The Benefits of Having an Agent

There are certain occupations that carry a negative connotation.  We always seem to have a hard time trusting used car salespeople, lawyers, or politicians.  Sometimes these fears are valid.  Maybe you have experienced buying a used car only to have it fall apart on you a week later.  Maybe you voted for someone who then seemed to turn their backs on the very people that voted them in.  I myself have had a run-in with a lawyer that seemed more concerned about money than assisting one of my family members in a messy divorce.  How do you come back from that?

So, here’s the thing: insurance agents are sometimes grouped into the same category as those mentioned above.  Maybe some of these fears are valid.  Maybe you have had an experience similar to something described above.  I definitely do not want to dismiss these valid concerns.  However, we need to keep in mind that these incidences are few and far between.  We can’t allow a bad experience to ruin not only what would be a smart choice in getting life insurance, but also what could become a very great (and fruitful) relationship with a good agent.

Insurance agents are not only kind, honest and hardworking people most of the time, but also come with skills and knowledge that the savvy client can use to make the wisest choices in regards to their life insurance.

Let’s look at these points in greater detail.

To be an agent requires a great deal of dedication and motivation.  Agents find success through putting the needs of their clients first, always being available for their clients’ needs, and providing honest and informed suggestions.  Agents that lack in these skills usually do not remain agents for long.  I have heard agents describe their clients as though they were their extended family.  They understand the importance of having a strong and lasting bond with us, and truly looking out for our well-being.

On top of this, agents are a fountain of knowledge for insurance products.  Thanks to required trainings, licenses, and their own studies, they know these products inside and out.  Combining their knowledge with your needs allows them to help you make the best choices for you and yours.   Navigating the waters or financial security can be a tricky and confusing process.  These agents can help guide us through these waters to the results we want.  Why would we not take advantage of that?

A benefit that agents grant us that is often overlooked is agents stick by us for the long haul.  The process does not just end as soon as a policy is purchased.  The agents are always there to assist with any questions, concerns, or changes that come up.  These people can and do serve as your advocate, helping you get through every process from underwriting to filing a claim.

Agents truly are a great resource that all policyholders can have, but, truth be told, they’re not the only resource.  Behind every great agent is a great carrier.  Most carriers can also offer you many important services, such as customer services, claims processing, etc.  We here at Sentinel are always happy to speak with and assist our customers in any way that we can, and coordinate our efforts with our agents to make sure that all your needs are taken care of.

Life insurance is something that everyone needs to take seriously.  With that being the case, why wouldn’t you want to work with someone as described above?  Like we briefly covered before, agents can help guide us towards making the best choices we can when it comes to these important financial decisions, and in many cases can lead to lasting friendships.  Don’t go into such an important task without help.  Seek out an agent.  They can help you make the right choices.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Life Insurance: Why Now is Better than Later

Being a young adult these days is hard.  Life throws so many things at you with blinding speed: work, spouse, kids, mortgage, etc.  Here we are, expected to be able to run with these things, when just a few years past we had to ask for permission to use the restroom at school.  While some of us can easily switch from band shirts and headphones to dress shirts and ties, we can all agree that oftentimes it feels like it takes all our time and energy just to keep up with an adult life’s pace.

With this being the case, it is easy to overlook something as vital as life insurance.  We are already juggling around so many other things.  Why tempt fate by throwing in another ball, right?  I will take care of that stuff somewhere down the road.  Besides, isn’t life insurance something retired people are supposed to be worrying about, not 20 to 30 year olds?

Nope.

The best time to get life insurance is while you are young.  But, regardless of your age, the time to get life insurance is now.  Contrary to what you may hear, life insurance isn’t something you start working on once you are getting up there in years.  Let me explain why.

The most prominent reason is that the older you start, the more your premiums will cost you.  In general, life insurance premiums get locked in when you start, while the amount of the premiums are based on your age when you start.  The premiums tend to have a slight increase based on your age up to age 40, but once you get past that, the increases go way up.  Starting while you are in your 20s versus your 50s or 60s could be the difference between paying $13 a month to $50 a month or more.

Make sure you consider this as well: the time between when we start working and when we retire are our prime earning years.  This is the time when we progress our career and save up the money to take care of ourselves and our loved ones once we decide to call it quits on our jobs.  I don’t want to be Mr. Negative here, but suppose the worst happens and you pass away well before you and your family were planning on?  What about all the money you would have been able to earn and save and provide for your family?  While life insurance doesn’t take away the pain of loss, it can at least mitigate the financial damage done by such a disaster.

Let’s be honest: one of the main reasons that we may choose to put this off is because money is generally a little tighter when we are younger.  So, while life insurance is cheaper if we start young, we may still think it is outside of the realm of financial possibility.  Usually, this isn’t the case.  Most people are actually pretty surprised to find out how cheap life insurance can be for young and healthy people.  Take the example from above.  Say your premiums are $15 a month for decent coverage.  That is about $.50 a day.  I think most of us should be able to afford safety and security for $.50 a day.

