Life Insurance Benefits While You’re Alive

“Life” insurance conjures thoughts of death, let’s face it. No one likes to think about life insurance for that obvious reason but it’s time to view it from the perspective of what it can do for your family now. Life insurance is a wealth-building tool that every family should invest in, today. 

Permanent life insurance policies have a component known as “cash value.” Cash value grows slowly over many years and with that growth, policyholders can borrow against it or for a small fee, cash out the policy for money. A cash value that builds for decades can grow to hundreds of thousands of dollars in future tax-free income. The cash can be used for anything you need and with a whole life insurance policy, policyholders are guaranteed a certain percentage return on the cash value. That return is generally favorable when compared to various other products, like CDs. In addition, the cash value growth of a policy is tax-deferred, which means it isn’t taxed as income until you withdraw money or surrender the policy. 

When it comes to life insurance, the sooner you buy, the better. For younger people, especially, life insurance policies are much cheaper, meaning you can ultimately get more out of a policy for less. As you age and health deteriorates, life insurance premiums become much more expensive. And speaking of health, life insurance policies can help you manage certain health conditions. For example, some policies provide support for certain medical problems, such as cancer or paralysis. 

The more you look at life insurance the more you begin to understand that it’s not just about death. There are a host of benefits now for young families and even children. To be sure, the death benefit attached to life insurance is vital and it simply cannot be ignored. Still, life insurance is important to consider at any age: for what you pay for a monthly Netflix subscription, you can achieve financial freedom now and for your family’s future.


Is Your Business Covered During A Pandemic?

Far too many business owners are operating without proper insurance or woefully underinsured. That was never more evident than in the early onset of COVID-19. Once local and state governments began ordering businesses closed, many entrepreneurs had no recourse and many were forced to close. While some business owners are still trying to hang on, others are faring much better because of their insurance policies. While it hasn’t always been easy for policyholders to cash in, it’s certain that business owners who lacked property insurance policies were left out to dry. 

In the event of a loss, business interruption insurance provides coverage for income a business would have earned had it been operating normally. It can also help pay for expenses like employee wages, taxes, rent, loan payments and relocation expenses. Business owners across the country have submitted insurance claims for lost revenue, typically under “business income” provisions of their property insurance policies. Business interruption insurance, however, is usually triggered by a direct physical loss or property damage. For this reason, some insurers have argued that COVID-19, a virus, should not be covered as a loss. The precise wording of your policy is key and the right agent can help make sure you’re covered in such events. 

COVID-19 is an airborne virus and as such, some have argued that it can contaminate physical objects like HVAC systems, which would naturally force a business to close. In such cases, business interruption insurance may lend assistance. The issue has been hotly contested and the courts have been weighing in. Several restaurants in North Carolina won a case against their insurer, arguing that a virus does indeed cause physical loss or damage. The court ruled that the restaurants’ loss of use of their property, which was in fact triggered by a shutdown order, did constitute physical loss. Other businesses have won in cases when insurers have sought to deny claims and in each case there is one commonality: the businesses were insured for loss. 

COVID-19 is a challenge for businesses and insurers, alike. This is, in many ways, unprecedented territory and there is a great deal to figure out. Business owners need to be insured for losses and it will take a great agent to help you parse what is and is not covered in your policy. Contact an Insure Black agent today and discuss what the options are for your business. At some point the pandemic will be over but risk in business will never subside.  


How Insurance Companies Used Bad Science to Discriminate

Insurance is a cornerstone to building wealth but historically it’s been denied to Blacks. After Prudential discounted the worthiness of Black policies in 1881, nearly all insurance companies began discriminating against Blacks. The stated reason was Black mortality was significantly higher than whites’. That was true across all ages and generally holds true even today. The few companies that would sell policies to Blacks only offered a limited range of plans, mostly industrial insurance. Although insurance companies aren’t allowed to explicitly turn away Blacks, the past lives on, in the present. 

There was a brief period when Black could generally purchase life insurance. That changed in 1881 when Prudential, one of the nation’s largest insurers, announced what would become the new industry standard: policies held by Blacks would be worth one-third less than those held by whites. Frederick L. Hoffman, a Prudential statistician, was largely responsible for the new policy. Using faulty science, Hoffman’s analysis indicated that Blacks had a higher mortality rate than whites. That disparity meant, in effect, claims paid out to Black policyholders were disproportionately high. Hoffman weaponized “science” to further argue the inferiority of Blacks, predicting that African-Americans would die off like indigenous tribes of the Americas. Hoffman’s analysis started a trend that the rest of the industry gladly followed. 

Hoffman’s findings were skewed by bad inputs at best and racism, at worst. Most of the Black health statistics he used were pulled from Civil War-era studies of Black and white soldiers. Further, legitimate differences in health outcomes between Blacks and whites at the time were rooted in poverty and the lack of access Blacks had to healthcare. Even so, Hoffman was not wrong in concluding that Black mortality did differ from that of whites. The insurance industry simply responded by denying Blacks the wealth-building power of insurance. Black insurance companies, however, eventually brought a solution and began creating wealth in the community. Black insurance companies knew what the genuine disparities were but knew how to still provide service when others wouldn’t. 

