In my previous post, I outlined 3 instances when paying $100,000 or more for life insurance is a no brainer.
… but the examples I used in that post were “sample cases”.
After sharing the post, many of my friends and family asked if people actually spend that sort of money on life insurance.
I can tell you from first-hand experience, they do!
For many affluent families, life insurance is the cornerstone of their estate plan, helping them to:
- compound and preserve their estate from taxes
- facilitate and leverage their charitable intentions
- and provide liquidity
But like I said, in this post, I’m tossing out the sample case studies.
Instead, I’m going behind the scenes with 13 of the most successful insurance agents in the country, who have revealed the details of actual, real life, big dollar cases they’ve sold.
Table of Contents:
13 High Premium Policies Written by Superstar Agents
“The largest policy I ever wrote had a $212 million face value with a $6,148,000 premium. The client was extremely wealthy. The purpose was 2 fold. First, $175 million was for estate planning/estate taxes & 2nd to leave large endowments to his favorite institutions.”
Jeff Rose, www.GoodFinancialCents.com
“I believe my biggest applied for coverage is in the neighborhood of a $1 Million. In my personal business, a large portion of our clients are utilizing permanent policies with an average case size of $100k to $250k in benefit. Oftentimes the coverage we put in place is used as a tax efficient transfer tool, to replace a lost pension or social security benefit when one spouse passes, or simply an improvement of an existing insurance plan.
Our larger cases tend to be on the higher income husbands in the event of an untimely death. They typically need to replace a high percentage of their future income, fund future college expenses, and pay off an existing mortgage. This is the case for many of our larger face value cases.”
Tony Steigerwald, Dunhill Marketing & Insurance
“My biggest face value case was for $15mm. It was to secure a key-man policy for the CEO of a language company. The financial justification was made from a combination of the CEO’s previous year salary and revenue of the company in which he was in close contact with their anchor accounts.”
Jeff Root, Rootfin.com
“We specifically target the family market. I’m much more comfortable with 10 $1000 premium cases than 1 $10,000 case, so we don’t see a lot of large cases Still, the occasional large case does drop into our laps. This year we sold our largest case ever, which was $1,500,000 in premium over 10 years. It was a whole life policy being used as an investment asset class.
Like many of our larger cases, the work required was less than many smaller cases. The client knew what they wanted and had a series of external professional advisors. We were basically told what to do and what was required. All we had to do was source the right company at the right premium.
We were in competition for the case, so our ability to shop the market and compare companies and products was a big part of what got us the business.”
Glenn Cooke, President, Life Insurance Canada.com Inc.
“I had a client that owned property development company and he was getting ready to start on a new project. The bank required him to obtain an additional $8m policy.”
Jesse Sallak, www.lifeinsuranceprostatecancer.com
“The largest policy I’ve ever written was an $11.5 Million old Met Life 30 year term policy for estate tax reasons. The policy was written when Met Life’s 30 year rates were significantly less than every other company, so this guy got the deal of a lifetime and nothing comes close in price to his current rate.
His annual premium was just $10,304. Policy is owned by a Trust and the amount of insurance was determined by the maximum amount of life insurance that the insured could purchase for around $10,000 per year.
The insured was pretty young at time of purchase with annual income of just over $1.1 million and net worth at the time was close to $8 Million. Insured was replacing a $5,000,000 policy based on his estate planning attorney telling him he should buy larger policy.
Insured understood that the estate tax % would likely change in future and had it in his mind that he didn’t want to pay more than $10,000 per year for term insurance and that he wanted 30 year term, so I did my best to accommodate him.
I did also make sure that policy he purchased was convertible for the full 30 years so that extending the coverage and/or possibly selling it via a life settlement were both future options.”
Gordon Conwell, www.americanterm.com
“My largest policy was a $10M survivorship policy that was being used to cover estate taxes. This case was a couple that lives in NV with a variety of businesses involving real estate and technology. Their net worth was $42M. The policy was owned by a family trust and the beneficiary was a trust.”
Chris Abrams, www.abramsinc.com
I had a young investment banker (30 years old) who was making about $350,000 a year – he applied for $5,000,000 in term life because not only was his income high, but his projected future income was going to increase to $500,000 over the next few years as he was gaining seniority in his position. Living in Manhattan, he wanted his wife to be able to continue to live the same lifestyle if he un expectantly passed away, and given he has another 20-30 years of working before retirement, $5,000,000 would make sure his wife and child could stay living the same lifestyle without having money worries. Once he bought the policy he was planning on changing ownership as well and create a irrevocable life insurance trust and make it the owner, so that the $5MM death benefit isn’t included in his total estate.
