Young person with life insurance
The importance of making sure you have adequate coverage before you think you need it

While visiting with several insurance company representatives at the Western Propane Trade Show and Convention in Reno, Nevada, in August, an article I wrote in the August 2021 issue of BPN titled “Is Your Company the World’s Best?” became the topic of discussion. One of them said, “You need to write an article on the need for life insurance.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, we have all become more aware that death is certain for everyone. For those who don’t get the vaccine and then catch the virus, death could be unexpected. Most people live life as if they will live forever, and when death comes, it’s a shock to both the person and their nearest and dearest. Death doesn’t always provide us with warning signs to allow us the time necessary to take care of our loved ones.

Years ago, I had an older client whom I spoke with every year about the need to have a will or a family trust to take care of all the assets he had accumulated over the years. Year after year, it was the same story: He was going to think about it, and then he would put off doing anything. Eventually, he had a stroke and was left with weakness on his right side.


I called him and asked if he had put a will or trust in place. He said no. I gave him the name of my attorney, who called him and set up a meeting at the hospital. The attorney quickly put together a will and trust as the marketer knew he was living on borrowed time.

The family met together, and the wife did not want to sign, preferring to wait and think about the options. That idea was soon forgotten when he insisted now was the time to put the family affairs in order. So, the legal documents were signed. What followed was another stroke, and soon thereafter he died, leaving the family with a will, trust and legal documents in place. This enabled the family to continue to run the business with clear directions to follow.

For some people, death comes without warning. For others, there are warning signs along the way. It reminds me of an auction. You see an object you want, and when the bidding opens, you place your bid. But there is someone else bidding, and they raise the bid higher.

You get additional chances to place a higher bid than the competitor, until finally the auctioneer says, “Going once, going twice — sold to the highest bidder.” You had the option to bid higher to win the object or to let it go by not raising your bid.

Life is like that for some. A man may have a health issue for which his doctor tells him to cut down on salt and lose some weight. At the next visit, when there’s no weight loss or reduction in salt intake, the doctor prescribes blood pressure medications and diuretics to remove the excess fluid from the body. Still not following the doctor’s advice, the patient has a heart attack. Despite numerous warnings, the man’s lifestyle is sending him to an early grave, and he is now uninsurable.

I must state that I don’t sell life insurance, and so I am not trying to sell you a product you don’t need. However, I am in the life assurance business — both now and hereafter. I know for a fact that I am responsible to talk to all my clients about all their insurance needs, so I am constantly stressing that taking care of your family in the event of your untimely death is of extreme importance.

Talk to a knowledgeable estate attorney. Get your will drawn up and notarized. If there are other assets, set up a trust and designate the trustees. Then, go to a reputable life insurance agent and make sure you purchase enough life insurance to cover your loved ones’ future needs and any taxes that might occur upon your death.

Years ago, when I started my insurance career, I met a young Italian couple who were just starting their life together, as well as a small construction company. Every year, I visited their home to go over their property and casualty insurance. Every year, I talked to them about the need for life insurance, and every year they turned down my offer.

Six years went by; the construction company was growing and they had added two darling little boys. Grampa had come to live with them after his wife died, and he was making homemade wine in the basement (that I had to sample). For six years, I gave them a life quote, and for six years they turned me down.

Then came a gut-wrenching phone call from another contractor telling me that my contractor had been killed in a cave-in. His wife had auctioned off all the equipment to repay the bank and was losing her house. I was heartbroken for the wife and two children who had lost everything for lack of life insurance.

Take the time now to get your will and trusts in place and get sufficient life insurance to take care of your family and company. It’s too late to help those we love once we’re gone.

Frank Thompson is a chartered property and casualty underwriter based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the owner of PT Risk Management, an independent insurance company specializing in writing propane and petroleum risk policies throughout the U.S.  


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