In a Nutshell: Purchasing life insurance can be a daunting task, but Local Life Agents can help simplify and streamline the process. Buyers can start shopping by entering personal information and selecting the parameters for their desired policy. Its proprietary technology returns accurate, updated rate quotes, and its agents help clients understand and compare offers to select the best fit. Local Life Agents also offers a buyer’s guide to help consumers understand the process before they start shopping for policies.
When Brad Cummins was 14 years old, his father passed away. A few months before that tragedy, his father had taken out a life insurance policy with Farmers. That policy provided enough money for the family to pay off the mortgage on their house, which shielded them from debilitating debt from end-of-life costs and lost income.
“I know firsthand what it can do and how important it is,” said Brad, the Founder of Local Life Agents.
Brad made insurance his career, and began working as an agent for Farmers, the carrier that had insured his father. But he wanted to do more than sell policies. Brad wanted to make the insurance-buying process easier and more efficient for his clients.
He launched Local Life Agents to realize that goal.
Local Life Agents offers online tools that help consumers quickly compare a comprehensive range of policies based on simple parameters. And insurance buyers don’t have to make their decisions alone. Local Life Agents representatives take a proactive role in helping clients understand and select the policy that best fits their needs.
“We’ve perfected our quote engine on the front end,” Brad said. “You only need to enter four parameters: your gender, date of birth, state, and tobacco use. Then, you choose a product type and a death benefit. It will show you the rates from all the carriers.”
Life Insurance Protects Surviving Loved Ones from Debt
Brad said life insurance is critical, and he bases that opinion on his personal experience. When his father passed away, his family lost a beloved family member and a primary income stream. But a life insurance policy helped them pay expenses and avoid costly consumer debt.
“If you’re on a tight budget, imagine eliminating the income of one of the parents. Imagine how tight your budget’s going to be then,” Brad said.
That lost income can cause devastating upheaval for surviving family members. It could require them to downsize housing and force children to change school districts. Brad said in some cases, widowed spouses even remarry to make ends meet.
Although life insurance can’t compensate for the emotional loss, it helps insulate families against financial and social slides. And buyers can find policies that fit even the most modest budget.
“If you’re on a tight budget, my suggestion is you start at the basic 10- or 15-year term,” Brad said. “They’re cheap, especially if you’re young, and you get at least enough to pay off the mortgage, at minimum.”
A mortgage is often a family’s most significant debt and monthly bill. Families can free up more funds for day-to-day expenses by paying it down. Brad said that can be especially important for families with children. It may ensure that the surviving parent can make ends meet while supporting their children.
“From baby to teenager is a crucial time to have some kind of coverage in place,” Brad said. “And maybe they can survive on that single income.”
Offering Easy Applications and Expert Assistance
It’s important to compare prices when buying a life insurance policy — as with any major purchase. But doing so may take a significant amount of time and effort. Consumers often need to contact agents, compare policies, and decide which fits best.
Local Life Agents leverages technology and a human touch to simplify and speed up that process. Buyers need only enter their state of residence, date of birth, tobacco use, and gender to get started. They also need to select a term, a product type, and the final expense.
The platform returns rates from all carriers in real time. With all of that information in one place, buyers can compare policies and make selections in a fraction of the time.
“We show all rates, not just one, because once you start shopping for life insurance, it’s great to find out and get a ballpark idea,” Brad said. “You’re still going to have to go through the underwriting process. And if you have health challenges, we don’t know where you’re going to fall. So that’s when you talk to one of our agents.”
Agents can prescreen policies and direct clients to offers suited to their particular needs. That attention helps save even more time by finding the best policies before starting the underwriting process.
“That’s where our expertise comes in,” Brad said. “We submit thousands of applications to carriers, tens of millions in premiums to these carriers. So we know these underwriters. We know their guidelines. And that’s one of the good things about working with somebody who has that kind of volume experience as well.”
Proprietary Technology Provides Accurate Rates
The Local Life Agents front end is so efficient because of its proprietary technology. Its APIs interface directly with carrier systems, pulling real-time rates to provide buyers with accurate, updated information. If the information isn’t available, Local Life Agents will work with third parties to validate carrier base rates — filed in each state they serve.
“It’s the same no matter the agent that you go to,” Brad said. “They’re always going to be accurate, especially ours. We are always up to date with those rates with the carriers.”
Local Life Agents emphasizes comparison shopping, which is also part of the reason the company can provide users with such great rates.
Carriers pay commissions to agents who bring customers to their products, and that commission is about the same regardless of who the agent is. The value of the policy determines it. That could, of course, lead consumers to wonder if they are being upsold on a pricier policy that they don’t need — potentially putting them at greater risk of debt instead of less. But Brad said that is not the case at Local Life Agents.
“You hear a lot that a lot of agents will sell whole life (insurance) because they get more commission,” Brad said. “It’s not necessarily that the payout percentage is higher just because the premium is higher. You can get a higher percentage, but the premium is not as much. We don’t focus on that. Our only goal is to make sure that the consumer has exactly what they need.”
Local Life Agents: Information and Accessibility for All
With the speed and efficiency of the Local Life Agents platform, searching for a life insurance policy becomes a less daunting task.
And Local Life Agents provides a handy consumer guide if people have any other questions during the process. The guide helps them educate themselves on the basics of life insurance and establish a solid foundation for their search.
“It’s the fundamentals,” Brad said. “What array classes, what types of insurance, how to select a beneficiary, how to choose an agent. It has eight chapters, and it’s easy to read. There are some great visuals.”
This guide complements Local Life Agents’ online tool and ensures consumers have a smooth, transparent experience when selecting a life insurance policy. Brad said his primary goal is to provide customers with the products they need as efficiently as possible.
The Local Life Agents interface and functionality continue to evolve as Brad has new ideas, finds inspiration, and incorporates features for the platform’s users.
“I design it on the front end,” Brad said. “I’m always thinking, ‘How can this be one click less or better for the consumer? How can we give them better data, better information?’ As the agency owner and the product developer, I’m always thinking about that. I always want to make the best user experience.”