Does your life insurance seller understand your needs?
Be extremely careful when buying plan
By V. Viswanand
It is imperative for an insurance seller to go beyond the simple selling of policies and products for the life insurance company and understand what the policy means to you. Besides selling, there are various other roles that a seller plays as the intermediary between life insurance companies and customers. Below is a checklist for you to evaluate whether your seller understands your needs well enough to make a difference to your larger goal of financial protection.
Life insurance selling ideally should be 'Goal Backward'
Your seller must take a goal backward approach to your life insurance needs. He/she must start with your ultimate objective and then work backwards from there to develop your plan and suggest the right product solution. In case they do not have the right product available, sincere sellers would have the ability to lend perspective and/or direct you to a solution that would address your needs most effectively.
Needs to understand that one size does not fit all
Life insurance is a product that one can never take a one-size-fits-all approach to. Different individuals have different needs, objectives and life situations and hence, the seller must be able to tailor the right combination of protection, investment or savings to bring to life a value-added life insurance offering. A right seller must also help you arrive at a specific amount that you will need for your future financial goals- family protection, children's education, retirement planning and wealth creation.
Should be eager to discuss risk, returns and liabilities in equal measure
A diligent seller should conduct financial planning exercises by considering your assets and liabilities, your standard of living, age, annual income, etc. and recommend solutions that meet your long-term savings and protection goals. They must ensure that you buy a policy that you can afford given your earning and financial liabilities. The seller should also assess your investment risk appetite to suggest whether a traditional policy would be better or a market linked plan. The seller must be informed enough to then inform you about the right amount of premium you need to pay for your policy, including frequency and mode and even explain the importance of a nominee and requisite disclosures under your policy.
Should have long-term solution to your financial goals
A skilled seller should assist you in the long run by conducting yearly assessments to know about any new requirements you may have and provide solutions accordingly. He/she should be able to assist your post-purchase needs such as modification, redirection, switching, etc. Moreover, they should be on top of their job when it comes to collecting the renewal payments and providing reminders for the same. They must realise the loss of insured to the family and help assist your loved ones during the claim settlement process.
Also keep in mind
Make sure you watch out for fraudulent sellers by seeking the agent's/intermediary's license, identity proof and a business card of the company he represents, when you meet him/her. Remember that true agents/intermediaries will be your trusted and experienced professional partners who will always assist you in taking the right decisions with regards to life insurance policies.
(The author is Deputy Managing Director of Max Life Insurance.)