We’re all human, although it’s easy to forget when you’re watching your favorite athletes at the top of their games. Athletes are people who’ve cultivated such remarkable physical abilities that when we see them in their element, we’re filled with awe and delight. It’s wonderful to realize just how powerful, how fast, how agile they really are.
But no one’s invincible – not even the superhuman athletes we just watched in the World Cup. Below are a few examples of how disability affects everyone.
BASE Jumper Jeb Corliss
BASE jumping is a little like skydiving: both events involve jumping from a height and trusting your parachute (or similar) to slow your fall.
But BASE jumping is much more dangerous, because you’re jumping from fixed objects at a lower altitude. That means you can’t rely on air speed to stabilize your fall and help you deploy your parachute successfully. BASE jumpers ride a fine line between vulnerability (the risks are extreme) and invincibility (a tempting delusion for some jumpers).
Jeb Corliss had made 1,000 jumps from many well-known sites – the Eiffel Tower among them – before he smashed into some rocks at 120mph during a jump in South Africa and suffered devastating injuries.
Unbelievably, he made a full recovery after a year and a half: placing him among the 1 in 4 Americans who experience disability for three months or longer between age 20 and retirement.
Distance Runner Mary Decker-Slaney
Mary Decker was breaking records in track and field back when she was only 15 years old, competing indoors in the mid-70s. In 1983, she really hit her stride, defeating several Olympic favorites to bring home two gold medals.
The next year, things changed. When Decker collided with a competitor during the Olympic Trials, she sustained a serious hip injury and spent the next few years in and out of surgery. Eventually, she had to accept that this injury marked the end of her career.
Snowboarder Kevin Pearce
In 2009, Olympic snowboarder Kevin Pearce took a blow to the head while practicing the Cap Double Cork, one of the riskiest stunts in the game, and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
His doctors questioned whether he would ever walk again. For the next two years, Pearce struggled to develop the basic abilities to feed himself, speak and walk. But his intensive rehab program paid off: four years after his injury, he returned to the sport.
Things are different now, though. “It’s a huge change,” [said Pearce]. “It’s crazy how different my abilities are now than they were before, because I was really good at snowboarding. I was able to do a lot and now I’m not able to do ... a lot” (source).
The numbers don’t lie
Many people believe that if they’re healthy, if they take care of themselves, if they play it safe, they can avoid a debilitating injury or illness.
But the statistics tell a different story. Even those whose physical fitness is absolutely superb go through times of serious injury and protracted recovery. Even healthy people with a relatively safe lifestyle have a 21-24% chance of becoming disabled for three months or more during their working years.
When it comes to disability, it’s important to comprehend the facts and get the right protection. Insurance brokers: Here are some tips you can use to guide the conversation about disability insurance. Even better, request a disability insurance quote here.
Earlier this week, an 8-minute recording of one man’s conversation with a Comcast employee went viral—for all the wrong reasons. If you haven’t heard the recording, allow me to sum it up for you. Customer Ryan Block called Comcast to disconnect his services because he’s switching to a new provider. His simple request turned into a frustrating, hair-pull-inducing conversation with a Comcast employee who refused to disconnect Block’s services unless Block told him why, specifically, he was switching companies. Despite Block’s astounding, level-headed responses and insistence that he did not need to give specific details, the Comcast employee became increasingly rude, desperate and overly aggressive.
Unfortunately for Comcast, customer Ryan Block recorded his frustrating call. And even more unfortunately for Comcast, Block tweeted the clip to the world, opening Comcast to scrutiny from its current customers and any potential clients. You can listen to the original recording here (trust me, you WANT to listen to this): https://soundcloud.com/ryan-block-10/comcastic-service
We’ve all had that dreaded phone call from a client. You know, the one where he or she calls to cancel their policy and forgo your services for a competitor’s. But, as the Comcast employee has surely learned, how you handle those conversations will affect any potential referrals and/or reviews.
