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disability insuranceI’m Kelly, a 26 year old disability insurance marketer, and I have a confession to make.  I’ve never been trick-or-treating. 

While most children would dress up and parade the streets for a night of free candy and fun, I would stay inside, turn off the lights and join my parents in pretending we weren’t home. 

My parents believed that, for some people, Halloween was less about costumes and candy, and more about celebrating witches, demons and the spirits of the undead.  They weren’t comfortable with the “evil” side of Halloween, so my siblings and I weren’t allowed to partake in Halloween festivities.  And I was okay with that.  I was raised without Halloween and I never thought twice about it.

But, that’s not how my husband was raised.  He loves Halloween.  And while you’d think, as adults, the topic of whether or not to celebrate Halloween shouldn’t be an issue, it has been.  Because while I’m fairly indifferent to the holiday, it’s important to him that his future children have the opportunity to dress up and trick-or-treat, because those are some of his favorite childhood memories. 

We were raised very differently in regard to Halloween.  And that’s okay.  What’s important is that we make any future decisions about our children based on what WE believe, not what our parents believe.  But if I had never been questioned on the subject by my husband, I would have raised my children exactly as I was raised, because it worked out just fine for my parents.

I’m not sure if it’s a sign of being a millennial, or if all 26 year-olds throughout the years have been this way, but many of my decisions are based on what my parents have taught me.  My husband is the same way.

Our first two years of marriage have been filled with conversations of “I know that’s how your family did it, but this is how my family did it” and “Let’s do this your way, and this my way.”  There have been lots of compromises along the way. But the point is, when we first got married, whether we were discussing holiday traditions or the correct way to cook a meatloaf, we both had a tendency to mirror our parents, because that’s all we knew. 

The same rule applies to insurance. While his parents are healthy, my mother passed away young and my father has numerous heart problems.  If an agent were to approach my husband regarding life or disability insurance, he’d be resistant.  If an agent approached me, I’d be very receptive based on my family’s health history.

We have no way of knowing how our perspective clients were raised or what their family history was like.  We don’t know if our clients’ parents were diligent in obtaining proper coverage, or if they lived by the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

That’s why, when you approach a new client about disability insurance, critical illness insurance or even long-term care insurance, it’s important to ask questions.  They might have strong opinions about insurance that reflect the thinking of someone who’s uneducated on the topic. Don’t be afraid to ask about the type of coverage their parents had in place. It’s likely their parents’ situation was quite different than their own. Point out differences and (kindly) address flaws in their thinking if they’re resistant to coverage that you know they truly need.  And if your client is married, ask about their spouse’s family history. Someone like my husband might think differently about long term care insurance or disability insurance if you point out his spouse’s family health history.

It’s okay to be like our parents, but it’s not okay for us to make decisions, especially financial decisions, without factoring in our own needs, wants and hopes for the future.  Make sure your clients are thinking about their future and not their parents’ past.

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