Life Insurance

September 2, 2020
life insurance

Spoken to Your Life Insurance Broker Lately? If Not, You Should.

You may think of life insurance as a “one and done” type of deal. You meet with a broker to discuss your goals and beneficiaries, attain coverage and pack the policy away in your fire safe. However, life insurance is actually something that should evolve along with what it covers – your life! Too often we have clients who come to us with old policies that have not been serviced by their original broker. This lack of communication over the years causes issues when it comes time to manage the policy. The Wharton & Power Team has been reaching out to people who are holding policies that previous servicing agents have ignored. These conversations have uncovered some interesting situations to say the least, affirming the importance of staying on top of your life insurance. Identify Theft As policyholders age or become more reliant on others to manage their estate, they become more vulnerable to identity theft. We recently received a call from a person claiming to be the fiancé of a policyholder’s son. She was asking for private information about the policyholder. Since we do not have a relationship with this family, we had no idea if she was who she said she was and therefore could not help. Having a relationship with your life insurance broker who knows you and your family can help avoid these situations. Tax Implications Another policyholder we spoke to had been hanging on to his policy for over 50 years. He was looking to surrender it but doing so offered large tax implications. If his servicing agent had been working with him all along, he would have made changes to his coverage as his life progressed. Now he is stuck with a policy that no longer serves his needs and is presenting a financial burden. Significant Life Changes Divorce has tremendous financial implications, including life insurance policies. We spoke to a woman who still owned a policy on her now ex-husband. Their daughter is the beneficiary, but the policy had not been funded since the divorce. We helped our client decide if it was worth continuing that policy or start fresh with another type of coverage. Underfunded Policies One person we spoke to has had two life insurance agents in 6 years. He felt he was not being served well, so reached out to us. It turned out he was right – we discovered that his policy had been underfunded which he was not aware of. The changes in his brokers led to rollovers within his universal life policy which were not taken into account in his premiums. He had been making his payments as instructed but they were too low. The expected guaranteed payout that he had planned for was now in jeopardy. Fortunately, he reached out to us, brokers who have built their business on long-term client relationships. We are currently evaluating his position to uncover the best policy for his goals. Changes in the Life Insurance Industry We’ve been in business […]
May 27, 2020
life insurance

What You Need to Know to Purchase Term Life Insurance These Days

One thing we have all learned over the last few months is that life can change drastically in a very short time. It may be that you have been contemplating ways to protect your assets and loved ones if something else unexpected were to happen. Life insurance was created to do just that, so it may be a good idea to review your policies. However, just like everything else during the pandemic, the industry has changed. Below we offer some advice on how to approach purchasing term life insurance. What is Term Life Insurance Think of term life insurance like renting – you are paying each month without building equity in a home. The policy does not build a cash value, rather it covers you for a specific amount of time with level premiums. Typical terms run from 10 to 30 years and during that time you are covered for the stated amount of the policy if something happens. It is the most straight-forward life insurance product – set amount of time, set premiums, set benefit. Term Life Insurance Process Changes For the 18-60 age bracket, the biggest change in purchasing term life insurance is the underwriting, or risk assessment, process. It used to be that after submitting an application, a nurse would come to your home to take your blood pressure and draw blood for testing. Due to the pandemic, insurers are now instead reaching out to your doctors and reviewing your prescription history to determine your health risk. That assessment will determine both your eligibility for and the cost of your policy. Determining How Much Coverage You Need Most people who come to us looking for life insurance are doing so because they have a family to protect. At Wharton & Power Insurance, we work with our clients to determine how much coverage they need to provide for their loved ones. Our approach follows an income replacement formula. For example, what happens if you as the breadwinner dies unexpectedly?  What needs to happen immediately to ensure that things stay as close to “normal” in this new normal? The first concern is replacing your lost income. Say you make $100,000 per year. Financial planners suggest you follow a 4% ratio, meaning 4% being the max you can take out of an investment account to sustain the principal over your family’s lifetime. In this scenario, you would need a $2.5 million term life policy to replace the $100,000 per year income. Term life insurance is one of the least expensive ways to protect your family for the unexpected. If you consider the amount of money you will make over your career, your family is looking at missing out on millions of dollars of income. At Wharton & Power Insurance, our goal is to find the right policy for your situation, and one that will sustain your family for a long period of time. If you would like more information on term life insurance, send us an email or give us […]
February 28, 2020
personal insurance

