News Items

Medicareful®, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-approved Medicare product comparison website, added six prominent carriers to its online enrollment platform for the 2017-18 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

With its latest release, Medicareful now features online enrollment for Aetna Medicare Advantage (MAPD) and prescription drug plans (PDP), Coventry (MAPD), Humana (MAPD), CarePlus (MAPD), Anthem (MAPD and PDP), Amerigroup (MAPD), and Independence Blue Cross (MAPD) plans. These additions join Humana (PDP), SilverScript (PDP), Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (MAPD), and Univera Healthcare (MAPD) as plans available for direct enrollment online.

“With the addition of these carriers, Medicareful has enrollment options for plans which cover 42% of all Medicare beneficiaries that have chosen an MAPD or PDP plan,” Ritter Insurance Marketing President Craig Ritter said. “This greatly increases the utility of this platform for our agents.”
Using a licensed sales agent’s unique Medicareful site, Medicare beneficiaries can contact their agent and enroll in select plans. All online enrollments are tied directly to the agent for commission credit.

“Medicareful is designed to enhance every aspect of the agent’s workflow: marketing, plan selection, enrollment, and retention. It’s much more than a simple enrollment tool,” Ritter said. “Agents can manage all of their referral, lead generation and co-marketing sources through one platform to maximize their customer base. Streamlining the scope of appointment and enrollment processes through Medicareful enhances our agents’ effectiveness during the Annual Enrollment Period.”

Through technology developed by Ritter Insurance Marketing, Medicareful validates the agent’s certification status, state licenses, and state appointments to ensure compliance with CMS’ “ready to sell” regulations. Once this instant validation is complete, a Medicare beneficiary can complete the enrollment process in less than 10 minutes without leaving Medicareful. Agents immediately receive an email confirmation, and the beneficiary also gets a confirmation that their enrollment has been sent to the health plan or Part D sponsor for processing.

Medicareful’s revolutionary eSOA is now more powerful than ever for licensed agents. In 2018, CMS relaxed the rules for a Scope of Appointment (SOA), the document that verifies a Medicare beneficiary’s consent to a sales appointment from their agent. The new guidelines allow agents to assist their clients from SOA through presentation to enrollment using a single phone call.

Medicareful’s eSOA enables contracted agents to compliantly document their Medicare appointments on their website. The electronic copy of the eSOA is retained in the agent’s CRM and the agent can electronically sign for submission to any Health Plan or PDP Sponsor that accepts a generic Scope of Appointment. is developed and maintained by Ritter Insurance Marketing. Agents contracted to sell select Medicare products through Ritter Insurance Marketing are eligible to receive their own unique URL at no cost.

Ritter Insurance Marketing, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a national field marketing organization for senior insurance products. With more than 460,000 Medicare policies in force, seven offices, and 160 employees, Ritter Insurance Marketing is a national industry leader in the external marketing and distribution of Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans.

If you’re interested in your own Medicareful site, visit

It’s Your Year to Win in Ritter’s 2019 $100K Cash Giveaway

For 2019, we’ve made some big changes to our annual $100K Cash Giveaway, and your chances of winning are better than ever!

This year, we’re rewarding our top direct-to-Ritter Medicare Supplement producers by giving away more than $100,000 in cash. We’ve also made a change to increase your shot at big winnings: $100K Cash Giveaway awards will be based on the number of applications you submit and issue! Plus, the producer who writes and issues the most Medicare Supplement applications* in 2019 will win $10,000!

Most of the grand prize will be broken up into four quarterly contests. The top 50 agents in each calendar quarter will earn a share of the total award based on their rank in the top 50. The rest of the grand prize will go to the producer who writes and issues the most Medicare Supplement apps over the course of the year! Ties will be broken based on premium.

The maximum award is $20,000 for the entire year depending on how an agent ranks each calendar quarter and at the end of year. In addition to having Medicare Supplement production through Ritter Insurance Marketing, you must be certified and ready to sell for at least one Medicare Advantage or Part D company (although no production for MA/PDP will count toward the contest).

