Life Insurance and Living Insurance: You Need Both

2020 was a tough year for all of us. Like many Americans, I struggled both with my finances and with my sanity. Working from home in a new one-man independent insurance firm while simultaneously solo parenting a demanding toddler…it felt like the end of the world.

We are emerging from the dark shadows of the past year and a half into the light of an open economy. Like many of you, I’m hoping for the second post-pandemic Roaring 20s in as many centuries. I hope that the pain of 2020-2021 becomes a distant memory.

The pain can be stored somewhere alongside the canned food and surgical masks from the past year, but the lessons should remain front and center in our collective consciousness. Millions learned what happens when reliable income streams are cut off. Hundreds of thousands lost loved ones to this tragic pandemic. Thousands more are still experiencing the lingering symptoms of Long Covid, and just want to be able to taste a meal or take a deep breath again without pain.

This year has demonstrated, beyond a doubt, the need for both life insurance and living insurance. What’s the difference? What’s the best fit for your family? I’ll break down the options below.

Life Insurance

Depending on where you’re at in life, you’re going to need either term life or whole life options, and sometimes both. Term life is important for young and middle-aged families. It’s designed to replace your income with a large death benefit in the event that you’re gone. You’ll be gone but your family’s expenses will remain. When you bought your home, you calculated how much house you could afford. That likely was dependent on both your income and your partner’s income. If your income is no longer in the picture, term life will replace it. Your family will be able to focus on their grief instead of that huge deficit in your finances. It’s also a lot cheaper than whole life, because term life expires after a specified length of time. I recommend to my clients to have a personal policy, outside of your workplace, that covers you through your highest-earning years and can pay off the remaining amount on your mortgage, plus other expenses such as tuition payments, utilities, debts, etc. At the very least, 1-3 years of your salary can help your family immensely during a difficult time.

Whole life is important after your term policy has expired. This builds cash value and the death benefit will be paid to your beneficiaries no matter when you pass away. I sell a few policies that actually combine term and whole into one policy, with a large death benefit covering the highest-earning years and then 10% of that death benefit as a final expense policy if you outlive the term. However you choose to approach it, you don’t want to leave your family with a 10-15K bill for your final expenses. Once you’ve made it to your golden years, a final expense policy is a responsible step to take. The best way to make this a lot cheaper for your children would be to get a juvenile whole life policy when they’re young. They can take over the premium payments when they’re on their own and they can pay $5-10/month for 20-30K of whole life coverage until they’re in their 90s and be the envy of their retirement communities.

Any option you choose is better than the alternative of your family members putting up a Go Fund Me page to attempt to pay for your final expenses and/or replace your future income. Just like the old jar at the end of the bar in my college pub, there will never be enough inside for what your family needs.

Living Insurance

The worst thing that can happen for your family’s budget is not your death. It’s a disabling illness or injury that takes away your ability to earn an income and creates enormous medical expenses for your family. Life insurance replaces your income. Living insurance protects it. There is an important difference. Life insurance is for your family. Living insurance is for both you and your family.

In a previous post, I discuss how disability insurance is a vital cog in anyone’s family budget. Federal disability won’t cover what you require, and to qualify, you have to demonstrate that you are unable to perform ADLs (activities of daily living). Your job might have some disability built into your contract, but they won’t continue to pay benefits for years down the road. If you are a skilled stone mason or surgeon and develop early arthritis, you’ll be able to get in and out of the shower and make yourself a meal, but you won’t be able to continue in your chosen career path. If you’re one of the thousands of Americans who experience health events like cancer, Parkinson’s, or a stroke, you could be looking at a long road to recovery, or learning to live with a chronic and difficult condition. That’s not even counting the thousands who experience accidents and injuries that leave them in the no-man’s land of being unable to qualify for federal disability but also unable to continue in their chosen career path.

For living insurance, you’ve got several options. You can secure a long-term disability policy to protect your income against any illness or injury. If you know that you have a family history of cancer, a cancer policy could be an affordable option to protect your income and keep cash coming in while you focus on your fight. If heart attacks and strokes are on your family history GPS, you can get a critical illness policy. If you’re near or approaching retirement age, a long-term care policy can protect the legacy you’ve built in the event you require months or years of care in a nursing home.

Final Thoughts

Most folks know they need life insurance, even if they are procrastinating on getting the coverage they need. The larger vulnerability is living insurance. If you’d like to see what’s available for you, I’m an independent agent who will work for you instead of the insurance company. Give me a call or text and in 24-48 hours, I’ll have a summary of options in your hands.

