Finally, we all have to think about how we will pay for the end of life expenses of a loved one, or even our own. When you sell final expense insurance, you can give your clients the peace of mind that they and their families are prepared for the future. You can also capitalize on a great opportunity to maximize your book of business and create a generous new source of income! Are you ready to learn everything you need to know to start selling final expense insurance successfully?
understand the basics
No one likes to think about their own death, but the fact is that funerals and burials don’t come cheap. depending on the situation and one’s personal preferences, they can actually cost thousands of dollars. In 2017, the national average cost of a funeral with a wake and burial was $7,360, according to the National Association of Funeral Directors. Final expense insurance can help someone ensure that their last wishes regarding their end-of-life ceremony and final resting place can be carried out by the loved ones they leave behind.
Reading: How to sell funeral insurance
what is final expense insurance?
Final expense insurance, also known as “burial insurance” or “funeral insurance,” is a type of permanent life insurance. Instead of providing income replacement for loved ones (as most life insurance policies do), final expense insurance is intended to cover costs associated with wake, funeral, and cremation or cremation. burial of the policyholder. however, legally, beneficiaries can often use the policy payout to pay whatever they want.
Final expense policies are typically written for people ages 50 to 85, but can also be written for people younger or older. this type of insurance often has a lower face value than other whole life insurance policies, usually between $5,000 and $25,000, but death benefits can be as high as $100,000.
what costs can final expense insurance cover:
- medical bills
- transfer of remains to funeral home and/or cemetery
- body preparation
- coffins or urns
- burial plots
- use of facilities and personnel for wake and/or funeral
- commemorative printed packages
- other expenses at the end of life
- If a non-accidental death occurs in the first year, the insurer may only pay 30 percent of the death benefit.
- If a non-accidental death occurs in the second year, the insurer may pay only 70 percent of the death benefit.
- For a non-accidental death in year three or later, the insurer would likely pay 100 percent of the death benefit.
- If a non-accidental death occurs in year one or two, the insurer will return the premiums paid, plus 10 percent interest on those premiums.
- For a non-accidental death in year three or later, the insurer would likely pay 100 percent of the death benefit.
In general, final expense insurance itself isn’t difficult to learn, with low face amounts, low premiums, and simplified underwriting. final expense quotes are generally short, and the target market and need for this product is extensive.
types of final expense insurance
There are four main types of final expense insurance: guaranteed issue, rated, modified, and level (standard or preferred rating). We’ll go into more detail about each of these product types, but you can get a quick understanding of the differences between them through the table below.
Guaranteed issue final expense plan applications are generally fairly straightforward with no health-related questions. Insurers that provide these products often limit issue ages, offer reduced face values, and modify death benefits by offering a return of premium plus an interest rate for the first two or three years of the policy. Many guaranteed issue final expense policies do not come with riders. the premiums for these products are usually the highest you will find. you have guaranteed coverage, but at the highest rate.
Guaranteed issue final expense plans are generally issued to clients with serious or multiple health conditions that would prevent them from obtaining insurance with a standard or graduated rating. These health conditions may include (but are not limited to) kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, active cancer treatments, and life-limiting illnesses. Often times, these prospects have difficulty performing activities of daily living (ADLs) or are in nursing homes. In addition, clients of this type of plan could have serious criminal or legal histories.
It is important to note that some companies will offer better issue ages: from 40 years to 85 years for guaranteed issue policies. some will also allow higher face values, up to $40,000, and others will provide better death benefit terms by improving the interest rate with return of premium or lowering the number of years until a full death benefit is available. There are even companies that will offer additional riders, such as chronic illness and accidental death riders.
qualified and modified final expense
Modified and qualified final expense plans are very similar, but no two modified or qualified final expense plans are the same. some companies will offer policies that have issue ages as low as 20 years and up to 89 years, with face values as high as $50,000.
Scheduled final expense policies typically have a two-year waiting period before the insurer pays the full death benefit to a beneficiary. Some insurers do not pay a full death benefit on the graduated policy until the fourth year. If the non-accidental death occurs before two years, the policy will only pay a percentage of the death benefit. for example:
Modified final expense policies, similar to graduated plans, look at health conditions that would place your client on a more restrictive modified plan. these may include recent alcoholism, angina, stroke, aneurysm, or cancer. With modified policies, there is typically a two-year waiting period before the insurer pays the full death benefit to a beneficiary.
If the non-accidental death occurs before two years, the policy will only pay the return of the premium plus a percentage of declared interest. for example:
Modified or qualified final expense policies aren’t just for older customers. In general, you will find that clients who qualify for modified or graduated final expense plans generally have less than perfect health and a specific health problem that is recent or chronic in nature and would prevent them from obtaining a standard or more traditional full life. politics. for example, they may have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes with high insulin levels, or have had heart attacks in the past. some products have specific health problems that will receive preferential treatment by the carrier. For example, there are insurers that will write policies for young adults between the ages of 20 and 30 who may have chronic diseases such as diabetes.
end-benefit level traditional simplified expense or issuance all life
Typically, traditional level benefit final expense plans or simplified issue whole life plans have the cheapest premiums and the greatest availability of riders that customers can add to policies. this type of product generally provides the greatest flexibility in the form of issue age and face value and, in some exceptional cases, participating dividends.