Here are 3 things that all of us in the insurance industry can learn from the outrageous Comcast recording:
- Consumers are on Twitter. Unfortunately for Comcast, the customer they ticked off happens to be the VP of Product for AOL and he’s quite internet savvy. He also happens to have more than 82 thousand Twitter followers (30 thousand more than Comcast). The sound clip went viral in less than 24 hours, much to Comcast’s dismay. Luckily for Comcast, they also have a social media presence, allowing for them to quickly send a public apology and tag Block’s Twitter handle (@ryan) so that his followers could see it as well. Since the debacle, they’ve been strategically tweeting about anything and everything that might make their followers happy (especially now that thousands are flocking to their twitter feed to see how they’re handling the madness).
- Your clients mean what they say. Throughout the clip, Block is very specific about what he wants—to disconnect his services immediately. If you keep asking your client why (regardless of how you word it) and he responds, “BECAUSE, that’s what I want!”—just listen. And if he has to say, “This phone call is really, actually an amazing example of why I don’t want to stay with (insert company name),” then just hang up and stop angering the person who’s about to blow you up on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, your neighborhood grocery market, etc.
- Don’t instill fear in your employees. The biggest question on everyone’s mind since this recording? Why was the employee so intense/desperate/aggressive/rude? Does he really just love Comcast products THAT much? Or was he afraid of what happens when he loses a client? While Comcast has insisted that they’re investigating the situation and will handle it, the Twitterverse wants to know WHY the employee felt so compelled to act the way he did. He’s obviously been trained to never take no for an answer, but to what extent? The blame can’t be put entirely on employees if their training came from their employer. The internet jokes quickly went from making fun of the employee to questioning how Comcast treats their employees. Your employees will make mistakes and you’ll lose customers. That’s life. Just make sure they know it’s human and they don’t have to accost your clients in the process.
Looking for more insurance sales advice? Download our Sales Strategy Quick Tip: The High-Low Method for maximizing the success of your disability insurance quotes.
Whether it is World Cup soccer, Ryder Cup golf, or the Olympic Games, cities compete tooth and nail for the opportunity to host an elite event and support their country. I think the enthusiasm is wonderful since it places that city in a large spotlight as well as helps generate tourism dollars and increase employment. Being a native San Diegan, I was excited to see we are one of the final two contenders to host the 2017 America’s Cup sailing competition. Personally, I am not a sailor, but I do enjoy watching the sail boats from a distance and definitely appreciate the skill and strategy involved with the sport.
It is often challenging to navigate through the rough waters of selling insurance, but the reward of completing your course and helping your clients anchor paycheck protection is well worth the journey. Being an insurance professional places you as the skipper on this voyage and your belief in the product is extremely important.
Some seaworthy lessons an insurance agent can find beneficial:
- Avoid a mutiny. When you personally own a DI policy, a client will be more inclined to recognize your authority, credibility and passion for DI. Plus, possessing a policy on yourself allows you to have 100% conviction and trust in this valuable protection.
- Tales of the sea. Do not underestimate story-selling. By sharing a personal story that happened to you, a friend, or a client with your prospective client will re-enforce the need of paycheck protection and also show that a disability can truly happen to anyone. DIS’s very own Ty Kailey’s personal story will inspire and convince prospective clients of the need for income protection. More incredible DI life stories can be found at the Council for Disability Awareness website.
- Navigate through stormy weather. Selling insurance is not always easy. There are usually a few obstacles to overcome such as price objections, exclusions, or incomplete applications. But when you reach your destination and complete a DI sale, it is incredibly rewarding since you provided protection for an individual’s assets as well as their future.
At DIS, we never want you to feel like a DI castaway. You are not alone on this DI adventure, DIS is your skilled crew. We look forward to supplying you with disability insurance quotes, offering you innovative selling tools, and suggesting options for your clients. DIS is here to help you cruise to more DI sales.
Need a disability insurance quote? Use our convenient online quote engine. Or, for a mobile experience, download our quoting app for iPhones.
Long-term care – the need for daily support with eating, bathing and other routine activities – doesn’t just affect “some.”
Even the stars know what it’s like to support a family member who needs care – and they themselves rely on it as they get older, too – just like the rest of us. Below are two examples:
Glen Campbell’s Care: the Right Decision
Country music star Glen Campbell just turned 78 this April, shortly after his family made the decision to move him to a long-term care facility.
