Part 1: 3rd Party Insurance Sales – Good Idea?

When buying insurance, or having it "given" to you - think about how hard it may be to track down the information when you need it for a claim.  You might find the company that sold or gifted it to you may not have the "numbers" or the "information" you need when you - or your loved one needs it.

If you, or your loved one obtains a life or ADD (Accidental Death and Dismemberment) policy through a 3rd, trying to get information from the insurance company can get "tricky". Have patience. Then find some more patience. Your first link to information is the agency - like the 3rd party that included the information - and likely gives you a number to call if you have questions.

The challenge becomes when you have questions that they can't answer, and gives you a pat " just send what you have into us and 'they will see'." (Read in we have all the time in the world and no attachment to the outcome for you, or the estate.) After this two days in a row, from two nice, well-meaning people, I called the insurance company. 2-1/2 hours later, lost track of how many "IVR system phone trees - with ZERO prompts offering what I needed (No - I'm not a policy owner; no - I'm not new business; no - I'm not updating my name or address or phone number, and NO - "hitting '0' " didn't work - it just had the annoying IVR voice repeat its options trying to wedge my square peg into its round hole, so to speak." ) Something like 11 people later and bounced to call centers outside the U.S. (okay - I'm guessing here but five "helpful" reps in a row of transfers all spoke broken English and had heavy Philippine accents) - I finally was throwing a ball of socks across the room (!) and found a number to the corporate switchboard . (Oh - I even tried going in through a back-door to the "glass claims division". )

When you talk to these people, they can't use the policy numbers, or reference numbers your 3rd party agency uses. These numbers are useless to them. I discovered the old bank "gift" insurance policy by giving over my father's social security number. That was a surprise to learn about the other policy (which turned out to be old.)

Corporate Switchboard: NEW ANSWER. Write this down - "when in doubt - call corporate!"  Huge difference. Switchboard person listened. Switchboard person knew who to transfer me to. Switchboard person actually GOT me to the right person. "This is David in ADD claims - Can I help you?"

This was around the little over 2-hour mark to reach "David". David listened. He knew the answer to my question.

My Question: "Can I turn in notarized copies of Certified True Copies - or do you need only notarized copies of the original? The original Will is in the Probate office. The probate doc I have is the original - but I have to show that in  multiple places - so I don't want to give you the original.?"

Answer: "Yes - copies of the Certified True Copies are 'fine' - as long as we can see that the original copy was originally seen by a notary -- (in other words - the paper trail.)

[WHY - didn't the 3rd party agent know this?????]


* Banks and Credit Unions: Some banks and credit unions include a "gift" of life insurance for injury on a common carrier - like a bus, taxi, airplane - and you, or your estate executor may not even know such a policy existed! I stumbled on 'that' today - except my father's policy was cancelled out in 2005. It was for $100,000 - as Executor, I was surprised to learn that then immediately was told of the old cancellation date. I'm fairly sure my father never knew he had it. It was a gift from his bank as part of some package. I this case U.S. Bank - so if you have any "packages" with them, or any other top big banks, you might want to see if the fine print included some life insurance or Accidental Death or Dismemberment policy.

Corollary to this:  you might want to check with ALL the big insurance companies to see if there are / were any policies in place at the time of your loved ones passing.

* Vehicle Road Service Memberships: Some programs for other services - like road service - include an ADD (accidental death and dismemberment) policy for HOME accidents. After being forwarded a Second Reminder addressed to my father on an invoice to renew his "large insurance company" policy which was included in his other member service program, I was ready to call and ask "why" I was still getting these - when the company was the first vendor to know he had died, outside of the hospital related accounts payable. My eyes fell down on a "Type D"  that said "home accidents". Really? A benefit for 'that'? So, I called, and had claims forms sent. It's a small policy pay-out but it may help cover final expenses.

SO - if you are settling an estate - "check" and see if there are hidden accident insurance policies, if your loved one died in a home accident. It doesn't have to be an immediate death - my father died within a week of the event(s). No promises for your "outcome", but you might at least want to try to find out if your loved one's situation qualifies.

My Conclusions:

1. Buy your insurance directly from the big insurance company. Then the policy numbers will match their number system. When you call the IVR system you will be able to navigate it as you can type in a number the system should recognize. When you have "nothing" - you are "stuck".

2. If you do have a policy through a 3rd Party - see if you can get the big insurance company policy number NOW - and not wait.

3. Keep a list of these random other policies - for your parents, for your immediate family, or your Trustee of your Trust, or Executor, etc. Otherwise it's like looking for the needle in a haystack!

4. When in doubt - call the insurance company corporate office and get referred in to the department you need. IVR systems can be  frustrating. Many times, you may not even understand what the option was that was said. Seniors, elderly, anyone possibly with ADD / ADHD, English as a second language, and the list goes on, find these IVR systems annoying, frustrating, and these systems can create panic!

PART 2: See what you need to know of maybe consider before you let your loved one die in hospital. What the hospital maybe knew - and I didn't at the time.




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Caesi Bevis, Author / Speaker Bio

Bevis Consulting

Bevis Consulting

Principal of Bevis Consulting. I am a Futurist, Research Writer, Public Speaker, Voice Over Professional, Consultant, and Expert Witness with over 20+ years background in competitive intelligence, market research, and 13+ years in legislation research and consulting in both the U.S. and Canada. My marketing expertise in recent years includes social network and Internet marketing. I am the former President of the Canadian Business Intelligence Association. My PhD coursework is in Human Behavior Leadership, with an MBA with an International Finance focus, BBA with core courses in Marketing and AA in Advertising Design.

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