Rudolph Lurz has over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida (and can provide referrals for customers in other states). He focuses primarily on life insurance, supplemental health insurance, disability insurance, and annuities. He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat. He can be reached at lurzinsurance@gmail.com or with a text/call at 540-520-3069.

Look at the Duck

Aflac’s brand recognition is nearly unmatched. The Aflac Duck is in the Advertising Hall of Fame. Folks know the name, but many have no idea what they do.

My primary customers are small businesses with 3-25 employees. These folks run the American economy. They know how to make a budget, and are quite aware of what they can and cannot afford. They would like to provide more benefits to their employees but don’t know how to make it work financially. Dental and Medical insurance are maybes. Life insurance is most often out of the question. They keep their base of operations small because they can’t afford to make bad hires. Every decision is carefully considered and budgeted.

It would be nice if some larger companies (and state governments) operated the same way.

But that’s neither here nor there. The point I’m making is this: The exact same business owners that would benefit the most from Aflac don’t know what Aflac does.

That’s why I’m writing. If you own a business, it’s time to take a look at the Duck.

1.) You don’t have to pay for it

                This is the most common misconception about Aflac I get when I go into a business. Shields go up and the business owner tells me, “I can’t afford to add any more insurance options right now.”

                This is especially true if the owner is already paying for health or dental.

                Aflac is supplemental. It pays employees directly when life strikes with a blindside hit. Employees choose and pay for their policies. Payments are deducted out of their paychecks, often pre-tax.

                The business owner doesn’t have to pay a dime.

2.) Aflac provides benefits your employees need

                Many of my clients are in construction or contracting. They do the work that powers America, and has continued powering America even as the rest of the country has shut down due to the pandemic.

                If I break my thumb tomorrow, I’ll come to work with a cast and a story. My clients would be out a paycheck for 4-6 weeks. I also have much less of a chance of breaking my thumb than my clients. I stare at a computer screen most of the day. They spend their days busting through concrete or crawling under decks.

                Aflac’s accident policy puts cash in their pockets that could help them get through that period that they’re not at work. It could mean the difference between paying your bills on time and missing a mortgage payment.

                If I got Covid-19 or the flu, God forbid, I could do most of my work from home. Many of my clients, once again, would be out multiple paychecks. It takes months to qualify for federal disability. Aflac’s short-term disability policy can kick in the day of an accident or just a week after diagnosis of an illness. A half month of benefits could, once again, help employees make their truck payment while they’re waiting to get cleared to return to work.

                In short, workers need Aflac to protect their paychecks. They can get coverage for just 3-10 dollars a week, depending on how much protection they choose.

3.) Aflac helps with recruitment and retention

                It’s hard to find quality employees. Applicants want to see job postings that include benefits. If you add Aflac, you can advertise that. Just by saying, “We offer Aflac”, my clients have seen recruitment, retention, and morale improve.

                Employees who had little interest in adding Aflac for themselves were able to get cancer policies for their spouses and families. Folks who have no life insurance coverage can get it for just a few bucks a week, and don’t miss that small amount since it’s deducted directly from their paycheck. Families feel better when they have an affordable safety net underneath them. It’s easier to soar if you’re not staring into the abyss of the unknown.

                Happier employees and higher-quality recruits=less stress for business owners.

4.) It’s optional

                Few business owners enjoy arguing with employees about insurance. Trying to manage employees in different stages of their lives can feel like herding cats. When business owners hear the word, “Insurance”, they think they’ll have to be the referee in a fight to pick a single plan that everyone could be happy with, the way they often have to do for dental or major medical insurance.

                Put the striped referee shirt back in the closet. Aflac isn’t mandatory. If employees aren’t interested, they can say “no thanks” and move on with their days. You don’t have to get it, either. As long as there are three total people who get it, you’ve got yourself an Aflac account.

In conclusion, you have likely seen the Aflac Duck all over the place. Now that you know what it is, isn’t it time to learn more? Give me a shout. It’s certainly worth a 15-minute appointment to get more details.

540-520-3069

lurzinsurance@gmail.com

Rudolph_Lurz@us.aflac.com

Rudolph Lurz is a former teacher and football coach with over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida (and can provide referrals for customers in other states). He focuses primarily on life insurance, supplemental health insurance, disability insurance, and annuities. He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat.

Dental and Vision Direct

For years, I avoided the dentist and hoped for the best. I was a doctoral researcher without dental or vision insurance. I gritted my teeth and paid out of pocket for vision care. I also made my contact lenses last a lot longer than they were supposed to last. I realized by making my two-week disposable lenses last for a month, I could double my annual supply and go to the eye doctor every two years instead of annually.

I look back on those years and shake my head. Dental and vision insurance premiums are much cheaper than dental and vision emergencies out of pocket.