Liran Hirschkorn, www.bestlifequote.com
“The biggest face amount I’ve ever sold was $5,000,000. Estate planning was the justification as the client’s estate value exceeded $10 million and projected to increase at 10% per year. The purpose of the insurance was to provide liquidity for estate taxes.”
Chris Lalor, www.LifeInsuranceShoppingReviews.com
The largest policy I ever had was a customer that found me online and ended up applying for a 15 million dollar term policy for income replacement. The customer was a successful business owner with an annual income of 1 million dollars. Considering his financials 15 million was the maximum amount of insurance we could secure. The annual premium on the case was $70,0000 and it was glorious.
Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance
“The biggest life insurance policy our firm has ever written in terms of face value was $41,000,000. I believe the justification was to pay off debt. We’ve written a number of other policies for $5 million or $10 million or more over the years but they are not necessarily the ones that stand out to me.”
(You’ll notice at the end of Jan’s quote, he said those were not the ones that stood out to him. He actually recounted several more deeply meaningful life insurance sales he has made over his career, which don’t fit the purposes of this article, but I will post them here shortly and add a link to that article.”
Jan Pinney, Pinney Insurance
Top Executive CEO
Face Amount approved was $160MM
Annual Premium @ $6.9MM
“My business partner and I had the pleasure of working on this case for about 3 years. The need was for an Executive Key-Person Life Insurance Policy. The company the client works for has an annual revenue of $800MM+. When this executive took over as CEO a few decades ago this company was doing about $30-40MM annually.
When we first began the insurance process with our client his initial medical exam had an A1C reading of 13.5+, diabetic, his weight around 250 lbs+ at 5’8”, and tobacco user to name a few issues. He had an average life expectancy of around 4 years.
Obviously he was uninsurable across the board.
After the initial exam and declines everywhere, we the agents, hired 2 full-time personal chefs to cook every meal for the client, five meals per day for a quarter year (except when he was traveling). One of the chefs that we hired was well known as he was the personal chef for a few top celebrity athletes in the area so this was an easy sale to the client due to the chef’s resume, plus us as the agents were retaining 100% of all the cost including the food.
At the same time we hired these chefs we, the agents, fired his primary care physician who was also an employee of the client, therefore this doctor was afraid to “tell it like it was” to our client. We then referred our client to the top diabetic specialist in the area who was not an employee of the client and this doctor could be very transparent/frank with him.
Within 90 days under our care and under the care of his new doctor the clients weight dropped to 185 lbs., A1C was now at 5.3 and his tobacco use was heavily reduced due to new exercise program that we put him on.
Insurance carriers obviously need to see a longer duration of leveled health history before they will consider a client with this health history. We then continued to monitor the client for an additional year with weekly A1C readings and regular check ups/visits with his diabetic specialist. We then were able to get an approval from several carriers including 3 offers at Standard Tobacco due to Table Shaving program and available health credits.”
Daniel Cox, Cox Capital
“Mine is $26mm. It was a buy-sell on a 2 owner company with $26mm on 1 owner, and $6m on the other. All justified with business financials to include a 3rd party business valuation, personal financial statements and a documented buy-sell agreement.”
Nic West, www.nicwest.com
Last, we have my highest premium case…
The biggest policy I’ve ever sold was a $3 million dollar guaranteed universal life policy to a 77 year old woman. This was several years ago when the estate tax exemption amount was much lower, and with an estate worth more than $10 million, there was a concern that their estate would be severely reduced by federal estate taxes. We placed the coverage on her rather than her husband as she was much younger and in better health, and expected to outlive her husband. The premium was $132,500 per year.
Do We Have a Controversy?
It was big news amongst life insurance agents in 2014 when a $201 million dollar policy was purchased by a tech billionaire in California. As reported by CNBC, it was the biggest life insurance policy ever sold.
However, Tony Steigerwald, quoted above, states he sold a policy with a $212 million face value. Someone call Ripleys and Guinness. They need to get their facts straight.
Need More Information on Buying a High Face Value Life Insurance Policy?
You always want to talk to an independent agent, especially when it comes to purchasing a large life insurance policy.
I’ve personally helped dozens of high net worth individuals and would love to help you too. Call us at 888-603-2876 today!*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.