The Amber Stitt Show

Focus on Risk: The Story Behind a Disability, Death & Unclaimed Insurance Benefits

July 18, 2023 Amber Stitt
The Amber Stitt Show
Focus on Risk: The Story Behind a Disability, Death & Unclaimed Insurance Benefits
Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode of #TheAmberStittShow, please join Scott Nelson-Archer and me in this eye-opening episode as they discuss a surprising situation involving an insurance policy. 

Scott shares his experience receiving an email from an insurance company, informing him that about a client who unfortunately had passed away. This client's family had been paying disability insurance premiums for over a year, and had passed away without claiming any benefits!

This episode discusses how Scott took immediate action to help the spouse, ensuring that the premiums cease and the family receives a refund from the date of death. 

Sharing this personal story has us thinking about how people may do the work and set up a policy but may not stay on top of their finances along the way. This highlights the need for proactive financial oversight and staying up to date on your own personal and family planning. 

Tune in to learn valuable lessons about auditing accounts, rectifying billing discrepancies, and maximizing the value of insurance policies!

Please reach out to us at MD Disability Quotes if you need a policy review or would like a complimentary consultation for your own insurance planning. You can call us direct here 480-707-2771 or schedule a time here:

Thank you for listening!

Amber Stitt  00:08

Welcome back to The Amber Stitt Show. We have Scott Nelson-Archer with us today. Welcome, Scott. 

Scott Nelson-Archer  00:13


Amber Stitt  00:13

Okay, so this next segment is talking about focusing on risk and risk management sounds a little scary, it might involve a little bit of insurance discussions. But even before we go there, you could really take a step back and manage risks just on an individual basis. And so part of the pathways is we talk about checklists, auditing your life, taking some action, getting organized. Ironically, as we got ready for these episodes together this week, we heard and faced a couple things with some clients. And I think it's not great that it happened. But really, I want people to be motivated and not just close their eyes and just hope. We want to be hopeful, of course, we want to think positively. But there's things that can pop up and you've talked about things happening to, not so much internally within your family, but if it's outside the immediate family, friends, family clients, I really want to touch on some of these things today, because it's not to scare people into action. But sometimes we just got to stop and check in with our own lives. And so I think we should talk about the story from a client's perspective that was paying for insurance and they were no longer alive. Their family has been paying for insurance and not to be sad and scary it's just that this could even go... we hear about subscriptions, even down to Netflix, not to take away from the seriousness of this conversation. But there are things that are going out the door, we just got done talking about money and we are not paying attention. And life is busy. But there's a lot of distractions that we're allowing to happen to us, and we're losing money for it. So will you walk me through the morning, however you want to share this? Because it is a little personal with the clients. But we'll keep that high level. Share a little bit about what happened?

Scott Nelson-Archer  01:48

Yeah, so I ended up getting an email from an insurance company saying, "Hey, would you mind checking on this particular individual, we have reason to believe they may have recently passed away," all news to me, I called the home phone number of the client disconnected. I called the cell phone of the client and just goes to voicemail with no name, I decided, okay, you know what, let me just shoot a text to this cell number and see if there's a response of any nature. And so it was a pretty guarded response. "Who are you? What do you want?" You know, and I certainly respect that. Finally, yeah, I said, "Well, you know, I'm Scott, I'd helped him acquire some insurance back in 2010, some disability insurance. And so I was trying to follow up with him," - "Well, call me if you need to," -  "I've already called, nobody answered, no voicemail. So no, not gonna call back. If you call, I will need some personal information," in order to verify that this person knows this client blah, blah, blah, you know, it turns out that the client had passed away in January, you know, here we are in May and the policy is still in effect, it was a disability policy. And it turns out that he was not able to work for a year prior to passing away. So, we're now talking about 16 or 17 months, that he had been paying premiums for something they should have actually been collecting benefits on, and certainly don't want to be paying premiums after you've passed away. So now, our action process is number one, we're going to make sure that the premium is not paid yet again here this month, right, get a refund back to the date of death. And then we're gonna go through the process of actually filing a claim on somebody who's already passed away for disability insurance. But if we go back to the date of an illness, or injury, the initiation of that, and then start to put together the caseload for the client, then the beneficiary of that would then be the spouse. And if we can go pick up 9 months, or 10 months of payments, you know, $10,000 a month, that's, you know, $90,000 or so, plus, then there's a death benefit on most of those contracts that pay an additional three months at death. So, maybe we go pick up the client, you know, $120,000 and get all the premiums refunded from the point of the onset of that disability.

