Life insurance death benefits, the cheapest life insurance you can buy is the policy you buy now and that's guaranteed.

The writing was on the wall as soon as people started talking about regulating the life insurance companies. The whole idea was to ensure that salesmen gave best advice, but most had been doing that for years. The first fact find my company came up with was 24 pages long. It took three hours to complete ensuring you could only do one appointment an evening. The client who said he wanted a simple life insurance policy was expected to divulge personal financial information that had little to do with the fact that all he wanted to do was protect his family. The fun had gone out of the life insurance business.

Start of article about the demise of life insurance.

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I longed for the days when I could say "One of the biggest benefits of this life assurance policy is it gets rid of me." It used to raise a laugh, now it became a reality. Clients now felt they were being treated as a client and not as a human being with genuine needs; instead they felt as if they were being probed to find their weakness in order to sell them the most expensive product.

The times when an appointment was a social event where you could sit down with a cup of tea and a sandwich and discuss hobbies and interests, or enjoy the match on TV and finish your chat during half time and make a sale had gone. It was impersonal and cold and relationships weren't made on a personal level, clients had simply become a huge file or dossier.

Salesmen left in their droves, looking for greener pastures, sales dropped and life insurance companies closed their books to new business and dismissed whole sales forces. Little or nothing was ever mentioned in the press about the demise of the life insurance industry. As far as most people were concerned, a blight had been removed from the landscape and it is only now that it is too late that they realise that the cure was a virus that destroyed people's security.

I for one miss the larger than life characters and the infinite stories that were told and would become legend amongst the old life insurance salesmen that gather together for reunions and discuss the good old days.


I can look back on the old days with warmth and a longing that few people will ever understand or enjoy the like. The laughter, the jokes, the larger than life characters, the stories and conversations overheard in the office or whispered late at night and early into the morning. Despite the fact that much of this happened more than twenty five years ago, I can recall where everyone sat, their faces and complete conversations as if they were yesterday.

Maurice Prince was an old Jewish chap who joined us late in life after his business went bust. We had a large Jewish contingent due to the fact that most of the managers in our branch were of the faith and so Jewish humour was rife. Maurice was not a particularly humorous chap but he was, without knowing it, a very funny guy and the cause of much entertainment to Mike and I.

Maurice had just joined and as normal had been told to contact all his friends with a view to selling them life insurance. Maurice sat at his desk on his first day with his list of personal contacts and dialled the first person on his list.

"'Ello Ruby, it's Maurice, 'ow are yer?" Pause whilst Ruby obviously told him how she was. "I thought I'd pop round and 'ave a cuppa tea with yer." Ruby had obviously been told that Maurice was now selling life insurance. "No I just wondered how yer were and thought I'd pop in and see yer for a cuppa tea." Ruby was obviously telling Maurice she didn't want any life insurance.

"No we can just 'ave a cuppa tea - and maybe we could talk about life insurance." Ruby obviously not enthusiastic. "No, no, no. I'm not trying to sell you any life insurance, I just wondered 'ow you were and thought I'd pop in for a cuppa tea….. and maybe we could talk about life insurance." Ruby now getting irritated. "Well can't an old friend just call to see 'ow you are and pop round for a cuppa?" Ruby affirming that point but obviously still insisting that she had no interest in life insurance. "OK, so I'll pop round this afternoon and just 'ave a cuppa tea with you……. and maybe we can talk about life insurance." Ruby now very angry.

"Alright, I won't talk about life insurance, I'll just pop round for a cuppa ……… and maybe we can talk about life insurance." Ruby was now shouting because we could hear an audible voice emanating from the phone although we couldn't make out what she was saying. "Alright, I'll just pop round for a cuppa tea." Maurice hung up the phone and whilst pencilling his appointment into his virgin diary muttered. "And we'll definitely fucking talk about life insurance."

Maurice had many conversations of the same ilk that afternoon and many afternoons for several years to come. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall on that and some of his other appointments. Maurice had more policies cancelled than just about anyone; clients had often called into to cancel the policy before Maurice got back to the office having beaten a client into submission. He never seemed to grasp that selling was just about finding a need and supplying the solution. He just seemed to try and bulldoze people into buying something they obviously didn't agree they needed. He was a sales manager's nightmare.


Our managers' idea of sales training was to get us all together and try and motivate us. Most meetings ended up in complete turmoil and usually only succeeded in de-motivating most of us. Our sales manager would ask us how many people we had approached to make an appointment, how many people we had actually contacted, how many appointments we had made and how many life insurance sales this had culminate in.

Mike and I always kept accurate records because it told us how much an approach was worth. Maurice never managed to grasp the importance of understanding the importance of knowing the value of each activity. One sales training session, our manager was going round the room asking each salesman how many calls they had made and writing the results down on the whiteboard. Everything ran smoothly until he got to Maurice.

Sales manager: "Right Maurice - how many people did you approach last week?"

Maurice: "About 50."

Sales manager: "No - I need to know exactly how many people you approached."

Maurice: "About 50."

Sales manager now a little exasperated: "Maurice - not about - exactly how many people did you approach last week?"

Maurice getting equally exasperated: "About 50!"

Sales manager now irritated: "Not about - tell me exactly how many!"

Maurice now also very irritated and obviously unable to grasp what he was saying wrong: "I'm telling yer - about 50!"

Sales manager now shouting: "Not fucking about - I want to know exactly how many fucking people you approached last week - the exact fucking figure!"

Maurice looked at him for about 5 seconds and then said: "Why didn't you fucking say so - it was exactly fifty."

Sales manager having sensed a victory, turned to write the figure on the board when Maurice added: "About." Success in the life insurance industry was down to one's ability to make sales appointments and some sales people had a strange approach.

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