Check Out These Policies We Saved to Protect Beneficiaries
Catherine A. had a great long-term care policy, in that the policy addressed all her concerns and needs. However, the insurance company was becoming more financially unstable as time went by, exposing her to the risk of losing her policy at an age when it could be more difficult to get a new one.
Tom H. conducted a review of his entire insurance portfolio and discovered that his ex-wife was still named as the beneficiary of several policies.
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An attorney asked us to evaluate policies for one of their business clients.
Problem: These policies hadn’t been evaluated since their purchase 12 years earlier. One of the owners had been diagnosed with significant health issues. They remembered a guaranteed option which protected their ability to change to a different policy at a preferred rating. They were unaware, however, that the option had expired two years earlier. That guarantee was gone.
Solution: We were able to find another company that would approve the coverage they needed, but at a much higher cost than would have been available to them just two years earlier.
Outcome: Wanting to help the rest of his clients avoid problems and be truly safe, the attorney now has us conduct policy reviews and benchmarking every 5 years for each of his clients.
A CPA asked us to evaluate one of his client’s Long Term Care policy.
Problem: We discovered the policy provided good coverage for the client’s needs, but the underwriter was becoming more financially unstable each year. This would put the client at risk of losing her policy at an age when it would be more difficult to get a new one.
Solution: All the good alternatives were prohibitively expensive. It didn’t make sense to start over. We were able to add some supplemental coverage and diminish the overall risk.
Outcome: The client is safer now, and we continue to monitor the program on an annual basis.
A wealth advisor had us review the insurance portfolio of one of their clients. No review had been completed for 18 years.
Problem: We unearthed overlapping benefits, gaps in coverage, and incorrect beneficiary designations.
Solution: A review enabled the client to increase total coverage by 20% and significantly decrease annual costs.
Outcome: The client was delighted at the result and referred several other clients to their wealth advisor. We’re glad to be part of the team there.
A CPA partner asked us to review a policy for one of her clients. The review showed the client had been paying the $17,000 annual premium like clockwork.
Problem: Even with those timely payments, the policy was going to end in only five more years. We were able to pinpoint the fact that it would take $29,000 a year for the policy to continue to age 100.
The Solution: The client asked us to benchmark this policy. Was there a better alternative? Within two days, we found a great company that would continue the death benefit to age 120 for $15,000 a year! But we didn’t settle there. After continuing to shop other options, we found an offer from another fine company to continue the coverage to age 120 for $7,000 a year.
The Outcome: Both the CPA and her client were delighted, and we were able to go home that night knowing we’d helped make the world a better place for both the client and their CPA. That’s what we do here at Stratus, one policy at a time.
Several years ago, at a program we attended, we learned the shocking statistic that over 80% of existing life insurance policies were not expected to end with a death claim.
Even if that number was only 10%, it’s too large. And in the majority of cases we review, it’s an avoidable and correctable issue.
Problem: About that time, three clients brought us their life insurance policies for review. After our Stratus Policy AssessmentSM, we knew that these policies were not going to work when they were most needed. We quickly uncovered what was required to fix two of them. As a result, each client now knew exactly what was required for their policies to be operational when really needed.
That third one? It was too late. Had we been allowed to review this policy three or four years earlier, there would have been options. There was no getting around the fact that this life insurance policy was going to implode. In fact, after one more month, it was going to disappear. The insured and the beneficiaries would still be in place but without the level of protection they anticipated.
Solution: This is where an independent policy review comes in handy. It’s not enough to assume the policies are going to be there years into the future.
Outcome: Anticipating problems prior to their occurrence is paramount. This not only promotes peace of mind for both the insured and the beneficiary, but it makes certain that the coverage expected will actually be there once it is needed.
We visited with a potential client who expressed interested in having us conduct a thorough Stratus Policy AssessmentSM.
Problem: Unfortunately, they didn’t have a sense of urgency to move forward just then. Almost a year passed before this client felt ready to take a closer look at his portfolio. What we uncovered was a problem which could have been avoided with a timely Policy Review.
Solution: We helped the client obtain the necessary forms to apply for reinstatement. In the meantime, the family was protected but for less than they anticipated.
Outcome: The client availed himself of our benchmarking service. We vetted offers from over 25 insurance companies unearthing the best alternative for this client. Once we discovered the best option, the decision was to purchase a new policy which offered the full benefits they wanted versus waiting for the sluggish reinstatement process.
As CA licensed analysts, we are asked to review a lot of term insurance policies. One of the first pieces we look at is the conversion option.
This section of the policy promises that the insurance company will continue to provide a preferred rate, even if there are health changes.
Here’s a look at two cases where timing made all the difference.
Problem: While reviewing two clients’ term life insurance policies, we discovered that each client had suffered a recent change in their medical conditions. They were both worried that the rate they were given at sign-up was going to change. Neither had reviewed the policies for a number of years and both were hoping the conversion would still apply.
Solution: Unfortunately, as is the case with many insurance policies, one of these two new clients found that the conversion option was no longer in place. When our team began digging, we uncovered the hard truth: it was too late. Although the conversion option was excellent, it expired three years prior, and they would need to shop around for a new plan, which would be at a higher rate.
The other client, however, was in luck. They had a valid conversion option, and we were able to help them take advantage of it. They had complete peace of mind moving forward. If only the first client had come to us sooner.
Outcome: We see stories like these all too often. The truth is your policy may be excellent right now, but over time, it needs to be reviewed to be certain it stays that way. It’s a lot like oiling hinges on a door to keep them from getting rusty. A Stratus Policy AssessmentSM will greatly reduce the risk of coverage loss or rate hikes coming from your provider. Don’t take your term insurance for granted. If you do, it increases the possibility of things becoming rusty.
Note: *These are hypothetical situations based on real life examples. Names and circumstances have been changed. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.