THE BUSINESS OWNER AS KEY PERSON
Lawrence Ian Geller
Many of our corporate clients not only own and run their businesses, but they are also their most important employees. In many cases all or most of their staff are employed to support the work generated by the owner. In these cases great care must be taken to work with the owner to establish what would happen, and what they would like to happen, in the case of their disability.
Think of yourself as an example. You find the prospects. You make the appointments (although in this you may have help). You meet with the clients. You work with the client to establish their needs. You determine which product or combination of products you will recommend. You take the application(s).
Then you hand the application(s) off to people who work with you for processing. When the policy is issued you deliver it to the client.
People who work with you may answer some of your clients' questions when they call, but most of the time it is you that they will want to speak with when they have a problem. Then, year after year, you contact the client to review their needs and determine whether the coverage which you sold remains both appropriate and sufficient to meet their needs.
What would happen if you couldn't do some of the things that I have listed above? Wouldn't that depend on which things you could or couldn't do? Wouldn't it also depend on the length of time that you were unable to do them? It might also depend on the experience of the people who work with you.
But, in all likelihood, your practice would begin to suffer very quickly if you couldn't meet with clients, or talk on the 'phone, or get around. What would happen then?
If your income began to suffer could you still afford to pay the rent for your office, and your leases, and your employee's salaries, and your other expenses? What would your clients think if your 'phones weren't being answered, or worse yet, if they were disconnected?
Would the clients still think of you as their agent if they tried to contact you and couldn't?
How long would it be before your practice began to lose value?
Now apply the same scenario to each of the clients who you deal with who is key to their business. Would the same problems occur? How long would it be before the result could not be reversed?
Is that what they would want? Of course not. They would want their business to survive so that they would have the choice of returning to it or selling it if they couldn't return.
That brings us to the last part of the equation, the sale of the business if the business owner does not recover fully. Often the best way to be confident that a business will be saleable, and at a fair price, is to have an agreement put in place well before the need ever arises. A contingency buy-sell agreement can often be set up between or among clients in related businesses or between a business owner and their employees, so that each will be certain of what will happen should the business owner's health fail.
And we can help with the funding of these agreements so as to assure our clients' financial futures.
The most important part of this for us is to ask questions. I have found that the Broad Concept has been of the most assistance to me in developing these cases, but as long as you force your client to think about what will happen with their current plan, you will have started the case off. Then it will simply be a matter of finding a solution which satisfies the client's requirements.
P.S. - don't forget to talk about what happens if the client dies.
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