Protection Products

The Value of a Life


“Intrinsic value is not measured by how much money you make; it’s measured by the size of the problem you solve.” -Joe Jordan

Thirty percent of U.S. households have no life insurance protection at all. Among those that do own life insurance, 50 percent believe they don’t have enough coverage.* The question I ask myself is this: “Who’s taking responsibility to make sure these families are protected?” 

Last year, a close family friend succumbed to Leukemia. It was a two-year battle that included hope and gloom, joy and sadness, relief and desperation. When modern medicine was no longer enough to beat back her cancer, her family tried experimental drugs. When those failed, their only hope was prayer and a miracle. When she passed last fall, she left behind three young daughters, a husband and a heartbroken family.

There’s nothing our industry can do to bring this family’s mother back, and nothing we can offer to bring this man’s wife back – but what we can do is still significant. It’s beyond simply providing a check with a few zeros. We can make sure this family has the resources to provide childcare when Dad goes back to work, and we can make sure he doesn’t need to quit his passion (teaching school) in order to maintain their lifestyle. We can also make sure these girls can afford to go to college and have the resources to follow their dreams.

What we can give is peace of mind in the darkest of moments. What we can give helps families, businesses and charities to weather the storms that life inevitably gives us. What we can give helps men and women leave legacies that last long after they’re gone.

This brings me back to my question and leads me to the answer. “Who’s taking responsibility to ensure that these families are protected?” We are.


*LIMRA: “Facts About Life 2013”


Family: The real meaning of LTC


During this month of love, take a minute to reflect on what long-term care insurance really does for people. I know long-term care means different things to different people. Is it about financial independence? Is it about keeping your dignity? Is it about choice? Yes, it is. But even more importantly, it is about FAMILY! When someone needs care, they will get care. But their family is likely to bear the burden of being a caregiver, or trying to find a caregiver. 

I am writing this as I am reflecting on the passing of my wife’s grandmother (Mimi). From the moment my wife and I started dating, I can remember all of the family gatherings. They happened at least once a month. Homemade pasta sauce and meatballs. Ribs that were baked in the oven. Playing catch in the backyard with the football, and the late nights just sitting around talking and laughing about everything going on. Well, that all ended about nine years ago … Dec. 11, 2005, to be exact. This is when Rachael’s grandpa (Boppie) had his heart attack.  

Family came in from everywhere as the doctors were giving him about 48 hours. Surgery wasn’t an option, so the blockages were left intact. Well, nine years later, he is still with us … but the family has been his caregivers. That was just the beginning, however. Family gatherings became less frequent and eventually, Mimi’s health started going downhill as well.  

Without giving a play by play of the last five years, I will say that this family has been torn apart. Mimi spent her last months in a nursing home, trying to recover from surgery. My mother-in-law has spent the last five years as a caregiver, when she should have been a daughter being able to spend time with her parents during their last years. We were able to spend time together over this past Thanksgiving … then our next family gathering was just a week later, at Mimi’s funeral.  

Getting back to thinking about why we do what we do … This family was so torn apart that two of my wife’s cousins, who were with us in Chicago, didn’t take time out of their busy schedules to go and see Mimi. She was 20 minutes down the road. The love is gone, the caring is gone … let’s face it, the family is gone. I expect we won’t have another family gathering until Boppie passes away. I was extremely thankful to spend time with him and see Mimi one last time, but I am also heartbroken over what has come out of this.  

When we are having discussions with clients, we need to get to the heart of what we do. We keep families together! If you have a story, share it and make it personal. If you don’t, you can use mine. I challenge our advisors to remember the importance of what we do, and not just give a quote to their clients. It has never been easier to talk about long-term care, but it is definitely harder to sell because it has been about price for so long. Let’s look past the price and into what this really means: FAMILY!


Give employees more with retirement alternatives


Finding and keeping the best employees is critical to success in business. Your business owner and executive clients likely know this already. But do they know you can help them attract and retain top talent? Here’s how:

Nonqualified plans are attractive savings alternatives for highly compensated employees. Essentially, they are an additional way to save for retirement without the restrictions of qualified plan contributions.  

Deferred compensation, supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs) and phantom stock plans operate similarly. Phantom stock plans are deferred compensation/SERPs where the crediting (growth) rate is tied to the company stock price, not insurance policy subaccounts and/or mutual funds. 

