How to handle policies you didn’t sell

By Helena Smeenk Pritchard | October 24, 2014 | Last updated on October 24, 2014
2 min read

When a client, prospect, friend or acquaintance asks you about an in-force policy you didn’t sell, you don’t have to have all the answers immediately.

Read: Help a client who’s lost insurance paperwork

Just follow this simple seven-step process:

1. Get the company’s toll-free number for Individual Insurance Customer Service.

2. Organize a three-way call with you, the insurer, and the policyholder.

3. Make sure the policyholder is prepared to answer the Privacy of Information questions (date of birth, social insurance number, or mother’s maiden name, etc.), and understands that you’ll be on the line when those are mentioned

4. Also prepare the policyholder to identify herself, give policy numbers and mention that you are on the line and have her permission to ask questions on her behalf.

5. Ask the customer service representative if he or she is well-versed in the workings of the product(s) in question.

6. If the answer’s no, ask to speak to representative who’s most well-informed about this product. This will save you from being put on hold repeatedly while reps ask their supervisors or do intranet searches.

7. If necessary, ask to be transferred to either the Participating Insurance or the Non Participating Insurance product actuary.
That person can provide specific product answers, such as an idea of reduced paid-up values.

Remember, an individually owned life insurance policy is a unilateral contract. Once it’s been issued, the company must deliver on its terms. That being said, if the life insurance contract in question is a par policy, dividends are not guaranteed. Also, remind the client that the distribution of surplus profits as dividends is regulated for mutual as well as stock companies.

Read: Handle life insurance proceeds

When you use this seven-step strategy, you’ll usually ask questions that will reveal new information. In doing so, you’ll have provided an invaluable service — without feeling the pressure of having all the answers.

Helena Smeenk Pritchard has over 36 years of experience in the insurance industry and is the Principal of Helena Smeenk Pritchard & Associates, a leader in “Insurance Know-How” training. Helena publishes a weekly free ‘Did You Know’ newsletter on her site.

Helena Smeenk Pritchard