Amber Stitt  03:54

Okay, so let's pause there for a minute we have an insurance policy that's been approved, people are paying for it, the family, the man, in previous episodes we have Ethan, the attorney, the disability attorney that we partner with, on some cases, where he goes back the onset date of a disabling event could be different than what you really think it is. And you can uncover and unravel that you should have had some benefits. So, in this circumstance, there's a person paying for something, I'm guessing it was a couple hundred bucks a month, and not realizing that's going out of their account. So, focusing on money, let's stop and make sure that we're not seeing outputs, you know, going out the door, if there's a person that's not working, you've lost that income, and that outflow is still there. So do we need that money? I mean, that's a big deal. It is a big deal. And you know, like you said earlier, not to make light of it, but think about every other little subscription process that somebody might be in, or going through, if you don't do an audit of your accounts on occasion. I'm not saying once a month, once a year, just do we know what this money going out for is and are we still getting value for that service? Whether it is Netflix, "Well, no, I haven't turned on my Netflix in six months," well, then maybe you should not have it. Do you know who's billing you? Are there bills correct? Because all the insurance companies and all the support companies, if you will, subscription companies, they don't always get it right. You need to make sure of that. My wife told me this week that we had a bill come in on something, and it was $1,000 short. "Okay, so it's $1,000 in our favor, right?" "Yes, what do you want me to do?" "Call the company make sure they get it corrected. Let's pay correct." You know, because we don't want somebody to be in trouble because they didn't bill us correct. But it happens all the time is my point. We probably run into this once a quarter buying something that's just off, and it could be 20 bucks, or it could be $2,000.

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Amber Stitt  06:56

So, checking in, we talked about auditing, I mentioned this too, before really dialing in, whether you're married or not, there's people in your family, people that you care about that care about you. Have some sort of tracking system. And so we talk about auditing, like you said, it doesn't have to be monthly and it's not fun to do it. The first round is almost like an office going from paper to paperless but really, the binders are great. But you need to get things online. So, if you're in a situation where you're at the hospital, and someone else is in a different state, most of us have parents and family members out of state, can we click a button, share a folder, a cloud and have some of those important documents there? So, maybe the motivating factor is if you can go and audit there, then you know what questions to ask. And so while working with you and the team that we have, and in other episodes, we've talked about consistency, being organized, because of the processes you've built, you've been able to then stop, take care of this person, make sure that they're made whole, we can go back in time a little bit and help them. This is something that we see quite often. So, really working with an independent brokerage that can manage some of those steps and help you with the policy review. We've talked about that here and there. But that is something that we do want to do for people so we can see all the pieces. Pay attention to that. So, if you're not really sure where you're at, or as jobs can change, go and look at the audit of your life, find out where there might be problems,  highlight those problems, and then find somebody to talk to you about it that's independent.

Scott Nelson-Archer  08:14

100%. And the reality is, it doesn't have to be overly painful. And it doesn't have to be overly frequent. But if you just throw it in your calendar, two years, three years after you've made some financial decisions on you know, as we're speaking about insurance on those contracts, go back and do a review, it's going to take probably a whopping 15 minutes just to have a check in and as incomes change. Has family dynamics changed for anybody? Any new kids or any fewer people? Yeah, did you get married? Did you get divorced? How's mom and dad doing, everything all good? Everything's the same thing, great: pat on the back. Send you on your way and check mark that box. It's not that big a deal.

