It’s amazing to us that, by law, we have to complete annual continuing education, and a portion of that every year has to include education on ethical relationships with customers and ethical practices in sales and service of life insurance clients. That is the teeth in the matter as far as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is concerned. We occasionally read about someone going to jail for bilking hundreds of thousands of dollars from someone through unscrupulous life insurance practices, and they deserve the punishment they get, but the education and by far the majority of egregious behavior is smaller.
Let’s start from the basic premise that a life insurance agent doesn’t have to lie, cheat or steal to make a good living. But lying to, cheating and stealing from life insurance clients is the path of least resistance for those who don’t want to get weighed down by work and customer service and ethics. And welcome to an industry that, for lack of a better analogy, lets speeding tickets slide and only punishes for vehicular homicide. Life insurance agents who take the four lane highway of unethical practices just don’t have to worry about punishment of justice being served when they quote wrong or don’t tell the full story of the difference between guarantees and assumptions. They fly right on by, damaging clients and leaving families paying too much for coverage or losing the coverage completely without fear of so much as a slap on the hand.
And what about companies like AARP/New York Life Insurance who prey on the elderly, those over 50, spending billions to attempt to make us believe that they are the only standing between us, our parents and grandparents and the certain fleecing they would receive from less well known companies, only to offer some of the worst life insurance products available today. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. If we came up with an exact duplicate of their life insurance products, same high prices and lack of guarantees and questionable claims paying practices, and we went door to door selling this to the elderly, we would we be thrown in jail. And we should be. But no one takes the big and powerful organization to task for its’ disreputable abuse of our parents and grandparents. A blind eye is turned to their practices by those in a position to put a stop to it.
We grew up in a country that valued and honored our elderly. We respected them for their sacrifices and for the good examples they provided through the way they lived their lives. And now we stand by and watch as they are summarily dismantled by a United States that is no longer American. As long as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, one from each state who is responsible for approving products and enforcing ethical sales practices, can hang an occasional villain for stealing someone’s retirement, they feel like they’ve done their job.
If you feel like you have been sold a bill of goods that benefited the life insurance agent far more than it would ever benefit you, or you are concerned that your parents are being taken to the cleaners by unethical products and practices, call or email us. We can help.
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