What’s behind door number 3? A life insurance conversion alternative – Part One

Presented by Brian Leising

Are you unhappy with the conversion options available to your clients? We typically sell term life insurance to fill a temporary need, but over time needs change. The reasons for coverage change from debt payoff (mortgage) and employment income replacement to social security income replacement, health care expenses and wealth transfer. These are needs your clients will have between retirement and death. Compared to their younger selves (your original term clients), 20-30 years gave your clients not only age, but extra pounds and health problems that didn’t exist decades earlier. What do you do when a new fully underwritten permanent plan of life insurance is not an option? You look at conversion options.

Most insurance companies allow policyholders to convert their term policy anytime during their initial level term period, up to around age 70, to any permanent plan they make available at the time of claim. Good news! Your client can get permanent coverage. Bad news! They are at the insurance company’s mercy as to what kind of plan is available. Many carriers limit the products available for conversion, usually omitting their most competitive plans, some offering pricy whole life or current assumption (no guarantees) Universal Life. Some carriers by current practice make all their current permanent plans available. Good for them. What will their current practice be in 20 years? Who will own the company then? Clients have no guarantee an insurance company will continue that practice and may be stuck with no guarantees or with high priced options. If you can sell your client a permanent and term plan from the start, you can solve this problem. We know that doesn’t work in every situation. Clients may not see the need for permanent coverage or the price may be too high. What else can you do? Check back next week for the answer in part two.

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