Skip to Content

Tips from the Insur­ance Pros with Beth Kraszewski 

Matt

Hello, my name is Matt with Assurity. Thanks for tuning in to our podcast series, “Assurity’s Tips from the Insurance Pros.” We’re excited to share with you our conversations with sales pros as they share ideas and insights that you can use today. Joining us today is Beth Kraszewski, who is executive vice president of Keating & Associates. Beth was recognized by Forbes as one of America's top next-generation wealth advisors in 2018. September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and while we see many campaigns driving home the need to buy life insurance around this time of year, there's a demographic that's often overlooked: women. According to a 2016 LIMRA report, 44% of women have no life insurance. And yet 42% of women are the primary breadwinners of U.S. households. How can we help better educate this market? Beth. It's great having you with us today. Welcome.

Beth

Thank you.

Matt

So, Beth, as we mentioned earlier, not many women have life insurance. Or if they do, they don't have enough of it. How is your organization tapping into this market and their needs?

Beth

Great. Well, first of all, I want to think Assurity for focusing on this topic because I think it's really important that women also are making sure that they're adequately insured. However, I will tell you it's still a little funny to me that we're still talking about these issues with women. So again, thank you for bringing it up. And so as far as how we’re tapping in to the market with women, with my practice, we take a very holistic approach to financial planning. So we're leading with looking at a client's overall financial situation. So as part of that process, we do death benefit analysis for the clients, and we’re looking at it for both the men and the women. So I don't know if it's anything more advanced than that we're just making sure that we're taking that holistic approach in treating the women exactly how we would be treating the men.

Matt

So in doing that, what do you think is the best way to approach women about their life insurance needs, and why?

Beth

I believe that women also have a little bit more of an alert up about ever being sold something. Um, I think that women want to feel in general. They want to feel that they have been educated on the process and/or the product of life insurance. They may be given some options. But to really set up the whole sales process in a way where it feels much more like the education as opposed to selling is the approach that I take with that.

Matt

Looking out for someone's well-being doesn't only mean their physical wellness. Do you have a story you can share with us? About a time you helped a female client become more financially fit?

Beth

So recently, I have had a client. So she is a woman in her 50s and an executive level woman, and she is a single woman. And so one of her biggest concerns is what happens if she has to go into long-term care in the future. And so we have been utilizing a lot of times the cash value life insurance products with the accelerated benefits to provide for potential long term care benefits down the road. So in that situation again, her biggest concern was that she didn't want to become a financial burden on her nieces or nephews. She wanted to make sure that even if her other investment assets had fluctuated, you know, if they had fluctuated with the markets or if she had spent too much of those that there would still be a cushion or safety net there if she were to need that type of insurance. When we took care of that for her, I could just tell that she took a breath and she thought, “Okay, now I can go on with the rest of my financial situation.” As expected, she'd have to worry about if she spends a little bit more than she should when she gets into retirement, because she knew that one of her biggest fears was being taken care of.

Matt

Excellent. Being in the insurance business – a mostly male-dominant profession – what's been your key to success as a woman in this industry, especially as you sell to other women?

Beth

I've been in the industry for about 15 years now, and one thing that I have become very aware of recently that I wasn't aware of when I was younger, was that I tried to do it the way that men did it. I tried to, you know, I think there's a different approach that men have. It may be more of a really strong confidence the men lead with. And as a woman, I think that we're a lot more in tune to the emotional aspect of money, or we could be more in tune to, with finances, the impacts on the relationships in people's lives. I think that we're naturally able to be in tune with more of the soft issues of money and finances. And so recently I've really found myself embracing that aspect – more of that feminine approach. And so I think, especially for the other female advisors who are listening to this, I just want to encourage everyone that you don't have to do it the same way that has been laid out and that there is a place, I think, for more of that feminine side of selling and to embrace that. So especially, I mean, I find my male clients resonate with that. But I think that's especially true with the women clients, and I think that as women, if we're able to really understand both, the more technical as well as some of the more soft issues around money, I never feel like I have to sell a life insurance policy. It's just that it's what makes sense for the client through the education process that I talked about earlier, and it could just happen. It's just a natural process that unfolds itself as opposed to feeling like I'm ever selling anything.

