The Death Side of the Life Insurance Business

Something happened to me for the first time this week; one of my clients passed away.  Being in the life insurance business, you expect to get used to the fact that you set up life insurance on the premise that it will likely payout one day.  The application and underwriting process is relatively transactional.  When I received the message from Dave’s wife on Monday morning that he had passed away, it made it really personal.  My heart sank into my stomach, and I felt down for the rest of the day.

I’d met Dave about six years ago.  He always had this very relaxed demeanour about him and a very laissez-faire approach to life.  At the time, Dave had already been a cancer survivor.  He didn’t let it define him or the way he led his life.  He was a family man first, to his three kids and his wife.  About four years ago, the cancer had reappeared, and Dave put on his stoic face and fought it bravely.  This was something that Dave quietly did, going for dialysis a few times a week.  The only thing that he ever complained to me about was the traffic to get to the hospital.  He fought the cancer successfully for a second time.  Dave was a two-time cancer survivor.

Dave’s life insurance was coming up for renewal.  In most cases, I would’ve suggested reapplying for a new policy because his renewal premiums went up about fivefold.  I knew Dave would be declined based on being a recent and two-time cancer survivor.  I advised him and his wife to keep the policy in effect and pay the more expensive premiums.  Dave asked if he should reduce the coverage.  I remember saying that I’d suggest keeping the same coverage unless you can’t afford the premiums.  Today, I’m glad that Dave had listened to me.  I explained that renewals are so expensive; the insurance companies guarantee to keep the coverage regardless of your health at the time of renewal.

Dave called me earlier this spring.  Dave had the same demeanour he always had; very relaxed and calm.  We chatted for a while; then he told me that the cancer had returned and was in his kidney.  He had already had one kidney removed.  We both knew what that meant.  He was accepting and calm as always.  His primary reason for calling was to ensure that everything was intact with his life insurance, so at least his family would be alright when he went.  He’d continue to fight like he always did until he couldn’t anymore.

I called Dave last month to see how he was doing.  It went through to his voicemail.  I wouldn’t allow my mind to go there.  Thankfully, the next day, Dave returned my call, but his call went into my voicemail.  We exchanged a couple more messages.  We never did end up connecting live.

When I talked to Dave’s wife on Monday, she had said, “Dave insisted that the first call I made was to Chris Coulter.”  Even until his last breath, Dave remained calm and stoic and was a family man until the very end.

Dave:  I know you’re in a better place and no longer in pain.  Thank you for making me push you to make the decision you did and for not taking the easy road.  When someone resists moving forward for life insurance, I will push back a little harder, always keeping you in mind.  Thanks for reminding me of the humanistic reason behind what I do.  I vow never to take that responsibility lightly.

Chris learned through the bankruptcy of his first business; a strong balance sheet means nothing unless you can get the money out of your business and into your hands personally, tax efficiently, and creditor protected.  Chris helps and coaches business owners to avoid a similar fate as he suffered in his first business.

Through several clever strategies, he illustrates how these little-known vehicles can get money out of your business efficiently, build your corporate brand and create a legacy through charitable means to help make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Also, he has seen the impact that mental health can have upon success within your business and your life and how the two are on a constant collision course.  When Chris became aware that Entrepreneurs struggled with their mental health at more than twice the rate of average adults, he realized he wasn’t alone and made it his ambition to understand why and do something to help.  The goal of his business, The Finish Line Group, is to help support the entrepreneur’s financial, philanthropic, and emotional needs.

Chris’ Why Statement remains, “To openly communicate the lessons learned from my past so that others will thrive in their lives, minimize their setbacks and leave a positive and lasting legacy.”

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