Life Insurance Policy Reviews: 6 Key Questions Explored

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6 Key Questions

Life Insurance policy reviews should be a critical component of your client appointments. Too often, a policy is forgotten and not reviewed simply because we fail to ask about existing coverage. Your client’s may not be aware that certain changes could jeopardize their life insurance policy. This oversight could have adverse effects to your client’s overall financial picture. What if your client could no longer leave the legacy they desired simply because their policy wasn’t reviewed appropriately?

Interest rates and cost of insurance are not factors that could have a financial impact on your client. As we get older, our needs change. Your client may have bought a policy that seemed appropriate 7 or 10 years ago, but now, life for them has changed. Making sure your client’s policy is keeping up with their life needs is important to assure there are no financial shortfalls in the event of an untimely death.

Click here to read the LifeHealthPro Article – Life Insurance Policy Reviews: 6 Key Questions Explored

Making life insurance reviews a part of your business process has never been easier with FPG’s Insurance Portfolio Analysis. A simple form gets the process started!

  • Complete the In-force Illustration Request
  • FPG will follow-up with each carrier to make sure the illustrations are completed
  • FPG will complete the analysis and provide you with the outcome and recommended solutions!

Our process guarantees that you won’t waste your time chasing answers from carriers and trying to guess how a policy is performing, FPG has the tools and resources to do this for you!

Feel free to contact us with any questions!


Annuities at Their Best!

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Annuities come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  They can be a great option for clients spanning the low to high risk spectrum of choices.  At their core, annuities will grow tax deferred and avoid probate upon death.  Additionally, fixed annuities offer a fixed rate of return that is often higher than what you can receive at the bank.  Fixed index annuities offer upside crediting potential that is tied to a market index, but still maintains principal protection.  For those who are more aggressive, variable annuities offer full market participation through the use of sub-accounts within the contract.  Additionally, these products can add features, known as riders, to provide leveraged long-term care benefits, enhanced death benefits and lifetime income.

It is easy to see that annuities provide a lot of exciting different benefits, but when are annuities actually at their best?

Voltaire said it best when he stated “I advise you to go on living to enrage those who are paying your annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left.” 


Here is a French philosopher living in the 1700’s, Age of Enlightenment, who totally understood how to stick it to the man!  What do I mean by that?  You see, all too often we lose sight of the fact that annuities are insurance products and insurance products are built to protect us against a specific risk.  So, what risk does an annuity protect us against?  It’s the risk of living too long, otherwise known as longevity risk.  Did you know that 1 in 4 65 year olds today will live past the age of 90 and 1 in 10 will past age 95?*

Here’s another eye opener, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute: the majority of baby boomers will run out of funds for retirement only 10 to 20 years into retirement.**



In other words, annuities are at their very best when they are in a position to do exactly what they were built to do in the first place, which is to provide guaranteed lifetime income.  In today’s words, here’s what Voltaire was saying: “If you want to get the biggest possible return out of your annuities and really stick it to the insurance carrier, then just live a long time!”  People today are living longer than ever before which means, when used properly, annuities are at their best right now!

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*Wells Fargo Retirement Survey (2012)

**The EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating:™ Retirement Income Preparation and Future Prospects, Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2011

9 Tips for a Successful Sales Lead Management Process

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Life Insurance sales do not happen on their own. You might be cultivating your book of business or networking with various professionals for new leads. But what happens when you get a lead? Do you call to introduce yourself? Do you email them first before calling? What is your process for managing this lead?

Prudential makes it easy to answer those questions with their Sales Lead Management process. With 9 tips on how to nurture your leads, this tool will be your guide in managing those leads right from your initial introduction.

Download these tips and implement this process into your business!
Download button


Long Term Care Benefits vs. Chronic Illness Benefits

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Did you know that an average couple that retires at age 65 today should expect to spend, on average, $220,000 for out-of-pocket medical expenses during their retirement years?  AIG created an informative marketing piece that provides an in-depth look at the Long Term Care vs. Chronic Illness Riders available to help supplement those expenses.

Long Term Care Benefits vs. Chronic Illness Benefits

6 Ways to Expand Your Business

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6 ways to expand your business

Expanding your business can be difficult. Asking for client referrals typically yield low results, and cold calling can be a drain on your productivity. Prudential has made a dedicated page to help agents expand their book of business, and even better, you can do this with your existing client base!

