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Tips from the Insur­ance Pros with Lau­ra Skiles 

Matt

Hello, my name is Matt with Assurity. Welcome to the third episode of our Tips from the Insurance Pros podcast. We’re excited to bring you conversations with sales pros as they share ideas and insights you can use today. Joining us today is Laura Skiles, who is a financial advisor at Keating and Associates. She's been in the financial services arena for eight years and has a strong passion and commitment to working with women. Laura will talk about her approach and other keys to her success in this market. September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and while we see many campaigns driving home the need to buy life insurance around this time of year, there's a demographic that's often overlooked: women. According to a 2016 LIMRA report, 44% of women have no life insurance, and yet 42% of women are the primary breadwinners of U.S. households. How can we help to better educate this market? Laura, it's great having you here with us today. Welcome.

Laura Skiles

Yeah, thanks for having me!

Matt

So, Laura, as we mentioned earlier, not many women have life insurance. Or if they do, they don't have enough of it. How is your organization tapping into this market and their needs?

Laura Skiles

It's really common among women in all stages of life. Educating clients on the impact that insurance can have on their lives and the lives of the people that they care about is a really powerful place to begin, and there so many misconceptions about insurance. So having conversations about how the different types of insurance operate, why and where they fit into different financial plans is the perfect place to start. We also have to bring attention to the true monetary value that women bring to their families, even if they don't work outside of the home. Often a stay-at-home mom can be overlooked from a financial stance. But when you consider if you were to lose her, aside from the obvious devastation of the loss of our relationship, if you were to pay someone to do all of the number of things that stay at home mom may do, for example: you take the kids to school, clean the house, prepped food, pick up kids from practice, they provide mental and emotional support for the kids… I mean, I can't spend the entire conversation talking about all the things moms do for kids, but from a financial stance, if we lost mom, then how many people, how much does it cost, to hire to replace all the roles and the hats they wear? Aside from the part no one wants to think about, "when I am I going to die, what's gonna happen to my family,” we also have to plan for living a long life, and what can our insurance do for us and between now and then? That's one of the most common things that people are interested in knowing.

Matt

It's valuable point. I think that education is truly one of the key components in this. How do you go about opening the door to that conversation?

Laura Skiles

Really, I start by drawing diagrams and showing people, hey, I just want you to know – here's what the different types are, here's what they look like and what makes them different, and why you would use each one of them. But to get there, we really take a comprehensive view of their situation, and from there we can look at, based on their goals, how we how are we going to meet those goals? And sometimes having to fill in the gaps as well.

Matt

Excellent. So what do you think is the best way to approach women about their life insurance needs and why?

Laura Skiles

Yeah, there are many ways that we can talk about life insurance with women and men, but the truth is, life insurance is utilized for the purpose of having a death benefit in place. And then you're buying for someone else. And I make this point to say, it's equally important for a spouse or beneficiary to understand the policy and why and how it fits into the plan. Talking with women about their goals, both short term in long term, helps us identify what they want their future will look like, and not just for themselves, but for their families and sometimes future families. And then we play the game of “what if” to show the various results that could occur based on which plan we put in action. So bringing the full picture so they can get a bigger vision of the impact of life insurance can have on their lives and the lives of the people that they care about is really effective.

Matt

Looking out for someone's wellbeing doesn't only mean their physical wellness. Do you have a story you can share with us about a time you helped a female client become more financially fit?

Laura Skiles

I can tell you a hypothetical situation where I have the potential to help someone become more financially confident. Now let's say there's a woman who knows there's more to her money than just saving and using it wisely. And she has two very young sons and has recently gone through a divorce. She wants to make sure that if she passes away early that her boys would be taken care of. And if she lives a long life, then we can plan to use her cash value in the policy to be a piece of supplemental income during retirement. And between now and then, we have the opportunity to plan on taking cash out to help the boys pay for college. So you can see that having various options in how and when we use the policy, that can provide both a tangible and intangible value to her.

Matt

Great. It's always great to see people understanding just all the things insurance is able to do for them even beyond just a death benefit. So being in the insurance business, a mostly male-dominated profession, what's been your key to success is a woman in this industry, especially as you sell to other women?