Campbell has Alzheimer’s. He made his diagnosis public in 2011, because he wanted to continue performing as long as possible and felt it was important for his fans to know. He went on his goodbye tour a year later, in 2012.
Having won four Grammy awards and produced 70 albums,Campbell is a legend. But like the rest of us, he’s not immune to the need for long-term care.
Although his wife Kim Woolen has faced public criticism for their decision, Campbell’s doctors feel differently: this was “the best thing for Glen,” and the star is feeling good. Woolen sees him every day, and they savor every moment together.
Casey Kasem’s Care: a Family Feud
Radio personality Casey Kasem has a more sober story. In his early eighties, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, then with Lewy body dementia. Then a feud reportedly erupted over his long-term care.
The media reports that Kerri, Mike and Julie Kasem (children from Kasem’s first marriage) were on one side, and Jean Kasem (his second wife) was on the other. Kasem’s children said that Jean Kasem was not allowing them any contact with their father, and they were concerned about elder abuse.
Then, suddenly, Kasem disappeared. After a search involving adult protective services, it came out that Jean Kasem had moved her husband from a care facility to a friend’s house in Washington State. By that time, he needed hospitalization.
A judge awarded Kasem’s children temporary conservatorship and visitation rights, so they were able to visit him briefly. But he died shortly afterward – on Father’s Day.
What Can we Learn from These Stories?
Long-term care isn’t something that only affects “other people.” Two-thirds of those over age 65 need help with daily activities: bathing, eating, getting dressed, using the toilet and moving around. Because let’s face it: we’re all human. Even celebrities. Which means, no matter who you are, it’s important to be prepared.
Make plans for how to pay for your long-term care now, before you need it. The best time to purchase long-term care insurance is when you’re still spry and healthy. Educate yourself about your long-term care insurance options.
10 Ways to Avoid Injury this Independence Day
Firework-related injuries are startlingly common, especially during the weeks surrounding the holiday. Here are a few interesting statistics...
- More than 8,700 people were admitted to the ER in 2012 for fireworks injuries around the 4th.
- Rate of injury is highest for people ages, 15-24, followed by children under 10.
- Fireworks are also a leading cause of fires. In 2011, fireworks caused 17,800 fires to structures, vehicles and more, resulting in 40 civilian injuries.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Disability can happen to anyone at any time.
We encourage you to share the following tips with your families and your clients so they can take steps to protect themselves and their families this Independence Day.
10 Ways to Stay Safe
- Don’t use illegal firecrackers. There’s a reason they’re illegal.
- If you’re using fireworks at home, place used fireworks in a bucket full of water to ensure they’re completely extinguished.
- Before starting, hook up your hose and make sure you have a functional fire extinguisher handy.
- Prepare a first-aid kit for burns and keep it easily accessible.
- Don’t use consumer fireworks near vehicles or flammable structures and objects; these go up in flames more often than you’d think.
- Never throw or point fireworks (used, unlit or otherwise) at anyone, and never try to relight a dud.
- Be aware that even professional fireworks shows can go horribly wrong. Choose a place to watch where you’re not at risk.
- If you’ll be in the water on the Fourth, learn how to recognize what drowning looks like. Most bystanders do not realize a victim is dying until it’s too late.
- Drink responsibly. Don’t play with fireworks, go swimming, operate a boat or drive a car when under the influence. Remember: if you’re buzzed, you’re drunk.
- Be extra vigilant while driving. Surprisingly, there are more accidents on the July Fourth than on New Year’s Eve.
Need disability insurance? Visit our website to obtain disability insurance quotes, statistics and educational resources.
In January 2014, Allianz commissioned the "LoveFamilyMoney" study in which more than 4,500 participants joined an online panel to weigh in on a variety of questions. The conclusions are pretty interesting, especially for those of us in the field of insurance sales.
Participants’ ages ranged from 35 to 65, with an annual household income of $50K or more. LoveFamilyMoney identified seven distinct family structures among the group. First off, there’s the “traditional” family which is made up of two adults of the opposite sex, who are married, with at least one child under 21 living at home.
The other six groups are considered “modern” families:
- The multi-generational family. Three or more generations living in the same household.
