Critical illness (CI) insurance is one of the best kept secrets in the industry and provides advisors a great opportunity right now to meet more clients, help more families and increase sales.
What will happen if your client’s husband has a heart attack and calls you to find out how much CI they will be collecting?
What makes it an opportune time is that there are three big changes about to happen for which your clients need to be prepared, said Mark J. Halpern, CFP, FMA, owner of illnessPROTECTION.com, at the 2009 MDRT Annual Meeting, held June 7-11 at Indianapolis. The changes are:
The government will not be able to look after the elderly. This is not a political statement, but a math problem, Halpern said. “Baby Boomers will be turning 65 in 2011 and it will affect everything we take for granted in life?the stock markets, real estate and most importantly the health-care system.”
People are living longer. “There are going to be a lot of people long on life and short on money with a false sense of expectation of inheritances which will likely not happen because of taxes and health-care costs,” he said. “People need to take some responsibility.”
We are in a misinformation age. Clients don’t just need benefits when they die; they need benefits when they live. Advisors need to sell living benefits, such as CI insurance, long-term care insurance and long-term disability income insurance.
Halpern began focusing on living benefits four years ago and found out that it helped him sell more life insurance. Since 2006, he has been the No. 1 living benefits advisor for Manulife in Canada. He shared some of his practical sales ideas:
Use an e-newsletter. Halpern uses what he described as a “very modest” e-newsletter to tell his story. The e-newsletter reaches more than 8,000 people every six weeks. “For an investment of less than $1,000 a year, I could push a button, stay in touch with thousands of people and watch as business flows back in,” he said. “It’s an amazing investment, and I recommend it to everybody out there.” Although not all recipients read it, Halpern considers it to be a great way to keep in touch with his clients and prospects, who know he’s there when they need him.
Launch a well-targeted telemarketing campaign. “We started calling on overworked, overstressed corporate lawyers and told them about the CI story,” he said. “They’d never heard about it. And soon we were having appointments in the highest offices in Toronto.”
Differentiate yourself. There are so many life insurance advisors out there, so how do you rise above the crowd? Halpern developed a brand—illnessPROTECTION.com, a website that tells his company’s story. “We have a very active ongoing news and event section,” he said. “We have pages and pages of testimonials from presidents of companies about our services. And it gives us instant credibility.”
Tell your story. The medium Halpern decided to use was radio because it’s dramatic, instant and allows the message to be changed easily. Halpern enlisted the help of two celebrity endorsers, Gord Stellick, former general manager of the New York Rangers and the Leafs, and a very well known sportsperson in Toronto, and Erin Davis, also a very well known personality. The commercials have been running for four years. “And we’re not selling CI insurance; we’re selling to people what it does, not what it is. And it’s remarkable how many people this message resonates to.”
Read more practical ideas from Halpern next month.