Quarterly Cash Payouts:

1st place: $2,500

2nd place: $2,000

3rd place: $1,750

4th place: $1,500

5th place: $1,250

6th place: $1,000

7th place: $750

8th place: $650

9th place: $600

10th place: $500

11th–15th place: $400

16th–20th place: $350

21st–25th place: $300

26th–50th place: $250

End-of-Year Cash Payout for Most Apps Written:

1st place: $10,000

*Medicare Supplement applications submitted through Humana will not count
*Applications submitted for disability/under 65 will not count

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How will winners be determined?
A: Winners will be determined based on how many qualifying Medicare Supplement applications they wrote and issued. First place will be awarded to the direct-to-Ritter agent with the most qualifying Medicare Supplement apps written and issued, second place will go to the direct-to-Ritter agent with the second most apps written and issued, etc.

Q: How will ties be broken?
A: Ties will be broken based on premium. If three agents wrote and issued the same number of qualifying apps, the agent with the higher premium total will win the rank. The agent with the next highest premium total will get the next rank, and the third agent will get the rank after that.

Q: For which companies will my Medicare Supplement apps count?
A: Your Medicare Supplement apps will count for all participating companies* through which you’re contracted with Ritter as the direct upline. Just use our Medicare Quote Engine or Medicareful to find a competitive product in your market, get contracted with Ritter, and start writing! Get your own Medicareful site.
*Medicare Supplement applications submitted through Humana will not count

Q: I produced Medicare Supplement business through Ritter Insurance Marketing in 2018, but never received a bonus. Why not?
A: To qualify for the bonus, you must meet all criteria, including being ready to sell for at least one Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D (PDP) plan through Ritter Insurance Marketing. If you are not direct to Ritter, your upline may have requested that their agents not participate in this contest. It’s also possible you didn’t produce enough to place in the top 50 agents.

Q: I’m a top producer, and I have top-level contracts. Can I still qualify?
A: Yes, you can hold top-level contracts and still qualify.

Q: My contract is not direct to Ritter. (I have an intermediate upline.) Can I still qualify?
A: No, you must be direct to Ritter to qualify for this incentive.

Q: I have an agency. Can I “pool” production from multiple agents?
A: No, this contest is only for writing agents who are direct to Ritter.

Q: When will the bonuses be paid?
A: We project bonuses will be paid within 45 days of the end of the contest period (end of the calendar quarter or year). We will mail winners their bonus checks.

Q: Will I get a 1099 for my award?
A: Yes.

Q: If I don’t write my Medicare Supplement business through Ritter, does it still count?
A: No.

Ask us about the most competitive Medicare Supplements in your area!

Do you have more questions? We’ll answer them! Call 800-769-1847 and ask about our $100K Cash Giveaway or our $10K Cash Giveaway.

Ritter Insurance Marketing has once again been named one of the Best Places to Work in PA for 2018. It is Ritter’s fifth straight year on the list.

“There is one philosophy that really drives a lot of our decision making,” company president Craig Ritter said. “And that is that the best way to keep our agents happy and to keep our carrier partners happy is to have happy employees, and to be able to really invest in the development of the employees.”

The Best Places awards program, created in 2000, is one of the first statewide programs of its kind in the country. The program is a public/private partnership between Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Central Penn Business Journal.

Ritter has landed in the top 30 for medium- and small/medium-sized companies each year since 2014, including a peak No. 7 ranking in 2015. The company ranked No. 11 in medium-sized companies in 2017.

“Being named to this list also says a lot about our employees and the passion they bring to the office every day,” Ritter said. “Cooperation among great people creates a positive atmosphere that allows us to meet and surpass our goals as a company.”

The Best Places survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Pennsylvania, who are benefiting the state’s economy and its workforce. Employers are categorized based upon the total number of employees they have in the United States, 15 to 99 employees, 100 to 250 employees, or more than 250 employees.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the 100 Best Places to Work in PA. The first part of this process was evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophies, systems, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process.