- The single-parent family. One unmarried adult with at least one child under 18.
- The same-sex couple family. Married or unmarried couples of the same sex who are living together.
- The blended family. Parents who are married or living together with child from a previous relationship.
- The family with older parents and young children. Parents aged 40 or older, with at least one child under age five living with them.
- The boomerang family. Parents with an adult child, aged 21 to 35, who moved out, then later moved back in.
Now for the highlights.
One interesting note is how much modern families tend to differ, financially, from the “traditional.”
“New family structures have a direct impact on a family's relationship with money and finances – and we found that, while modern families have similar strong emotional ties, they often feel financially less secure than their traditional counterparts,” said Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of Consumer Insights (source).
A higher percentage of modern families:
- Live paycheck-to-paycheck
- Have unexpectedly lost a major source of income
- Have collected unemployment
- Have declared bankruptcy
Due to their limited means, many modern families have difficulty planning for the future, because they’re busy juggling short-term expenses. They don’t consider themselves especially knowledgeable about financial planning; still they can’t afford to spend on professional services.
That said, they’re financially strategic. It’s significantly more common for “modern family” parents to talk to their children about money, and encourage them to save.
And the insurance sales conclusions?
The six “modern family” types are definitely feeling the pinch. That said, they do understand the importance of making good financial decisions, and will do what they can to put that into practice.
As you market asset protection products such disability insurance and long-term care insurance to your clients, keep these findings in mind. Be sensitive to how modern families’ needs may differ and find ways to affordably provide some protection rather than none at all using methods such as the high-low sales approach.
Educate your customers about individual disability insurance and long-term care insurance, and let us know how we can help formulate a plan to protect both traditional and modern families.
Despite that fact that, at one point, I resented my parents for giving me a curfew, and was annoyed by their incessant need to make me eat vegetables, I can proudly say that my parents taught me well. They taught me everything from how to ride a bike to how to dress for an interview. And without even knowing it, they also taught me how to properly market new disability insurance clients.
I’m sure there are a million more tips to add to this list, but here are five sales techniques that (almost) everyone learned from their parents.
- Knock before opening a closed door –If a door is shut, there’s usually a reason. A door is a barrier, put in place to keep someone out. But, if you knock, it might open. When prospecting, you don’t show up to a stranger’s home or office and barge in with a thirty-minute presentation and expect results. You send an email, you connect on LinkedIn or you make a phone call. You knock first.
- Always tell the truth – You know that special power your parents had where they could always tell when you were lying? Consumers have that, too. Consumers can do enough online research to tell if what you’re selling them is too good to be true. Be honest about the disability insurance underwriting process, the potential medical exams, the premium, etc. Nobody wants to work with a liar.
- Elbows off the table –In other words, mind your manners when working with a client. Whether it’s putting your phone on silent while meeting with a client or making sure you never call too late, manners and proper business etiquette will go a long way.
- Just one more bite – Your client might only want a life insurance policy, but if you think they would benefit from more coverage, whether it’s disability insurance or long-term care insurance, it will never hurt to encourage them to take just one more bite of protection.
- Now what do you say? – Always, always say thank you, even if your client decides not to go forth with a disability insurance or long-term care insurance policy. How your client feels about their overall experience working with you could make them your best reference or your worst Yelp review.
You didn’t have to be a momma’s boy or a daddy’s girl to learn the valuable life lessons that affect your ability to make insurance sales. Are there any other tips your parents taught you that apply to prospecting? Share them in our comments and make sure to subscribe to the blog in the top right corner of this screen.
The Professional Golf Association swung by Pinehurst, North Carolina last week for the 2014 US Open major golf championship. I prepared wisely with delicious snacks and tasty beverages in order to enjoy all of the golf action from my couch. For me, major golf tournaments are scheduled perfectly to recharge my interest in the game, dust off my clubs, and visit a nearby course after watching a weekend’s worth of the sport. Then the month or so until the next televised major event is just enough time for me to have an awful round of golf and give my clubs a “timeout” in a dark corner of the garage.
The PGA Tour players make it look so easy and that is when I realized successful insurance agents do, too. Golf professionals and insurance professionals are more similar than you may think.
