Saturday, September 20, 2014

Weekly Whine: Life Insurance

Recently, my husband and I purchased life insurance. It was one of the hardest things we've had to purchase, which seems sort of ridiculous. Isn't life insurance supposed to be really easy to buy? Like, aren't you supposed be fending off life-insurance agents who want nothing more than to sell you a policy?

The first person we approached to help us buy insurance was somebody recommended by my boss. He said the guy was very reliable and fair. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, for reasons that somewhat confused me. My husband was concerned about our health information being sold to a third party, so he asked the guy for some sort of written guarantee that this wouldn't be done. The guy became offended and said he didn't want to work with us anymore.

The second agent was a recommendation from a friend of mine. She got her life insurance through him, but he also handled her investments. That was sort of a red flag, but I didn't realize it at the time. The other red flag is that he worked with an insurance company named Guardian. So obviously, despite his assurances, it was less about getting us a good deal and more about getting us to buy insurance through his own company. And also to make investments with him.

Initially, I was taken in by the fact that he was charismatic and said all the right things. I don't pretend to be incredibly savvy as a consumer, and I think I was taken in by every sales trick in the book. We went through our physical exams and we were offered policies that sounded fairly high. Mine was kind of high, but my husbands policy was really high. Now, he is a man and he does have some minor medical conditions, like sleep apnea, but this was out-of-control high. People at work that I told about it said that somebody 20 years older would probably pay less than that.

I told the agent that I wanted him to look into some other companies and he sounded shocked. He said that the policies we got were pretty standard. But if I insisted, he would look at some other companies. Basically, his suggestion was that my husband should buy whole life insurance instead of term life insurance due to the fact that he has so many medical problems (he doesn't actually).

We gave the guy a grace period to look into other companyies, but it was beginning to feel like he was just putting us off. And it also felt like he was lying to us and I really didn't want to buy anything from him anymore. At the point when he explained not having called us due to a family member's death and I actually believed he had made the whole thing up, I realized I probably shouldn't be buying anything from this guy. So I went and found another agent.

We had to go through the physical exams all over again, which sucked. But not long after, the third agent came through with a policy for me, which cost about half of what the last agent had offered me.

Unfortunately, my husband wasn't getting any offers. The reason for this was that the company hadn't received one piece of his medical records. I ended up having to make about a dozen phone calls to try to track down his medical records. Obviously, it would be too easy if the medical office actually had those records. I had to go through a third-party, who kept telling me to go back and call the medical office. The whole thing ended up taking months to straighten out.

Finally, my husband was offered a policy. It cost about 1/5 of what the offer had been through Guardian.

At least now we can die in peace.


  1. I'm pretty sure your second guy was the same one that hit up me and all of my co-workers for meetings so he could sell us life insurance that doubled as an investment vehicle. These guys collect nice fees for each person they direct to insurance companies that they are affiliated with. And I'm pretty sure being an a$$hole is a requirement for their job. Despite firmly rejecting his solicitations after my initial meeting with him, it took me a full 4 years to finally shake that guy off. I have never, ever, ever dealt with someone so aggressive, dishonest, and persistent. I pretty much had to tell him I would call the cops if he continued to try to reach out to me.

  2. After all you went through, I think it would be more appropriate to say, "at least now we can die in pieces."

  3. Guardian is not a bad company, but they are not a company I would recommend for competitive low cost term. I think of them more as a company for people with health issues. Sorry you had to go through all that!!

  4. After reading this blog and the various comments, I'm convinced that a "Dr. Fizzy
    show" would work. Dr. Fizzy would serve as the moderator with various guests. It would be an hour show with three distinct segments: 1) Medically speaking, in which a health related topic was discussed, i.e. life insurance
    2) Personally speaking: a topic unrelated to medicine that touches on a personal
    issue and 3) Calls from the viewing public answered by none other than Dr. Fizzy.

    What do think?

  5. Ha-ha-ha- above is genious. Congratulations on completing the ordeal. I admire your energy and dedication. And you are doing this on top of birthday parties with thank you cards. How do you manage to stay blanaced (sane?) Maybe it should be a new post.

  6. Had a similar experience getting disability insurance.

    First guy seemed good but didn't follow up on my questions even though I told him I would love to connect him with 30+ colleagues who also needed disability insurance. He did scramble to try to answer questions weeks later after I told him I was looking at other policies, but he again failed to follow through.

    Second guy spoke with vocal fry (sounded like a 19 y.o. slacker but was apparently the head of his company), gave me a good bit of wrong information, made no fewer than 20 errors on my application (including my name, address, and the name of my employer, all of which I read to him and spelled for him). It took him 3 tries to fully correct the errors, which made me feel like a high school English teacher but since the app is a legal document I made the effort. He wanted to handle my money long-term. No thanks.

    Third guy was helpful and educated me about disability insurance. His company was solely devoted to disability insurance and sold policies from many companies. I referred all my colleagues to him and many of them gave him their business.

    Moral of the story, don't go with the first agent, even if a friend/colleague has referred you, unless they really are great. I couldn't immediately tell how awful the first two guys were until I started the process of applying for insurance.