Ritter will be recognized at the Best Places to Work in PA awards banquet on Thursday, November 29, at the Lancaster County Convention Center in Lancaster, PA. Rankings will be revealed at the ceremony. Tickets may be purchased online at

For more information on the Best Places to Work in PA, visit

Ritter Insurance Marketing is proud to announce that is has been named to the Central Penn Business Journal’s 22nd annual list of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Central Pennsylvania. This is the fourth time that Ritter has achieved this milestone.

“We’re proud to once again join this list of companies representing Central Pennsylvania. Ritter strives to provide the very best tools and support for successful businesses in the area and across the country, and we plan to continue to grow for years to come,” Craig Ritter, company president, said.

In order to be eligible for consideration, companies were required to show revenue of at least $500,000 in each of the fiscal years ending 2015, 2016, and 2017, as well as revenue growth in 2017, as compared to 2015. For-profit entities that are headquartered in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry or York County were eligible for nomination.

The presenting sponsor of the program, Baker Tilly, calculated the nominations and then ranked the companies according to revenue growth over the three-year period. Both dollar and percentage increases were taken into consideration. This ranking formula led to the list of 50 winners.

Ritter and the other 49 winners will be honored at an awards breakfast on Monday, September 17, when their ranks will be revealed. A complete, ranked list of honorees and profiles of each company and their financial growth will be published in a special supplement to the September 21 issue of the Central Penn Business Journal.

Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies is a program of the Central Penn Business Journal and is presented by Baker Tilly. Additional sponsors include: Comcast Business, Highmark Blue Shield, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, Spooky Nook Meetings & Events, Union Community Bank & Robert Half. For more information about the awards, please visit

2018 Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies
(listed alphabetically by company name)

Aaron Enterprises, Inc., York
ACNB Corporation, Gettysburg
AllSearch Professional Staffing, Inc., York
Appalachia Technologies, LLC, Mechanicsburg
APR Supply Co., Inc., Lebanon
Bank of Bird-in-Hand, Bird-in-Hand
The Benecon Group, Inc., Lititz
BlackCSI, Mechanicsburg
Bob Ruth Ford, Inc., Dillsburg
Brown Golf Management, Camp Hill
Campbell Associates, York
Candoris Technologies, LLC, Annville
Cargas Systems, Lancaster
Centric Financial Corporation, Harrisburg
Clark Associates, Inc., York
CORE Design Group LLC, York
Covenant Insurance Group, Inc., Dover
DOCEO Office Solutions, LLC, York
Duck Donuts Franchising Company, Mechanicsburg
E.G. Stoltzfus, Lancaster
Eagle Disposal of PA, Inc., East Earl
Flagger Force Traffic Control Services, Hummelstown
Fulton Financial Corporation, Lancaster
Gavin, York
Graphcom Incorporated, Gettysburg
HB McClure Company, Harrisburg
Hersha Hospitality Trust, Harrisburg
Homesale Realty Services Group, Inc., Harrisburg
Hot Frog Print Media, Mechanicsburg
Impact Disaster Services, York
JPL Integrated Communications, Inc., Harrisburg
Klock Entertainment, Harrisburg
Land Grant Surveyors, LLC, Columbia
M2 Construction, LLC, Landisville
Millennium Circuits Limited, Harrisburg
Momentum, Inc., Camp Hill
Ritter Insurance Marketing, Harrisburg
River Supply Inc., Brogue
RL Livingston, Inc., Manchester
Royal Square Development & Construction, York
Schaedler Yesco Distribution, Inc., Harrisburg
Schmuck Lumber Co., Hanover
Sequinox, Lancaster
Snyder, Secary & Associates, LLC, Harrisburg
Speedwell Construction, Manheim
Spooky Nook Sport, Inc., Manheim
St. Onge Company, York
Susan Graham Consulting, Hershey
Tapestry Technologies, Chambersburg
WebpageFX, Inc., Harrisburg

Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and prescription drug plans aren’t the only insurance products seniors may want or need.