Life insurance is important.  No one like to think about their own mortality, but we need to face reality.  Sadly, we are not kids anymore.  It is time to make mature and responsible decisions to protect ourselves and those we care about.  We cannot allow ourselves to be without life insurance.  Now is the time.  Don’t put it off.  I promise you will be happy you didn’t.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Do I Need Life Insurance When I Retire?

Sweet, sweet retirement!  This is something I dare say most of us look forward to.  Finally a time to put down the workload and instead take up the sunhats and passports.  I don’t care what anyone says, Bermuda is lovely any time of year.

Once we finally get to that goal, one of the last things we want to worry about is our financial security.  Yet, perhaps this is when we need to consider it most.  As far as life insurance goes, there is a common belief that it is no longer needed once we reach retirement.  In some cases, this is true.  However, many of us may still find ourselves with a strong need for life insurance even after our working years.

The most obvious reason to keep your life insurance after retirement would be for income protection.  Just because we have retired does not mean our loved ones won’t experience a financial loss once we have kicked the bucket.   We need to ask ourselves “Would the people left behind after I die be stuck with a huge bill?  Would they experience a significant loss of income?”  If the answer to this is yes, then life insurance is definitely the way to go.

What about those of us that wouldn’t necessarily be leaving family in a difficult financial situation upon our death, but do not want them to have to deal with funeral planning/expenses or additional income to work with?  There are also the unexpected events to plan for.  We could all use a rainy day fund, right?  Life insurance like Sentinel’s Final Expense policies work perfectly to pay out to your beneficiary a flat amount for funeral costs or whatever else they might run into.  I know that after I am gone, I would like to leave my spouse with a final gift of sorts.  Maybe money to go on that trip with the kids in my memory, some work on the house, or maybe even just an emergency fund.  A final gesture of love, if you will.

Moving past this, there are those among us that reach retirement age but don’t have enough saved up to pay for our living expenses.  Again, life insurance can come to our rescue.  Many life insurance policies build up cash value alongside the death benefit.  You can borrow against this to fund your retirement.  However, you need to keep in mind that what you borrow does lower your death benefit, but this at least gives you the ability to continue to provide for your family during retirement.  I wouldn’t recommend using this as a first option, but if you are in this situation and you have been paying towards a life insurance policy for many years, it is typically an option available to you.

One final point I would like to make: Life insurance can be used as a safety net from retirement plan investment losses.  In the United States, a lot of us save up for retirement using investment options that either go up or down depending on the markets.  In the event of a stock market crash or downturn, we have the potential to lose painful amounts of money meant for our later years.  We can not control how the markets fluctuate, but we can use life insurance as described earlier to protect us regardless of the upticks and downturns on Wall Street.

The last thing any of us want to do is reach retirement and not find ourselves laying on a beach chair somewhere in the Caribbean without a care in the world (or maybe that’s just me?).  Whatever your retirement goals may be, life insurance can help you achieve them not only before but also during your retirement years.  Plan out your retirement goals and incorporate life insurance into them to make sure you and your loved ones are taken care of regardless of what happens.

Just something to think about the next time you’re fantasizing over a piña colada.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Does Life Insurance Cover Funeral Costs?

Death.  It is something that eventually comes for all of us.  Whether young or old, rich or poor, we all will eventually find ourselves slipping out of this life.  Believe me, this concept doesn’t excite me any more than it does you.  However, as we consider our inescapable mortality, we need to make sure that we are seeing the big picture: there’s a lot more at stake than just our own selves.

The last thing that any of us want to do when we kick the bucket is leave our loved ones with massive debts, such as a mortgage, college tuition, or basic living expenses.  Covering these types of expenses is the main idea behind life insurance.  But, there is one expense (and typically a large one) that we often fail to consider: funeral costs.  An average funeral in the United States can cost between $7,000 to $10,000.  Adding this to the expenses mentioned earlier could end up being catastrophic to your family’s finances.

Source: http://www.usurnsonline.com/funeral-resources/10-interesting-funeral-infographics/

Luckily, life insurance does exist, and it can indeed cover funeral costs.  In general, the way that life insurance works is like this: When a policy is issued, the policy owner chooses someone to be the beneficiary of the policy.  When the insured person passes away, this beneficiary submits a claim to the insurance company, and the insurance company pays them the proceeds.  From this point on, the beneficiary is free to use the funds as they deem appropriate, including for funeral expenses.

With this being the case, the real question becomes this: “Do i have enough coverage to pay for my funeral expenses?”.  It’s a little too common for beneficiaries to find out after the fact that the life insurance policy doesn’t cover everything that is needed or was planned for.  Without careful planning, there may be out-of-pocket expenses loved ones could get stuck with.  I would definitely encourage everyone with a life insurance policy to plan out their funeral beforehand with a funeral director.  Make sure you understand the specific costs of the services you want, and plan your life insurance policy with that in mind.  Some funeral homes will even allow you to assign them as the beneficiaries of a policy.  This way, the benefit is paid directly to them and you don’t even need to get involved during a difficult time.

