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True Tales: Regrets still linger 50 years later

Brian H. Ashe, CLU

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A young advisor, a medical resident who was tight on cash lead to a devastating outcome and 50 years of regret.

WHEN I FIRST STARTED OUT in the business, I spent a lot of time working with young doctors. I would spend 10 or 12 hours a day in a hospital calling on residents and interns, with the hope that if they did business with me when they were struggling, then maybe that relationship would blossom into something more profitable when they were making more money.

I called on a 26-year-old female resident at a hospital in Chicago, Illinois. It was 1969 when I sat down with Rosemary and talked about basic life insurance options.

She was concerned about just one thing: She had taken out loans for medical school, and she was afraid that if anything happened to her, her parents would be burdened with these debts.

She decided to start out with a very small $25,000 life insurance policy.

So I took the application. I told her it would be best if she gave me the initial premium, because even just the minimum would put the company on the hook for the risk unti the medical information was evaluated.

She said, “Honestly, I’m a little bit tight right now. I would rather not do that. I’d like to just wait for the policy to be issued to pay.”

So I said OK. I was happy to get the application; I was young in this business.

I turned it in and the insurance company began to process it. I called to start the medical exam.

About three or four days later, I was back at the hospital talking with another physician when I heard Rosemary had died.

The day after I talked to her, she had a pulmonary embolism. Rosemary had recovered from the first embolism, but when she was back in her hospital room, she developed a second clot that killed her.

I had the wind taken out of my sails, because I failed her. Had I pushed a little bit harder to have her give me that initial deposit, her parents would not have been burdened with the debt they had to assume.

It still bothers me today, 50 years later.

Since that day, I have always been firmer in recommending the proposed insured submit money with the application. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain, especially if their health should subsequently change or if they die before the new policy is issued.

Brian Ashe is a 48-year MDRT member from Lisle, Illinois. He served as MDRT President in 2000.

Contact: Brian Ashe


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