Ritter Insurance Marketing hosted an educational “senior products meeting” on June 5 to encourage local health and life insurance agents to consider the other coverage needs of their older clients and how they can fill them.

Representatives from six carriers, including Aetna, Ameritas, Guarantee Trust Life (GTL), Legacy Safeguard, Mutual of Omaha, and OneAmerica attended and spoke at the DoubleTree Resort in Lancaster, Pa. Ritter’s Ancillary & Long-Term Care and Life & Annuities teams were also present to answer questions and provide sales advice.

During the meeting, carrier reps mainly discussed why offering ancillary insurance (including hospital indemnity, cancer and heart attack or stroke, dental and vision, and short-term care plans), traditional and hybrid long-term care insurance (LTCi), and life insurance is easy and beneficial for agents, their business, and their clients.

“It’s important [for agents to sell products like ancillary, life, and LTCi plans] because folks have financial exposure from Medicare because Medicare … or Medicare Advantage doesn’t cover everything,” GTL Regional Sales Manager Demetri Simos said. “So, it’s important to at least present the solution to some of those financial exposures so that the clients are going to be better off financially.”

Carrier reps also talked about their respective company’s products and covered specific ways agents can market them and bring them up during appointments. Additionally, many reps informed agents they have marketing materials readily available for them to use during appointments.

Mike Baker, Ritter’s LTC Manager and an industry expert who’s worked in the market for more than 20 years, organized the event. While Ritter frequently hosts webinars to educate agents about carrier-specific products, Baker wanted to hold a live meeting with a specific focus on supplemental forms coverage.

“As a trusted advisor, I believe agents have a responsibility to help clients manage risk and offer solutions in the form of ancillary, LTCi, and life products. It strengthens the client relationship, increases opportunities for referrals, and can also create new revenue streams for the agent,” he said.

He also understood the value of bringing agents and carriers together in person.

“Webinars are great and can be an effective way to reach a larger number of agents, but I am firm believer that agents can learn more in a live meeting. I wanted to provide a forum where agents could hear directly from our carrier partners and have meaningful face-to-face conversations.”

Baker received positive feedback from both agents and carrier reps who attended. Karen B., an agent who’s worked with Ritter for several years, was one individual who found the event beneficial.

“It’s just very helpful to me to be in the same room with a group of people that are doing basically the same thing I’m doing,” she said. “They might ask a question or they might make a comment that I was not aware of, and it just makes me feel as though I had a refresher, or it makes me think again of things I need to do … You always learn something.”

She expressed her great appreciation of Ritter’s support system, especially as an independent agent selling multiple products.

“I do know – and Ritter’s not paying me to say this – that I can pick up the phone, and I can talk to Mike Baker or Brad or Emily, who’s new, or somebody, Brenda from the life insurance section, and I can get answers … no matter what question I ask. And we’re talking about 10 years now,” she said.

Baker plans on holding more trainings like this in the future and in other locations.


For more info about selling ancillary, LTCi, or life products or working with Ritter, please call Ritter at 800-769-1847 or drop us a message.

HARRISBURG, PA – Ritter Insurance Marketing is proud to announce the launch of their Agent Survival Guide Podcast, an audio companion to their Agent Survival Guide website.

Available today, the Agent Survival Guide Podcast serves to meet the needs of the on-the-go insurance agent by providing valuable content for listening to at any time and any place.

“We are pleased to offer our content in podcast form to make it as available and convenient as possible for agents to enjoy and learn,” Ritter President Craig Ritter said. “Whether listening while driving, working out or just relaxing, we believe agents will appreciate having our educational materials on their smartphone or listening device.”

The podcast offers marketing tips and strategies for selling insurance and staying compliant while highlighting how Ritter’s exclusive tools can streamline an agent’s business.

“We are seeing more and more agents take the ‘independent’ route,” Ritter said. “While this has huge advantages for flexibility and earning potential, being independent sometimes means being alone. ASG is making great strides in filling that gap to provide the independent agent the best of both worlds with top-notch educational content from a trusted partner.”