Although typical final expense insurance companies have age limits, there are companies that see their traditional whole life products not only for use as final expenses, but also as insurance policies available to all types of groups of people. age, including youth, young adults, and clients seeking protection and investment opportunities. traditional whole life insurance products can go up to $100,000 in a simplified format and can start at age 0, so these products can be very versatile in meeting a client’s needs.
Unlike modified, qualified, or guaranteed-issue final expense plans, traditional final expense plans are typically for clients in good or excellent health. Depending on the insurance company, both a preferred rate class and a standard rate class may be offered. a customer in excellent health with no prescription drugs or current health conditions may qualify for a preferred rate class with the lowest possible premiums. a client in good health, including some maintenance medications, but with no significant health issues, may qualify for standard rates. Also, since these types of policies may be written out of a true final expense need, an illustration may be required to accompany an application.
Note: In a “participating policy” (also known as an “par” policy), the insurance company shares excess profits (divisible surplus) with the policyholder in form of annual dividends. These “refunds” are generally not taxable because they are considered a premium surcharge (or “base reduction”).
how final expense insurance works
In general, final expense insurance works similarly to other forms of life insurance. If your client applies for a policy, they may or may not be approved, depending on the plan they applied for and any other qualifying factors. If your client purchases a policy, you must name at least one beneficiary. When your client dies, your final expense policy will pay the living beneficiaries you have designated. Let’s take a quick look at how final expense premiums, underwriting, payees, and payments work.
premiums at a glance
As with other insurance products, what your clients will pay for a final expense insurance policy depends on the company, plan, and state. Your client’s health, gender, and age may also be important factors in determining your premium(s). Similar to other life insurance policies, if your clients smoke, use other forms of tobacco or nicotine, have pre-existing health conditions, or are male, they will likely have to pay a higher rate for a final expense policy. Also, the older your client, the higher your rate for a plan, since insurance companies believe they are taking on more risk when they offer to insure older clients.
As you sell final expense policies, you’ll see that there are three main types of premiums for these plans: single, limited, and lifetime. Lump-sum policies require policyholders to pay the full cost of the policy up front, while limited-payment policies allow the policyholder to pay for the policy over a set number of years (usually 20 or fewer). With pay-for-life policies, policyholders pay a monthly or annual premium for the policy until they die or decide they no longer want to continue with the policy.
The nice thing about final expense insurance premiums is that once your clients have purchased a policy, your rates will never go up. That’s because final expense plans have level (or “fixed”) premiums. the policy will also remain in force as long as the policyholder pays their premium(s).
an introduction to subscription
While many other life insurance policies may require medical exams, paramedics, and attending physician statements (apss), final expense insurance policies do not. That’s one of the best things about final expense plans. At most, applicants must answer health and prescription drug questions on paper and/or complete a phone interview. in other words, little to no subscription required!
That said, there are two main subscription types for final expense plans: simplified issue and guaranteed issue. With simplified issue plans, customers typically only have to answer a few medical questions and may be denied coverage by the insurance company based on those answers. By contrast, guaranteed issue plans generally do not require the applicant to answer any medical questions. The applicant is guaranteed approval of a guaranteed issue final expense policy as long as they qualify for it. The following diagram outlines the differences and similarities between the simplified and guaranteed issuance plans.
Note: Traditional whole life plans that offer simplified issue underwriting will have a longer underwriting than standard, graduated, or modified final expense plans.
Although underwriting isn’t as intense for final expense plans, it’s still important for agents to ask their final expense prospects about their health and prescription drug history. On the one hand, this can allow agents to discover what type of plan subscription would work best for a particular customer. and two, it helps agents narrow down their customers’ choices. Some companies may disqualify customers for coverage based on the drugs they are taking and for how long or why they have been taking them (ie maintenance or treatment). other companies disqualify customers or charge higher rates if they have or have had diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, or a heart attack. The number of years insurers review applicants’ medical histories for certain conditions varies, but is often two to five years.
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Learn more about the art of selling final expense insurance in our free eBook!
The complete guide on how to sell final expense insurance makes selling final expense insurance easy for beginners and professionals looking to earn more in commissions! Within its 57 pages, you’ll find information on the types of plans available, acquiring final expense tracks, obtaining licenses to sell final expense, hiring providers, selling final expense insurance over the phone, quoting plans, customer enrollment and much more!
At ritter insurance marketing, our primary goal is to help agents grow their businesses quickly, efficiently and compliantly. We’re committed to being your number one source for information on selling health insurance and supplement plans, whether you’re one of the nearly 12,000 agents who already trust and work with our company or not. We’ve specialized in the senior life and health insurance markets for more than 23 years, and our company leaders have even more first-hand experience selling in the field. With this guide, we seek to provide all insurance agents with access to free comprehensive training, which includes a ton of useful and accurate information relevant to today’s market.
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