The 6 steps that Prudential has outlined take you from the initial planning phase of identifying the opportunities within your current book of business, all the way to structuring your presentation and the appropriate follow-ups.

The advisor center for life insurance also gives you information about different life insurance planning strategies as well as guidance on how life insurance fits into your client’s portfolio.

We encourage you to visit this site and use the tools provided to grow your life insurance business.

6 Ways to Expand Your Business

Prudential – Advisor Center – Life Insurance

Positioning Statement

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Positioning statementWhen introducing a new solution to your clients, you may find yourself racking your brain for the best way to describe all the intricate features that appealed to you and made you feel like this is the perfect solution for the scenario.

Positioning Statement Guidelines:

  • Your statement should only take 20 seconds to deliver.
  • If you make a claim, you must substantiate your claim with an example.
  • Less is more!
  • Practice, Practice, Practice! Delivery is everything.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the big picture. Our client’s aren’t always interested in “what’s under the hood.”

Your positioning statement should answer 3 key questions:

  • Why am I here?
  • Where are we going to talk about?
  • What’s in it for your client/audience?

Try this template:

I’d like to…


So that…

Uncovering Sales Opportunities with the 1040 Tax Form

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Group of smart students in graduation gowns with diplomas shouting excitedly

Tax returns offer insight into a client’s financial planning needs, including life insurance and long-term care. Utilizing the consolidated information found on a client’s 1040 tax form, the John Hancock 1040 Overlay tool makes it easy to uncover needs and even easier to address them.

How the tool works

A great example of how this tool works is by reviewing question 8a of the 1040 tax form. Question 8a provides you with the client’s taxable interest. The overlay tool suggests asking the following questions regarding your client’s taxable interest;

Where is this invested and how much is it earning? What is the money for? Are you concerned about taxes?

If your client does not have an immediate need for that money, or their ultimate goal is to leave it to their children or grandchildren, there may be a life insurance opportunity.

Generally, the interest indicated on line 8a are low risk investments such as CD’s, savings accounts, and bond income. The low-risk nature of those investments ensures a corresponding low rate yield. A perfect alternative for a low risk-low reward strategy is to use the assets to purchase life insurance, which may provide a higher Internal Rate of Return, while also providing tax free growth and death benefit protection.

I encourage you to familiarize yourself with these tools and incorporate this process into your practice. By doing so, you will have a simple strategy to help you easily uncover and discuss your client’s life insurance and long-term care needs.

1040 Overlay Guide

1040 Overlay Tool

1040 Tax Form

College Planning Using Life Insurance

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Group of smart students in graduation gowns with diplomas shouting excitedly

Give your clients a plan that will have flexibility and provide coverage should something happen to them before their other “college tuition account” is fully funded.

In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board reports that a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college for the 2015–2016 academic year averaged $24,061. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $47,831. Assuming a 5% inflation rate on the cost of room and board, tuition and other miscellaneous expenses, a college budget in 20 years from now would average $63,841 per year for in-state public colleges and $126,910 per year for private colleges. If you think these figures sound unrealistic, I would challenge you to calculate the cost of college when you went to school vs. today’s college expenses.

College costs are considered a major expense for most individuals. Learn how to take a more proactive approach to your client’s college planning.

College Funding Success Strategy – John Hancock

College Funding Client Profile – John Hancock

College Funding – 45 year old example

What is an annuity?

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Written By: Josh Garland, ChFC® | FPG | 877.455.0119

An annuity is a contractual agreement between a consumer and an insurance company that will provide a set of benefits depending upon the type of annuity contract that is selected. The benefits are most commonly in the form of a guaranteed stream of income, the opportunity to earn interest or both. The interest that is earned within an annuity contract will grow tax deferred and upon death, the death benefit will go directly to the designated beneficiary, avoiding probate.

What types of annuity contracts are there?

There are four distinct types of annuity contracts, Single Premium Immediate Annuities (SPIA), Deferred Income Annuities (DIA), Single Premium Deferred Annuities (SPDA) and Flexible Premium Deferred Annuities (FPDA). Both SPDAs and FPDAs can then be further broken down into sub-categories which are Fixed Annuities, Fixed Index Annuities and Variable Annuities.

