Use metaphors to help people understand income replacement products

It can be difficult for clients to think about the possibility that an illness or injury could prevent them from working and what that would mean for their income. Even if they’re willing to think and talk about it, they may believe they have enough coverage through their employer. That’s where advisors’ insight and communication strategies come in.

Kerry Therese Wallingford, RICP, ChFC, a 22-year MDRT member from Seattle, Washington, and passionate Seattle Seahawks fan, uses a football-based metaphor to emphasize the value of critical illness and disability insurance.

“Imagine that you’re the quarterback and your money is the ball. What would happen to you if the offensive line wasn’t effective?” she said. “The client typically says, ‘I’d get crushed or sacked.’ I tell them, ‘Correct. The offensive line is there to protect you, the quarterback, from blind-side tackles. It is the same in the financial world. Your inability to go to work due to an injury or sickness is like being hit by a blind-side tackle, and this can cause significant wealth transfers.

“Would you agree a top-quality offensive line allows you to move the ball down the field? Protecting your income is like making sure your left guard is suited up and on the field.”

To get the point across another way, Wallingford also sometimes asks clients, “If you had a printing press in your basement that generated $150,000 every year, how much would you insure it for?” “Nearly every client says they’d insure it for as much as they can,” she said. “I tell them, ‘I suggest you look in the mirror, as your ability to get up and go to work every day is the same as that printing press.”

The idea, of course is making clients understand, “You’re the income-generating machine in your basement, and we need to protect that valuable machine.”

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