As Black mortality rates improved and integration became the norm, white companies again started servicing Blacks. Black mortality today, however, still lags behind whites’. In 2004, for example, there were 1200 more deaths per 100,000 Black men in urban counties, compared with white men. In 2007, there were 1900 more deaths per 100,000 Black men in rural-adjacent areas, compared to white men. Compared with white women, about 650 more deaths per 100,000 Black women occurred in urban areas in 2002. In that same year, 782 more deaths per 100,000 Black women occurred in rural-adjacent counties. These data, to the untrained eye, serve as the basis of insurance discrimination. That’s why Black insurers are and have always been so important in caring for Black families.


Yes, There’s A Nationwide Black Insurance Organization

Close your eyes and imagine an insurance professional. Did you imagine a white male? If so, you’re just like most Americans. African Americans, however, have a deep and rich history in the insurance industry and thanks to the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA), Black insurance professionals also have a home. NAAIA is dedicated to empowering African American insurance professionals and celebrating their accomplishments. Through NAAIA, Black insurance professionals can go much farther and faster, together.

NAAIA works with agents for personal growth and professional development. The organization provides opportunities for networking, continuing education, and for building mutually beneficial connections and partnerships. Along with their partners, NAAIA sponsors and hosts talent competitions for college students as well as provides numerous scholarships annually to deserving students.NAAIA works on the local, regional and national levels. The association has strong relationships with traditional insurance industry trade associations and other organizations focused on the interests of people of color and on diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry. 

NAAIA was founded by Jerald L.Tillman, in 1997 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Early in his career he realized through his involvement with professional organizations, that there was a disconnect, amongst fellow Black insurance professionals within the insurance industry. As a result, he began pondering the idea of establishing an association for Black professionals involved in all areas of insurance.  After twenty years of juggling between building his insurance agency and a national network of Black insurance professionals, NAAIA was chartered in Cincinnati, Ohio March 5, 1997. Today the organization has 17 chapters across the country and one currently under development. NAAIA started as a single thought but today the organization is helping Black professionals across the country achieve more. 

No one succeeds alone. Black professionals need each other for support, training and resources, and also to discover new opportunities. NAAIA is uniquely positioned to help Black insurance professionals and the organization is on the move. Black insurance professionals are joining the organization daily and as they do, NAAIA’s influence in the industry is growing. Now is the time to join NAAIA, click here to start your journey. 


How COVID-19 is Changing the Insurance Industry

COVID-19 is changing the world as we know it and going forward, insurance coverage will be even more critical. For many, unfortunately, insurance may also be harder to access. It’s no secret that claims have skyrocketed for life, health, and business policyholders. That means insurers are taking losses and in response, many will begin tightening underwriting requirements. Ultimately, it’s the consumer who may be left in the cold and that’s why having the right agent to help navigate this new landscape is crucial. Also, it’s critical that consumers get covered sooner rather than later. 

Health insurance is hotly debated in Congress but COVID-19 has brought the debate much closer to home for families. In the first place, massive job losses have resulted from the pandemic and that means people have lost their insurance. With the job market being unfavorable to many still seeking employment, getting coverage through an employer is unlikely. If the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is overturned in the future, however, there could be a much bigger issue. Prior to ACA, having a pre-existing health condition, such as a severe respiratory illness, made it almost impossible for people to get health insurance in the individual market. If ACA is overturned, it’s possible that insurers could discriminate against people with COVID-19. 

Life insurance is also being impacted by the pandemic. If you’ve been infected with the virus or have recently traveled to a region experiencing a heavy outbreak, applying for life insurance may take longer and be more expensive. Recently, a handful of companies even stopped selling policies to customers above a certain age. As COVID-related deaths have spiked and insurers are paying out more claims than usual, these reactions aren’t surprising. On the brighter side, however, life insurance has actually become easier to obtain for many because quarantines have eliminated on-site exams in many instances. Other insurers are offering coverage temporarily but extending the exam deadline for new customers.

Business owners may also find the insurance market to be slightly tighter. Before 2020, there had been a 10-year run in premium reductions for corporate property and casualty insurance. The pandemic has all but guaranteed that reductions aren’t in the immediate future. The elevated number of claim settlements and costs of reinsurance has forced underwriters to be more strict. For many business owners, that has meant an increase of 20%-50% in pricing. As courts continue to rule on COVID-related business interruption cases, there could be additional requirements and costs placed on businesses. 

The best way to secure your assets and wealth is to get coverage now. Getting covered today will help consumers avoid some of the pending changes in the insurance market and avoid even higher pricing, in the future. As always, Insure Black recommends talking to knowledgeable, certified agents that have your best interest at heart. Search our directory of agents today to protect your home, life, business, and everything that matters.