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Make 2008 the Year to Find an Insurance Agent That's Right for You
Date:12/27/2007

LIFE Foundation Offers Five Tips for Selecting a Trusted Insurance

Professional

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- With 2008 just around the corner, now is the perfect time to make sure your insurance program is up to date. An important first step is to seek the advice of a trusted advisor who can help you make smart decisions. Today, the nonprofit Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) offers five tips to help you find the right insurance professional for you and your family.

According to LIMRA International, 60 percent of Americans want to purchase life insurance through someone they can meet in person, yet three-fourths of households currently do not have a life insurance agent, personal financial advisor or planner.

"Whether you're considering life insurance for the first time, or reassessing your coverage needs, finding the right agent is an important first step," says Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, incoming president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation. "Your family's financial well being is of prime importance when you consider an insurance purchase. Don't leave such an important decision to chance. Working with a professional insurance agent who knows the right questions to ask will help you decide how much and what kind of coverage is right for your specific needs and budget."

LIFE offers the following five tips to help Americans find and work with a trusted insurance agent:

Get referrals -- Don't settle for the first agent listed in the phonebook. The easiest way to start your search is to get referrals from the people you trust most, such as friends, family members, and other professional advisors you already work with, such as lawyers or accountants. To help you get started, check out LIFE's online agent locator tool (http://www.lifehappens.org/agentlocator), which can help you find an insurance agent in your area. Alternatively, you can find a complete list of agents in your community by contacting your state insurance department.

Find out about their specialties -- It is critical to make sure that the agent you select has the expertise to meet your needs. One insurance agent may specialize in life insurance, while another is an expert in long-term care insurance. Whatever their specialty, good agents will take the time to listen and will ask questions about your objectives, help construct a basic game plan, and work with you to find the right insurance solutions for your specific needs.

Inquire about their education and training -- If you are not familiar with the letters listed after an agent's name, ask about them. Professional designations, such as Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) indicate that the agent has completed advanced training, passed rigorous exams and is serious about professional development.

Meet face to face -- Interview at least two agents to establish a basis for comparison in terms of qualifications and character, not just fees. Ask for customer references and check that the agent works with financially sound insurance companies.

Ask if they hold any professional memberships -- An agent who is a member of professional associations, such as the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) or the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), means they adhere to a stringent code of ethics and are committed to enhancing their skills and knowledge.

To learn about life insurance and for more information on how to find a good insurance advisor, visit http://www.lifehappens.org. LIFE offers a wealth of information about life, health, disability and long-term care insurance topics, as well as online tools such as a life insurance needs calculator and an interactive product selector guide, to help you evaluate how much and what kind of insurance coverage might be right for you.

About LIFE

The nonprofit 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, businesses and individuals find the insurance products that best fit their needs. To learn more about these topics, please visit http://www.lifehappens.org.

CONTACT: Brooke Parker

212-445-8142

-or-

Tai Green

212-445-8239


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SOURCE Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education
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