Downsizing? Don’t Forget About Changing Your Insurance Coverage Too

Each cycle of life brings its own considerations when it comes to protecting your assets. If you are considering downsizing, you will want to talk to your insurance broker about what that change will mean to your insurance coverage. Whether you are buying a smaller home or renting, or selling valuables or gifting them to family, this new phase also brings new situations to consider. Renting vs Buying a Smaller Home If you are like our typical clients, you are selling a large family home to move into smaller, more manageable space. If you choose to buy one of the new homes popping up in this area, you are most likely spending 85% of the value of the home you sold. So, there is little savings when it comes to homeowner’s insurance. Renting is also an option for many downsizers, and in this situation, significant savings can be found. Renter’s insurance covers the contents of the home only – wall-to-wall, ceiling to floor. Most landlords require renter’s and liability insurance, which will still be less than insuring a large home. Fun Yet Expensive Toys The toys you once enjoyed with your kids and friends – wave runners, boats, motorcycles – are now sitting idle in the garage or storage. It may not make sense to keep these items around since they increase your overall liability and therefore your costs. And, if those toys are older, you may end up paying premiums higher than their value. You may want to consider selling rarely used items. You can always rent them for that annual family event. Jewelry Schedule Most likely you have a jewelry schedule attached to your homeowner’s insurance that has not been looked at for a long time. Perhaps you have given pieces away and no longer need to insure them. Or, as prices of gems and precious metals have changed, it may be that your special pieces are over- or under-insured. This time of change offers a good opportunity to reevaluate, ensuring you are appropriately covering what you still own. Antiques, Collections and Other Valuables Downsizing tends to lead to getting rid of things, some of which may be of value. If you are selling or gifting things like antiques, art pieces, silverware, or place settings, you no longer have to insure them! And, just like jewelry, you may be holding on to an article whose value has changed, leaving you over- or under-insured. Life Insurance Coverage The kids are no longer depending upon you, college is paid for, and the balance of your large mortgage has been significantly reduced. Do you still need a $1.5 million term-life policy? It may make sense to reduce that insurance coverage and therefore your premium. That way, you are still leaving wealth behind for your beneficiaries, but saving a bit more for enjoying your life right now. The downsizing phase of life is a significant moment of change, making it a good time to reevaluate if your insurance dollars are providing accurate […]
March 4, 2015
Man and his child, Life Insurance Policy Changes Wharton Insurance

Does Your Life Insurance Policy Really Cover What You Think It Does?

Many years ago you did good thing by purchasing life insurance to protect your family and your assets. However, do you know if the coverage and value of that policy are still valid today? Changes in your life over 40, 20 or even 10 years can greatly affect your insurance policies. Did you know that the typical person purchases life insurance seven times in their lifetime? These reevaluations allow your policies to reflect changes in life style, marital status, cost of living, projected income, etc. If you have outdated insurance policies, the goals you had in mind when you originally bought them may not come to fruition. Potential Life Changes that Can Affect Your Insurance Policies: Address Changes – Although it may seem simple to update your address, you might be surprised by the large number of “return to senders” there are in the insurance world. When insurance issuers do not have a current address, updates are not sent, making it even easier for policy owners to forget they have the policy. After some time, these lost policies are sent to the state unclaimed property division, rather than paying out to the beneficiaries. Also, we find that once a policyholder moves out of state, the policies tend to go unclaimed. Beneficiary Changes – When life insurance was purchased long ago, the owners can forget whom they designated to receive the benefits of their policy. Perhaps a primary or contingent beneficiary has died, or there has been a divorce. Updating your policy ensures your original intentions are carried out. Ownership updates – In some cases, the policy owner is not the insured. This situation is common in such cases as 1) an ex-spouse may hold ownership of a life insurance policy on his/her ex-spouse, or 2) a business owned policy where legal contracts are being enforced and the standing given to certain individuals in the original policy is no longer valid. It is important to review ownership of your policies to help keep surprises at a minimum when it comes time to submit a claim. Amount of coverage – We see many cases where people purchased policies 30+ years ago based on their life circumstances at that time. Costs go up over time. These outdated policy owners now find themselves underinsured, where the payout of the original policy no longer covers the costs they were intended for, like funeral expenses. We recently had a client face this issue: Our client’s mom and dad bought a policy in 1949 for $1000 to cover their funeral and final expenses. Unfortunately her dad’s end-of life care left our client paying $3,700 per month out-of-pocket. Now that he has passed, she will need to come up with the funeral expenses as well, of which that $1,000 will be a drop in the bucket. Because her parents were underinsured, she must now to go into debt to honor her father’s memory. Reevaluating your insurance coverage from time to time as life evolves can help you leave […]
January 28, 2015
life insurance