If you’re a 1099 independent contractor, you can make Lurz Insurance a one-stop shop for life, dental, vision insurance coverage. I’ve got dental plans under $30/month. That’s one Uber Eats or Door Dash meal every month. Vision even more affordable….$8-10/month depending on your state.

If you own a small business, I can provide options for you and your employees at no direct cost to the business. Give me a shout to find out how. It’s a lot easier than you think and doesn’t involve a mountain of paperwork.

Stop putting off needed dental trips until they turn into giant out of pocket bills. Don’t ignore the eye doctor and neglect your sight.

Give me a text or call today and we’ll get you covered.

540-520-3069.

lurzinsurance@gmail.com

Rudolph Lurz is a former teacher and football coach with over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida (and can provide referrals for customers in other states). He focuses primarily on life insurance, supplemental health insurance, disability insurance, and annuities. He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat.

The Grinch of Christmas Advertising Complaints

Grace with Strangers: Kindness is Key for Business Owners (and Clients) in a Pandemic

Like many parents, my wakeup call on Christmas morning came early. I always set my alarm for 6:20AM. My 22-month-old daughter gets up anytime between 6:30-7:30, and 6:20 normally lets me sneak downstairs and get some breakfast ready before she wakes up.

I tried to turn off the alarm. It seemed extra early and I was exhausted. Why wasn’t my cell phone turning off? I looked at the clock with bleary eyes.

4:13AM.

Why was my alarm going off at 4:13AM?! I tried again to swipe it off. The sound kept coming. I cringed, terrified that my daughter would wake up and the day would suck extra hard.

I realized it wasn’t my personal cell phone alarm. Someone was calling my business cell phone at 4:13AM on Christmas morning.

My wife was working overnight at the hospital. I was solo for daughter duty. Christmas was the last thing on my mind. First priority was making sure the day did not start at this ungodly hour. I hear the cat going crazy in the hallway. First sign of motion from the bedroom and he thinks it’s breakfast time. Now there’s a good chance he’s going to wake up my daughter with his howls unless I get my day started by opening the door and letting him into the master bedroom.

I tiptoe to the door and open it. The cat scream-meows in response. I shush him and scratch his ears, then sneak back to bed. I’m wide awake now. Cat is with me. He’s anxious and upset as well.

I pick up my work cell phone, which has mercifully stopped ringing. I see a voicemail. Might as well see what was so important.

It’s a woman who saw one of my cheap TV ads. She is yelling that I look creepy and need to change the camera angle and/or the lighting, or better yet, stop running them altogether because she thinks they’re gross.

I hit “SAVE” on the voicemail. Just in case she decides she’s going to complain to the local TV station, too. Anyone who’s insane enough to leave a rage-voicemail at 4AM on Christmas morning is likely also crazy enough to call the TV station itself.

There’s an embedded video on my website of my terrible TV ad. If you scroll to the bottom of my site you can see it and judge for yourself.

Ads that run from 12-5AM only cost 1-5 dollars in SW Virginia. It’s all I can afford as a one-man insurance firm on a tight budget. The analytics from my website show that they increase traffic more than digital ads on the channel’s website or even my own Facebook ads. If name recognition for my insurance firm grows because potential clients saw my cheesy ad at 3AM, then I’m going to keep running those cheesy ads at 3AM. Most folks have sent compliments on my ad and recognize it’s meant to be funny-leaning into the skid of a miniscule marketing budget. This is the first complaint I’ve received.

And it came like the Grinch on Christmas morning, threatening to destroy my entire day and my toddler’s 2nd Christmas.

When I told my wife about it, she said I should have called her back and sold her insurance. I rejected that idea rather forcefully. I had no desire to hear that woman’s voice ever again.

I have to do some cold-calling and cold-messaging to drum up sales, but I prefer to generate leads through content creation and advertising. I really don’t like cold-calling in general because I know that it’s intrusive. I recognize my prospects’ time is valuable and deliver my pitch as cleanly and respectfully as possible.

A rage voicemail at 4AM on Christmas Day is an entirely new level of intrusive. I’m a writer. I normally have words for all scenarios. I have no response to this.

My best response is this short article, written after months of reflection and a cool-down period following that very challenging morning.

March 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of the nationwide shutdown in response to Covid-19. It has been a difficult year. 2020 was a challenging time to start a business. 2020 was a challenging time to have Christmas. For many of us, we celebrated the holiday season in the same individual bunkers we first entered one year ago this month. There was a paucity of holiday cheer in December 2020. Clearly that affected many of us.

