Protection Products

Put Families First with Business Planning


In the Advanced Markets Department, we most commonly work on cases involving family owned businesses. A death is always hearbreaking for families, but the death of a small business owner can have an especially devastating impact. Without proper planning, there can be a lot of headaches and friction among relatives and business partners. 

Unfortunately, fewer than 30 percent of business owners have a written succession plan in place. A complete plan looks at many factors, both financial and personal, but at minimum, business owners need three things: 

  1. Buy-sell agreement – A written arrangement that directs what happens to the ownership of a business and how the business is valued for the purposes of the sale. Just like a will in estate planning, this document addresses the business owner’s wishes. With no documentation, the wishes may never come to reality. 

  2. Funding for the agreement – In order to have a buyout and successful transition of the business to the new owner(s), capital is needed. Life insurance is an obvious source of funds that are guaranteed to be there exactly when needed. 

  3. Regular reviews – Once a business owner has a documented buy-sell agreement and proper funding, it’s important to periodically review the agreement and funding mechanism. Priorities and objectives can change over time, and periodic reviews can ensure everything consistently reflects the owner’s current wishes. 

Put it in Practice

You could spare the families of your business owner clients a lot of heartache and headaches. Have you asked about their succession plans lately? Be sure they have the proper documents and funding – and be sure they’re up to date.  


As an advanced marketing consultant, Brian takes on complex business and estate planning cases. Prior to joining the Advanced Markets team at Ash Brokerage, he helped to develop, direct and staff its Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis (formerly known as Life Insurance Audit) program, taking it from an initial marketing concept to a profitable operational arm of the life insurance sales division. 

A Year of Memories


As we reflect back on the year, as most of us will before setting our goals for 2016, we’ll remember a lot of things – good and maybe not so good.  

Here in Indiana, we started 2015 with a very cold winter and record snow fall. It can be easy to remember how miserable we were shoveling snow or putting on layer after layer of clothing just to take the dog outside. But, think about the good memories. Maybe you built snowman and made snow angels with your kids. Or maybe you put in some miles cross country skiing with your best friend. 

We were all so eager for spring to come, then summer. But in our area, June was nearly rained out completely! We may not have cared for the wet weather, but our flowers sure appreciated it. I spent many hours talking about gardening with my mom and grandma. Did you plant flowers or a garden with your family? Or maybe you cooked a family meal with the plump vegetables from the farmers market. 

When the skies cleared, summer came and went with only a handful of days in the 90s. For my family, that’s perfect running weather. Our most favorite runs are around the lake with the rolling hills. There were lots of bon fires, cookouts, and outdoor music to enjoy with family and within the community. Did you take a family vacation? Or maybe you just spent some time together while the kids or grandkids were on summer break – school always seems to start too soon. 

Now, the leaves have fallen from the trees and we’ve come full circle, wrapping up another year. We will be gathering with friends and family more through the holidays than any other season. But isn’t that one of the reasons why it’s the most wonderful time of year?

Put it in Practice

As you look back on 2015, remember the good times with family and friends. It’s a wonderful and inspiring way to start the New Year. 

Emily Osborn’s focus within the Disability Marketing team is to illustrate available coverage for clients who need individual or business-related disability insurance. She has worked exclusively with Ash’s Disability Marketing Team for almost one year, and is always ready and willing to help however she can.

Diversifying Tax Brackets


When it comes to planning for retirement, it’s widely accepted practice to diversify your clients’ portfolios. To mitigate risk, investments should come from various sectors of the economy and include different types of income vehicles. 

But what happens IN retirement? Have you looked at diversifying your clients’ tax brackets as well? As they take income, they could take a hit with income taxes. Cash value life insurance is an option to help clients reduce their debt to the IRS. 

First and foremost, cash value life insurance provides invaluable income protection during your clients’ working years, just as term insurance does – but if structured properly, the protection lasts forever. In retirement, when it’s time to start taking income, your client can take withdrawals from their cash-value policy and then loans – all income tax free with proper planning. 

The power comes when you think about filling up their lower tax brackets with mandatory income, such as Social Security, pensions, required minimum distributions, etc., then in years when they need more money, they can use the cash value life insurance to avoid triggering higher tax brackets. 

