Universal Life Insurances Can Be Popular – But Is It For You?

Of all the different types of policies, the universal life insurance seems to be the most favorite among today’s policyholders. It is a much later innovation, conceived to meet a modern need. However, it does not mean that the earlier policies have all become redundant. No, even term life, the original life insurance policy, has quite a big following even today and so have the whole life policies. Nonetheless, people seem to prefer universal life because it combines the low cost protection of the term life with the saving elements of a whole life to provide a perfect solution to modern insurance need.I am sure you are aware that the term life is the original type of insurance policy. Indeed, life insurance may have actually started in the form of burial clubs and artisans’ guilds in the Middle Ages, but the term insurance that we know of today is a much refined version. It is a pure life insurance policy valid a temporary period only. You can buy one for a period of 1/5/10/15/20/25/30 years. Since these policies do not accrue any cash value, you can have a large coverage at a very reasonable rate.However, on the con side, unless you die within the valid period, the term insurance policies offer no return. The whole life policies were next conceived as its antidote. They had saving element incorporated in them. However, such policies were little too expensive and premium payment mode was little too rigid. The universal policies came next. It became instant hit because it offered more flexibility when it comes to cost and coverage.Indeed, if you want to take advantage of the market without loosing the security of the life policy, there can be nothing better than a universal life. Following are some of its salient points:• It is a permanent policy valid for the life of the insured and so whenever the insured dies, his beneficiary is sure to get the benefit.
• These policies are slightly overpriced and amount paid above the cost of insurance is credited to a cash value account.
• Interest too is credited to the account. It may either be determined by the insurer or pegged to financial indexes such as stock, bond etc.
• If you fail to pay the premium, the amount will be debited from this account, thus keeping policy in force in spite of occasional lapses.Today we also have variable universal insurance, which allows the cash value to be directed to a number of separate accounts that operate like a mutual fund. However, since these policies are equity based, they can offer higher return, but if the market goes down, they offer greater risk too. If you are buying the policy solely for insurance purpose, such a policy may not be a very good idea because the death benefit will be paid as long as you have enough cash value to pay the costs of insurance in the policy.However, it is not for me to tell you what type of policy to buy. Receive different categories of life insurance quote on line and then decide. All said and done, I cannot stop myself from adding that, for life insurance purpose, you will do well if you buy only a term life insurance. It is true that a term life does not offer cash value, but its rates are so low that only a financial fool will expect it from the policy. Instead, the financial advisers say that one should buy a low cost term life for insurance purpose and then invest the difference in separate fund.However, not every type of term insurance is cheap. The term life insurance no medical exam policy for example is so expensive that the concept of investing the difference cannot be applicable here; in fact, the price structure of such a policy does not leave any difference to invest. Sometimes they are as expensive as a universal life policy is. Yet, such policies are no less popular because they too have some unique advantages.No medical policies provide instant coverage. You apply today and if you qualify, your family will start being covered by the policy from tomorrow and that too for the full amount. Of course, just as every other case, suicide within first two years is always excluder from its purview; otherwise, every other type of death in included under this policy. You may wonder why this policy is so expensive. Actually, without the medical test, the carriers can never work out the exact cost of insurance and so they charge more. Remember, they are here to do business, not for charity.

