Proud to Work in the Life Insurance Industry - A Tribute to Life Insurance Awareness Month

Written by: Rebecca Olds

Have you ever wondered how your work makes an impact?

Let me begin by stating the obvious. If you are reading this, it is likely you work in the life insurance industry. Chances are, you are a processor, an agent or broker, a software developer, a manager, or a professional that brings knowledge and experience to the table. So how does your seemingly small supporting role within your company, matter in the end?

There are days it may be hard to relate how your daily tasks have an impact at the organizational level, internally or externally. If you look closely at the purpose of life insurance, however, you will start to see a myriad of different ways in which we all make a difference through the work we do.

When someone purchases a life insurance policy, they do so with the trust that in the event of their death, their beneficiaries will receive proceeds from the death claim.  Each role within the life cycle of that insurance policy plays a unique and important piece that ends in someone’s life having changed forever. From writing out the contract to understanding the customer enough to sell a suitable and necessary product; from actuaries pricing the life products to a developer creating the code that displays the death benefit properly on declaration pages; the things we do each day we log in have a direct impact on the lives of those involved.  When you enter a beneficiary change or just answer a question about how a life insurance policy works, you have made an impact on someone’s life although they may not experience that impact for decades later, often at their most vulnerable moment.

Each life insurance policy is sold for a specific reason. The product must be suitable for the consumer and their situation.  From there it goes through an underwriting process where the amount of risk that life poses to the insurance company is determined and a decision is made on whether the insurance company can take on that amount of risk. The types of questions that representatives from the life insurance company can ask, the forms that are used to gather the necessary information, and even the training the insurance agent went through solely to sell the policy are all governed by federal and state legislation. Legal and compliance teams from the insurance company get involved to ensure that the new policy follows the guidelines and recommendations set forth both at the federal and state levels.

Once the policy is deemed suitable and the underwriting phase is complete and the policy is issued, and it enters into an in-force phase where the policy is active and ready to pay out the death benefit should a claim be submitted. During this period, you may receive a request to use a policy as collateral for one of many different reasons (i.e., a loan on a house or for a child’s education), or you might receive a request to make a change to the policy or add a beneficiary or assignment during this time. Regardless of the request, every action taken on that policy has an impact on that policy at some point during the policy life cycle.

Eventually, the policy will reach its end, often that is due to a beneficiary submitting a claim, but it could also be due to a surrender request or the insured reaching the age at which the policy matures. If we consider the case of a term policy that was taken out to cover a mortgage, the term may simply end because the mortgage has been paid off and the policy served its purpose without a claim; or the beneficiary may need to submit a claim due to the death of the insured.

In the first scenario, the policy simply ends. Perhaps, however, a new term policy may be needed or maybe this person has entered a stage where something more permanent is needed and they pursue a conversion to a whole life insurance policy. Life insurance can be such an important financial planning asset.

Now for the second scenario, the policy is ending by serving its intended purpose, to supply the beneficiary with an infusion of capital (in this case the amount needed to pay off his/her mortgage) and provide a sense of financial stability when it is needed most. As a claims processor, claims manager, or some other supporting role that provides assistance during the claims process, you have a tremendous impact on the beneficiaries’ life at this stage.  You are making sure that the policy serves its intended purpose by ensuring that an accurate death benefit is paid out to the beneficiaries selected by the owner of the policy.

The impact of life insurance is undeniable, and we all have critical roles to play throughout the life cycle of the policy.  Whether we are working to make sure a beneficiary received the intended death benefit, processing a withdrawal or address change, or simply providing values so that the policy can be used as collateral, the work you do has a real impact on the lives and financial health of those that are parties to the life insurance policy.

I have proudly served the life insurance industry in many roles for over 15 years.  During Life Insurance Awareness Month, I hope you take the time to consider the important impact you make in the lives of so many others through the work you do.

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