E-Signatures

-by Heather Krohn FALU FLMI

If you have taken out a mortgage or obtained new automobile insurance in the last few years you have probably used an electronic signature (e-signature) platform.  An e-signature provides both extraordinary convenience and the same legal standing as a handwritten signature, as long as it complies with regulations published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (U.S. Department of Commerce).

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The beauty of e-signatures versus traditional wet signatures is that they can be executed portably and with ease via computers and devices.  An insured can sign a document anywhere and anytime at the touch of a button.  Most platforms are single-click and do not even require a password.  The email address is used as a mobile identification source.  Agents no longer need to mail or fax documents from place to place to obtain multiple individuals’ signatures on a single document, because the software allows the user to assign a signing order.  The document comes back to the user electronically signed and dated by all parties, so even a document that requires the insured, owner and agent to sign comes back legibly signed and in good order.    The days of faxed documents with form numbers cut off and print that’s barely able to be made out are over with the use of electronic platforms.  Anyone who has access to email and some sort of device can sign a document electronically.  The platforms are also very user-friendly.  It is as easy as uploading a document and assigning virtual tags in the appropriate places.

So why doesn’t the life insurance industry use e-signatures more than it does today?  The answer is easy, though disappointing:  Just about every insurance company has a different set of rules regarding the acceptance of e-signatures, making it very difficult to keep track of what is allowed and what is not.  No agent, working with a valued client, wants to get forms signed only to find that the carrier does not allow e-signatures on the specific form being submitted, or does not accept the e-signature vendor.  Some companies allow almost all documents to be electronically signed as long as a certificate of authentication is provided with the document.  Other companies may have very rigid workflows with strict guidelines about when e-signatures are acceptable and when they are not.  Some companies do not allow co-mingling of traditional and e-signatures on a single case, whereas others allow forms signed both ways.  Some even require additional identification checks to validate e-signatures.  This lack of industry uniformity is confusing and often frustrating, but not surprising.  Until life insurance companies adopt a common standard for e-signatures, it’s important for agents to know, or to work with intermediaries who know and keep track of, the various e-signature standards and limitations required by each life company with which they do business.

There are many vendors that provide services related to e-signatures, but one of the most commonly used, especially in the insurance world, is DocuSign.  If you are interested in learning more about e-signatures as well as carrier specifications, Windsor has gathered an extensive amount of information that we would be glad to share with you.  Windsor can also provide guidance as to when the convenience and ease of an e-signature may be appropriate.  Lastly, Windsor can provide a demonstration that is specific to DocuSign if you are interested in learning more.

 

Minimum Wage Retirement Planning

-by Marc Schwartz

Selling is a creative and dynamic process, at times requiring fresh thinking and a different approach to engage customers.

In the case of business owners, substantial monies are spent to attract and retain talented employees who can get the job done. However, often overlooked by business owners may be one of their better employees–the minimum wage employee. This is the lowest paid employee in the company who, if given the opportunity, has the ability to contribute significantly to a business owner’s success and well-being.

The “minimum wage employee” conversation is a creative and fresh way for you to make more sales with business owners.  Let’s walk through an example of how to put this employee to work for you and your business owner clients.

Your friend, Dave, is a 44-year old small business owner.  You’ve known Dave since college – he’s a hard worker, independent, creative, with a young family.   He’s put his time and energies into building the business and helping his spouse provide a good life for their children.  But Dave has never made much of an effort to invest toward his retirement.   Over lunch, Dave shares an odd encounter that he had the other day with a prospective employee.

“So this guy walks in to interview for a sales position that I have open right now.  And here’s what he says:

‘I’m not really here for your sales position, but I think you’ll find I can help with an opportunity you have right now, but that you don’t recognize.

‘First, here’s what I ask of you.  You agree to pay me minimum wage for the next 21 years.  That’s all.  No vacation, no sick leave, no benefits, no 401(k) match, no salary increases.  Just today’s minimum wage for 21 years, until you reach age 65.  That’s $7.25 an hour, $290 a week, about $1,255 a month, a little over $15,000 a year.  With me so far?

‘And here’s what I’ll do in return.  If you die before age 65, which we both hope won’t happen, the business stops paying me and I’ll give your spouse and children at least $300,000, tax-free.  I’ll miss you, but our deal will be done.  But if you live to age 65, I can potentially provide you with over $50,000 a year of supplemental retirement income until you reach age 85.  That’s 20 years of $50,000, or about $1,000,000.  How does that sound to you?’

Dave continues, “Of course I didn’t believe any of it, but he seemed to be serious.  So I asked, ‘How in the world are you going to do this?’ And he said, ‘Here’s how.’”

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[A tip of the Windsor hat to our friends at Lincoln Financial for their inspiration and these supporting materials:]

Minimum Wage Retirement Planner Presentation

Minimum Wage Retirement Flyer

Lincoln WealthAdvantage®Indexed UL Illustration

Contact Windsor for illustrations and more information about the potential advantages of Indexed UL.