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LIFE Foundation Announces 2008 realLIFEstories Award Recipients to Illustrate Benefits of Life and Disability Insurance

Insurance Professionals and Their Clients Featured in Newsweek and to be

Honored in San Diego

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Most Americans acknowledge that insurance is important and necessary, but don't fully appreciate the need for insurance protection until a major event occurs like a death in the family or a serious illness or accident. When confronted with life's most challenging moments, having a proper insurance program in place helps makes sure emotional struggles aren't compounded by financial hardship.

To underscore the importance of proper insurance planning, the nonprofit LIFE Foundation is once again sharing the stories of everyday people who have benefited from insurance at times of great financial need. Today, LIFE announced the recipients of its thirteenth annual realLIFEstories Client Service Awards Program, which honors insurance professionals for their outstanding service to a family or individual.

The individuals receiving this year's awards are featured in a special advertising section that appears in the current edition of Newsweek, the September 8, 2008 issue. Additionally, they will be honored alongside their clients at LIFE's realLIFEstories Client Service Awards Banquet, held on September 7, 2008 during the annual convention of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) in San Diego, Calif.

"These stories prove how necessary insurance is and are a testament to the critical role that insurance advisors and employers play in helping people remain financially secure, even in life's most trying times," said Marvin Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation. "These stories remind people that none of us knows what the future will bring, and that's why preparing for the unexpected through proper insurance planning is so vitally important."

The 2008 realLIFEstories honorees are:

-- Michael Tokushige, Financial Representative, Principal Life Insurance Company, Honolulu, Hawaii. Jim Winand, a boat captain and firefighter for the Honolulu Fire Department, took out his first life insurance policy before marrying his future wife, Remle, and significantly increased his coverage after the couple had two children. In 2007, Jim died of cancer at 38. Jim's foresight and Tokushige's expert planning ensured that Remle and the kids did not suffer financially after Jim's passing.

-- Lynne D. Crittenden, Insurance Agent, State Farm Life Insurance Company, CPCU, Altavista, Va. Unable to work as the result of a disabling accident, single mother Lauri Turnes had difficultly making ends meet. Lauri would sometimes turn to the accumulated dividends from her whole life insurance policy to pay the bills. When her budget became extremely tight, insurance agent Lynne Crittenden convinced Lauri not to cancel her policy, but instead take out a loan on it to ensure that her daughter's financial future would remain protected. When a car accident took her life in 2006, that wise decision meant her daughter Jessi, who now lives with her grandparents, would have money to help pay for college or perhaps a down payment on a home when she is older.

-- Bob Arensberg, Insurance Agent, New York Life, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, Wichita, Kan. After a disabling accident, Frank Ames was unable to work and had difficulty qualifying for more than a small amount of life insurance. However, his wife, Laura, a school teacher, qualified for preferred rates and purchased a sizable policy. Weeks later, Laura was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her abdomen. With the help of insurance agent Bob Arensberg, she was able to invoke a provision on her policy that allowed for an early payout to a terminally ill policyholder, and used part of the proceeds to buy land and build a home. Laura lived in the home for two years before passing away at age 42. Though still unable to work due to his disability, Frank is able to remain in the family home and provide for his two children thanks to smart insurance planning.

-- Kassie Bennett, Account Manager, CIGNA, Charlotte, N.C., and Jan Cox, Human Resources Manager, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, S.C. Ashley Tew was at the start of her nursing career when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, rendering her unable to work. Forced to take disability leave, Ashley thought her nursing career was over. Fortunately, her employer, Spartanburg Regional Hospital, had worked with CIGNA Group Insurance to put in place a strong employee benefits package that offered much-needed support to Ashley. Short- and long-term disability coverage replaced a portion of Ashley's income to help her make ends meet while she couldn't work. Through its "return to work" program, CIGNA assigned Ashley a vocational counselor to help her get physical therapy and assistance in finding a new job in her field. After six months, Ashley successfully found a new job as a chart auditor at Spartanburg Hospital's heart center, and her life and career are back on track.

To be considered for the realLIFEstories Client Service Award, insurance professionals must submit an application and essay describing how insurance benefited one of their clients at a time of great financial need. After an initial screening process that determines the top 20 finalists, an independent panel of judges chooses the four stories that get featured in Newsweek.

About LIFE

The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was founded in 1994 in response to the public's growing need for information and education on life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. LIFE also seeks to remind people of the important role insurance professionals perform in helping families and businesses safeguard their financial futures. To learn more about these topics, please visit

About Life Insurance Awareness Month

Life Insurance Awareness Month was created by the LIFE Foundation in response to growing concern about the large number of Americans who lack adequate life insurance protection. According to LIMRA, 68 million adult Americans have no life insurance. Those who own life insurance have an average of four times their annual income in coverage, which is considerably less than most experts recommend. Held each September, Life Insurance Awareness Month is an industry-wide effort involving hundreds of leading companies and tens of thousands of agents. More information about the campaign can be found at

CONTACT: Katharine Carver



Tai Green


SOURCE Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE)
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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