There are three maxims that every trial attorney takes into the courtroom when going before a jury: If you don’t have the facts, then pound on the law; If you don’t have the law, then pound on the facts; And if you don’t have either, then pound on the table.
Among the three (the facts, the law or the table) he or she knows the most important because an aphorism taught early on in law school is that “From the facts arise the law!” Detective Joe Friday said it best when questioning a witness to a crime, “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
Facts are the foundations of an appropriately placed insurance sale as well
But the fact is, well, it just takes too much time to collect them – especially when profitability is slim anyway on, say, a term policy being sold for income replacement. After all, how much information do you need to calculate a multiple of a client’s earned income based on age?
A case is not just a policy any more than a home is just a house, and good fact-finding reveals and develops all that there should be about a transaction involving life insurance, both for the client’s overall plan and the advisor’s practice.
To name a few:
- The full facts may expose other life insurance needs, particularly on other household members.
- A full factual review establishes the advisor as more than a simple “policy-pusher” allowing for discussion “beyond term” where provision might be made for protection against a long-term care event, or supplemental retirement income.
- The discussion may even go to the most basic insurance need, protection against loss of income in the event of disability.
- Clients can be alerted to unfilled non-insurance needs such as the execution of wills, powers-of-attorney and health proxies.
- Thorough fact-gathering captures information that might be needed in the underwriting process and can now be provided without going back to the client.
- A comprehensive job will engender the trust of the client which leads to referral of others to the advisor that effectively served them.
- Fact-finding this year sets the table for the annual review next.
Moderate levels of fact-gathering are in order
We have designed personal and business fact-finders that are a happy medium between a few notes on a legal pad and the multi-page, overly in-depth questionnaires offered up by most carriers.
John Adams once said to his wife, Abigail, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
Getting the full picture pushes an advisor beyond pre-conceived notions and outside the habitual paths toward standard solutions that become so easily entrenched in a practice, especially for small cases.