grandfather protected by purchasing that small, whole life insurance contract to fund our annual fishing trip. This year, I thought I’d reflect on why I fish. The short answer is that fishing is in my DNA – it’s brought my family together from generation to generation. 

Some people see fishing as a waste of time. You’re out on the water for 8-10 hours, probably getting sunburnt, just to catch fish and throw them back. And some people think it’s just complete luck, not skill, if you’re successful. 

Of course, I disagree with the naysayers. Fishing is more about so much more. It’s the art of being on the water on those early mornings without the clutter of society, but with the people closest to you. And luck isn’t just luck – it’s about timing and preparation. You never know when that 5-pound slaunch-donkey of a bass is going to strike, which means you can never let your guard down. If you ever want to improve on your ability to focus, pick up the art of bass fishing. 

It’s clear fishing is a part of my family’s past, and I want to help ensure it’s part of our future. I have no doubt my future kids will be avid fishermen/fisherwomen. That said, I also plan to continue the legacy my grandfather started by purchasing a small, permanent life insurance contract – so no matter when I pass away, they will be able to keep the traditional going and fish new waters, waters that are hopefully filled with a plethora of fish. 

Good luck to everyone who’s fishing this season – I’ll see you on the water!

Tight Lines, 
Steven Bressler


About the Author

Steven Bressler has been with Ash Brokerage for more than two years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in public financial management from Indiana University, where he was vice president of the IU Bass Fishing Team, qualifying for two national championships and earning a top five ranking out of more than 700 collegiate teams. He is also the varsity boys tennis coach at Prairie Heights High School in northeastern Indiana.


Molly’s Story: Not If, But When, Sickness Strikes


Editor's Note: This is a guest post from our friend Molly Mabry of Unified Employee Benefits. Molly is a breast cancer survivor who understands firsthand the financial devastation that comes along with the physical battle of a critical illness. If you have just 3 minutes, you should watch Molly tell her story on the UEB website. It’s so impactful, you’ll want to share it with your clients, too.  

In one fell swoop, I learned nobody is bulletproof to sickness. No matter how much you exercise or eat right, sooner or later you will have a health challenge. The question is, what CAN you do about it?

At age 43, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis within a two-day period. Up to that point, I had great health and no family history of sickness. So here’s the deal: I thought I was bulletproof. I had made no plans to be sick. I thought sickness was a matter of lifestyle choices. At least, that’s what I told myself.

Six months later after surgery, chemotherapy and $18,000 in out-of-pocket debt, I realized that sooner or later almost EVERYONE has a critical illness. Some will be diagnosed young, like me, some will be diagnosed later in life. Again, the question is, what are you to do about it?

I sold critical illness insurance before I got sick. But I didn’t buy it myself – I figured I had time.

The point is, as with any type of protection, the best time to get insurance is when you are young and healthy. It’s too late for me, but it’s probably not too late for you clients.  

Protect your clients from out-of-pocket medical expenses due to serious illness by looking at critical illness insurance. It can’t stop them from getting sick, but it can help protect everything they have worked so hard to earn.


About the Author

Molly_Mabry.jpgNow a principal of Unified Employee Benefits, Molly has been a voluntary benefits specialist with UEB since 2008. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas and has many years of experience as a small business owner. She is a licensed life and health insurance producer as well as a worksite benefits specialist providing disability, accident, cancer, critical illness and hospital benefits.