Personal experience had taught Rick Lowe that life insurance was an absolute must.
When he was just 14 years old, his mother succumbed to cancer at age 38. Eighteen months later, his father died in a car accident. Neither owned life insurance, leaving Rick and four siblings with few options. They all went their separate ways; Rick moved in with his baseball coach, who had two boys of his own.
Rick had a special relationship with his coach. But it took Rick many years to adjust to life without his parents, and the separation from his siblings all but ended the close bond they once shared.
Wanting something different
Wanting a much different outcome for his own family, Rick bought a $50,000 universal life policy soon after he got married in 1979. Rick’s need for life insurance grew over the years as he and his wife, Anne, had three children. As is so often the case, however, Rick failed to update his coverage.
As a result, Rick was very receptive when Mutual of Omaha insurance agent and Lynchburg AIFA (Va.) member Bob Platt, CMFC, LTCP, offered to sit down with him in 1997.
Bob quickly confirmed what Rick had suspected: Rick needed more life insurance, and Anne needed some, too. Since they were on a very tight budget and their greatest concern was having sufficient coverage while the kids were still dependent on their income, the Lowes, in consultation with Bob, decided to buy 20-year level term policies—$175,000 on Rick’s life and $125,000 on Anne’s.
Around this same time, the Lowes decided to make a move they had been contemplating for several years. They packed their belongings and made the 115-mile trip east to a suburb of Richmond, Va., where Anne’s parents lived. Rick had a passion for landscaping and for years had done landscaping work on the side. Now he was intent on making a career of it. Their plan was to live with Anne’s parents until they could save enough money to buy a place of their own.
In September of 2001, Rick needed to get health insurance for his oldest daughter, Shannon, who was starting a nursing program. The family had gone without coverage with the move because money was so tight. Rick called Bob. Instead of presenting a plan just for Shannon, Bob showed Rick that it wouldn’t cost that much more to buy a policy that covered the whole family. Trusting his advisor, Rick sent Bob a check to get the application process started with Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Two months later, the family was preparing for Thanksgiving when Anne started to complain of migraine headaches, something she’d never had before. Her first doctor wanted to see if the headaches would go away with time and prescribed some medication. The headaches only grew more intense. When it got so bad that Anne could hardly sit up, Rick rushed her to the emergency room where a CAT scan revealed a brain tumor.
The doctors operated on Anne the day before Thanksgiving. Though they successfully removed the tumor, Anne’s doctors informed Rick that it was an advanced form of cancer with roots that they couldn’t completely remove. At most, they gave her 18 months to live.
Anne was determined to fight the disease. In the end, she survived longer than the doctors expected. “Most people don’t get the privilege of the 14 months that we got,” says Rick. Through it all, Anne got world-class care, and it was a great relief knowing that her health insurance would cover the lion’s share of the cost.
When radiation and chemotherapy weren’t working, Trigon even helped pay for some experimental treatments at a special clinic in Houston. After Anne’s long struggle had ended, Rick, who had once questioned the necessity of health insurance, called Trigon to express his immense gratitude. “If you ever want to do a commercial for your company, call me,” he told the company.
Anne never got to live in the house that she and Rick dreamed of owning. But about a month before she died, Rick had settled on a home and told Anne about it. The proceeds from Anne’s life insurance helped make the couple’s dream come true for Rick and the kids.
Rick can’t fathom how difficult his family’s ordeal would have been without the life and health insurance. And he knows that none of the coverage would have been in place had it not been for his agent’s intervention. “Bob was unbelievable. He’s more than just an agent. Other people might be able to get a better price, but no one has a better agent,” he says.
Jon Dressner is vice president of LIFE. For more information on LIFE’s realLIFEstories program, visit www.LIFE-line.org or call 202-464-5000.