How to Ensure Your Beneficiaries Receive the Benefits of Your Life Insurance Policies

There is one thing in life you can count on – unexpected things happen. When they do, our lives and the lives of our loved ones can get hectic. Fortunately, you have taken the step to protect your family by investing in life insurance. However, how do you know that your policy will work as expected? Does anyone but you know about your insurance policies? It is important to organize your policies for your family. We have run into many cases where people have innocently ignored their insurance policies, not making their executor aware of them or losing paperwork. When no one knows of the opportunity to make a claim, it is not processed, and beneficiaries do not receive their benefits. Why pay for protection that will end up going to waste? A recent experience of one of our clients provides a clear case for why organization is necessary. Our client’s health has been in decline over the past few years due to MS. His daughter has been trying to organize and understand the benefits of a Life Insurance policy that he purchased over 40 years ago while finishing his residency in medical school, but has been running into a lot of complexities because the policy has been ignored. While working through this issue, she found the “Policyholder Service Checklist” we had sent her father about his life insurance policy. If she had not found our notice, she would have had no idea that he had a policy in effect and potentially would not have filed a claim when the time came. Fortunately, she reached out to us and we are helping her sort through all of the policies her father put in place to help her. If her father had organized his policies and we had been given her contact information in the first place, there would have been little chance that his polices would have become so hard to locate and understand. Adding a secondary contact person to your accounts will help ensure the goals of your insurance vehicles are achieved. We recommend that you contact your servicing provider on your life insurance policies, and provide them with the contact information for your designated secondary contact person. Creating a relationship with your provider will allow them to help when the ultimate need of the policy arises – such as paying for a nursing home or processing a death benefit claim. At WIFSInc we routinely work with designated power of attorneys, lawyers and family members to ensure our clients’ wishes are fulfilled. For more information on setting up a secondary contact person for your life insurance policies,  please send us an email at or give us a call at 317.663.4138.
December 10, 2014
life insurance for businesses

What Happens to Your Business if Something Happens to You?

You are the leader of your organization, the one who sets the direction and ensures that everyone stays on course. Even if you have created a talented team for support, your organization still needs a captain at the helm. So what happens if you are no longer able to lead? For the health of the business you have worked so hard to build, you need a plan in place. Life insurance is commonly included in business succession plans as a tool to perpetuate the business, guide ownership changes, and/or protect lender interests. Each area has its own set of considerations, outlined below: Perpetuate the Business: In the case of the untimely death of an organizational leader, life insurance can help fund a plan to keep the business running and therefore, maintain its value. While it is not possible to insure receivables, organizations can insure the ability to bring someone in to support its operations. Businesses buy Key Man life insurance policies to cover the costs of attracting or retaining key individuals to fill leadership roles, and to keep them in place for a period of time. The policies are paid for and owned by the business, which is also the beneficiary. The death benefits of these policies tend to be set at 2-3 times the expected initial costs to help ensure funding lasts through the transition period. Additionally, these funds can be used to retain valued employees who could become a competitive threat if they left the organization. Direct the Transfer of Ownership: In some cases, when a key person in a business passes away, his or her share of the organization is transferred to their surviving spouse. This situation can get tricky for other partners, as the spouse may not know much about the organization, or may be mostly concerned about income. A life insurance policy owned and paid for by the company can be used to redeem a spouse’s shares in the business. The spouse receives the value of the shares and the company retains 100% ownership. The company leadership is then in complete control of the succession plan, allowing them to reinvest the capital into the organization. Policies set for businesses comprised of many partners can get quite complicated, as they are trying to protect multiple interests. Guarantee a Bank Loan: To borrow money from a bank to buy or start a business, or to fund a capital expenditure, an individual or organization may be required to carry life insurance to guarantee the loan would be repaid in the case of a death. Underlying all of these situations is the question of how best to insure the value of a person or business. Obviously in the case of the bank loan, the policy is based on the loan balance. However in terms of the Key Man and Transfer of Ownership policies, the methodology becomes more complex. CPAs tend to work out the valuation on which the policy is based along with negotiations between affected parties. The WIFS […]
Request a Consult