My temper has been shorter than usual. Obviously Lady Grinch was also in a difficult place-yelling at a cheesy ad at 4AM and then deciding to direct that rage at me instead of keeping it in her living room where it belonged.

Folks still need insurance. Insurance firms like mine still have to reach the folks who need insurance. I think we could all use a social contract with each other to show grace in these challenging times. If I could talk to that lady right now, I would ask her if she had any questions about insurance and offer my assistance.

I’m an insurance agent and a business owner. More importantly, I’m a husband and father. When you lose your mind and yell at somebody, you’re likely yelling at someone who’s more than a job title. More than a uniform. More than a 3AM TV ad.

Now more than ever, everyone I meet is going through struggles I cannot begin to comprehend.

So to the Grinch Who Nearly Ruined Christmas, I’m here to help if you’d like to call me back.

And I’m working on a new ad with a better camera angle and more light (I think she was correct with that critique).

I think we all need more light in our lives in 2021. I’m going to do my part to protect people, help them with their insurance needs, and provide for my own family as well. I’m going to respond to rage with grace.

-Rudy

Rudolph Lurz is a former teacher and football coach with over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida and can provide referrals for customers in other states. He focuses primarily on life insurance, supplemental health insurance (including dental and vision), disability insurance, and annuities. He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat.

Nationwide Network

I have some good news from Lurz Insurance. After successfully linking up with colleagues across the nation, I’ve created a referral network. No matter what type of insurance needs you have, I can find someone to help you.

I can help you personally for supplemental health, term life, whole life, final expense, long-term care, universal life, disability, dental, vision, small business supplemental employee benefits, or annuities in VA, WV, PA, IL, or FL.

Anything else, I can get you in touch with someone who plays in that sandbox.

Give me a shout for all your insurance needs or questions. I’m always happy to help. I’m one text away.
-Rudy
540-520-3069
lurzinsurance@gmail.com

Why do Kids Need Life Insurance? An Analysis of Juvenile Whole Life Policies

As an independent insurance agent, I sell many types of policies. Juvenile whole life policies are often overlooked by both agents and parents. They are very affordable. Premiums start at just a few dollars a week. Therefore, they do not generate big commissions for insurance agents. When a close friend of mine bought a policy for his infant son, we chatted and caught up with each other for about an hour, then did the application itself in under 20 minutes. At the end of that call, he laughed and said, “Well, we’ve talked for over an hour and you made about fifteen bucks, right?”

He wasn’t far off target. But I don’t focus on juvenile whole life for the commission. I focus on them because I believe that they’re one of the most important policies I sell.

Let me tell you why.

Whole life insurance is fairly expensive for older folks. A whole life policy is designed for final expenses. The average cost of end-of-life expenses is approximately $10-15,000. You want to make sure your family doesn’t have to pay those costs when you die. These policies are expensive because the insurance company knows that they will eventually pay the death benefit. If the death benefit is $20,000, whenever you die, your beneficiary will receive $20,000. If you are over 40, no matter what you hear from those catchy ads on TV, your price for whole life is not cheap.

With a term life policy, your beneficiary receives the death benefit only if you die within the timeframe established by the policy. For instance, if you are a healthy 35-year-old man and buy a 20-year, $200,000 policy, the insurance company knows you are likely to live to see age 55. Therefore, that policy is relatively inexpensive. It’s designed to replace at least 1-3 years of your salary if you die during your highest-earning years. Therefore, it’s not just for that funeral and memorial service. It’s to pay the mortgage and send your kid to college because you won’t be around.

So why the heck would you buy an 18-month-old toddler a whole life policy?

1.) It’s very inexpensive.

$10,000-$20,000 of whole life coverage normally costs just 5-7 dollars/month. If you can splurge for a Big Mac or a cold, refreshing beer once a month, you can make sure your child will never have to worry about life insurance when she’s older. Better yet, she’ll still be paying $6.00/month as long as she lives. She’ll never have to make that calculation of whether she should leave a job she hates or stay just to keep her life insurance policy. She’ll hold her own policy, in addition to anything she has through her employer.

2.) It builds cash value

Let’s say your daughter lands a job she loves right out of college, does extremely well, and has great insurance coverage through her employer. The cash value of that life insurance policy you got for her when she was 3-years-old won’t be enough to buy a house. But it might help with the down payment. When your child is in her 20s, she can choose whether she wants to keep her life insurance or cash it in. 

3.) It protects against future uninsurability

Many of us develop conditions that make it difficult to get insurance later in life. If you get a whole life policy while your child is young, you can make sure that she will always have life insurance at an affordable price.

