Work related/key man insurance/job security

two25acresJuly 26, 2012

I know it's alot to fit in the title but just not sure how to title this situation. I'll try to be brief but detailed at the same time. Here's our situation.

Husband and I both work together for the same person. We are the only employees. Key man - is an insurance agent for largely recognized insurance company. He has contract with said company we are his employees with no ties to large insurance company. We are extremely concerned about our job security should something happen to this agent/our boss. He lives a healthy life but takes alot of risk while at play. He vacations 5-6 times a year, jumps out of planes, jumps of rocks into bodies of water, scuba dives, and spends much of his time traveling via automobile to the mountains. If something were to happen to him I know his wife well enough that she wants nothing to do with the business, she wouldn't want to drive through town and see his name on a sign as a constant reminder. She'd probably move out of state. He confirms this. She would probably sell the business and we would be out of jobs. On the other hand since they obviously vacation together, another concern for us is that something could happen to both of them. If that was the case this large insurance company would step in and have their way with the business with no regard for us. Again, we'd be out of jobs. Does anyone know of a business type/life insurance/key man insurance plan that could protect our incomes for up to a year or give us the opportunity to purchase the business? The agent/boss and I have discussed this at great length, he understands my concern but has no idea how to address the need. We have been friends/neighbors for 20 years and I know he's concerned as well. We've looked into purchasing life insurance with my husband and I as beneficiaries with an amount that protects our income for 7 years or gives us the money to purchase the book of business and keep our jobs. The agent would have to be the owner/payor but we would reimburse him the premiums. The insurance company we write for doesn't want to do this but will not offer us any ideas how to successfully do it. Any suggestions. If more information is needed, I'll be happy to give it.

Thank you in advance for your imput.

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Why would he have to be the owner of the policy? Though it is a bit bizarre to insure people other than family.

And if he is the owner, what would prevent this man from changing the beneficiary unbeknownst to you? And suppose he doesn't die, but decides to retire and just shut the business down? Then you are out all those premiums, unless you intend to keep paying throughout his retirement.

It just sound like a really bad idea all around. Take the money you would pay in premiums and save or invest it.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 3:28PM
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What is the insurer's policy should an agent die? Are the policies the property of the insurer or of the agent? Is there a payoff schedule worked into the exclusive agent contract? Are you or your husband licensed? Have you looked into buying into the existing agency? Most insurers with a captive agent force have an active marketing department looking for new agents -- either to expand geographically, increase penetration, or take over books of business from retiring/deceased agents. I would explore with them the possibility of running your own agency -- either to segue in to ownership with your current employer, or elsewhere.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 4:40PM
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We are not family and technically we do not have an insurable interest in the agents life. A third party cannot own the policy. He could change the beneficiary if he was that kind of person but I have access to the policy information daily and could find that out all too easily. Premiums are only about $500 a year, not really going to make much of a dent in salary protection.
He is a captive agent with a contract that should something happen to him his wife would act as agent for 6 months and if she got licensed could maintain the agency. She would not want to do that. She doesn't/hasn't worked outside the home in 21 years. If something happened to both of them the insurance company can step in, by the book at a smaller dollar figure with proceeds going to his estate/daughter. She's an artist and working behind a desk 8-5, not an option. She is in Colorado, we are in Illinois.
I don't want to purchase a book of business and work 6 days a week at our ages. That's like starting new. I've managed this book for the past 15 years, I know it pretty well. I am 51 and my husband is 60.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 6:02PM
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Have you considered one of you looking for a job elsewhere? It would seem smarter, to me, not to have all your 'eggs in one basket', so to speak. It does sound kind of iffy for both of you to be dependant upon one employer when you have the kind of questions you do.

I'd definitely steer clear of taking out life insurance on a non-relative--just think, if something questionable WERE to happen to him (even some sort of odd accident), you'd be on the suspect list, simply because it's not normal for people to take out life insurance on non-family members as a general rule. Anyway, that's such a ghoulish way to fund one's future--could you ever be happy knowing you were living on this friend's death money? Yuck!

Another idea? Why not take some classes at the community college so you can become qualified in a another field? Many can be done as apprentices, so you could work as an optician, for example--getting paid while you become educated and qualified. Lots of para-professionalf fields you could go into.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:56AM
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What you are concerned is your job securities, I think worrying about agent's life insurance won't give you much protection.

Even if the agent is healthy, they could decide to replace employees, to move operations to a different location, to merge the business with other agencies; the work could be outsourced or offshored...etc.

azzalea gave you sound advice, the more you could branch out to other fields, positions and responsibilities, the better off you would be. Your family income is depending on one individual and his small business is really not a good idea.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 2:34AM
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I'm extremely concerned about having all of our eggs in one basket and that's precisely why I'm working so hard to get this resolved. Starting new jobs, careers not exactly an option. Hubby is 60 this week, I'm 51 and caring for senior mom and her alzheimer husband. This job offers me great flexibility in that my friend/boss knows I am not going to take advantage of him and he trust us to run his business while on many vacations. We have mutual respect for one another and to me that is invaluable.
No, I wouldn't feel funny taking out a life policy to guard against the uncertainty of our jobs in the event something happened to him. Boss totally agrees with it. In business it's done. Its just done with the owner's generally. We are not owners though. We will keep pursuing this. Thanks for your feedback though.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 1:03PM
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Your answer is why I suggested getting into some of the para-professions. It's NOT unusual for people in their 50's and 60's to get into those fields AND GET JOBS. My dd messed around for about 3 years, before settling on opticianry in college, even so, she was the youngest one in her major--by about 30 years! Most of the other students were in their 50's and 60's and yes, they did fine and got jobs in their new fields.

I know you don't want to hear this--I wouldn't have at your stage of life--but the 'caring for older parents' situation isn't going to be for forever. I took care of my mom for about 13 years, had a short year 'off' when my aunt's health took a turn and I becaue responsible for her--but only for about 2 years. Now, DH and I are in our early 60's and relatively responsibility-free as all the older generation is now gone. You want to start preparing now for that time, truly. We're lucky, because with the way our finances are set up, we are able to get buy on SS and DH's pension.

Do you have pensions at your place of employment? If not, do you have enough savings that you can live off the interest? keeping the principal in case you need it to fund assisted living/nursing home care down the road? At age 50--YOU have enough time to get a job that will give you at least a small pension by the time you're in your mid-60's. Dsis was just about your age when she started working at the Post Office as a mailman--another example of the fact that there are decent jobs out there for older folks. You just have to find one that allows you to be a bit flexible. One thing that leaps to mind is being a CNA--only takes a short time to become qualified, would help you care for your parents, and the hours are VERY flexible.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:45PM
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