The cheapest life insurance is not always the best assurance of getting a payout on the death of the life assured.

Competition from other life insurance companies was rife twenty five years ago. I could be knocking on doors and be told that a life assurance salesman had been down the same road just an hour ago. Your biggest fear was another salesman persuading a client to cancel your policies in favour of his, because he could insure their lives for a cheaper premium. Two occurrences stand out in my mind.

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It was very easy for another salesman to demonstrate that he could insure your life for more money at a cheaper premium than the policy you had sold. On one occasion, I had insured the life of a client with a whole of life insurance policy. It was a type I favoured because it would pay out on the death of the assured no matter when it occurred.

In this case, the competitor persuaded my client to cancel his policy with me and take out a ten year term policy. The sum assured was much higher and the premium much cheaper because it only covered him for ten years. It all looked good on paper but having had the medical, it was discovered that he had a heart condition and the new company declined to insure him.

Back he came to me to try and reinstate his insurance policy only to discover that having cancelled the policy and now with a heart condition, my company was no longer prepared to cover him. I got the abuse and had a certain amount of empathy with the client but my hands were tied and I hadn't cancelled the policy.

The same thing happened to another client but he failed to disclose that since taking out my life insurance policy, he had contracted bowel cancer. Subsequently on his death the other company refused to settle on the grounds of non-disclosure. I learned this from his widow when my company paid out the death benefits on his pension. It is advisable never to cancel a policy until you are assured of getting cover elsewhere. The best time to get insurance is always now as you never know what life is going to deal you. You will never be able to buy it as cheap as you can today which is why I always claimed to sell the cheapest life insurance.


Mike and I used to buy our clothes from the same tailors, which meant we often ended up with the same suit and overcoats. If we were going out door knocking or on appointments together, we would normally discuss what we would be wearing the next day to ensure we didn't look like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

On one occasion in particular, we ended up going door knocking in the same suits and overcoats and on this occasion, probably because one of us needed moral support, we were knocking on doors in unison.

It was a cold afternoon and we were working a particularly down market council estate selling right to buy mortgages. On one door we knocked on a young boy answered the door, took one look at us and called back over his shoulder, "Dad! It's two guys from the church." We looked down the hall and saw a huge guy lying on the sofa with empty beer cans strewn on the floor. Easing himself slowly from the comfort of his settee, he walked menacingly towards us and as we tried to explain that we weren't actually from any church, he launched into a torrent of abuse, threatening to kill us if we ever darkened his doorstep again. We left hurriedly.

Three hours later, we were back canvassing the doors where we had not had a response that afternoon. We walked up to a door, rang the bell and it was answered by a young boy. "Dad! It's those two blokes from the church again." The father was already getting off his sofa when I turned and ran with Mike in hot pursuit. We could hear him coming down his path swearing and offering to do unimaginable things to us.

We ran down the road, round the corner and hid in some bushes in the dark. "Like you, I am a professional." Whispered Mike and we both started giggling. Too fat and too drunk, thankfully our would be assassin had given up the chase.

One of my proudest sales came from a family of Jehovah witnesses a religion that denied its followers the right to buy life insurance. They were a lovely family and realised within a couple of minutes that they had in fact no intention of buying any life insurance but had every intention of recruiting me into their flock.

Jehovah witnesses believe that the end of the world is coming. In fact they have predicted this to happen in 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1989 and probably other occasions too. No doubt they will get it right one day but till then, we all need life assurance.

This couple sat opposite me and declared that they were Jehovah Witnesses, that the world was coming to an end and that God would look after them. I looked them squarely in the eyes and said. "Indeed he will, which is why he sent me and you need to insure your lives in case you die before the world ends." I was being facetious but they took this as a genuine sign and bought a joint life insurance policy. For all I knew, maybe he had guided me to their door and if they believed the world was going to end at the hand of God, they believed he was capable of making a little thing like a life insurance salesman knock on their door.

Over the years, Mike and I had numerous adventures and many of these and the things we said and did have become legend and used as quotes at life insurance meetings.

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