4.) The worst case scenario

It pains me to write these words as a father because even the thought of losing a child is enough to rip my heart in half. But I know the statistics. It is unthinkable to imagine a parent burying a child. It’s supposed to be the other way around.

But it happens. My local bar in college often had a jar out to raise money for loyal regulars or staff members who experienced unimaginable tragedy. That jar at the bar has since moved to an online platform.

It breaks my heart when I see those “Go Fund Me” pages on my Facebook newsfeed. Because just like the jar at the bar, there will never be enough money inside to cover the cost of a memorial service and any uncovered health care bills.

I prefer to focus on the first three reasons to buy juvenile life insurance. The fourth is not likely but it must be listed. You don’t want to have to hold out an online jar and ask for money when your heart is breaking.

In conclusion, for just a few dollars a month, you can give your child a great gift for her future. It was the first policy I wrote as a licensed agent for my own daughter, and one that I always advocate buying when I speak with potential clients. If you are a parent and do not presently have whole life insurance for your child, I can set a policy up for you and give you peace of mind.

Serving my clients’ needs is more important to me than commission. Other agents might make these policies an afterthought. I put them front and center. Give me a shout if you would like to learn more.

540-520-3069

lurzinsurance@gmail.com

Rudolph Lurz is a former teacher and football coach with over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida (and can provide referrals for customers in other states). He focuses primarily on life insurance, supplemental health insurance, disability insurance, and annuities. He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat.

You Need Your Own Life Insurance Policy: “I get that at work” is not a sound strategy

One of the primary objections I hear at my insurance firm is, “I get that at work.” It’s not a good objection. If that life insurance clause in your contract gives you peace of mind, then that’s telling you to get life insurance for yourself instead of objecting to the idea.

Let’s explore why this is the case.

The most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that most folks hold at least twelve jobs between ages 18-52. As a workforce, we are generally mobile. Health and age are the two primary factors that influence the ability to get a life insurance policy and the price of life insurance premiums.

What happens when you change jobs? Chances are, you’re older than the last time you signed a contract. If your company pays the premiums, that’s fine. If they don’t, then that’s not fine. Now your life insurance is more expensive, even if you’re getting it from your new workplace.

If you decide to start your own business in the middle of your career, you might find yourself in your mid-50s without a life insurance policy of your own. Spoiler alert. If you’re in your mid-50s without life insurance, it’s a lot more expensive than it was when you’re in your 20s or 30s.

Let’s assume the best case scenario. You’re like Patrick, one of my best friends. He got a job right out of college and has stayed with the same firm for his entire career. He’s advanced far enough that he’s got great insurance through that employer.

What happens when he finally retires? Spoiler alert #2. When you’re in your mid-60s, insurance is more expensive than it is in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s.

If he decides to forgo life insurance altogether at that point, then his family will be paying for his end-of-life expenses. The average price of all of that (including memorial service, burial, court costs, estate settlement, etc.) is around $15,000. That’s not a terrible scenario for Patrick. He’s done well with his finances. Patrick will likely be in a position where he can set aside some funds for his own funeral.

Most of us would have problems with tying up 15K in capital to pay for something that won’t happen until after death. It’s much easier to just get some basic life insurance and have it in place for that inevitable event.

Let’s go back to that statistic of twelve career changes. Think about each of those twelve occurrences as a period where you’re on a medieval battlefield. Arrows are still flying, but you get off of your horse, take off your armor, relax, and wait for thirty minutes while sipping a cup of water.

Or for that matter, imagine going through the height of this pandemic for a 30-day stretch with no masks and no social distancing.

Each of your job changes, even if your employer pays for life insurance, creates a vulnerable period where you don’t have a life insurance policy in place. Life insurance is not health insurance. You don’t get COBRA gap coverage for life insurance when you leave your previous employment. If your policy isn’t portable, it’s gone.

Something else happens when we get older. Our bodies stop working the way they used to. If your health deteriorates and you have heart disease, cancer, or a stroke, your chances of getting good life insurance fall significantly.

No one enjoys thinking about death. Seeing life insurance coverage on an employment contract, even if it’s just for a small amount, creates peace of mind. If you liked that sense of security when you signed that contract, why would you put it at risk by not getting life insurance in your own name? Why would you rely 100% on something that’s contingent on you continuing at that workplace?

Spoiler alert #3. There’s nothing stopping you from having an individual life insurance policy and having a policy through your employer.  

Generally speaking, you need at least 1-3 years of your salary in term life insurance that covers you through age 55 to protect your family if you died suddenly. It also helps to have 10-20K in whole life coverage for those end-of-life expenses that’s guaranteed to be there whenever you die.

