I recently worked with an elderly woman (who I will call Beatrice) to evaluate whether or not the variable annuity she purchased less than a year ago was a good buy.
When thinking about life insurance, consider three realities:
Wanting a second opinion from someone that doesn't have an inherent conflict of interest - independence is the single greatest asset that a fee-only insurance advisor brings to the table, and because such an advisor is only compensated directly for the advice given and not based on the decisions the consumer makes, there is not an inherent conflict of interest - those conflicts are evident with anyone that is compensated on anything other than a fee-only basis for the advice given.
Despite the best efforts of companies and agents throughout the industry, Long-Term Care insurance (LTC) policy sales have yet to blossom as much as the industry had hoped and predicted. As the Baby Boomers continue to move through the "sweet spot" of the target market for LTC, companies will no doubt redouble their efforts in pushing LTC. Two obvious questions arise. First, is LTC right for you or your client, given the particular financial circumstances, family circumstances, and family history? Second, even if it is determined that LTC makes sense, how do you wade through the myriad of companies and policy options that are available and determine the best fit?
Fee-only insurance advisors serve in a true fiduciary capacity for their clients, providing independent, unbiased advice. These advisors receive no other form of compensation other than the hourly fees paid by their clients. They do not receive compensation from insurance products that their clients may decide to purchase, nor do they receive any financial incentives from steering clients toward a particular agent or company. Other than providing clients with the most knowledgeable and expert advice possible, fee-only advisors have absolutely no vested interest in the insurance decisions their clients make.
Without an advocate that is looking out for their best interests, life insurance consumers are at the mercy of their life insurance agents and the companies they represent. Even the most well-intentioned agents suffer from an inherent conflict of interest, as agents derive their compensation from the products they sell. A closer look at a number of areas reveals how damaging this can be to life insurance consumers:
Do you reside in Garrison Keillor's fabled Lake Wobegon? Those who own a cash value life insurance policy probably do - and probably don't even realize it! In Lake Wobegon, "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average." And any life insurance policy purchased in Lake Wobegon is no doubt better than average as well!