To many of us, life insurance may seem quite expensive and perhaps not worth paying the premiums to later receive the promised payout.  While I would disagree with such a thought, I can understand larger premiums taking a toll on a family’s livelihood.  Insurance companies are aware of this, and many have created what is referred to as a Final Expense policy, where the benefits are designed to cover funeral costs and premiums are generally quite lower.  Sentinel Security Life offers such policies under our “New Vantage” life insurance products.  If this fits your needs more than having larger and more expensive coverage, seek out a Sentinel agent near you.

Life insurance is a great and powerful tool that can save families a lot of grief and headaches during a time that should be spent on more important matters.  Combined with a little bit of planning and thinking ahead, you can have all funeral costs taken care of and only concern yourself with making sure your policy stays current so it can be utilized when the time comes.  We all want to take care of our loved ones while we are on this earth.  Make sure that you are continuing to care for them even after you’re gone.  Use life insurance.  I promise you it’ll make a hard situation a little bit better.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Saying Goodbye to Dad

Losing my dad to cancer was one of the toughest things I have had to do. The emotional and physical toll the death of a loved one has on the individual and family is exhausting. If that is not enough, you then have the financial responsibility of planning a funeral fitting of your loved one.

We had some money. Dad had a life insurance policy, but because it was acquired less than two years before his passing, we only received $500; not much to work with. Mom told me that they had tried to plan ahead by purchasing the policies so the family wouldn’t have to worry about final expenses, but as life goes you can’t plan for cancer.

The funeral was a loving tribute to my dad as a husband, father, and military veteran.  The whole experience opened my eyes to a part of losing someone that I hadn’t thought about before…finances. I am glad my mom has a life insurance policy. After Dad passed away, we realized we needed to do something different so we purchased additional insurance for Mom to cover not only the burial but also any outstanding debt she may have when she passes.

Going through this process showed me that it is an easy process and the benefits are very high. The value of life insurance is not something we often think about but I’m so glad my parents started planning ahead. Having learned from this experience I will never again underestimate the importance of life insurance.

Blog written by: Revellie Pope, Senior Underwriter for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Life Insurance Awareness Month

The Life and Health Insurance Foundation (LIFE), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers make informed decisions about insurance has designated September as Life Insurance Awareness Month. Life insurance should be a necessary part of your family’s financial plan but unfortunately, up to 30 percent of US households have no life insurance whatsoever.*

Why is having life insurance so important? Ask yourself if your family could manage their financial needs without you. If the answer is no, then take a few moments to consider how life insurance could help ease the financial burden on them if you were suddenly not there to provide. While there are different types to choose from, most plans will pay your beneficiary a cash amount (called a death benefit) to take care of final expenses, burial costs, flowers, obituaries or any other cost they see fit. They may even choose to pay off lingering medical bills, tax debt or pay off the mortgage. It’s up to them.

After you’ve decided to purchase insurance, it’s important that you find a qualified and licensed insurance professional to help you pick a policy that best fits your needs. The LIFE foundation offers several helpful tools on their website that can help you figure out what kind of insurance you need, how much of it you need and what important questions to ask before purchasing an insurance product. Sentinel also has many licensed agents in your area and we have specialized in final expense insurance since 1948. Sentinel offers three whole life plans which upon qualifying, can accommodate you at every stage of your life, whether you are raising a family or enjoying retirement with your spouse. Sentinel has been offering peace-of-mind and security to our clients for over 60 years.

Please visit us at www.sslco.com or call 800.247.1423 if you would like a Sentinel agent referral or if you’re looking for more information.

Blog written by: Amy Mullen, Marketing Communications Manager for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

*Source:
1. 2012 Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) webpage, http://www.lifehappens.org/life-insurance-awareness-month/

 

Why Sentinel?

As President of Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company, I’m often asked, why I stand behind this company? Why Sentinel?

We have our business answers of course. We have been serving the needs of the senior community for over 60 years by offering affordable final expense whole life policies to ease the stress of losing a loved one. We’ve expanded our product line to include Medicare Supplement and Select Options and just last year, we released our fixed annuity product that offers our customers some of the highest crediting ratings around. Those are all great reasons to choose Sentinel but I like to focus on one of our greatest company assets: our people.

Visit our corporate office in Salt Lake City, Utah and on every floor, at least three to four of our home office employees have been with our company for 20+ years—some of them for over 30 years. Why do our people stay so long? Because they love what they do—they work hard to provide the absolute best customer service in the industry and they help our senior clients find the peace-of-mind and security that they are looking for. Our people are what make Sentinel stand out from the crowd.

If you aren’t familiar with Sentinel Security Life Insurance, I encourage you to check out our website at http://www.sslco.com where you will find a common list of Frequently Asked Questions about our products and services. Even better, give us a call at the corporate office (855-478-4037). Our wonderful people will be here to answer.

Blog written by: Earl Tate, President of