Michael Glantz, a six-year producer with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and a member of NAIFA Silicon Valley, met a young couple, Dan and Lynn, in June of 1998. Michael’s connection to Dan and Lynn was made through a good old-fashioned family referral: Lynn’s parents are clients of Michael’s associate, Darrell Shideler in Thrivent’s Pacific Sierra Region office in San Jose, Calif.
At the time, Dan, 34, was a sales manager for a pharmaceutical company, and Lynn was a teacher. They had a 2-year-old son, Tanner, and Lynn was expecting another child in December.
The relationship progressed well. “They expressed concerns regarding education for their children, retirement planning and financial security,” says Michael. “I met again with Dan and Lynn at the end of June, to gather data for preparation of a financial analysis. At their direction, we immediately focused on the issue of life insurance. We reviewed life insurance already in force for both Dan and Lynn.”
After further review and analysis, the couple decided that Dan would apply for $500,000—and Lynn for $350,000—in term life insurance. Lynn was offered a preferred rating; Dan was offered a standard rating due to a slightly elevated liver enzyme level in the blood test. After Michael reviewed their needs and the importance of protecting the growing family, they accepted the contracts.
Michael met with the couple again in February 1999. The previous December, Lynn had given birth to their second son, Jackson. In addition, Dan had met with his doctor and had another blood test. The doctor felt that Dan should be rated preferred, and the doctor submitted a letter to the insurance company on Dan’s behalf to contest the standard rating. The company stood by its original decision.
THE DOCTORS ADVISED DAN THAT IF HE LEFT THE DISEASE UNTREATED, HE MIGHT LIVE FOR 10 YEARS AT THE MOST.
“Later that year, Dan and Lynn obtained life insurance with another carrier with the intention of replacing the contracts I wrote. Dan had gone online and was able to get a contract issued for a policy with a preferred rating,” says Michael. “I discussed this issue with them and updated their analysis. Because they now had a second child and were planning to move to a larger home, I cautioned them about canceling the existing contracts, citing that extra protection was needed for the family in the event of either of their deaths. I also advised them that insurability could be an issue in the future. Based on my advice, they kept their contracts in force. The death benefits were definitely well worth it, so Dan had both term policies in place.”
In February 2000, Dan was diagnosed with a very rare form of leukemia. The doctors advised Dan that if he left the disease untreated, he might live for 10 years at the most. Dan and Lynn decided to go ahead with treatment for Dan at Stanford Hospital. “He attacked life with a lot of gusto,” says Michael. “They felt it was worth going for the treatment, to give him the possibility of living way beyond the 10 years. Also, Dan had a perfect bone marrow donor in his brother and was working with some of the best doctors in the country.”
Dedication to family
The treatments were progressing well, and the odds in Dan’s favor were looking good. However, the situation changed quickly while Dan was home for Thanksgiving. He started to feel ill, so the family took him back to Stanford. Unfortunately, he couldn’t pull out of it.
“While visiting with the family after the funeral, sharing each other’s grief and loss and celebrating Dan’s life, I knew I had done the right thing for his family. While I was not able to heal the emotional wounds, I was able to assure Lynn that she and her sons would be fine financially,” says Michael.
An extended effect
As a result of not having to go back to teaching to survive financially, Lynn has begun working with Wisconsin-based Camp Hope, a group of camps that help children cope with the loss of a parent.
“With her sister-in-law,” says Michael, “Lynn is putting together a Camp Hope West. They’re opening in the summer of 2005. It’s a nice extension of what Dan’s life insurance has enabled her to do. It has given her the time to be able to focus on this. So Dan’s legacy is living on through the work Lynn is doing.”
This story was made possible with the cooperation of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education. For more information on LIFE’s realLIFEstories program or to obtain a realLIFEstories application, visit www.LIFE-line.org or call 202-464-5000.