Life insurance settlement, cold calling in freezing temperatures, death from hyperthermia, early life insurance payouts, settlements and death benefits.

The main reason that life insurance is the hardest thing in the world to sell is that fact that none of us like to think of our own death or mortality. Death is something that always happens to someone else or is at least going to happen some time in the distant future which is why none of us plans our life insurance properly, because none of us plans on dying.

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One night, Mike and I drove up to Horsham to handle some sales appointment. We had three or four each, booked in at hourly intervals. It was often the case, having made the appointments by cold calling the night before that one or two would blow out when we got there.

Temperatures were freezing and it was snowing quite heavily when we arrived. As usual, Mike left his keys on top of the nearside front tire in case I finished my appointments and got back before him. He set off to his first appointment and we wished each other luck as I walked off in the opposite direction.

My first appointment wasn't in, so I returned to the car to kill a bit of time before going on my second appointment. However, it was too cold to sit in the car for an hour, so leaving my briefcase in the boot and the keys back on the tire, I went down to the pub for a drink; but realising I had left my wallet in my briefcase, returned to retrieve it. Reaching under the wheel hub I couldn't find the keys. I checked all the wheels in case I had mistakenly put them on the wrong tire, and then scrabbled around in the snow by all the wheels in case the keys had dropped off. They were nowhere to be found.

This was long before the days of mobile phones and I had no way of contacting Mike. I had no money in my pocket, so I couldn't wait in the pub and my diary was locked in the boot. As we were parked on a large housing estate where all the properties looked the same and unable to remember the name and address of my next appointment; I started walking around trying to look into windows in the hope of seeing Mike sitting in the comfort of someone's warm living room.

It was probably about half past seven by then; the snow was falling heavily and covered all footsteps, so I couldn't even follow his tracks. My leather shoes by then were soaked through, my feet burning and my ears were stinging with the cold. It was the only occasion I can remember where I hoped and prayed that Mike would have a disastrous evening and finish early.

I walked round and around hoping to bump into Mike on his way to his next appointment but without success and started to have visions of Mike finding me dead in the snow. I suppose I could have gone down to the pub and explained my predicament or even knocked on someone's door and thrown my self on their mercy. I really can't explain why I didn't except that I was extremely shy; it was one thing to be a rough, tough life assurance salesman on a mission and something else to be a pathetic lost soul half freezing to death.


Under the circumstances, my life insurance policy was the car key and they were missing. I had checked my pockets a dozen times, peered through the car windows in case I had inadvertently locked them in the car and crawled around on my hands and knees in the snow in the hope they had fallen off. By nine thirty I was experiencing my first near death experience.

I have read that freezing to death is one of the least unpleasant ways to die. By eleven o'clock I was beginning to feel an out of body and warm experience which I realised was hypothermia setting in. To describe it as pleasant would be to say you enjoy holding a hot iron to the extremities of your body. It is far from pleasant, it is absolute bloody agony.

At midnight it was still snowing, the temperature, at least in my opinion was still falling and the wind chill factor was cutting through me like razor blades. I tried running around in circles in an attempt to keep warm, banging my arms around my body to keep the circulation going; although this exposed my hands and so every so often I had to put them back in my overcoat pockets.

It was almost one o'clock in the morning and I am sure I was delirious by the time I saw Mike battling against the blizzard, head down and making his way towards me. "Fuck me it's cold!" he said as he took the car keys out of his pocket and opened the car door. I climbed in beside him unable to speak.

"How did you get on?" he asked starting the engine. I turned and looked at him, trying to open my lips which were frozen together and stop my teeth from uncontrollably chattering. "You cold mate? Why didn't you wait in the car?" he asked.

"You had the k-k-keys." I managed to stammer out. "Oh sorry mate." He laughed "I had to come back to the car for an application form and must have put them back in my pocket. Have you been waiting long?"

"F-f-f-fucking f-f-f-five hours." I said not seeing the funny side of it. "Why didn't you wait in the pub?" Mike asked laughing uncontrollably.

"B-b-b-because my w-w-wallet was l-l-locked in the b-b-boot." By which time Mike was hysterical and drove all the way home laughing uncontrollably with me remonstrating that it wasn't funny which made him laugh all the more.

Needless to say, all the insurance salesmen in the office found the whole incident hysterical too.

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