Some life insurance agents cast themselves in the role of passive messenger, handing down the best offers from on high. Why? Because it works out to their financial advantage 99 percent of the time.
A dedicated pro knows how to use those best offers as a first offer and dig for even better terms on your behalf. After all, they negotiate with those same carriers for their own share of the pie.
For example, Hunt cites a technique called "blending" that agents use to increase the first-year surrender value of a whole life policy by substituting no-load or low-commission term life that converts to permanent insurance over time.
"If someone tries to sell you a full-commission $1 million policy with (zero dollars) surrender value in the first year, tell them you want at least 50 percent in the surrender column," he says.
Steuer says negotiation often comes down to a savvy agent seeking the highest bidder.
"Sometimes you'll say, 'Company A is willing to go standard (rate) on this. Will you consider going standard on it as well?' So you're able to set up a negotiation," he says.