Daytime TV is notable for three things: bad soaps, talk shows, and life insurance ads. We could argue all day which is the more annoying to come across, but soaps and talk shows don’t try to sell you something without first giving you all the details.
Canadian seniors are the big target: be it a smiling suit telling you about final expense coverage, or a happy family acting oddly fulfilled that they just bought insurance. Advertisers will go on and on about the benefits of their particular life insurance plan, but they gloss over the truth of seniors and life insurance:
Namely, you have far more options than you think – and buying from an ad you saw on TV will pass up the best deals you can get.
#1: Brokers offer More Than Just a Sales Pitch
There’s a disseminated dislike and distrust of so-called insurance “agents” for a variety of reasons. Having someone come into your home to discuss your health, your finances, and the pushy insistence that one day you’re going to die – it’s not always a welcome invitation. And yet, insurance brokers serve a very important role in buying insurance. Primarily: they’re the one thing that ensures you’re going to get a good deal.
Direct-to-consumer life insurance is almost always guaranteed issue or simplified issue life insurance. These are specialized products for a niche market: largely seniors who don’t have many other options available to them due to health reasons. When these plans are necessary, they are useful. But believe it or not: most seniors qualify for traditionally underwritten policies.
Having a broker on hand allows you to do two things: find what options are available to you from a very robust market, and evaluate what kind of plans you’re capable of qualifying for. While the underwriting for traditional plans is done far and away from the applicant’s home, brokers do bring a wealth of experience in qualifying clients for cheaper traditional plans due to their case studies and past knowledge of the underwriting process.
After all, would you pay double the price for something if no one told you that you could get it for half? That’s the benefit a broker can provide for you, and one you definitely shouldn’t ignore, even if your health is, in fact, an issue. That’s because…
#2: It’s a Big Market, and That Gives You the Power
Specialty Life alone works with 20 major insurers. It’s our philosophy that more options are always better, at least when it comes to finance. By having more options you can say “no” to, you can begin to whittle down the list of candidates knocking at your doorstep, looking for your money in exchange for a policy.
What many policy owners don’t realize, seniors especially, is that the insurance market is quite open when prospecting for new clients. That puts a great deal of purchasing power in the hands of the buyer. To illustrate: assuming you did need a No Medical or Guaranteed issue policy: three-fourths of our 20 insurers offer such a product. Of those 15 insurers, perhaps 5 advertise direct, meaning the other 10 could be cheaper or could offer an easier avenue to being insured. By focusing only on the insurance options you’re presented by ads, you’re greatly limiting your ability to Pay Less, and Get More.
#3: You Don’t Need to Buy Direct
It feels like it doesn’t need to be said, but many people will only strongly consider and take action on insurance when they’re told to. That’s a large reason why TV ads for final expense insurance get an undue amount of attention (Hello, Patrick!)
But when you buy direct, you’re losing out on:
- Learning whether or not you qualify for a traditionally underwritten plan;
- Comparing quotes from multiple insurers, only focusing on one with no frame of reference as to if it’s the cheapest product, or just the best known;
- Financial needs analysis from an expert who has worked with dozens of clients in a situation similar to yours;
- The ongoing support of said expert, who can help you make adjustments to the policy – both to save money and increase the efficacy of that protection (and you don’t need to pay them!)
Buying direct over the phone/web is convenient, yes. But that convenience comes with a cost, and that cost is the amount you’re paying for insurance that you don’t need to.
#4: Plans Have Options, And More Options is Better
Another consequence of buying direct products from insurers of uncertain integrity is that life insurance, on a whole, can get fairly complicated. And most people want to avoid complicated messes of paperwork and finances, sure. But complicated life insurance plans can be useful: they give you more leeway and more control over your own money.
Let’s take, for example, a simple term 10 product. This is perhaps the simplest traditional plan on the market: coverage for 10 years. But there’s so much more to the product that works in your favor over a simplified product. Such as:
- You have renewability options that allow you to adjust your coverage into a longer term as you need it;
- You can convert to a permanent plan. Different plans allow this at different ages, often up to age 70. When and how to convert to a permanent plan is, in itself, a science your broker is well-versed in;
- You can adjust your coverage between terms, letting you “down-scale” your insurance to save on costs;
- You have the options of adding riders like illness or accident protection, which can make your portfolio a little more iron-clad;
- You can group two people under a joint life insurance plan, which has hugely advantageous implications for estate planning.
Simplified, television-sold products? Often once you sign on the dotted line, the next time your insurer will want to see you is on a claim. With a traditional product, you can call them to task whenever you need something done for you. Even the comparatively simple Term 10 does loads beyond that.
#5: Your Needs Aren’t Simple, But the Means are Endless
One of the biggest arguments we see for these simplified options is that seniors, often insuring themselves for small amounts for very obvious needs, don’t need the bells and whistles that most life insurance policies provide.
In Canada, seniors are living longer, working later, and still financially engaged every step of the way. Seniors have debts now, they have mortgages, and they have dependents that need the assurance of coverage. They also have estates, assets, and legacies to take care of. By no means under any definition are seniors worthy of “less than” solutions, nor are insurers entitled to your hard-earned dollars if that’s what they expect.
Purchasing power amount Canadian seniors is at an all-time high, as we near the apex of the Boomer Generation. Life insurance, especially in this day and age, is an increasingly helpful and necessary tool to protect finances and ensure wealth travels down the family line. Simplified products have a time and place, but they don’t reflect the changing needs of all, or even most Canadian seniors.
So if you’re on the market: make yourself visible, work with a broker, and understand that you always have more options than what TV ads are telling you