Episodes feature Agent Survival Guide articles and will be published on a weekly basis. The podcast is now available on, iTunes, Podbean, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcasting directories.

This brand-new podcast aims to empower insurance agents selling Medicare, life insurance, annuities, long-term care insurance, and final expense products.

Subscribe to the Agent Survival Guide Podcast on Agent Survival Guide, iTunes, Podbean, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Ritter Insurance Marketing, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a national field marketing organization for senior insurance products. With more than 460,000 Medicare policies in force, seven offices, and 160 employees, Ritter Insurance Marketing is a national industry leader in the external marketing and distribution of Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans.

Sarah J. Rueppel

Don’t believe the commercials. Retirement in the 21st century isn’t always fishing trips, golf outings, and weekend brunches.

Rather, 70 percent of individuals age 65 and older will require long-term care, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging. And the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation reports just eight percent of all Americans hold long-term care (LTC) insurance policies, which means most of your clients need your help planning.

What Gives?
First and foremost, expensive LTC insurance premiums deter interest. A policy including a daily benefit of $150, four to five years of coverage in home and institutional settings, and three percent inflation protection would cost approximately $2,200 annually for a person under the age of 55. That’s a little over $180 a month when you get in early. But it doesn’t stop at cost.

Age isn’t just a number when it comes to long-term care policies. The older you get, the more expensive plans become. The cost of the exact plan outlined above nearly doubles to $4,066 per year ($386 per month) for a 70 year-old client. Carriers offer plans for ages 18 to 79; the earlier you can get your client covered with an LTC policy, the less expensive it will be. LTC premiums can rise for an entire class of policyholders, so the recent trends are something to consider with your client.

Also, keep in mind that pre-existing conditions are considered with LTC insurance, so purchasing early can protect those who end up facing medical hardships later in life. Those currently using long-term care services or who need help with the activities of daily living (ADL) at the time of purchase will not qualify. Clients with serious medical conditions might also find themselves ineligible. If they have a pre-existing condition, such as AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and metastatic cancer, LTC carriers will not issue coverage.

Education is key as well. Many Americans mistakenly believe that their health insurance or Medicare will cover the costs of long-term care. In fact, Medicare only covers medically necessary care, like skilled nursing or rehabilitation, not assistance with daily living. As their trusted advisor, it’s important to make sure your clients understand exactly what they can’t count on Medicare to provide.

How Do You Sell It?
Starting the conversation about an LTC plan can be challenging. Clients in good health now might assume that they’ll be part of the 30 percent who never need long-term care. Others might not even want to think that far ahead. LTC plans are the ultimate “what if?” policy.

But now, the conversation has been made significantly easier with the many new life insurance and annuity hybrid products with LTC riders. These products have been designed to assuage clients’ fear of losing their money by providing a tax-free death benefit, leveraging assets for LTC coverage, and offering return of premium options.

Can your clients afford long-term care? Maybe they can’t afford to be without it. Because of the specifics surrounding enrollment, the answer is going to be different for each of your clients. Evaluating the cost, age, knowledge level, and pre-existing medical conditions will help you to determine that answer.

Want more information on the LTC hybrid options available through Ritter? Please contact LTC Manager Mike Baker at 800-769-1847 ext. 262 or

As an independent insurance agent and a marketer with Ritter Insurance Marketing, I often find myself giving advice to our agents on what products they should have in their sales kit. When it comes to children’s life insurance, there are a large number of consumers and agents who believe that children’s life insurance is a waste of money.

However, experiencing a life-threatening illness or death of a child firsthand makes you understand how the emotional impact is incalculable, and the financial impact is overwhelming. I’d like to share my family’s story for your consideration.

My niece, a typical 16-year-old girl who was happy and healthy, suddenly began experiencing unexplained and very traumatic seizures. She was sent to several hospitals, none of which could diagnose what might be causing the seizures. She was subsequently sent to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for additional evaluation.

