Markus Zusak is quoted as saying, “Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you’ve finished just to stay near it.” I actually do this. It’s as if the very act of holding the book near me will transform it into some type of electromagnetic wave and vibrate at a frequency so specific, only I can catch the transmission.
If you don’t write in your books, I highly encourage you break the rules and do this. Going back to quote an author or cite a source is so much easier when you’ve taken pen to hand and marked it in the book. Not to mention, there is neuroscience backing our ability to remember things more readily when we write them down. The margins in a book are not there to make it look pretty – they are there for you to use them!
As we celebrate Book Lover’s Day, I have five books which have been toted around from city to city, state to state, and even country to country. These books are great for business owners, but the overall finish can quench the desire to learn something new for anyone. In no particular order …
OK, I’m in social media, so I have to start with social media legend Sheryl Sandberg. Not only does she have an amazing first name, but in 2015, I traveled to Facebook and stood outside her office where it says “Sheryl’s Lair” and decided I wanted to know more about this iconic woman. She is the chief operating officer of Facebook, and her “Lean In” is based on her 2010 TED Talk on the ways women are holding back in business … and in life. My favorite line: “The cost of stability is often diminished opportunities for growth.” In other words, be brave, take risks and embrace the unexpected!
Oprah has a net worth in excess of $3 billion dollars. If she hires a life coach, you can bet I’m paying attention. I’ve read every Brendon Burchard book, and “The Motivation Manifesto” reaches down to the depths of who you are as a person and starts creating and digging out that gritty human being we all desire to be. His messages center around: Live. Love. Matter. And he’s not kidding. Read this book and you’ll find yourself highlighting a lot of passages. I give this book to a lot of friends who are starting businesses or new jobs to help them start the venture on the best possible footing. My favorite line: “And so let us ask ourselves, ‘What can be done to improve this world that I influence? How can I help others solve problems and achieve their dreams?’” Never underestimate the potential your impact has on the world as a whole.
Do you know I loved this book so much that I stalked the author until he became my friend? True story! I’ve read this book three times now, and I still see new nuggets each time I lay my eyes on Joe’s words. He is an interactive keynote presenter and trainer, helping to develop effective leadership while improving performance. He’s also an all-around great person to know! I highly recommend this book if you’re trying to differentiate yourself from a noisy crowd. My favorite line: “Most companies never get beyond the talking stage of the decision to go.” Embrace your Nike self and just do it!
I was strolling down an aisle in my public library when I saw this book sitting on a shelf – it’s a hidden treasure. If you’re in the business of working with older Americans, have clients with older parents, or potentially sell long-term care insurance or hybrid counterparts, you must read this book. Ai-Jen Poo is the co-director of Caring Across Generations and understands the long-term care dilemmas Americans face today. She also tells the story of her grandparents and their caregivers, and how relates it to what will happen in America in just a few short years. My favorite line: “By 2050, the total number of individuals needing long-term care and personal assistance is projected to grow from 12 million to 27 million.” If the average household is dual income and nobody is at home to care full-time for our loved ones, how will we afford the proper care for them?
This is another tale of stalking authors, but the book was too good to not know who wrote it. Today, I’m honored to call Maria and Mike my friends. They truly understand what we are facing in the financial services community when it comes to the looming disruption that awaits. Much like an earthquake lying deep below the fault lines, disruption is waiting to emerge and shake up the industry I cherish working within. The book will put a fire in your belly to no longer accept how business was once done, and you’ll start to grab hold of your voice and desire to help make change a constant in an industry which desperately needs our help. My favorite line: “If today’s consumers identify with your company because they fully understand what you have to sell and you empowered them to make good financial decisions, you will have laid claim to an area of space that nobody owns yet.” In other words, the world in financial services really is your oyster!
These are only five of the approximately 50 beautiful books I’ve read over the last year. Some are oldies but goodies, and others may sound new to you. The point on Book Lovers Day is to keep the written word alive in your life. Let others’ ideas flow through pen and paper and transform your thoughts, putting new ideas or indentations in your thinking, so you may be a more relevant, and empowered, leader.