A few reasons your clients should consider a nonqualified plan:

  • Comfort – These plans are an excellent tool to assist in closing the retirement income gap for highly compensated employees; qualified plan limitations create an environment where executives’ retirement assets will likely not be large enough to maintain their same standard of living post-retirement
  • Flexibility – Business owners and employees have more options to choose from because nonqualified plans aren’t subject to the strict standards of qualified plans
  • Recruitment and retention – Talented employees are more likely to join a company which offers additional financially rewarding opportunities, and employees are more loyal to companies who offer nonqualified plans


Methods of funding nonqualified plans:

  • Unfunded – Some companies elect to pay the obligations out of future cash flows
  • Taxable investments – Employer invests in mutual funds, securities, money market funds, etc. (companies with low tax rates or those that are tax-exempt may see this option as attractive)
  • Corporate owned life insurance (COLI) – Growth is tax-deferred, and policies can be used as a cost-recovery mechanism
  • Taxable investments and COLI – This technique combines the tax-deferred growth advantages of life insurance along with the flexibility of taxable investments. Typically, the employer will utilize the taxable investment when total contributions exceed the maximum life insurance premium amount. 

Put it in Practice: Talk to your business owner or executive clients about the benefits and options available with nonqualified plans. Call the Ash Brokerage Advanced Markets team for more resources and assistance!



nonqualified retention benefits Deferred compensation retirement

Put it in Practice: Paycheck Protection


What’s your clients’ most important asset? Their home? Their car? Their business? What about their 401(k) account? You get the idea. How about their paycheck?! 

For the majority of Americans, their most important asset is their ability to get up every day, go to work and earn a paycheck. Most of what they own and do is based on what they earn. So whether they are in a one- or two-paycheck household, all of their income is critical to everyday living. Your clients need to insure this extremely valuable asset just like they insure everything else – the need “paycheck protection” insurance. 

Problem is, most people don’t realize the importance of this coverage, or they think, “Nothing will ever happen to me. It will always happen to the other guy or girl.” But things do happen to people. 

At some time in their lives, one out of every four of today’s 20-year-olds will be disabled for more than three months. And one in three people between ages 35 and 65 – our primary working years – will become disabled for more than three months. 1

Once you are disabled for 90 days, the average disability last more than two years. 2 How much of a hardship would it be to go without a paycheck for 90 days, let alone 2-plus years?!

Have you ever seen the commercial where the lady is sitting outside of a coffee shop and looks down at her napkin – it says, “You will have heart attack today!” Of course, no one really gets a heads up when something bad is about to happen. But we can put a plan in place to help overcome the adversity that comes with a debilitating event. 

Put it in Practice: You never know when something bad will happen, so it’s always wise to put “paycheck protection” insurance in place as soon as possible. Plus, getting your clients covered when they are healthy and young makes the process easier and costs less money. Talk to the Ash Brokerage DI team today!

1 Statistics,
22010 Gen Re Disability Fact Book


Disability Paycheck Protection

Help Clients Make Sense of Life Insurance


What do you know about pharmaceutical companies? You’ve likely utilized their products and have a general understanding of how drugs get from point A to point B. But, could you explain the nuances of a particular drug? What about the FDA-approved uses, brand and generic names, side effects and contrast between competing brands? Unless you’re lucky enough to have a husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law who are all pharmacists – as I do – chances are you wouldn’t have a clue. 

Life insurance can be just as complex and unique to individuals as their prescriptions – there are countless options for countless needs. Instead of relying on pharmacists for information, however, you can rely on Ash Brokerage. We’ll help you sort through the options with your clients until we find the best remedy. 

A few years ago, I helped an advisor with a case for a business owner who had a prosperous company, employees he valued and a family of four at home. When they first met, the client had a few small individual life insurance policies, but he had a need for more coverage – both personally and for his business. He came to Ash Brokerage for a Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis (known as Life Audit at that time) on his current policies. Throughout the process, we were able to educate the client on his policies, which – big surprise – were not performing appropriately or doing what they were supposed to do.

We went back to the basics and performed a simple needs analysis and overall financial assessment with the client. Then, we were able to determine the appropriate type and amount of coverage for all his needs. I had the privilege of being on a phone call with both the advisor and client to answer product questions and offer guidance on the policy’s contractual obligations. This wasn’t a high-level discussion, but rather a conversation akin to friends talking around the dinner table. This well-educated, successful businessman knew very little of our industry, so it was our duty – and the advisor’s – to help decipher the life insurance for him. We helped him gain confidence in his decisions AND helped place his policies in force. 

I recently spoke to the advisor and was saddened to hear that the business owner had suddenly passed away in an accident a few months ago. The agent recalled his emotional meeting to deliver the death claims and help provide guidance to the surviving spouse and business partner. They were both thankful for the life insurance. Even though it couldn’t bring their loved one back, it would make their lives just a bit easier to endure. If the advisor hadn’t looked at the client’s old policies and explained why they weren’t appropriate, the outcome of that meeting might have been very different. 

Take away:  Don’t assume your clients fully understand the life insurance they have, why they need it or the benefits it can provide. After all, you’re not a pharmaceutical expert, and they’re most likely not a life insurance expert. Partner with Ash Brokerage to utilize our Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis process and help educate them.  


Life Insurance