Having been long ago cut loose from all affiliations with West Coast Life, Protective Life and all of the other companies that Protective has gobbled up over the years, cutting the slack isn’t very high on my agenda. The truth is if I could somehow slip wording into their life insurance policies under the conversion option that said “best read when bending over”, we don’t think it would be misleading. For those of you who missed the first 50 or so posts written about Protective and West Coast Life, let us bring you up to speed on what at best could be called screwing their loyal customers.
Any of us agents who have been around for more than 10 years can attest to the fact that we were taught that the beauty of a conversion option in a term life insurance policy is the fact that you can, within the given period in the contract, convert all or part of your term life to a permanent policy at the same rate class you were originally approved at. So, in plain English, let’s define permanent as a life insurance policy that goes on until you die. You keep paying the premiums and it stays in force. The same rate class you were approved at? If you were approved preferred plus, the best rate class, and during the conversion period decided to do a conversion, they would calculate your premiums based on your current age and that same preferred plus rate class, even if since that original application you had encounter coronary artery disease and several types of cancer. How awesome is that? I learned that back in 1978 from my Mutual of Omaha mentor and it seemed to be a constant no matter what company I worked with, and until a few years ago all of the companies I represent as an independent life insurance agent.
Then, without a single mention to policy holders or agents, West Coast and Protective changed to a product that was only guaranteed for 10 years. It was a product that was designed to fail in the 11th year so if you were converting for permanent purposes such as estate preservation life insurance, well, you just got screwed.We found out when we ran a conversion quote for a client. We thought the home office had made some mistake, but they were dead serious. After we went completely out of orbit online and after lengthy discussions with the company hierarchy they decided to deal with the issue. They gave a 6 month reprieve for customers to convert to their old product which was guaranteed to age 121. Simultaneously they decided that we had broken a rule about advertising, something they never actually accused us of but did use as the basis of firing. And, well, they also forgot to mention the six month window of opportunity to policy holders and agents. It came and went (the six months) and to the best of my knowledge after a lot of research with clients and other agents, because Protective didn’t really want anyone to take advantage of the reprieve they just let it quietly go by. West Coast Life and Protective Life didn’t lie. They just didn’t open their mouths
Meanwhile we’re screaming the question, “what’s permanent about a 10 year product”? They kept saying they were working on it and finally they did answer that cry with a whole life product that you could convert to. Guaranteed forever and even built some cash value, but wait, remember the part about converting at the same rate class as you were approved at? Well, they honored that commitment by making a product whose best rate class wasn’t preferred plus or even preferred, but standard non tobacco. Now understand that if you are a brand new customer you can still buy, at preferred plus rates if you qualify, their killer no lapse guarantee universal life, but if you buy West Coast or Protective term, well, bend over and read the conversion option. Have your agent run a conversion illustration before you accept the policy.
Protective and West Coast life have taken the treatment of the long time loyal customers to a horrible new low and they still haven’t told the customers or the agents. If you have any questions or want to look at a replacement for your Protective or West Coast life insurance policy, call or email. We can help.
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