Laura Skiles

Well, the fact is that working with women is something I truly love and have a passion for, and it's my responsibility, as their planner to look out for them and their best interests, regardless of what the situation is. I feel like I have the innate ability to relate with women and start by meeting them where they are to understand their concerns and opportunities and strengths, along with what they want their future to look like. So we paint the big picture, and then we dig deep into these points. Everyone wants to know and should know what their plan looks like from a 20,000 foot view, the comprehensive planning in what each of the puzzle pieces are made up of, and I was raised by a strong independent mother who taught me to help build up others around me, and that's what I've done all along. And what I’ll keep doing because seeing women generate more confidence is one of the most fulfilling reasons that I work with people the way I do.

Matt

Fantastic. You mentioned that women may have some misconceptions about insurance. Can you speak a little bit more about these misconceptions women have and how you tend to address these?

Laura Skiles

Well, there are two that come to mind right away. One is that people generally think of life insurance as only being used when someone dies, and that goes back to the education piece. So that's why I spend a lot of time talking about the different types, and why and where you use them and what would be appropriate, you know, in their situation. The other one that comes to mind is like I was saying, you know, I work with a lot of stay-at-home moms or a lot of women that maybe just aren't the breadwinner in the family, and so they overlook their need for a death benefit and a lot of focus seems shifted towards the male role if they have a higher income. And, like I pointed out earlier, that’s just not true for a large variety of reasons.

Matt

Yeah, so when you're meeting a woman who thinks that she might not need insurance, how do you go about starting the conversation with her about her financial needs?

Laura Skiles

Right. So I always start really with the same process for everyone. And what I want to know is what are some of your concerns? And it doesn't have to be financial, you know, sometimes it’s health related or family, or maybe has to do with your career. And the next thing I want to know is what's good? What do you like about what's going on in your life right now? Maybe something's already established and you have a lot of happy good things happening for you. And the next thing I want to know is, where do you want to be going? You know, if we're sitting here in my office, say again, starting school, football season here in August of 2021, what has to happen between now and then for that person feel like they've had success in their live? This helps me kind of build the picture of where they are, where they want to go, and I can teach them how we can use these different tools to maybe supplement the concern or the strength or the goal along the way.

Matt

What is one thing an advisor can do today to better reach women?

Laura Skiles

Wow, I think just really understanding the demographic of the women that they work with. They really need to know that type of person inside and out. For example, let's say an advisor works primarily with teachers. They need to know what the what the concerns and the strengths and the goals of that demographic of teachers are so that I they can isolate that specific type of person that they're looking for. Because you don't need to go cast a big net out into the ocean and just see what you come up with. But if you know exactly the type of client that you're looking for, you'll know where to find them.

Matt

Well, thank you, Laura, for your thoughts and insights today. We appreciate you taking the time to spend a few minutes with us as we look into new ways to empower women to live their best life, one of those ways being preparing for their future with a life insurance policy.

Laura Skiles

Great, thanks for having me.

Matt

And to our listeners, thanks for tuning in to episode three in Assurity’s podcast series, Tips from the Insurance Pros. Catch our next episode to hear more valuable insights into the women's market. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about Assurity’s life insurance products, head over to LIAM.assurity.com, that’s LIAM.assurity.com. You can also email us at podcast@assurity.com, and we'd be happy to connect you with one of our regional reps in your area to take a deeper dive. Thanks for listening.

For producer use only. Not for use with the general public. The foregoing information has been obtained from source is considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. It is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Laura Skiles and do not necessarily reflect those of Raymond James. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. These policies have exclusions and or limitations. The cost of availability of life insurance depends on factors such as age, health and the type of amount of insurance purchased. As with most financial decisions, there are expenses associated with the purchase of life insurance. Policies commonly have mortality and expense charges. In addition, if a policy is surrendered prematurely there may be surrender charges and income tax implications. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the insurance company.

Not available in New York. Assurity is a marketing name for the mutual holding company, Assurity Group Inc. and subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries include, but are not limited to, Assurity Life Insurance Company and Assurity Life Insurance Company of New York. Insurance products and services are offered by Assurity Life Insurance Company in all states except New York. In New York, insurance products and service is our offered by Assurity Life Insurance Company of New York, Albany, New York. Product availability, features and rates may vary by state.