It’s great if you have some life insurance and/or disability coverage from your workplace. Don’t let that be all you hold. When arrows are flying on the battlefield of life, you need to make sure you have your own armor.

Life insurance and peace of mind can be yours for just a few cents a day. If you want to see your options, give me a call or send me an email. I’ll send you a free summary. Protection should be at the top of your New Year’s resolutions.

540-520-3069

lurzinsurance@gmail.com

Rudolph Lurz is a former teacher and football coach with over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida (and can provide referrals for customers in other states). He focuses primarily on life insurance, supplemental health insurance, disability insurance, and annuities. He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat.

He Can’t Even Bait a Hook: Avoiding Bait and Switch Tactics When Buying Insurance

Justin Moore’s country song, “Bait a Hook”, was one of my favorites to play on the jukebox at my local pub. Mind you, I can’t bait a hook or skin a buck, either. That didn’t matter. I loved the song and enjoyed making fun of the city boy trying to get with the country guy’s ex-girlfriend. It’s a catchy tune.

You know what else is catchy? Online instant quotes from life insurance brokers.

One problem. A lot of what you find on the Internet can be described as marketing strategies that border on “bait and switch”. Which means you as a consumer lose. Or worse, you become disillusioned with insurance in general and see it as a scam to take your money.

Let’s discuss bait and switch.

Bait and Switch strategies are considered fraudulent and are illegal in many cases. A company creates an advertisement to get folks in the door. When folks ask for the product or service in question, the company makes it nearly impossible to get that product, and instead sells the consumer a different (and normally higher-priced) alternative.

It’s not an illegal or fraudulent move if the company is very specific and clear about the limitations of “the bait”.

Example: First ten customers in the door get 90% off new grills and smokers!

The company is clear about how many customers get the deal. The first ten customers actually get 90% off grills and smokers. There are at least ten new grills or smokers in the store for customers to buy.

Not exactly clean, but not fraudulent and not bait and switch.

Example of Bait and Switch: 90% off new grills and smokers!

Customers rush to store. There are no new grills and smokers. There never were new grills and smokers.

“Sorry, we’re all out. Can I interest you in a new refrigerator? Or this lightly-used smoker at full price?”

In my opinion, both examples are incredibly sleazy. In the words of Bubbles from the hit show, Trailer Park Boys, “Greeeeaasy.”

Bubbles would not approve

Insurance is one of the most necessary items a family can have for its security and peace of mind. Why do folks try to use greasy tactics?

Easy. There’s a lot of competition. And in the crowded digital space on the Internet, the loudest, cheapest, and greasiest voices are normally what gets clicks.

Here’s how the borderline bait and switch methods are utilized to sell insurance. Folks put “free life insurance quotes” or “cheap life insurance” or even simply, “life insurance” in the search bar.

You see loud results at the top of the list. COMPARE LIFE INSURANCE OFFERS! CLICK HERE! FREE QUOTES!

And my favorite, “$500,000 in term life insurance for $10.00/month!” (note: ridiculous levels and prices are entirely made-up off the top of my head).

If you’ve even looked at one life insurance quote, you know that’s a good price. So you click on it.

You enter all of your information. You get to the end of their little robot quote generator and you are instructed to provide your contact information to make an appointment with a licensed agent. You make the appointment with the licensed agent, still thinking it’s worth it because you’re going to get $500,000 for ten bucks a month.

You get to the appointment, in-person or on the phone. You spend another 20-30 minutes discussing all your details. And you find out that for you, the cost of that policy is $49.71/month. The agent explains that you didn’t meet the criteria in the advertised quote, and recommends you buy $100,000 in coverage for $17.88/month. You’ve come this far, so you accept it. It’s still a good deal, right?

That online quote was likely for a 21-year-old, super-preferred applicant in pristine physical condition. With a mandatory physical exam, bloodwork, and urinalysis to prove that he’s in pristine physical condition. If you read the quote carefully, you’d see that. You’d also see that it’s for just a 10-year term. So yeah, it’s a pretty safe bet for the insurance company to offer a 21-year-old a $500,000, 10-year policy. It’s very likely that this marathon-running, vegan, ex-MLB pitching prospect whose only malady is a bum shoulder will live to see his 31st birthday. Thus, the insurance company made $1,200. And they’ll probably get him to buy a new, more expensive term policy when it’s time to renew.

And they sold you a more expensive policy when you clicked on that link. Along with thousands of others just like you.

Greeeeeeeassssssy.

I hate all of that. I don’t care if it’s legal. It’s bad business.

When I write you a quote, I’ll explain each of the details to you. I’ll tell you which policies require physicals and/or labs, and which don’t. I’ll tell you the exact pricing guidelines and provide you some recommendations based on what you’re looking for. Your policy will be the right one for you, instead of the one my boss told me to sell to hit my monthly bonus. I don’t have a boss. I’m an independent agent. I work for you.

