The Triple-I blog got the amazing opportunity to ask State Farm Life Insurance Agent Robert Stevenson, some questions about getting the most out of the often misunderstood financial product.
What is your educational background and what was the path that led you to become a life insurance agent?
Robert Stevenson : I grew up in Savannah, Georgia and attended Hampton University in Virginia. I worked at my master's degree when I accepted an opportunity with State Farm Insurance Corporate Headquarters. My job was to help the company expand its presence on the east and west coast. During that time, I learned to become a government member and fell in love with it. I worked hard, and in December 2000 I opened my agency in New York, New York. As a state agricultural agent, I am a small entrepreneur ̵
What advice would you give students considering becoming life insurance agents?
RS: You have to listen and you have to bother. This is more than a job. It helps people protect what is most important to them. People do not always want to talk about life insurance. It's uncomfortable. But let's be honest. One day you will die. Nobody in the history of the world has ever cheated on it. That is why you need to make sure people are protected and that they understand the bigger picture. You take care of families and protect the lifestyle they spent years building. While nothing can get anyone back, a family's dreams can still be achieved because their loved one's life insurance. It really is a gift of love. You need to help people understand this.
What is the most common misconception that your customers have about life insurance?
RS: That they don't need it. That they have enough. Often I hear the answer: "I have it through my employer." But there is a chance that the benefit can be removed. If you have a life insurance even if you are an employer, and you get a new job, you may not get the same coverage in your new position. Or, if you retire, it is likely that you will not receive the same amount that you once had. It is wise to be proactive and read the fine print. Health and age also play a role in life insurance. I often hear, "I wait until I'm married or have children to get it." The problem is that when our age gets older, our health tends to decrease. Therefore, if you are waiting to receive life insurance, you will likely pay more for it.
How do you help a customer determine how much insurance they need and what type of policy is best for them?
RS: I start with forecasts. I ask customers questions such as "Where do you want to be in five, 10, 20, 30 years? Do you want to be married? Do you own a company? Have children? Travel? What is your dream?" It is important for people to understand the importance of to invest so that they can generate more income in pace with the years. Life insurance is not an afterthought. This is the basis for an investment strategy. You cannot invest in funds or shares or your child's college or buy rental properties etc. if you do not have income. If something happens to you – your family can replace your income and still achieve their dreams.
It is also important to help customers understand the difference between concept life and life. The term does exactly what it sounds like – it covers you over a period of time. If you die within that time, your family is covered. But think about this. Let's say you're 35, and you want to buy 20 or 30 years of life insurance. Do you think you live 20 or 30 years from now? When I ask people as a question, most respond, "Yes". That's when I remind them, when 20/30 years go by and they still live, they won't get this payout. The whole life covers you throughout your life. No matter what. It guarantees that your family will get paid. It's more expensive in front, but you guarantee a payment – it builds the value you can pay.
How do you ensure that their life insurance does not get lost and that their beneficiaries get paid as soon as possible after their death?
RS: When we sell a life policy, we tell our customers: "Make sure your loved ones are aware of the policy and everyone knows how important documents exist." For example, the safe in your house. Even when life changes, it is regular to update regular updates with your state's agricultural agent or financial planner to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
RS: It's a tough one. I would say, when I got my securities license. It allows you to sell packaged investment products such as funds and variable annuities. Getting this requires a lot of work and requires careful testing. I had an opportunity to send it. There was a lot of pressure. But it was worth it. Getting my securities license gave me the opportunity to open my office and help people.
What do you think about doing in your spare time?
RS: I like to read and golf. Having activities like these let me unwind. But more, I love spending time with my family. I have a son and a daughter who keeps me busy. Family time is important. All things in equal parts. That's what keeps life happy.