The fast paced life styles of the 21st century along with easy access to the internet have seriously impacted interpersonal communication and service. That is, people just don’t talk to each other beyond what is required during their workday–and in some cases, that isn’t much at all as many jobs now involve sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day.
While there is something to say for speed and convenience, the lack of personal contact is affecting people in areas of critical decisions. A major one is the need for life insurance. Statistics show that a surprising number of young people think that what they have on the job–if they have life insurance from their employers–is all they need. It isn’t.
When folks discover that they really need privately owned life insurance, they immediately sit down in front of a computer and within just a couple of clicks can find a link that says “get your quotes online now” or something to that effect. They put in the required information which includes their address, phone number and any major medical problems and expect to get instant quotes from several companies from which they can choose the one they want.
Occasionally a quote might pop up. Usually, it doesn’t work like that.
The web site contacted is usually going to be a third party lead generation service to which agents subscribe. The consumer inquiries are instantly sent to 5 (or more) agents who will then try to call the consumer. Some agents may provide a tentative quote–nothing is ever firm in life insurance until the application process is completed and the policy is issued–while others (the best ones, actually) will refrain from rattling off numbers until they see the client face to face. The latter makes the most sense as life insurance is more complicated than it seems. That is, there are many reasons for life insurance beyond putting a person in the ground, and a good agent will work with the client and help find a policy that meets that person’s goals both now and in the long run.
The reason you don’t usually get a quote on the internet (unlike car insurance) is that many state insurance commissioners forbid the posting of insurance rates by a third party. Although an actual insurance company website may give you a quote, if a company suggests a price and then has to raise it due to underwriting requirements, a bad impression is created in the mind of the consumer. Consequently, even company quotes are often higher priced than other policies or are “graded,” meaning coverage is guaranteed, but there may be a waiting period.
Life insurance is one thing that should be purchased face to face, although plenty of companies offer policies through the mail. Nearly all mail order policies have clauses the average person doesn’t understand. “Modified” whole life, for example, often means the benefit will never change, but the premium may be adjusted periodically. Other variations abound. Unless you have worked in insurance yourself and understand the terminology, purchasing without the help and corresponding signatures of a real person can be a big mistake.