They share the same 5 Ps:
1. Practice. It takes research, instruction and experience to succeed in both professions. Keep up-to-date on industry information, new products, and various solutions.
2. Passion. Believing in yourself and what you are trying to achieve is crucial to personal and professional growth. Do you personally own a DI policy? How will your client believe in income protection if they aren’t convinced you truly do?
3. Potential. You have the desire and drive. You put in the time to learn. Now is the moment to shine and deliver your best effort every time.
4. Perseverance. Working through frustration is vital to accomplishing short-term and long-term goals. Solving issues and overcoming obstacles such as an incomplete application or an exclusion is part of our game and being able to cover your client with the best income protection available will be well worth your efforts.
5. Payoff. Yes, financial compensation is wonderful, but whether it’s winning a major tournament or closing a big DI sale, the personal gratification of goal achievement far outweighs the financial reward.
Both careers are extremely challenging and it’s difficult to consistently be on the leaderboard. Obviously, I am a bit biased, but in my opinion, insurance professionals have it much better since we have the privilege to help many people with their financial security and peace of mind. Also, depending on how we currently feel about our golf game, we can always fit in a round on the weekend.
Need a disability insurance quote? Use our convenient online quote engine. Or, for a mobile experience, download our quoting app for iPhones.
As baby boomers retire in growing numbers, the need for long-term care services is exploding. Unfortunately, many of those retirees are finding out too late that long-term care is more expensive than they realized. They’re also discovering that public programs like Medicare don’t cover long-term care beyond the post-acute phase, and qualifying for Medicaid is challenging.
With 70 percent of Americans needing some type of long-term care after age 65, who’s footing the bill?
According to “The 5 Ws of Chronic Illness Care,” a report by Prudential, the U.S. spends about $725 billion a year on chronic illness. Here’s the breakdown of who’s paying for it:
- $7 billion paid by private long-term care insurance
- $10 billion paid by veterans, state, and local chronic care programs
- $64 billion by Medicare
- $130 billion by Medicaid
- $63 billion paid by families in out-of-pocket expenses
- $450 billion paid by families in the form of caregiving
Shocking but true: For every $100 spent on chronic care, $71 is paid for by families.
Thanks to advances in medical care and increased longevity, chronic illness patients are living longer. And due to the skyrocketing costs of long-term care and the fact that many people have no long-term solution to pay for long-term care, 80 percent of those patients receive their chronic care in private homes, with families picking up the tab. The Congressional Budget Office’s 2011 estimate put the value of that out-of-pocket care at a staggering $234 billion.
On top of the greater financial burden, family caregivers are taking on greater care responsibilities. In addition to the usual duties of dressing, bathing, feeding, and moving patients, family members are now taking on duties such as administering medications and intravenous therapies, helping with mobility tools such as walkers and canes, cooking meals and accommodating special dietary needs, and even dressing wounds.
So why do so many go without the peace of mind of long-term care insurance?
Between the statistics on long-term care needs, skyrocketing medical and long-term care costs, and the fact that most retirees consider long-term medical care one of their biggest retirement worries, it’s surprising how few people have planned for the inevitable with long-term care insurance. According to the Congressional Research Service, just over 10 percent of Americans aged 55 or older buy long-term care insurance for themselves.
That leaves millions vulnerable to financial hardship – on top of the challenge of caring for loved ones.
So how are families preparing for a long-term care need? Do they have any kind of plan in case one of their parents suffers a physical or mental illness and requires long-term care? Does anyone in the family have a home that is equipped to take care of a sick or elderly parent long term?
These are all vital questions your clients and prospects should carefully consider as more and more families take on the long-term care of an elderly parent. With the growing long-term care crisis, they can no longer afford to sweep this issue under the rug, believe it will never happen to them, or put their faith in the government to pay the tab.
We all need smart financial planning for our retirement years. To learn more about helping your clients avoid the financial struggles that are too often a part of providing LTC, download our LTCI Broker Kit today. Have a client that is a good candidate for LTCI? Request a long-term care insurance quote here.
