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Discussing living benefits with clients

Matt Pais

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7 ways to open up the conversation about income replacement products.
Members suggest 7 ways to open up the conversation about income replacement products.

Everyone knows they are going to die, but they’d like to believe they won’t ever get seriously ill or injured. It is difficult to talk about income replacement products that offer living benfits to people who don’t accept that there are frequent stops on the way between health and death.

During a recent meeting of the Income Replacement Task Force, MDRT members addressed how they help clients understand the importance of protecting their income through disability and critical illness insurance policies.

  1. “I ask, ‘What’s the longest vacation you’ve had in your career?’ and then, ‘What would happen if you took a 90-day vacation?’” said Corry Collins, CLU, CH.F.C., a 15-year member from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. “The answer is often, ‘My business would fail.’ This leads into discussion of disability insurance.”

  2. Shawn R. Bjornasson, CPCA, a 19-year member from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, starts by asking "If you were sick or hurt tomorrow and couldn’t go to work, how long would your savings last?” Then he keeps quiet until they respond. “I also ask, ‘If you had a goose that laid a golden egg, would you insure the egg or the goose?’ Most people insure the egg and not the goose as they should,” he said.

  3. "I bring up an image that displays many critical illnesses, or 'dread diseases,' and ask, 'Which one of your family had one of these? Which one of your friends had one? Which one of your colleagues? Which one do you not want to have?’” said Kobus Kleyn, CFP, a four-year member from Midrand, South Africa.

  4. "I ask, 'When did you buy this home? What was your down payment? Where did that money come from?’ The client says their savings. I ask where the savings came from, and they say from work. So I ask, ‘Would it be safe to say that everything you have purchased came from the money you brought home by working? That is your biggest asset. Do you want to protect it?’” said Paresh B. Shah, CFP, a nine-year member from Melville, New York.

  5. Kerry Therese Wallingford, RICP, ChFC, a 16-year member from Seattle, Washington, uses the image of a tank (think a water tank, not a military tank) that either holds or leaks to demonstrate a client’s income potential and calculate what that person is worth between now and retirement, and the lifestyle it provides. When she asks how much of that is protected, usually they say “nothing.” “Does that concern you?” Wallingford asks. “If that income stops, everything else will stop too.”

  6. Twenty years ago, Alphonso B. Franco, RHU, RCIS, established a speed-writing test. The 23-year member from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, asks clients to quickly write down the answer to the question, “If you had a heart attack last night, what are the three most important things to you?” Then he asks, “If you were diagnosed with cancer this morning, what are the three most important things to you?” Followed by, “If you had a stroke this morning, what are the three most important things you care about?” But as they start writing, Franco says, “Please stop. If you had a stroke this morning, chances are you wouldn’t be able to write it down. Do you insure your home before or after a re? Your car before or after an accident? You are the most important thing. Why are you leaving that to chance?”

  7. Shah also recommends this approach. "There's a job with a $100,000 salary and a job with a $97,000 salary. The first one, if you get sick or injured your income drops to zero. The second, if you get sick you get $60,000 tax-free. Which do you take? Well, the $3,000 difference is the premium needed to purchase the individual disability policy.”


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