Straight Talk From a (Former) Insurance Salesperson


As a former insurance salesperson, I have attended countless classes on the subject of how to motivate clients to buy life and disability insurance. However, I remain sympathetic to the fact that many of you refuse to buy this coverage for several heartfelt reasons.

(Warning: Overly dramatic scare tactic ahead!) Unfortunately, once you are dead or permanently disabled, you no longer have the choice. And since you will die and statistically, you have a significant chance of becoming disabled before age 65, I would like to encourage you to consider the following responses to some of the most common objections. I share this with you as some one who has nothing to gain from your decision to follow my advice. I’ll never even know about it.

I don’t trust salespeople: I understand. There is an inherent conflict of interest when the professional who is making recommendations stands to profit from them. But remember, this is also the case with your doctor and attorney. It’s not a reason not to seek professional advice when you need it. You just have to choose your agent wisely and ask a lot of questions. Ask friends, family and co-workers who their agent is. Check through you local Department of Insurance and the Better Business Bureau.

I don’t want to think about my death or disability: I hear you. This topic feels too scary and depressing for many of us. What is also depressing is when your spouse has to frantically try to sell off assets to avoid bankruptcy because you died with little or no life insurance. I know this scenario is often used to manipulate people but I have seen it played out and it is heartbreaking. In many cases it is 100% preventable.

I don’t want to spend the time it takes to shop for insurance: I know what you mean. Wouldn’t it be great if it were simpler? It does take a lot of time which is another reason to invest the energy required to find a good agent. She will know how to make the process less stressful and will help you understand the critical points of your insurance plan. You can also learn about insurance and various offers at sites by doing a simple search.

I don’t see or feel the need for it: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? Well, not exactly. Sounds like you’ve just been lucky. Does anyone depend on your income or caretaking contributions to the family? Then you probably need life insurance. And you should also consider disability insurance though it is harder to qualify for and is more expensive than life insurance. Disabilities are even more devastating to a family’s finances than a death is. The disabled person is usually no longer earning as much, if any, but requires extra financial resources (medical expenses, home remodeling to make it handicap accessible, etc.). Meanwhile, the other family members must become caretakers and primary breadwinners.

I have group benefits through work: That’s great. But in my six and a half years in the insurance business, I saw several cases of group disability claims being denied. These cases were striking because each of these clients had also purchased individual insurance policies which did pay their claims. As a rule, individual disability policies are richer (meaning they pay a better benefit and have more favorable definitions of disability) than group disability policies.

I truly do understand your reluctance. Many years ago, I too was once one of the hostilely insured. But since I have done my homework, talked through the difficult issues with my husband, and committed to a life and disability insurance plan, I really do have peace of mind. I know that sounds like a cheesy brochure, but it is my reality and I hope that you will at least consider making it yours.

Image courtesy of Dystopos

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8 Responses to Straight Talk From a (Former) Insurance Salesperson

  1. Fred333 says:

    Very good points. Any insurance is kinda like a catch 22 with the fact of the “if” is always in hindsight once it happens. Better to be prepared then unprepared. Nice article though.

  2. Traciatim says:

    I just recently purchased a house and am currently the sole income earner for my family. My spouse is just starting a business. I have a fairly limited insurance coverage currently. I am looking at getting two additional products.

    1) I want a joint ‘first to die’ term life insurance for my spouse and I. This is fairly simple to set up and I can handle this one.

    2) Joint disability coverage. This is where I will probably have some trouble. Since she is just starting out how do we know what she will be making or what she will need to replace in the future. Also, this insurance is fairly new to me, do you have any good resources that list good questions to ask and what kinds of coverages are available?

    As it stands right now our Mortgage is covered with standard life/disability group coverage and my group benefits through work offer a fairly comprehensive plan of life/accidental death/disability. Since I am fairly young and in moderately good health the things I worry about most is accidental death and disability. Especially when I almost pulled my car out in front of a rather large truck the other day. It was pretty close, and it was funny that the first thought was ‘holy crap that was close’ and then my next thought was ‘I wonder if I’m insured enough’.

  3. Don't buy this... says:

    What a nice sales pitch for insurance!

  4. Reading this article made me nod after each paragraph. Very well put!
    In my opinion, the most important message to underline is: Ask friends, family and co-workers, someone you trust about where to go for a life insurance.
    Because virtually all of us need a life insurance, except for the babies and children.

  5. devilray says:

    I find most insurance salespeople pushy. That is my main problem with them. Always trying to upsell you even when you know exactly what you want.

  6. Sam Pru says:

    Well, pushy? Yes, lots of agent are. Just look for the one that meets your needs and know what you need!
    children need insurance.. Friend of mine lost his 19 year old son, Clollage demand their money, cemetaries cost money on and on. Not something to preach about but this is the real world.
    There is bad and good agents out there just like cops, doctors, lawyers, contractors, and so on what can you do.. Truth is be prepared and think of the family. You heard of lots of kids working and no life for them because father died and they have to support the family now, cause father was selfish and thought that will never happen to me..

  7. Holly says:

    A few years ago, I helped my mother choose long term life coverage, and plan for her funeral. I, too, was initially repelled by the salespeople’s “pushiness”, but, being a teacher, I reminded myself to calm down, not take it personally and listen and evaluate for myself. She is now in a nursing home, with Alzheimer’s and I am so glad for those “Pushy” salespeoples! They didn’t back down and I realized they were honestly trying to help us and educate us on what we didn’t know Mother needed. Instead of taking it personally, understand that the pushiness just be a tactic to get your attention so you can listen and make an informed decision on something that makes a real difference in life, and death. And, after life, we all die…even our Mothers die, but with proper coverage they don’t have to live in a dump or suffer long, lonely days.


    What if you don’t have enough money to buy more insurance on top of the car, health, and mortgage insurance you are already writing checks for every month? What if you have a wealthy relative who would be willing to help your family if something terrible happened? What if you work in a safe job, where you are not likely to be disabled? Etc, etc…

    Warren Buffett was asked if he insured himself or not. He replied, “We don’t buy insurance, we sell insurance.” That tells you something about what he thinks of being on the other side of the trade.

    Invest some money each month in an Index fund, (That’s what the insurance companies do!) and you’ll more likely to leave more to your family.

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