After several months of near-weekly emergency trips to the hospital to see numerous specialists, she was finally diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called OTC (ornithine transcarbamylase) deficiency. The disorder causes excessive amounts of ammonia to build up in the blood. The liver is unable to filter the ammonia, causing extreme seizures. The only cure for OTC deficiency is a liver transplant.

Over the course of one year, my niece was transported via ambulance or life-flight helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh more than 20 times. More than once a month her parents were required to travel at a moment’s notice to Pittsburgh, sometimes needing to stay near the hospital for several days at a time.

At times, our family could only pray that she would make it through the current seizure and that the hospital would be able to stabilize her ammonia levels quickly. On many occasions we were preparing for the worst news as we waited desperately for a liver transplant match.

During this extremely difficult time, my brother approached me to discuss purchasing a final expense policy for his daughter. While we were all hoping for the best, he was forced to consider the worst — how would he pay for his daughter’s funeral? Any savings his family had were long used up paying for medical expenses, travel to the hospital, and lodging expenses. After her long illness and the unforeseen expenses along with it, there was simply nothing left to pay for a funeral.

Insuring a young, healthy child is a much simpler and affordable task than trying to insure a child after they have become sick. Consider if you or your clients were faced with this situation. How reassured would they be knowing they had purchased a policy that would cover the inconceivable?

Your clients must also consider future insurability. Many policies will allow for increased coverage without proving insurability later in life. My niece, for example, at 18 years old, is now uninsurable other than a guaranteed issue policy. However, had she had insurance before her diagnosis, she would be able to keep her policy and possibly increase its face amount in the future, no matter her health condition.

The bottom line is that there is a place for children’s life insurance in your sales kit. You may not always use it, but it is a discussion that will be beneficial to have with your clients who have young children. For me personally? After our experience with my niece, I now own a policy on my own son and encourage my family, friends, and clients to consider it as well.

For more information on the children’s insurance policies available to you through Ritter Insurance Marketing, please contact Brenda Salyer at or 800-769-1847 ext. 302.

Your client’s life stages are constantly changing. Shouldn’t their life insurance reflect that? The needs of your single client at age 26 are very different when she’s 42 and married with three kids, a mortgage, and two car payments. But too often we write the policy and let it sit on a shelf collecting dust.

The truth is, as your client’s trusted advisor, you should be checking in regularly to make sure their policy can do what it’s designed to do; provide immediate coverage in the event of the worst. These pivotal life stages are excellent ways to get the conversation started with your clients.

Clients tying the knot are bringing their finances together for the first time. A policy will protect your client’s spouse in the event of their death. As the anniversaries stack up and the policy grows, more assets will become available to pay on a mortgage, get rid of debt, take care of outstanding taxes, etc.

Having Kids
A client’s mindset shifts entirely when they have kids. Your clients with young children should have life insurance covering both parents. If the worst happens, benefits can help pay for day care, fund a college education, and even cover everyday living expenses.

Purchasing/Refinancing a Home
When purchasing a home, life insurance policies are often simultaneously acquired to cover the amount of the mortgage loan. In the event of your client’s death, their beneficiaries can use the policy to pay off the remainder of the balance. These policies should be revisited in case of refinancing to ensure they do not run out before the mortgage is paid off. Similarly, if your client moves to a larger home with a higher mortgage, you’ll want to update the policy to cover the full amount of the new loan.

Business Protection
Self-employed clients have substantially invested in their own businesses. Check in regularly to make sure their policies accurately reflect business growth. In the event of your client’s death, you don’t want to risk their family having to liquidate assets to cover business debts.

Dealing with divorce can be a mess of emotional and financial decisions, but it’s important to consider how it will affect your client’s life insurance. When a marriage ends, your client may need to change the beneficiaries on his/her policy. If your client has children covered by their former spouse’s policy, they may need to purchase a new policy naming their children as beneficiaries.