Amber Stitt  08:47

It feels really good once you do it and it doesn't take any time. So meanwhile, we're working in the office this week together. And because we're multi states, and so then I have this situation where I have a client working with a couple advisors, I'm one of them. And we find out there's two policies. At the same time. I didn't set her up with the second one, someone else did. She's a little upset, she's confused. Well, we need to sit down and look at everything. We're going to fix it, we're going to make sure one, everything works together. And if it doesn't, we'll get rid of what doesn't. But taking that moment, even updating an address, we find that life gets busy, but mail goes out and we forget to pay a bill, so really dialing, and checking in, auditing when there's so many ways but that just helps you recoup more of your money. So, it should feel good that someone else doesn't get your money. It's in your pocket, just by taking some steps.

Scott Nelson-Archer  09:39

Yeah, whether it's a recoup, or creating efficiencies to make sure you're not spending more than you need to, right? It's all the same at the end of the day. Keep it in your pocket. Make sure you don't spend any more than you have to. Every dime is important because every dime turns into $1.00 and every dollar turns into $100.00. Paying attention to the details, as small as they might be, it all adds up and matters.


Hopefully, that motivates some of the listeners today to take a moment. Get with your people and just create that list. And even if it's a simple spreadsheet, lots of apps are out there but I find this one is clicking and logging into something can intimidate people, or take too many steps. Google Excel spreadsheet can work sometimes and just share that with your people.

Scott Nelson-Archer  10:13

And I would also add, if you can add a list of important contact people to that: A) give them the treasure map, B) but also give them the keys.

Amber Stitt  10:22

Back in the day, you open up the cabinet, mom would write down in her perfect handwriting -- "Okay, I'm going out to you with dad," the kid babysitter, that list you'd give, we used to know each other's phone numbers, we don't know each other's phone numbers, now it's in the phone, phone's gone, or something happens to you and they can't find your phone? What are we doing? Right? And it's so simple, but we don't know how to find each other anymore without our cell phone?

Scott Nelson-Archer  10:43

Well, exactly. And we do business now in multiple states. You know, clients have advisors, you know, I live in Colorado, you know, and I have a client in Florida, in New York, all over the country. So I'm not just a local entity down the street, don't walk into the local agency to say to the dad "do you have anything here because he happened to pass away and you know, can you search it out?" So you know, as a client, you do have to have enough responsibility to list out what you've got and where it's at. And who are the important contacts to reach out to because they're not going to know what you just said, you know, maybe you've saved me in your phone, maybe not. I mean, in today's world, we don't even get to send a policy. It's a digital format. And so they don't have access to their computer, or they haven't stored it correctly, or they stored it underneath my name and that may not be findable. Yeah, all that stuff's important. As for, you know, as with things on thumb drives to be sent, you know, wrap it up with a note, say here, call Amber, call Scott, if something happens, and you know, something's on here, that's important.

Amber Stitt  11:37

But we'll finish up talking about beneficiaries, because some people don't know that they're a beneficiary on policies. So though, people that are being responsible nominating people, make sure they know, and make sure they're attached to some of that folder system emergency contact list, because not everybody has the ability to take on the responsibility. That's why estate planning is always a good idea to map that out  and make sure the right players are on the team are going to be contacted and managing things. But that's a whole other episode. But make sure people know and have your advisors information. So, we try to share that with our clients. If people don't know that they're been nominated, you might want to reach out and let them know so that would be a good action item. If you haven't done that we're updating beneficiaries, because I know people get divorced and forget. They don't update their beneficiary.

Scott Nelson-Archer  12:20

They do and sometimes when you're starting to get remarried, or you've been remarried, you end up in that conversation like, "Oh, we need to add our kids to this and I go, but you still have your prior spouse on here." It can be challenging, for sure.

Amber Stitt  12:32

Yeah, lots to unpack here. But the thing is, we can get organized, take responsibility for ourselves, that just only helps the people that you're leaving the legacy behind to but making just less stress for everybody. And we all could do a little bit better at having less stress. So I'd really appreciate your insight there. And hopefully we don't have more of these stories, but we'll try not to, but you never know. 

Scott Nelson-Archer  12:52

We will, but we'll talk about them next time. 

Amber Stitt  12:54

Thanks, Scott. Thanks for being here. 

Closing Outro  12:58

Thank you for joining us on today's episode of The Amber Stitt Show. For more information about the podcast, books, articles and more, please visit me at Until next week, enjoy your journey at home, and at work. Thank you for listening!