As you approach retirement, finding the right insurance agent can be difficult. The key word is trust. You need an agent that is customer driven not commission driven. Yes, your agent will make money if you buy. For some agents, that is the only reason to sell insurance. For other agents, they will sell you what you need but not be constantly trying to add on to your policy base with unnecessary items that may be the bonus specials for the quarter.
Many agents learn that seniors have often lost a little of their mental acuity. Because of this, the agent will pressure seniors into buying policies that exceed their needs. They will drain your pocket while trying to fill theirs. You want to find an agent who is experienced in helping clients build the right insurance mix to complement your estate planning.
You may need to add to your life insurance, buy long-term care insurance, or get a Medicare supplement. Annuities also come into focus at this point in life. A good agent can give guidance about how these products fit into your current and future needs. If you can’t keep up with the number crunching, take along someone who can.
If you have good friends who have already successfully navigated the quagmire of insurance opportunities, ask them for the name of their agent. I would recommend interviewing about a half dozen agents over a few months. You will get educated about what is available. Even a good agent who isn’t affiliated with a company offering the product that you need is no help to you.
You want an agent who is helpful and informative but not pushy. When possible, meet in their office. This way, if you get annoyed, you can leave their office easier than you can throw them out of your house. Be as courteous as they are. Take generous notes at each meeting. If you have an estate attorney, make an appointment and consult with him or her about your insurance options.
Never give an unknown agent too much personal information during the interview process. I don’t even like to give information that I deem unnecessary when filling out insurance applications. They really don’t need much information about anyone beyond yourself and the name of your beneficiary. If they ask too many questions on this line, they are fishing for prospects and not working on your needs.
Don’t ever be afraid to change agents if you feel your best interests are not being served by your present agent. Many times you can change agents even if you stay with the same policies and same insurer. You may even find the need for multiple agents to get the best products to fit your situation.