Sheryl Brown knows firsthand that social media can amplify your value proposition — and she wants to show you how. As social media engagement manager at Ash Brokerage, she assists advisors and employees with their own social media strategies, and she has been influential in developing a strategic online presence for Ash Brokerage — one that connects to both clients and advisors, positively impacts practices and creates communities aimed at improving the industry.
Hepatitis C is the most common bloodborne disease in the United States and is also the most frequent type of hepatitis we see in underwriting. What is it? An inflammation of the liver that may be acute and mild, or a more serious chronic type that attacks the liver.
Hep C virus (or HCV) is spread primarily through contact with blood of an infected person. It’s often called the “silent epidemic” because no symptoms are present until the disease progresses. If not identified early, it may lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer, which may require a transplant.
A few years ago, the outlook for treating chronic Hep C was less favorable. Patients would have to undergo protocols of injections and multiple pills a day with major side effects for almost a year. There would then be a six-month follow-up period to evaluate if treatment was a success. The cure rate was only 50 percent.
But, we’ve come a long way! Due to research in the field, many patients can now be cured with direct-acting antiviral drugs, a less potent combination in one or a few pills for only a few months. Cure rates are about 95 percent for most patients. FDA approved anti-viral drugs include Harvoni, Olysio, Viekira Pak, Zepatier and Daklinza. There also continues to be research for patients who don’t respond well to this new treatment protocol.
Depending on the type and specific details of a client’s hepatitis history, life insurance carriers will give possible consideration of coverage, some even qualifying without a rating. With the significantly improved cure rates associated with new treatments, we have seen several carriers update their risk philosophy specific to hepatitis with reduced/eliminated postpone periods after treatment and more clients qualifying for non-rated coverage.
Generally, the most favorable clients include those who have completed treatment with documented stability through interval lab testing, which shows normal liver function results (AST, ALT and GGT). Carriers also like to see an undetectable viral load (HCV RNA or HCV PCR), which measures the amount of virus in the bloodstream.
Important factors of consideration also include date of diagnosis, disease duration, liver biopsy results (if any), type of treatment (if any), date of last treatment, current/historic alcohol use and overall control/compliance of care.
To make your next case a little easier, view our Hepatitis Questionnaire with your client, then contact your Ash Brokerage team. We’re ready to help!
Lisa Oleski has been brokerage underwriting for the past 20 years. She is passionate about treating each case she touches as an opportunity to exemplify the Ash difference, with the ultimate outcome of finding the most favorable solutions for advisors and their clients.
Editor’s Note: We originally posted this simple, yet thoughtful post a year ago. Because it was so impactful, we decided to publish it again. This year, be sure you talk to your clients not just about their own independence, but the independence of their loved ones.
On the Fourth of July, we all think about having a day off from work, eating at cookouts, watching fireworks and just enjoying ourselves. It seems as though we’ve quickly forgotten about what the day really means: Independence.
Now I’m sure everyone reading this thinks I’m going to talk about your clients having the freedom and independence to receive long-term care where and how they want. To be honest, that’s the way I was going to go … Then I started thinking about my mother-in-law and all the struggles she and her siblings have gone through over the past few years as their parents required care … So please bear with me as I take a different approach.
When it comes to long-term care, I’ve written many times about the consequences family members suffer when their love one chooses to ignore the need for planning. What I’m saying is this: When someone needs extended care, they get it. But, those closest to them get new obligations which they may not be ready for. They are no longer a spouse, child or grandchild – they are likely caregivers, and their loved one is their patient.
While we all would happily sacrifice everything for our families (or at least I hope), would we ever ask our family members to do the same for us? The only logical answer is no, but clients seem to take this approach every single day. Ask them:
“If you have an extended care event, would you ask your spouse, children, grandchildren or other loved ones to give up their lives – their independence – to be your caregivers?”
The answer is probably no, but we typically don’t make our clients look at it this way.
As we celebrate our great nation’s independence, let’s change the way we have the conversation about long-term care. Let’s talk to our clients about giving their families freedom – freedom to continue to live their lives and not put everything on hold. Just a few simple questions will help them see things in a different light.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Simple: That you don’t have to die to use its benefits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your dedicated Ash Brokerage underwriter.
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.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.