I work as an insurance professional in both the medical, life, disability, and long-term care insurance markets. I often speak with other professionals who are supposed to be trusted advisors to their clients. Unfortunately, very often I find that they are only numbers crunchers, and are not appropriately seeking out other advisors who can assist their client in the process of finding the most appropriate coverage.
For example, recently I was speaking with somebody in the financial advisory field, and I inquired what they advise when someone brings up Medicare. They said that very often the advice is, “Oh, you have a lot of assets. Just buy the most expensive plan out there, because it will give you the most comprehensive coverage.”
That is not necessarily the case, and if your financial team is advising you that, I strongly suggest you question them about where they received their information. Do they have a professional in the field, like myself, who they can refer you to in order to explore all your options — just as they do for you when they are preparing your financial plan or your taxes?
The same holds true with people in the health insurance industry. I have met several professionals who claim to offer the most appropriate Medicare program, in addition to their regular benefits planning insurance. Unfortunately, very often, their websites have no or very limited information about Medicare planning. What these planners usually do is refer clients to one or two of the very large carriers, whether that’s the most appropriate solution to the client’s situation or not.
The reason many advisors do this is because they do not want to take the time, like I have, to get licensed and certified with all the pertinent carriers and the dozens of plans available in their area. In the New York metro area alone, there are a myriad of carriers that it makes sense to be licensed and certified with.
In terms of long-term care and long-term disability insurance, the same also holds true: Your financial advisor very often is not an expert in this type of insurance. Some do work with various insurance companies and can refer the clients to an appropriate advisor to assist them — but a lot of financial advisors, especially those that work with the very large firms, are just doing some very basic number crunching and farming people out to very large companies. They’re not really consulting with the client and asking the client the most relevant questions for their specific situation.
The next time you speak with anyone from your financial team — i.e. an accountant, insurance person, financial advisor — listen very carefully to their response when you ask if they have someone whom they work with on a consultative basis. If you are not comfortable with their response, I suggest you consider a second (or third) opinion.
As an insurance professional and Medicare expert, I always make sure to ask the most relevant questions about your situation. This allows me to recommend the most appropriate program for you, or refer you to other professionals.
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