The Inconceivable Life Lesson #LIAM Reprint
September 2, 2023 by Sheryl J. Moore
He was not yet four years old when my manager in the home office sat me down and suggested that I purchase life insurance for my oldest child, my only son, AJ. It seemed strange to me to consider his death. Why would I want to purchase life insurance on my child? I would predecease him. This was an expense that he should worry about as an adult. And quite frankly, I couldn’t afford it.
I declined. But my manager, and insurance agent, challenged me. He urged that this purchase was merely a way to assist in saving for AJ’s college education. The whole life policy would build cash values, which I would later be able to access through withdrawals or loans- helping to supplement any out-of-pocket expense for a post-secondary education. My insurance agent didn’t give-up, suggesting that as a single mother my need to purchase life insurance was even greater. So, I bought life insurance on myself and my children 20 years ago, after much prodding and discussion with my agent.
Fast-forward many years- I returned home one night to find that my son had completed suicide. He had taken his own life as a result of bullying. How in the h*ll did this happen TO ME?!? It was my worst nightmare, come true.
All-of-the-sudden, I had to worry about a million different things that I had zero experience in.
Like- making medical decisions about my son’s body while it was on life support, so that I could honor his wishes to be an organ donor. I had to call my friends and family and explain what had happened; keep them abreast of any arrangements. I had to talk to the media because he was the 14th suicide in ten years at his high school; something had to change! I needed to contact the coroner to get official copies of death certificates. I had to have meetings with the funeral director- can I put together a presentation with about 100 photos of AJ? Pick-out a few songs that my son liked, to set to the photo presentation, for the service. Choose a casket. Vault, or no vault? Fancy lining, or not? Appliques on the hood of the casket, or no? I had to find a company to design a headstone that would honor my son. I had to piece together an obituary that would communicate with the world the wonder of this extraordinary human being, who was now forever removed from my life!
But one thing I did NOT have to do was worry about how to come-up with the $34,000 that it cost me for my son to die. In THAT moment, I was beyond grateful for that uncomfortable conversation with my agent, 13 years prior.
My life insurance agent was my hero on the day I made that claim.
To this date, I am the biggest advocate of life insurance on children. I never would have conceived that I would use the DEATH benefits of my son’s policy, rather than the living benefits.
I encourage you to use my story, if it will help in your life insurance sales. I am thankful for the hard-working men and women in this business, who take it upon themselves to advocate for their clients and have uncomfortable conversations about death. It is necessary. Thank you.
Sheryl Moore is President and CEO of the life and annuity market research firm of Wink, Inc. Her company provides competitive intelligence, market research, product development, consulting services and insight to select financial services companies. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.