Retirement Planning
Permanent life policies add a level of security to your client’s retirement. They can typically borrow against the policy with no capital gains or income taxes involved. Plus, proceeds from life insurance are passed on to your client’s beneficiaries tax-free.

Estate Planning
If your client has enough wealth for their estate to be taxed, a life insurance policy can reduce or completely eliminate estate taxes. Additionally, a policy can provide immediate payment for outstanding final medical bills, burial expenses, and other settlement costs.

Act Early
Don’t forget, the older your clients get, the more expensive it is to buy affordable life insurance. Deteriorating health conditions can cause increased premiums or even prevent your clients from being able to obtain coverage.

Worth noting, the 2015 Insurance Barometer Study by LIMRA and Life Happens found that 80 percent of consumers misjudge the price for term life insurance. For the price of a weekly lunch, your clients will likely be surprised at just how affordable life insurance can be.

There are three common ways to determine a client’s life insurance needs: Multiple-of-income approach, human life value approach, and capital needs analysis. The latter two methods are more sophisticated and allow you to address the specific needs and concerns of your clients’ survivors.

Multiple-of-Income Approach
The simplest method for estimating your clients’ life insurance needs is the multiple-of-income approach. The goal of this approach is to replace the primary breadwinner’s salary for a predetermined number of years.

Begin by multiplying the client’s current annual income by how many years they want to provide financial support for their survivors. The recommendation is to have seven to ten years of life insurance.

It’s an easy method, but it doesn’t take into account the specific needs of survivors, other sources of funds – such as the survivors’ income and investments – or different types of family structures. For example, this method may work well for a family with one child, but might not work as well for a family with six children. It also doesn’t take into account inflation or future salary increases. Using this approach may lead to over-insuring or underinsuring your clients, but it’s a start.

Human Life Value Approach
This method considers your client’s age, gender, occupation, current and future earnings, and employee benefits. There are several steps to determining the overall value of the client if they were to die today:

  1. Estimate the client’s earnings from now until a set point in the future – typically their expected retirement age. Be sure to factor in future wage increases as well.
  2. Subtract the insured’s annual taxes and living expenses from the total. It’s usually safe to assume 30 percent of their salary will go to taxes.
  3. Select an assumed rate of return on the remaining total and subtract it from the gross amount. In other words, subtract the interest you expect the money to earn.
  4. Add the cost of additional benefits provided through employment, such as health care, that will need to be replaced when the client dies. Remember to account for inflation.

The primary goal of this method is to replace income lost. It doesn’t necessarily account for funeral costs, children’s educational expenses, or other specific future needs.

Capital Needs Analysis
The capital needs analysis is the most widely-used approach for estimating life insurance coverage. In addition to replacing the client’s salary, it also accounts for other sources of income and the specific needs of survivors.

This method factors in:

  • Current and future income of both the insured and surviving spouse
  • Immediate lump-sum cash needs upon death, such as funeral expenses, debt repayment, and mortgage payoff
  • Future expenses such as college, weddings, long-term care expenses, and retirement funding
  • Existing family assets, retirement funds, or insurance policies

Once all future needs are taken into consideration, there are then two ways to calculate how much insurance the client needs, based on how they want to utilize the funds in the future.

  • Earnings-Only Approach: The survivors will live off only the investment earnings of the policy without cashing in the principal value. This method is preferable if the client wants funds to be available for their children after their spouse has also died. Like any investment, this method is subject to the risk of changing market interest rates. To provide a sufficient income stream, the death benefit is usually significantly higher than in the liquidation approach.
  • Liquidation Approach: The surviving beneficiary utilizes a portion of the principal as well as the investment earnings. There is more risk with this approach, particularly if the investment earns less than originally predicted. The surviving spouse may not have sufficient income to live on for the remainder of their life.

No matter which method you choose to calculate your clients’ life insurance needs, it’s always a good idea to have a baseline estimate of their survivors’ future financial needs to ensure the policy will provide sufficient support. Getting a life insurance policy is the smartest thing your clients can do to show their family they care!