Designing Our Future

282 pages

This course is designed for agents who work with a wide range of insurance products since it covers life insurance products, trusts, annuities, and retirement funding vehicles. The final chapter is devoted to ethical conduct in the selling field. Due diligence is also discussed in detail.

The groundwork is laid in the first three chapters through discussions of retirement income needs, income capitalization and determination of how much will actually be needed during the final years of life.

Trusts, while not specifically an insurance product, is used universally with insurance products through such things as the insurance trust, or policies that dump benefits into a trust upon the insured’s death. As a result, we have covered how trusts work and when they are not likely to be useful to the estate plan.

A great deal of attention is given to life insurance products since it is these policies that provide the initial estate for most individuals.

Annuities are discussed as vehicles for retirement or estate planning requirements. As part of this chapter payout options are discussed, including how each option may apply, the long-term nature of most annuities, and penalty periods that might apply (both insurer and tax penalties).

Retirement funding examines how pension plans work, when the employees can contribute, and defined benefit and defined contribution plans. We also look at other financial options, such as Individual Retirement Accounts, Simplified Employee Pension Plans, and Keogh plans.

The last chapter looks at ethics from the agent’s standpoint. It discusses due diligence requirements, rating companies, and state requirements, such as education legislation.

The ethics chapter does more than quote philosophers; in fact there is very little of that included. It primarily looks at the daily functions of the agent in the selling field, discusses such things as professionalism, consumer contact, product replacement, and keeping in touch with existing clients.

This course is most suitable for the experienced agent who needs additional information about the types of products he or she will market or may see in the client’s home. It could be used by a new agent, but may be too detailed if he or she has little experience. It is written at a high school reading level.