Unless you truly live under a rock (and not just any rock—it’d have to be an extremely large boulder), you probably heard something regarding the Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (Kimye) wedding in Italy last month. The well-known reality star and rapper tied the knot in a modest 2.8 million dollar ceremony, reminding me a lot of my own wedding… well, mostly in the sense that we said “I do” at the end, too. After a week in Paris that included renting out both the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles, the couple flew 200 of their closest friends and family to Italy for the actual nuptials.
Was the wedding week extravagant? Yes. Was it a bit too over the top? Maybe. Should we all stop talking about it? Probably. But should we first take a look at Kimye’s wedding to see what we can learn about everyday (and not-so-everyday) consumers? Definitely.
Here are 9 things the Kimye wedding can teach us about “Keeping up with the Konsumers” –see what I did there?
1. Consumers want insurance options. If you think Kim only looked at one wedding dress, you’re just silly. Or you live under that boulder I mentioned before. Either way, it’s likely she looked at hundreds of designs before contracting Vera Wang to design a dress specifically tailored to her body. Assume your clients want options. Help them choose among several disability insurance carriers, and then help them tailor a disability insurance quote that suits their needs perfectly.
2. Consumers can be high maintenance. The Kimye wedding had golden toilets and life-size nude statues, among other details. As long as you’re not being asked to provide a golden toilet, if your client says jump, it’s okay to jump (in moderation).
3. Consumers can change their minds. It’s been reported that two hours before the wedding, Kanye demanded that 80 moving lights (which had taken four days to install) be removed immediately from the dance floor. Maybe he thought the lighting would distract from the happy couple, or maybe he decided the extra lighting was unnecessary. Regardless, Kanye changed his mind, and the lights were removed. Insurance clients will always have last minute requests. Learn to expect them and find a way to deal.
4. Consumers might be annoyed, but most can find a way to deal with unexpected problems, too. It was also reported that Kimye opted to skip place cards and instead had guests’ names engraved onto a marble tabletop in front of each of their place settings. But, sadly, mistakes were made in the spelling of some names, and several guests brought those pesky plus-ones that aren’t always accounted for. It’s believed that only Kimye sat in their designated places. But did that upset the newlyweds? Oddly, no, it didn’t. They moved on. If your clients’ disability insurance applications get held up in underwriting, it’s likely they’ll understand—assuming you can provide an explanation.
5. Privacy can be a major concern. Unlike Kim’s last wedding to Chris Humphries, which was televised for their show “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” Kimye decided to be very cryptic about their wedding details to ensure the paparazzi could not attend. Some people don’t want others to know their personal business. If that’s the case for your disability insurance clients, have them complete teleapps to safeguard their personal information.
6. Sometimes, you just need to listen while your client does the talking. It’s rumored that Kanye gave a 45-minute toast (that was mostly about himself). Give your clients the opportunity to talk about themselves and what they want. You can learn a lot about a person if you just sit back and listen.
7. Consumers want bells and whistles, even when they aren’t necessary. Did Kimye need golden toilets? No. Did they need private jets to transfer all of their guests from France to Italy? No. Did they need a photo booth? Technically, no, but who doesn’t love a good photo booth at a wedding? The point is, sometimes consumers want extravagant things that you might deem as unnecessary. It doesn’t change the fact that if they want it—and can afford it—they’re going to expect you to give it to them. Those extra disability insurance riders and policy enhancements might not be necessary, but if the client is going to find a new agent who’s willing to give them what they want, go ahead and add a bell. Heck, maybe even add a whistle.
8. Consumers don’t want to be told what to do. Rob Kardashian, Kim’s brother, was noticeably absent from Kimye’s wedding day. It’s believed he was fed up with being bossed around by his family. Remember, it’s one thing to give advice; it’s another to give orders. Don’t lose clients because you’re too overbearing with what you think is best for them. Suggestions and advice are not the same as orders and demands.
9. Consumers want paycheck protection. Kimye reportedly signed a prenuptial agreement, which means they’re conscious about protecting their mutual incomes and savings. If they value their income and savings, then SURELY they value paycheck protection. Right? Right? Let’s hope I’m right.
*The information above regarding Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding was gathered from various pop-culture websites, NOT from the spokespeople of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. This information is meant to be taken with a grain of salt and a sense of humor.
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