When was the last time you had a professional review of your Life Insurance Policy or Annuity?
Chances are, probably never!
But don’t feel so bad, because we’d be willing to hazard a guess that most folks rarely revisit their life insurance policy or annuity until some time in the future when some event warrants it! And here in lies the problem.
Life has a funny way of not always following the path that one sets out. (For example, I was supposed to become a professional pitcher for the Yankee’s!)
Just because things didn’t work out as one planned doesn’t mean that things have gone horribly wrong, it could just mean that you:
- Had 3 kids instead of 2.
- Got married (or remarried).
- Purchased an income property reducing your needs for a life time annuity benefit.
- Hit the lottery!
But one can usually bank on is that if it’s been more that 5 years since you purchased your life insurance policy or annuity, chances are something in your life has changed which could potentially affect whether or not your current policy is right for you.
This is why…
We wanted to take a moment and discuss why it’s so important to review your life insurance policy or annuity and see what options you may have available to make that existing policy work harder for you and your family.
What is a life insurance or annuity policy review?
A life insurance policy review is basically a health check up for your life insurance policy and this is important for your annuity contract also.
The process of life insurance or annuity contract reviews involves looking at a couple different aspects of your plan.
2 Important Considerations During Policy and Annuity Reviews
- Your goals as they may have changed since purchasing your initial policy or annuity.
- Your policy performance as indicated since the time of purchase and as may have been impacted by economic conditions or other economic or environmental factors.
Life Changes. Needs Change.
When a client initially purchases a permanent life insurance policy, the client has a goal or set of priorities in mind. These goals and priorities tend tend to fall under one of 4 major categories which are:
- Health and Aging
- Policy/Industry Specific
Health and aging goals may include retirement income protection, long term care insurance or an annuity, whereas business and career goals may focus on strategic self banking. Industry specific and family goals often focus on areas such as tax planning or estate planning with trusts. As the years pass, these goals may change and often do.
That being the case, the “norm” for folk s to review their home and auto policies is EVERY year and to go MANY years without reviewing their life or annuity policy.
For all of the above reasons, a regular re-evaluation of life insurance AND/OR annuity goals is important.
For example, the goal of taking advantage of market gains may inspire someone to obtain a variable life insurance policy. However, after years of growth, that same person may be nearing retirement and seeking to lock in those gains and eliminating the potential for losses.
Monitoring policy performance is also an important consideration in policy reviews. Simply put, some companies and products have proven to be better managed and more stable then others. This concept relates to life insurance company financial ratings.
As we observed concerning the history of AIG and Genworth, it is important to stay current on your chosen company how they are performing. Poor performance may necessitate a change to a stronger company or different product.
For example, bullish stock market performance may prompt an policy holder with an indexed universal life product to switch to a whole life product that offers greater long term predictability.
3 More Policy and Annuity Review Benefits
Here are a few reasons why a no cost policy review with one of our client guides could be helpful:
- Innovation within the Life Insurance and Annuity Marketplace – Very few people carry flip phones and set their VCR to record a show. Smart phones and Streaming services have replaced old technology. The same holds true for Protection Products. Life Insurance and Annuities no longer just focus on death. New Innovation now allows protection products to offer living benefits as well ( LTC, Chronic Care, Critical Care riders).
- Exchanging Out of Variable Products – We are currently living in a robust bull market. Many clients have realized large gains with their variable life insurance policies and variable annuities. As tempting as it may be to stay in variable products, most clients understand that a correction is coming. Now could be the time to lock in your gains, lower your fees and re-position into assets that allow for attractive returns while protecting your principle such as indexed universal life insurance, indexed or fixed annuities.
- Utilize Cash Value to Enhance a Policy – Many clients own policies that have accumulated cash value. Did you know you can exchange that cash value to a new policy and possible reduce your premium, increase your death benefit for the same premium or add living benefits to cover asset protection needs.
We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve discuss a ton of information here in a very short amount of time, and the last thing that we want to do is have any of this information confuse or scare you.
What to Expect During a Policy or Annuity Review?
3 areas should be focused on during your policy or annuity review which ARE:
- A complete discussion of your current financial needs and goals including the purpose of any life insurance or annuities; and
- Analyze all premiums and death benefits and compare in force ledgers, policy provisions, guarantees and other provisions; and
- Evaluate the situation and determine if current amounts and type of policy or annuity meets your needs.
Don’t fret if everything that we just discussed seems “overwhelming”. The main takeaway for you at this point should only be…
“Maybe I should call someone to make sure my life insurance policy or annuity is still the right one for me and my goals?”
If you leave this article with this thought in mind, then you are well on your way to making sure you’re not surprised or horribly disappointed in the future if the policy you bought 5, 10 or 15 years earlier isn’t what you hoped for.
The good news…
If you already have a life insurance policy or annuity in place, chances are you’ll be good to go and probably won’t need to make any changes to those polices.
You never know which is why we would encourage you to give us a call here at I&E so that in as little as 5 minutes, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re in good shape.