I won’t be at the top of the Google search results. But I should be at the top of your search for good insurance.

As a former teacher, I’ll make each of the policy details easy to understand. I’ll give you the information you need to make an informed decision that’s the right one for your family. As a former teacher, I also despise high-pressure sales tactics. I’m not going to harass you or push you into making a decision on the spot. Most importantly, when you need to use that policy, in life’s darkest times, you won’t have to call the robotic menu of your insurance company. You’ll call me. I’ll pick up the phone and walk with you down that dark road. Furthermore, if you’ve received a quote from asking the Internet, I’ll let you know if it’s a good idea. Free of charge. You let me know what the Internet said. I’ll show you options from the eight carriers I work with as an independent agent. You can see if it’s the right move for you.

That’s the Lurz Insurance way of doing business. It’s not flashy. But in my opinion, it’s the right way to sell insurance.

If you’re looking for life, supplemental health, disability, or long-term care insurance, give me a call or email and I’ll walk you through your options. No bait. No hooks. No games.

Rudolph Lurz is a former teacher and football coach with over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida (and can provide referrals for customers in other states). He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat.

Disability Insurance Analysis: Who needs it? Why is it important?

I sell a lot of life insurance policies. That is not a topic my clients enjoy discussing, but they recognize the need for it. No one wants to think about their own death.

Even fewer people want to think about being disabled due to accident or injury and unable to continue in their chosen career.

There are many misconceptions about disability insurance. The most common one I hear is that disability insurance is not needed because it’s a benefit provided by the federal government. There is a kernel of truth to that belief. The government will provide you with benefits if you become totally disabled. The issue with relying on the government is three-fold.

1.) It takes a long time to begin receiving benefits.  The process takes months and requires extensive documentation.

2.) The benefits are limited. You will likely not receive anything in the neighborhood of your previous salary.

3.) Eligibility for benefits is limited. You can find a summary of requirements from SSA here.

In short, it will take a long time for you to qualify for federal benefits and the bar for qualification is high. During that time period, income is not coming in and bills are piling up.

What about your employer? Many firms provide some disability benefits for their employees. A lot of these benefits are better than what they would get from federal disability. The problem is, the benefits generally expire at a certain point. Your law firm might really like you, but they’re not going to keep paying a portion of your salary for years if you have a traumatic brain injury in a car crash and can no longer work as an attorney.

In short, disability insurance is even more unpleasant to think about than life insurance. I think that is because for your family’s budget, a debilitating accident or injury is even more devastating than death.

The good news is, there are very good policies that are affordable and can keep your family afloat in the event of disability. There are even special riders that allow you to receive benefits if you are able to work, but can’t work in your chosen profession. For example, a surgeon who loses several fingers in an accident will be unable to do surgery, but she could still work as a teacher. Sadly, teachers don’t get paid as much as surgeons. If her mortgage is dependent on her previous salary, that could become a major problem.

The policies I sell can help that former surgeon continue to collect disability payments with a “True Occupation” rider. If you do specialized work that could be impacted by a major illness or injury, a disability policy is essential to have in your filing cabinet.

Another common objection I hear is, “I don’t want to pay these premiums and then never have to use it.”

I argue that this isn’t the point. Never needing the policy is a “win” because you have your income from working in your chosen profession. Nonetheless, I can also build a return of premium rider into your policy that gives you a portion of your premiums back after you have protected your highest-earning years.

In conclusion, you have worked your entire life to put yourself in a position where you can provide a great life for your family. If an accident or illness takes away your ability to work in that profession, you should have disability insurance in place that can help your family weather the storm. I can build a customized disability policy that fits your needs and occupation.

Dr. Rudolph Lurz is a former teacher and football coach with over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat. He can be reached at lurzinsurance@gmail.com or with a text/call at 540-520-3069.

Rudolph Lurz Insurance: List of Services

Here is a comprehensive list of the different services I offer to my clients. For more details about any of these services, or for a free quote, please do not hesitate to contact me.  You’ll have your personalized summary of options and pricing in your inbox within 48 hours, or in your mailbox within one week. I deal primarily with the following insurance needs:

Life Insurance, Supplemental Health Insurance, Disability Insurance, Annuities, and Business Solutions.

1.) Life Insurance

Term Life: Client chooses a term (normally 10, 20, or 30-year) and a death benefit. At conclusion of the term, Client has option to renew at new age or let it expire.

Carriers offered: AFLAC, Mutual of Omaha, Foresters, John Hancock, Americo.

