Case Design - Getting back to our roots

Remember when you were studying to get your life insurance license? You learned about term, whole life, UL and IUL. We gained the basic understanding of how these types of insurances worked. There were even some hypothetic situations where you had to choose which product best server the client’s situation.

What we didn’t learn was case design to meet clients’ needs. You have an idea of which product, but that is where, for most agents, the knowledge ends. This is where you reach out to your manager or the marketing departments of the carriers or both.

Depending on the situation the answer may be needed on the spot, you’re gathering information over the phone and are setting an appointment for a later date, or this is a two-call close and you are in the information gathering meeting (the first call).

There are two steps in case design – need and health. Although very different, neither can bring success without the other. Need relates to the goal of the client. What are trying to achieve? For some clients that’s the industry buzz words – Final Expense, Mortgage Protection, or Estate Planning. For others it might be paying for a child’s college, saving for retirement etc.

Whatever the “need” it’s our responsibility to find out all we can based on their answer or request. Meaning, if it’s college tuition, you need to know when they’ll need the money, how much they’re estimating, and how much they have to contribute or do they want the cash value to pay the whole bill.

Estate planning questions might be which part of the estate do they want to protect. Is it a family with a sizable estate and they need to provide a way to pay the estate tax? Do they wish to create an estate for children? The other marketing buzz words are no different. You need to ask questions finding out all you can and above all listen.

Once you have a clear understanding of what they are looking for the next step is asking in depth health questions. Remember, regardless of the need everything is a life insurance policy. The policy is what meets the need. Those policies can be anything from simplified issue whole life (SIWL), limited pay whole life, IUL, etc.

For final expense this is relatively simple. Meds for the past two years either currently taking or discontinued because the policy most likely will be SIWL; record the answers to medical questions on the application and you’re all set. For mortgage protection you’re going to do the same, however, you’re looking for the past eight to ten years. These policies can be anything from simplified issue term to traditional term to UL and IUL.

The same holds true to any market you are working; to any marketing buzz words your client mentions. Our responsibility to find out the need and choose, from our bag of available policy types, which one fits the need and which of those the client qualifies for medically.

If your intention is to work with a carriers marketing department to help you case design, then the first step is to do a risk assessment based on the answers you’ve gathered. Ask the underwriter which product(s) will this client qualify for. Next is choose which product, again based on basic product knowledge, you think fits the need.

From there, it’s off to the marketing department or your manager to illustrate the case design. When it comes to case design and choosing the product, outside of SIWL and term a signed illustration is required for all cash value life insurance. When done properly the illustration becomes a tangle form your client can visualize the needs being met and in some cases, exceed their expectations.

Couple the “proof of concept” of meeting their needs with an A-rated carrier brochure on the product and you’ve made a very compelling case for your client to take the next step. Through this process you may have realized I’ve neglected to mention two things – which carrier and cost.

When you have successfully met and hopefully exceeded your client’s expectations which is selling the “need” cost is pretty much a non-issue. Selling life insurance based on cost especially for complicated case design is the quickest way to lose the sale. In the final expense market and mortgage protection it’s the quickest way to be replaced.

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