So there I was, in the middle of another hot summer day in Dallas on my way to Ft. Worth to help a young Arkansas family who recently moved there for the husband’s new job. The year was 1999 and I was thoroughly enjoying the fruits of hard work for our health insurance agency that began in a basement in the late 80′s and now stood as the fourth largest agency in the country for our health carrier. It was a time to embrace our prosperity after many years of trying to find a marketing plan that would produce positive results. My prospects were the husband age 34, the wife age 29 and their one year old baby girl. They were going to get benefits from the employer after a 6 month waiting period so I came out to place them on an affordable short term major medical plan to protect them in case of a catastrophic event. (Little did I know that the events that would shortly take place would turn my life and career upside down.)
There was nothing unusual about my time with this sweet young couple. I just completed the application among small talk about the great fishing and boating available in their home state and what to expect from living in the area known as the Metroplex. The Dallas-Ft.Worth area is a wonderful place to live. As I got up to leave I thanked them for their business and told them I enjoyed my visit and I would deliver the policy within a week or two. Then….it happened! Something came over me when I saw their baby girl on the floor. I had one foot out the door and suddenly I asked them “By the way, how are you guys set for life insurance, are you OK with that?” They glanced at each other and the husband looked back at me and said “Randy, we don’t even have any, get your butt back in here!” I placed them both on a $250,000 (20) year term policy that cost them less than $40 a month total and really didn’t think much about it after delivering the policies outside the normal feeling that an agent gets when they know they did the right thing by protecting the family’s financial future. This was an unusual case for me because I never really pushed life insurance even though I grew up in the business watching my father and uncle deliver policies to Iowa farmers for decades. The only time I ever sold it is when I was asked about it by my health insurance clients.
Fast forward 11 months. It was a beautiful Saturday in Dallas and I was looking forward to doing some boating and then just hanging out in the Uptown area before heading to a ballgame with friends. Unlike most Saturdays, I decided to check my mail. The first thing that grabbed my eye was a strange brown envelope which came from the life insurer I had been using for years. I immediately opened it. Inside was a one page letter informing me that the husband I had written up last summer in Ft. Worth had just DIED! I started shaking as I felt a sick feeling in my stomach swell up. I dropped the letter and went over and sat down on a curb by the mailbox. A friend noticed me and came over to say hello and she asked me if I was OK. I showed her the letter and upon reading it she quickly gave it back to me and said “so sorry” and walked away.
For the next 2 weeks I slept very little, tossing and turning at night while wondering where this widow would be right now if I had not asked the question that day in Ft. Worth. I guess it wouldn’t have affected me as much if I had brought life insurance up while sitting at their kitchen table but that wasn’t the case. The briefcase was closed and I literally had one foot out the door when I asked them the question.
Where would this widow be right now if I never brought the subject of life insurance up?
COMPLETELY DESTROYED FINANCIALLY along with the normal grieving process she would now have to endure. What a horrific scenario for such a young mother to handle! Instead, she would soon receive a tax-free check for $250,000 to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life as well as her young daughter’s future!
My lessons were many from this event. How many families have I left unprotected because I didn’t ask them about LIFE INSURANCE? Before this, I never fully realized how valuable what I did for a career was. I mean I had witnessed my father attending funerals for his many farmer clients amid knowing that the farms would stay in the family, kids would attend college, mortgages would be paid off, all debts would be wiped out and there would be plenty of cash for the loved ones to survive on. (ALL because someone in the family, with an agent’s help cared enough to OWN LIFE INSURANCE!)
In addition to this 1999 event, in 2005 I received an email from a female friend requesting donations from everyone she knew. I printed her email as a lesson to married women everywhere. You see, her sister’s husband had just passed away at the age of 44 from a brain tumor and they had just found out he had NO LIFE INSURANCE AT ALL! This husband left his wife and 3 kids with no safety net or financial security by not caring enough about his family to OWN Life Insurance! I started to think deeply about this. Was this the husband’s fault? Or….. was this really the wife’s fault?
I came to the conclusion that this was in fact the wife’s fault because she should have DEMANDED life insurance protection for herself and her children. If a husband is neglecting the life insurance subject it is up to the wife to DEMAND protection! After all, it is her life that will suffer if her husband is not around to provide income for her family. Haunted by this incident which brought back the memory of what happened 5 years earlier, I would go to the park at night and think about what I could do with my career to focus on getting married women to stay on top of their husband’s life insurance protection. The answer eventually came. I would need a website created that would target married women to ask themselves the very important questions found on the home page of this site. So….I must ask you, ARE YOU A SMART WIFE???
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