Why is Life Insurance All a Blur?

September 17, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I decided to go searching out real life insurance questions from other sources and answer them here – as if you asked me personally. You’re welcome.

This week’s question comes from Radiance02 on twitter, who has an Alpha Romeo in her background. She asks “Why is looking at life insurance all a blur?!?”

This may not seem like a technical life insurance question to some of you. I mean, I can feel some of your eyes rolling, but it’s important. And the question does have technical underpinnings, which I’ll get to right away.

Here’s the thing, the reason getting life insurance quotes is confusing is because:

  1. there is too much information to sort through
  2. none of it is easy to compare
  3. none of it can currently be compiled in the same place

I don’t care what industry you are talking about, that will make comparing quotes difficult.

Too much life insurance information has to do with the fact that there are over 500 life insurance companies in the US, according to Ebix Life. Each one of these companies has its own suite of products to choose from. So let’s say that conservatively amounts to 1500 life insurance products to choose from. Now most of these life products can be configured in a few ways with different options, riders, and payment scenarios. I’m serious when I say this could easily be 15000 life insurance choices to choose from.

Well, Radiance02, your job is to help your mom pick one life insurance choices from 15000. Which 14999 won’t you choose?

Quote information is hard to compare because so much of it is driven by lingo the life insurance companies developed. Like any technical field, life insurance developed its own series of linguistic short-cuts to describe concepts that would otherwise be lengthy. That’s one reason why shopping for NdFeB magnets has always been hard for me. It gets too technical too quickly.

Unfortunately, real people are the ones who need to make life insurance buying decisions. Real people who have no idea what life insurance companies are talking about when they try to differentiate between “death benefit” and “face amount” or “cash value” and “cash surrender value”. Our industry needs to do a better job of talking human if we want real people to buy life insurance.

Life insurance comparisons are hard to make because you can’t compare all of it in the same place. I may have written about this before, but no insurance agent or agency can compare all life insurance quotes on an apples-to-apples basis. No agent can be appointed with all 500-some life companies. And even if they could, keeping up with all the changes and subtleties of underwriting would be a daunting task. There is currently no way to compare all (what did we decide?) 15000 life insurance choices for your mom.

Sorry Radiance02. And I’m sorry this response wouldn’t fit on Twitter. Hopefully now you understand why none of it makes sense.

Your best bet is to get quotes from different agents after you and your mom decide what your goals are.


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