A Single Premium Immediate Annuity (SPIA) is an annuity contract that in exchange for a single premium payment will begin distributing an immediate stream of income to the designated payee of the contract. Note that no additional premium contributions will permitted after the policy is issued. An immediate stream of income means that payments will begin within a period of no more than 12 month from the issue date of the contract. The consumer will normally have multiple income benefit choices for how they would like to receive their income benefit payments.

  1. Life Only: Payments are paid only if the Annuitant is living and upon death of the Annuitant, annuity payments stop and no further benefits are payable.
  2. Life with Period Certain: Payments are paid if the Annuitant is living. If the Annuitant dies before the elected period certain has been completed, annuity payments will continue to be paid to the beneficiary as scheduled until the period certain has ended; at which time annuity payments will stop and no further benefits are payable.
  3. Life with Installment Refund: Payments are paid if the Annuitant is living. If the Annuitant dies before the sum of annuity payments paid equals or exceeds the single premium, annuity payments will continue to be paid to the beneficiary as scheduled, until the sum of all annuity payments paid equals the single premium; at which time annuity payments stop and no further benefits are payable.
  4. Life with Cash Refund: Payments are paid if the Annuitant is living. If the Annuitant dies before the sum of annuity payments paid equals or exceeds the single premium, a lump sum death benefit equal to the premium paid less the sum of all prior annuity payments will be paid to the beneficiary, at which time annuity payments stop and no further benefits are payable.
  5. Period Certain: Annuity payments will be made for the elected period certain. If the annuitant dies prior to the end of the period certain payments will continue to be paid to the beneficiary as scheduled until the remained of the period certain has ended. Once the period certain has ended annuity payments will stop and no further benefits are payable. (Note payments will stop even if the Annuitant is still alive.)

A Deferred Income Annuity (DIA) is an annuity contract that works very much like a SPIA. The key difference between a SPIA & DIA is that the income distributions from a DIA will start at an elected date sometime after 12 months from the issue date. The consumer will elect the income start date at the time of contract and will also have income benefit choices like those of a SPIA although they will be limited to:

  1. Life Only
  2. Life with Cash Refund

Note that with a SPIA or a DIA the income benefit election can be based on either a single or joint life. Additionally, it is prudent at this time to note that this process of exchanging a premium payment for a guaranteed stream of income such as those provided by a SPIA or DIA is called “Annuitization.”

A Single Premium Deferred Annuity (SPDA) is an annuity contract that in exchange for a single premium payment will provide interest credits to the principal value of the contract for a specified period of time. As implied by the name this type of contract will only allow one premium payment and will not accept additional contributions. The way that interest is credited to the contract will depend upon which of sub-categories of SPDAs has been chosen.

  1. Fixed Annuity: A fixed annuity will credit a fixed rate of interest that does not fluctuate to the annuity contract each year. Fixed annuities can be further broken down into 2 sub-categories:
    1. Traditional Fixed Annuities will have a guaranteed fixed rate for a specified time period, say 1 year for example, that is declared by the insurance company at policy issue and will then renew the rate each year on contract anniversary date thereafter. The rate could then increase or decrease, but will not go below a declared minimum guaranteed rate that is set by the insurance company at policy issue.
    2. Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuities (MYGA) will have a guaranteed fixed rate that is locked in and does not fluctuate for the duration of the annuities term. This term is chosen at policy is and is also known as a surrender period. Generally, a longer term will offer a higher fixed interest rate than a shorter term.
  2. Fixed Index Annuity: A fixed index annuity will credit interest to the contract based on the performance of a market index, commonly the S&P 500 Index. These contracts will allow the contract owner to participate in gains of the market index up to a limited amount while at the same time protecting the value of the contract if the market index performance is negative.
  3. Variable Annuity: A variable annuity will credit interest to a contract based on the performance of its sub-accounts which are similar to mutual funds. The sub-account options will allow the contract owner to have unlimited market exposure to the full gains or losses of the stock market via the elected sub-accounts.

A Flexible Premium Deferred Annuity (FPDA) is an annuity contract that works that same as an SPDA having the same sub-category annuity options, however these policies will allow for additional contributions in future years.

Disclosure: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with a licensed insurance agent, advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.

The 4 Risks of Retirement You Never Saw Coming!