Whole Life: Life insurance that will pay death benefit to beneficiary no matter when the client dies. Retired clients can use whole life as a final expense policy. Builds cash value. Can borrow against.

Carriers offered: AIG, AFLAC, Mutual of Omaha, Foresters, Americo, Prosperity Life

Juvenile Whole Life: Whole Life coverage for children under 18. Great building block for parents to get for their children, since it is very affordable when purchased at a young age.

Carriers offered: AFLAC, Mutual of Omaha, Foresters

Universal Life: Flexible, permanent life coverage that allows client to adjust death benefit and/or premiums as circumstances change in life. Can build additional cash value that can be used to adjust premiums, take a loan, or increase the death benefit.

Carriers offered: Mutual of Omaha, Foresters

Term Life with Cash Back Option/Return of Premium: Term Life that includes provisions to return part or all of the premiums paid at the end of the term.

Carriers offered: Americo, John Hancock

Term Life with Continuation: Term Life coverage that provides 100% of the death benefit if client dies during the term, and 10% of the death benefit if the client dies after the term expires. Combination salary replacement during highest-earning years and final expense policy after the end of the term.

Carriers offered: Americo

2.) Supplemental Health Insurance

Accident/Injury: No Medical underwriting. Provides benefit for accidental death or dismemberment, along with cash benefits for items such as hospital confinement, surgeries, home modification, and youth sports injuries. $60 annual wellness benefit for physicals, flu shots, or health screenings.

Carriers offered: AFLAC

Critical Illness: Provides initial event benefit for catastrophic health events such as heart attacks, strokes, or comas, along with cash benefits for hospital confinement and rehabilitation.

Carriers offered: AFLAC

Cancer: Provides initial diagnosis benefit for cancer, along with cash benefits for hospital confinement, surgeries, chemo/radiation treatments, experimental treatments, and hospice care. Annual wellness benefit for cancer screenings.

Carriers offered: AFLAC

Lump Sum Critical Illness/Cancer: Provides a lump sum amount (normally $10,000-$30,000) for a heart attack, stroke, or cancer diagnosis.

Carriers offered: AFLAC, Mutual of Omaha

Hospitalization: Provides a cash benefit if client is hospitalized for any reason. Wellness benefits possible for doctor’s visits or medical imaging.

Carriers offered: AFLAC **NOTE: Only available as part of group contract**

Accidental Death: Provides a death benefit if death occurs as a result of an accident. No medical underwriting.

Carriers offered: Mutual of Omaha, Foresters

3.) Disability Insurance

Short-Term Disability: Provides a portion of client’s salary as a cash benefit if client is unable to work for periods of 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, or 24 months.

Carriers offered: AFLAC ****NOTE: Only available as part of group contract**

Long-Term Disability: Provides extended relief for clients who, due to accident or illness, are no longer able to work.

Carriers offered: Mutual of Omaha

True Occupation” Disability: Flexible disability policy with rider that allows benefits to continue to be paid if a client is able to work, but is unable to work in her chosen career field. (example: surgeon who suffers major injury to her hand, or severe arthritis in her 40s)

Carriers offered: Mutual of Omaha

Long-Term Care Insurance: Provides monthly benefits if patient is confined to a long-term care facility or requires assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).

Carriers offered: Mutual of Omaha

4.) Annuities

Fixed Annuities: Provide a fixed interest level for annuities. Safe harbor for tax-deferred growth. Security for retirement.

Equity-Indexed Annuities: Provide interest for annuities tied to different indexes for additional possible tax-deferred growth. Security for retirement

Single Premium Immediate Annuity: Sets up an annuity with a single premium payment. Usually intended for folks approaching or already past retirement age seeking security in their retirement.

Carriers offered: Athene Annuities, Americo, Mutual of Omaha

5.) Business Solutions (See tab on the home page for further details)

AFLAC Group Contract: Will set up your business as an AFLAC account. No direct cost to business. Voluntary benefits for employees. Premiums deducted from payroll. Many policies available pre-tax.

Group Life: Will refer client and serve as a neutral point-of-contact to major carriers who offer group life contracts. Will negotiate directly with carriers on behalf of client and make recommendation, but final choice belongs to client.

Carriers Offered: AIG, AFLAC, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock,

Individual Consultant: Will provide new and current employees with options from numerous carriers to purchase insurance directly. No administration required for the business.

Carriers offered: AIG, AFLAC, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life, Athene Annuities

COMING IN 2021: DENTAL AND VISION– Group dental and vision coverage for employees, premiums paid via payroll deduction, special introductory rates for businesses.

Carriers offered: AFLAC