Insurance Pitfalls



“Making smart decisions that will not affect your family and their well-being in difficult times”


If you read the newspaper or turn on the television at all these days, it is impossible to escape the reports about the difficulties many people are facing today.  As an insurance professional, I have had countless customers coming into my office to cancel their homeowner policies due to foreclosures, short sales, etc.  This is not only gut wrenching for our customers delivering their sad news, but very difficult for myself and my staff.  These are policies we wrote and excitement we shared, when our customers purchased their 1st home. 


I know many people are having difficulty making ends meet each month, heck, each day, and I further realize people are looking for ways to cut back and save some money.  We are all feeling it in some area.  There is definitely a trickle down effect that transcends all industries and work places.  You may think of cancelling a certain service that seems like more of a “luxury” right now to save a few dollars, but what does it do to that small business owner who now has lost a customer?  He now may have to let a worker go, who now becomes unemployed and so on and so forth… is an inevitable situation, but there are some areas where we just should not take risks when trying to save money.


I have been taking at least a few calls a day with people wanting to “temporarily” cancel their life insurance.  I want to give you some perspective into a different type of “trickle down” theory that is not only very real, but one I have seen first hand just a month ago.


An agent friend of mine in another state had a customer who decided he just could not afford to pay his $45 premium for his life insurance right now.  The agent tried to talk him out of cancelling the policy and perhaps finding other areas to cut back, i.e. making coffee at home or brown bagging it to lunch, etc.  The customer was insistent, assuring the agent as soon as things were better financially, he would buy another policy. The policy was cancelled.  This was a $750,000 policy, purchased over 5 years ago.  The customer had 2 young children and a stay at home wife who has been out of the work force for 5 plus years.  The intent of the policy at the time of purchase, was to provide his wife enough money to handle their mortgage payments, continue to save some money for their kids education, and of course all other miscellaneous bills while maintaining some semblance of their normal life.  It was also meant to buy his wife some time to find a job (I won’t even open the can of worms about realistically trying to find a job in today’s climate, especially when one has been out of the work arena for a long time).


Continued tomorrow….



  1. “but what does it do to that small business owner who now has lost a customer? He now may have to let a worker go, who now becomes unemployed and so on and so forth… is an inevitable situation, but there are some areas where we just should not take risks when trying to save money.”

    i find the above statement extremely offensive.

    Where is this article going? Should the consumer bear the responsibility of keeping small businesses afloat? So people should cut back on other things these agents deem “not as valuable”? I agree, a cup of coffee is not as valuable as a life insurance policy, but then what about that local coffee shop owner? Following the logic here, shouldn’t the consumer here be responsible for keeping the coffee open too? Don’t they have employees to worry about? Who are you to tell people what to cut?

    We are all having a hard time, and everyone is cutting back. But lobbying for your own line of business to the consumer isn’t all that convincing. Your selective argument here is troubling.

  2. Jim Minkey says:

    Hi Patrick;

    I need to take some responsibilty here. I cut this particular post in half because it was 1200 words and I thought it would be too long for one day. I actually didn’t consider how that changed the context of what Jennifer wrote. When you see it all together I think it all makes sense and also makes an important point.

    I’ll let her tackle a response tomorrow but I need to say that Jen is the real deal and I’ve never known her to be self serving in any capacity…honest.

  3. Yep, if the second half of this article goes somewhere else, it’d be ok. Right now, it’s inducing guilt in people who have to make a tough tough choice of canceling their policies. It’s not something people want to do in the first place, and making them feel guilty for not patronizing your business is like rubbing salt on the wound. That is what I find most offensive.

    Looking forward to the second half or a rebuttal.

  4. Well….Jim, I am sooooo glad I contributed to your BLOG! All kidding aside, I am glad to have the opportunity to respond to you Patrick. And Jim, thank you for your comment, as I also believe that the BLOG cut-off may have led to Patrick’s mis-understanding of my point. Patrick, I wish I could apologize for offending you, but being that I stand behind my opinion and my passion about life insurance I can’t apoligize, but I will try to enlighten. Just as I respect and appreciate your comments and opnions, I would hope others would give me the same courtesy as again, this was an opinion piece about a very real situation that profoundly affected me and has changed the way I do business. I am hoping you didn’t mean to vilify me as Jim also assures me you are a very nice guy. I have never, and I mean never, ever, made someone feel guilty for not patronizing my business. I find that thought quite offensive actually. I take my role as an insurance professional very seriously and consider myself an advocate for my customer’s families who often do not have a voice when it comes to protecting their future. If you think insurance agents who sell life insurance are doing it for the money, you are sadly misinformed. Many agents don’t sell life insurance because it is not a money maker. Those of us who do sell life insurance do so because we are passionate about the benefits it can provide to those left behind. In this piece, the gentleman in question could have cut back in many other areas, and yes, some of them may indeed have had the trickle down affect I mentioned for small business owners. However, I believe (again this is my opinion), that your families well-being should always come before anything else. I don’t guilt people who cancel their policies to save money, but I may certainly have a few words for them when they call the next month to ask us to insure a boat or new motorcyle they purchased. And yes, this happens very often. Most people I know, do put their families first, so I could very well be preaching to the choir with Jim’s loyal readers. This was one instance that stuck with me as I believe in my heart, that if this man knew the devastation he left behind, he would have made different decisions. We all do what we have to do when times are tough, and Patrick I am just an ordinary working citizen with a husband and 3 young children just like many others. Anyone who knows me will attest that I am one of the most compassionate people around. I in no way was telling people what I feel they should cut and not cut out of their lives, but offering an insight to a first hand experience. I feel you may have been reading between lines that simply are not there. Thank you again for your comments and opinions. I hope you see a different perspective when you read the 2nd half of my piece.

  5. Jennifer,

    Thanks for your comments. The second half of your article makes a lot of sense. It’s a cautionary tale we all know too well but few heed the warning. Your intention was never questioned. Life insurance is extremely important especially if you have people depending on you. No arguments here at all. I have life insurance and it’ll be one of the last things I would cancel, unless of course I have no means to even put food on the table for my family.

    The unfortunate thing about the first part of your article (in particular the sentence I quoted), perhaps you should consider moving it elsewhere or removing it completely, is that it comes from a selfish angle, or at least it can be misconstrued very easily. In one sentence, all your passion and conviction for your clients is wiped away. It sounds like this: “Doggone it, if you cancel your policy now my business is going to suffer and I’m going to have to lay people off. Now, let’s rethink your decision.” It contradicts with your compassion for others and your professionalism.

    I am not out to vilify anybody, there’s enough noise on the web without me adding to it. People do read Jim’s blog, and if you put something on here just be prepared to have it critiqued. Take it for what it’s worth. I’m sure I’m not the only one who “misinterpreted” the first part of your article, I’m just the only one writing something about it.


  6. Dana Ferri says:

    Unfortunately I think the demise of debate occurs when people get offended so easily by other people’s stated opinions. It reduces healthy debate to heated emotions. I think there are far more “extremely offensive” things than what Ms. Selvitella expressed.

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