An ex-agent's guide to getting more life insurance for less. Kenton, twice a member of the Million Dollar Round Table during a lucrative 17-year career, attributes his apostasy to the discovery, while working up figures for a client, that low-cost term coverage was a better deal than any of the premium-priced, permanent-life policies agents are trained to push. At least equally convincing, however, is his anecdotal lowdown. Companies focus on high-cost policies with so-called cash values, in Kenton's view, because insurance is sold, hot bought. Given steep acquisition expenses (including up-front commissions that can exceed the annual premium), underwriters are loath to merchandise protection bringing in anything but top dollar; the same holds true of agents, whose income depends on premium volume. Presentations therefore stress the positive aspects of chosen instruments, ignore the low real returns, and give buyers little basis on which to comparison-shop. (The annual Consumer Union analysis, says Kenton, falls well short of marketplace needs.) Other damning particulars: the IRS ""ruled long ago that a mutual insurance company's dividend is actually a partial refund of an overcharge""; the industry continues to use an obsolete 1958 mortality table (a new table, incorporating women, is not scheduled to go into effect until 1989). Kenton also furnishes counsel--complete with case studies and do-it-yourself forms--on how to calculate personal life-insurance requirements and meet them economically. Included is an elaborate chart comparing, by age bracket, the annual premiums for $100,000 worth of permanent and/or term coverage by 20 different insurers. For the machinations of the industry as a whole, readers will still want to see Andrew Tobias' The Invisible Bankers (1981); but for insight and immediate aid, Kenton can't be bettered.
Pub Date: Jan. 7, 1982
Page Count: -
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1982
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