Matt

Let's talk more about that. How can insurance professionals become more emotionally in tune, or become more in tune with the emotional side of financial security themselves?

Beth

So I will tell you, for me, my experience has been, um, I used to work at a company called Northern Trust, and so I was a financial planner and worked with families that had assets between $50 and $100 million. And right now, my largest client relationship, they have a net worth about $400 million. I have clients across the gamut. I have, you know, more regular sized clients as well. I have learned we all know that money doesn't buy happiness, and I think we all know that when we leave this earth here, we don't take our money with us. Regardless of what we believe happens with us after this life, what we do know is that this money stays here. Yet during our lives we spend so much time being controlled by that power of money in our lives. Whether it's, you know, that we feel like we're not making, you know, spending too much eating out, whether it's that we’re concerned about how much money we’re leaving two kids, and it's creating issues in our families. So I think it's really taking it into perspective. And my goal with my clients is to help them detach from that power that money has over them during their life, regardless, if they have hundreds of millions of dollars or they have negative dollars in their net worth. And so I think that it's just that realization that this money thing, you know, money can have a lot of power if we let it. And just to be able to acknowledge that and unconsciously step away from that that power that money can have.

Matt

And what are some strategies you've used to help your clients come to this realization?

Beth

You know, the biggest strategy that I use is that I’ll present a financial plan. I think it begins in the beginning. Probably so many advisers, you know, I always lead a conversation with a new client by really getting to the depths of “What are your biggest concerns, what are your biggest strengths?” And then there's this big “why” part after that, where I used to stop when I was a younger advisor, I would understand their concerns and understand their strengths. But really, where the best information is, is going further in those conversations and figuring out why? What are the drivers? Why they think something is their biggest concern. What are the drivers for? The things that they think are their biggest financial or family strength. So that's the first piece. Second of all, when I do present some of the more technical financial plans, if you will, I always tell people this plan is a tool for us to free you to be able to make the other decisions in your financial life. So let me give you an example of that. I have a longtime couple. I love them dearly, but they fight about money all the time. I'm sure everyone has one of these. Where the husband thinks the wife spends too much money. The husband wants to save everything. You know, we see these couples all the time. And in this particular relationship, it's a big issue. You know they're getting better and better, but they've been on the verge of divorce over this issue. And so when they come in, I always say that the financial plan is the place where you can see that you do have enough money. And so we then are able to say, “Okay, let's find some balance. So, husband, you want to save more money? Let's create a plan for that. And wife, you want to spend more money, so let's create a plan for that.” And then let's look technically at the ramifications of it and then say, “You can both have the best situation here. We can save more and feel good about spending more. You're still on track for where you want to be in the future.” So I think that would be an example of the technicality, or sort of how to balance that technical part, with the soft issues to really drive, bring that home to clients.

Matt

That's invaluable insight. Earlier you mentioned that you take a holistic approach when selling to both men and women. Would you like to expand on what that means, and how you go about this holistic approach?

Beth

Yes. So, first of all, I'm not trying to be rude here that I just don't love that word “selling.” I help clients come to the steps to make their, you know, to make their financial decisions. So that holistic approach again involves looking at everything from, you know, the client's investment assets, reviewing their estate plan, reviewing their tax returns, looking at all of their insurance. So we gather all the information they have with their employer to make sure it's balanced out with what they have – the insurance they have personally. But we definitely lead with a financial planning approach. So before we make any recommendations on investments or insurance, we’re wanting to look at the overall picture of the finances and make sure that all areas of their financial lives are working in conjunction with each other.

Matt

Thank you, Beth, for your thoughts and insights today. We appreciate you taking the time to spend a few minutes with us as we look into new ways to empower women to live their best life. One of those ways being preparing for their future with a life insurance policy.

Beth

Thank you, it was wonderful talking to you all today.

Disclaimer

For producer use only. Not for use with the general public. Not for use in New York. Assurity is a marketing name for the mutual holding company, Assurity Group Incorporated and its subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries include, but are not limited to, Assurity Life Insurance Company and Assurity Life Insurance Company of New York. Insurance products and services are offered by Assurity Life Insurance Company in all states except New York. In New York, insurance products and services are offered by Assurity Life Insurance Company of New York, Albany, New York. Product availability features and rates may vary by state.