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The Scary Truth

In an article written by David Weldon of ThinkAdvisor, titled Most Americans Illiterate Regarding Retirement Income Planning, I learned that 80% of Americans have little to no understanding of basic retirement income strategies! The American College of Financial Services conducted a Retirement Income Literacy study on a group of 60 to 75 year old Americans in an effort to test their understanding of how to make their hard earned savings last through retirement. The basic 38 question quiz resulted in 80% of respondents receiving a score of ‘F’ (Fail)! This by itself highlights a major concern and it is important that retirees understand that their vision of retirement is at risk every day!

Here are the four risks of retirement you never saw coming… or at least 80% of your clients didn’t:

1. Market Volatility Risk: On October 9, 2002 the S&P 500 Index® dropped 49% and then again on March 9, 2009 we experienced a drop of 57%. This is twice in the past 14 years that we have seen the market cut in half.
“However, despite these drops, over this same time period the S&P 500 Index® grew 21%.” With time and patience the ability to recover from losses is present, although you may not have the time to wait! For example, if you were planning to retire at this time next year and the market drops 50% today you will require a 100% return over the next year, just to break even!

2.Longevity Risk: People are living longer today than ever before on average a 65 year old male today can expect to live to age 84 and a 65 year old female can expect to live to age 86. In addition about 1 out of every 4, 65-year old’s today will live to age 90, and 1 out of 10 will live past age 95! At a time when 50% of people are living beyond average life expectancy, it’s no wonder the number one concern of pre-retirees is outliving their income!

3.Interest Rate Risk: An individual bond is generally considered conservative
and is unaffected by changes in interest rates, as long as you hold the bond to maturity. However, many investors enjoy the interest income potential and diversification of bond funds which can actively buy and sell bonds prior to reaching maturity and are therefore
subject to interest rate risk. For example, if your bond fund has a 5-year duration, a 1% rise in interest rates would result in a 5% drop in value, conversely a drop in interest rates would result in a gain. So why is this so important today? Over the past 33 years bond funds have historically done very well as we have generally experienced a decreasing interest rate environment.
It’s no secret however that today we are in a historically low interest rate environment giving more concern to the risk of rising rates in the near future.

4.Inflation Risk: The purchasing power of $1.00 is the key factor when it comes to inflation risk. Today, $129 of good’s would have only cost you $100 in 2004; this means that the purchasing power of every dollar today is worth $0.78 when compared to a dollar 10 years ago.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “yeah, everyone knows that inflation is a problem” but still not getting the gravity of the risk, then let’s look at it another way… The Federal Reserve estimates that there is approximately $11 trillion dollars sitting in cash holding. Assuming that you had been in a low 15% tax bracket over the past 10 years, your bank would need to have paid you interest of 3.035% per year on your $100 just to break even with inflation. How much interest is your bank paying you? Are you sure it’s enough to keep up with inflation?

A Solution to the Risks

One potential solution to these four risks of retirement may be a Fixed Index Annuity. A Fixed Index Annuity has the ability to:

  1. Remove market volatility risk by protecting principal during a down market, which takes downside risk out of the picture.
  2. Provide a guaranteed stream of income that will last for your lifetime when you elect to add a lifetime income rider. This is an optional benefit/feature that can be add to a fixed index annuity contract, usually for an additional charge, that will often provide an annual growth to the income rider account coupled with an age based withdrawal factor.
  3. Deliver upside potential growth based off of the performance of a market index which lowers the interest rate risk associated with a bond fund, but maintains the conservative allocation by protecting principal.
  4. Provide the potential for higher interest crediting that than available with other safe / fixed interest options. This allows you the opportunity to keep up with inflation, protect purchasing power and defer taxes.

Do you hold yourself out as a financial professional? Do you understand the many risks to retirement and have the ability to verbalize the problems that exist and the potential solutions that are available to solve them? If so, are you using that knowledge to educate the American people? If 80% of Americans who are currently at retirement age cannot pass a basic test on the topic then we need to understand that the greatest risk to their retirement would be for us to hold on to that information. I am ready to work at this together, are you?

David Weldon, ThinkAdvisor. (2015, April 9). Most Americans Illiterate Regarding Retirement Income Planning [Article]. Retrieved from

1. Genworth. (2014, October). Managing Market Volatility. Retrieved from

2. Genworth. (2014, October). Outlasting Longevity Risk. Retrieved from

3. Genworth. (2014, October). Overcoming Interest Rate Risk. Retrieved from

4. Genworth. (2014, October). Defusing Inflation Risk. Retrieved from