Here’s an example to help explain what I mean:

  • 45-year-old male, preferred underwriting status
  • AXA BrightLife® Grow Indexed Universal Life contract with $500,000 death benefit
  • Annual premium of $8,465 would generate 20 years of income at $21,153 starting at age 66 (based on the BrightLife® Grow at default of 6 percent)
  • Assumes tax calculations made in 2014, filing jointly
  • TAX SAVINGS: $6,730 (40 percent)



Social Security, Pension, RMDs, other Taxable Income

Taxable Income OR Cash Value Life Insurance, Roth IRAs and Municipal Bond Interest


First $18,150

Next $55,650

Next $26,200


Without Life Insurance Planning

Tax Rate





Taxes Due





With Life Insurance Planning

Tax Rate





Taxes Due






Put it in Practice: Diversifying your clients’ assets during retirement could help them reduce their tax bills – and anxiety. Think of some clients who could benefit from this strategy:

  • Clients who have maxed out their 401(k)s or can’t qualify for Roth IRA 
    • Life Insurance can act as a Roth IRA Alternative or Supplement
  • Clients of average means who have expressed concerns about retirement
    • May have seen their parents, co-workers or neighbors struggle
  • High net worth or high earners
    • Many clients with assets over $2 million or incomes over $500,000 are subject to new taxes and don’t need all their assets or income today
    • They may have a retirement need


As part of the Ash Advanced Markets team, Matt Bowden’s main goal is to provide advisors with the most comprehensive selling ideas and world-class service to help grow their business. Matt has worked with Ash Brokerage for more than seven years, helping to create individual and business case designs and concepts. 

Living Benefits are ‘Not Your Father’s Life Insurance’


In the 1980s, the now-defunct car manufacturer Oldsmobile ran a marketing campaign with the slogan, “Not your father’s Oldsmobile.” They were trying to overcome the stigma that their cars were slow, boring and, well, old … They wanted customers to view their brand as sporty and fun, with vehicles that had modern features and amenities. 

Do you see the eerie parallel with life insurance? Our work is not defunct, but many people view it as boring and expensive. The phrase “necessary evil” is often tossed around … who wants to buy that? 

The trouble is, the stigma is false. You see, today’s products are “not your father’s life insurance.” Anymore, it’s not about death benefits, but living benefits, too. Modern products can provide access to cash, disability protection, or even long-term care coverage. 

So what can your clients do with an old “jalopy” life insurance policy? Well, you could possibly help turn it into a new, modern vehicle for getting them where they want to be. 

Every year, Ash Brokerage reviews existing life insurance coverage for more than 1,000 clients using our Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis (LIPA). It’s no exaggeration to say that we’ve seen almost everything this industry has to offer, in all shapes and sizes. 

No matter how many cases we work on, most people are still surprised to learn they can take their existing life insurance policy and exchange it for another with comparable or higher death benefits, while providing long-term care coverage as well. Or that they could create guaranteed, monthly income with a smaller amount of life insurance.

Put it in Practice: Your clients’ old life insurance policies may be classic, but likely not fitting their modern needs. Take LIPA out for a spin and help them discover the living benefits of today’s products. 


As manager of the Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis team at Ash Brokerage, Sam Rocke enjoys working on complex cases that require creative solutions. His goal is to not only promote and manage the unique process to ensure clients have the best possible protection, but also to present the planning strategies and concepts in a concise format that’s easy to understand. 

Preparing for a Tax-Efficient Retirement


When asked to consider their financial assets, most people immediately think about their home, vehicle, 401(k), IRA and other financial holdings. While all these items are certainly important, one of the most important assets in your client’s portfolio is one they don’t usually consider: life insurance. In fact, life insurance may be one of the most valuable assets they own. As a fundamental component of a sound financial plan, a policy is capable of providing benefits other assets cannot.

To get the most value from their investment dollars, there are things you can do today to help protect your client’s retirement income. Retirement portfolios today are most likely a combination of:

  1. Tax-deferred contributions – pre-tax dollars in IRAs and 401(k)s
  2. Taxable investments – stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments
  3. Tax-advantaged investments – municipal bonds or Roth IRAs

However, by diversifying in life insurance, you can help protect your client’s savings and gain the following advantages:

  1. Income-tax-free death benefit for beneficiaries
  2. Tax-deferred growth
  3. No retirement contribution limits
  4. No early withdrawal penalties before age 59 ½ 
  5. Tax-advantaged source of retirement income
  6. No required minimum distributions

Life insurance offers a financial safety net when needed and offsets the impact of estate taxes upon your client’s death, guaranteeing surviving family members have what they need to live comfortably and achieve their goals. When they get ready to retire, they have multiple options for accessing the cash value they’ve built up over decades:

  1. Cash in the policy, converting it to guaranteed lifetime income
  2. Keep a portion of the death benefit and access some of the cash value
  3. Continue the policy to protect your family and leave a legacy


Put it in Practice

With the unique benefits of accumulation, tax efficiency and financial flexibility – in addition to the death benefit – permanent life insurance can be a strong addition to your client’s balance sheet and a foundation for their financial security.


Matt Erpelding and the Advanced Markets team take on complex business and estate planning cases, using techniques and strategies that are individualized for the clients’ needs. Matt designs custom proposals to simplify what are sometimes very difficult sales strategies. In addition to being a Chartered Life Underwriter® and Chartered Financial Consultant®, he plans to obtain his law degree in the near future.