Law Offices, Professional Image, and Marketing

Face it. Financial bottom lines are affected by the fact we live in a world that judges a book by its cover. Pretty singers sell more records, court cases rank higher in the news if the person is attractive, and politicians are elected based on their image as much any other factor.Looking at your own industry, don’t you have to fight the public’s perceptions? We see it on TV and in movies every day. More often than not, young lawyers, paralegals, and others just starting out in the profession are portrayed as cheap, petty, low-rent, and usually called “ambulance chasers.”It’s not right, but this issue of image is one that you have to live with and learn to work with.Let’s cut to the bottom line which is this: In today’s business climate, everyone should realize that a professional image is crucial to reputation and everyone could stand to improve theirs to some degree or other. It’s what you need to do to keep your individual firms alive. Therefore, let’s cover some opportunities for improvement using the acronym A.L.I.V.E.:Appearance – Your physical persona and the way present yourself.Letterhead – The level of professionalism demonstrated in your printed marketing materials.Information – Accuracy and honesty; the keys to presenting the data gathered during a case.Voice – How you communicate to everyone you’re associated with.Education – The continual improvement to your professional knowledge base.Appearance: People base a large percentage of their first impression on your appearance. When a client meets you for the first time, they’re sizing up your credibility, your ability as a legal professional, and deciding just how well you might conduct yourself in public. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, so let’s look at a few pointers.Always dress in a professional manner. For men and women both, the attire should be “business professional,” which for men means suit and tie whenever possible, and for the ladies, business suits, nice skirt and blouse, or dresses. If you look unkempt or “second rate” the client will wonder how you’ll represent them while working their case.A close cousin to dress is personal grooming. Simply put, make sure your hair, facial hair, hands, nails, and teeth are all clean and well kept. By the way, how’s your breath? Always keep some mints handy.Another key opportunity to exhibit a professional image is in court. Make your trial presentations well-organized and polished works of art. You’ll notice down in our bio box we have a link to a free ebook that will help you create a very professional trial notebook.Letterhead: In some cases, the first contact someone may have with you might be one of your business cards. For our purposes though, “letterhead” refers to any printed material (paper or electronic) anyone outside your office might see.Business cards are a must. Make them distinctive, but with minimal content. Let your website or brochure carry the heavy content.On business cards, stationery, and your website stay away from trite, cliché, or negative icons such as someone running after an ambulance. In your web address, phone numbers, or email addresses, stay away from negative phrases like “[email protected].” These might seem cute, but to many potential clients, they’re a turnoff.For stationery, choose quality paper and have your letterhead and envelopes, as well as your contracts, professionally produced by the same people who do your business cards. Make sure their color themes match. Your local print shop or office supply store should have everything you need. If there’s any one place you want to spend a little money, this is near the top of the list.Stay away from blank notepads and manila folders. They’ll both get too messy too soon and not only will that make you look unprofessional and disorganized, but blank notepads make you look unprepared, and lost or disorganized notes lead to inaccurate reports and invoices. Invest a little time and/or money into buying or developing a comprehensive set of forms or an organizer system to use while assembling your case.Information: In the legal business, the glass is neither half full nor half empty. It’s 50%. And, unless you know what’s in it, don’t speculate. “Just the facts Ma’am.” One of the biggest opportunities for a good impression, and naturally the most important, is the timely delivery of honest, accurate, information. Nothing will kill your image, reputation, and livelihood, like incomplete, inaccurate, biased, or late case work. Likewise, an inaccurate invoice can cost you by being either too low or too high.Rule one is, always has been, and always will be, “Use a good case management system.” Make sure everyone working for you uses the same system, and that your standards of accuracy start at the beginning, and continues through the whole case and through any follow-up you may ever have with that client. Then treat all of your other clients the same way.Use nice presentation folders for all your reports; even the “small dollar” ones. Each client is important to you from a marketing standpoint and therefore deserves to be treated with respect. Putting your work product on better stationery, in a well-organized format, and in an attractive presentation folder will provide a greater perceived value to your client. These people have probably paid a hefty sum for your service and a more professional report will help assure them that it was money well spent.Voice: Voice is a general term used to describe not only the actual verbal communication you have with your clients and others, but the “tone” your business has with those it deals with.When you answer the phone, do so cheerfully and actually smile. You can tell when someone’s not happy to be on the phone and so can others. This phone call might be your first contact with the next big client, so make it count.If you can’t personally answer every call, the next best thing is to have a receptionist or answering service. A person is always better than voice mail. Go with what you can afford, but since the phone call is one of your opportunities for a first impression, anyone answering the phone should be trained to be courteous, cheerful, informative, and as professional as possible.Education and intelligence are just as necessary as a cheerful hello. You want people to know that you are every bit as qualified and capable as they could hope for. Therefore, when speaking with people, speak clearly, and choose your words carefully. They don’t have to be big words, but they do have to make sense, and grammar is important.The written word should follow the same rule. Make sure your business cards, letterhead, brochures, reports, invoices, and all other written documents use correct spelling and proper grammar. Though your client may be enamoured enough with your abilities as a legal professional to overlook a minor grammatical error, you never know who else of importance might see your report or correspondence.Education: Here we continue where your writing skills leave off and cover the actual knowledge or skill base upon which your legal expertise is founded. Experience is the best teacher, but classroom education can certainly help keep you informed and up to date. Also, the fact that you are continually updating your expertise is impressive to most potential clients.Many states require continuing education. If your state does, you should publish this fact in your firm’s literature. If your state does not require CEU, you should still take it upon yourself to keep your own training updated and make that fact a prominent component of your marketing materials.Join professional organizations where possible. Many of them will offer various classes and training programs and the benefits of networking are considerable.Keep your library stocked. Many people learn as much from books and videos as they do in a classroom setting.As you attend some of these educational functions, take the opportunity to look around you and either further your own education on this issue of appearance by studying your colleagues, or help improve the way they represent you by helping educate them as to the benefits of a more professional image.

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