Business Resilience & Continuity – Legacy Protection for the Protectors

Protection for the protectors

The harsh realities of work from home are catching up to everyone as the whole world relies on it more and more. People are getting grumpier, businesses are getting beaten and battered, and most are failing to hold their own and ensure continuity.

Insurance agencies are no different. If you failed to embrace the cloud or foresee the impacts of COVID-19 on the insurance sector, chances are that you are having some trouble right now.

Here, we’ll discuss how you can poise your business to become more resilient and ensure the business secession planning you had in place remains valid once things come back to normal.

Supporting Remote Work 

We’ve discussed this several times in our past blogs, as much of a shock working from home was for the insurance sector, making sure you have the right systems to accommodate employees and clients from a distance is one of the most important things you need to focus on right now.

A report by KPMG (TH & Co.) suggests that insurance agencies put in just 2-3 weeks instead of 2-3 years to upgrade their systems – and those that did it beforehand are poised as the next market leaders now.

Hiring & Retirements – During & Post-COVID

The medium-term future holds a huge shift in workforce. Not only are employees bound to get frustrated and resign, but clients’ needs are also going to change. When hiring new staff or letting some go, make sure you keep new requirements in mind.

Update your job descriptions, ask employees to be realistic about their performances and what you’re expecting, reevaluate your agency’s directions as an agency, and consider the immediate and longer-term future. Your main concern here should be staffing the right individuals for your clients.

Encouraging Word of Mouth 

If your clients are in recession, chances are that you’re going to be in the same boat too, struggling for a way out to improve your and their investment portfolio and stay afloat. When that happens, it’s time to be compassionate and flexible.

Digital marketing has changed quite a bit because of the coronavirus as business flock towards it left and right. One surefire way of helping you stand out of the crowd is to make sure people remember you for your service and let others know of what you’re offering.

Word of mouth is the best form of marketing and clients who are spreading the word about you are perhaps your biggest assets.

A Business Resilience Plan

And finally, developing a resilience and a business succession plan. To do so, you need to consider the following aspects:

  • Do you have the right tools for the market’s shifting demand?
  • Are you future-proof? Is there anything that could render you outdated? If so, what’s stopping you from getting those updates?
  • Are you primed for remote work?
  • Is your workload manageable or is it overwhelming?
  • How can you ensure maximum availability and training of these tools?
  • Do you have the right tools to help you support workers as well as clients?
  • Do you have a rainy-day fund or a rainy-day plan?
  • Do you have an insurance plan, should the day come when you need to wind up?

If you find yourself answering negatively to any of these questions, you might be in trouble in the near future. Going online is perhaps one of the best things you can do for your clients – and even for the workers. At Legacy Armour, we can help you manage your clients and ensure their peace of mind, starting today.

Any tool you need, we’ve got your back – from legacy planning storage all the way to customer and their family facilitation. Get in touch today to learn how!

Cryptocurrency Insurance Coverage – Can I Rely on My Insurance Provider to Protect Me?

Litecoin, Bitcoin, and Ethereum

Cryptocurrency and bitcoin security has always been a fickle thing in terms of insurance. With more than 7% of Americans owning cryptocurrency, the demand for this relatively secure asset is still on the rise. As the global interest in cryptocurrency increases, governments are also looking at the asset closely now.

Kimmelman v. Wayne Insurance Group is a prime example of what we just discussed.

The asset has also found its way into many a financial and legacy planning discussions as people continue to consider it a viable option for their investment portfolio.

However, the question remains; can you rely on your insurance agents to protect you or your family in case of unexpected loss of cryptocurrency?

Answer to this lies in the case we mentioned above. To put it simply, it depends on whether your cryptocurrency is held in the capacity of property or money.

Bitcoin Security From Insurance Agencies

In the case above, Kimmelman sought coverage for his bitcoin portfolio that amounted to roughly $16,000, which was recently stolen.

The insurer’s policy claimed that they cover “personal property owned or used by an insured anywhere in the world.”Furthermore, the liability would be limited to $200 on money, bank notes, gold, silver, value cards and more according to the same document.

Insurance agent’s investigators concluded that the bitcoin was money, and therefore a compensation of only $200 was sanctioned.

Soon after, the two found themselves in court, one claiming that it was money and the other simply claiming compensation. The Ohio state court determined that the insurer would make the insured whole since virtual currency was not considered money, but property.

This was solely based on IRS Notice 2014-21 which treated cryptocurrency as property for tax purposes, not money. From then onwards, any unexpected loss on ‘virtual currency’ – including bitcoin – is considered to be a loss of property.

Cryptocurrency Finding Its Way Into Legacy Planning

The rise of virtual currency began in 2015 and gradually found its way to where it is now, the peak point being in 2017. Although the currency’s value keeps fluctuating every now and then, people who purchased the currency back when it was cheap have gained immensely from it.

So, it’s natural for them to want to pass it on to their loved ones after their death. We have had many clients who are including cryptocurrency in legacy planning with a prime focus on bitcoin security.

Armour Legacy offers you a safe place to get a will made and store information about how to access your assets after you’ve passed on. Our vaults are secure and flexible, meaning you can give access to people you trust, be it family, your health executives, financial advisors and more.

The idea is to make sure your family doesn’t have to go through any sort of hassle after you pass on and get what you want them to have seamlessly! Let us help you understand how this works in more detail. Write to us and we’ll call you right back!

Legacy Planning & Life Insurance – How Well Do They Sit Together?

Life Insurance & Legacy Planning

Taking the current financial situation into account, there is no telling when your investment portfolio may improve or face a downfall similar to that of the 2008 recession. Today, when it comes to legacy and financial planning, wealth preservation is at the top of any financial advisor’s list, telling clients to manage their assets and ‘brace for impact’.

The current volatility faced by the economy has changed how insurance policies work, bringing legacy planning and life insurance much closer to each other. Transferring wealth to the next generation has become simple and complicated at the same time.

Do Legacy Planning & Life Insurance Actually Go Together?

If you asked a financial advisor about life insurance and business succession planning, most would have told you, about a year ago, that legacy planning is a way to transfer funds and your business to your family. Life insurance, on the other hand, would be defined as a way of securing your financial obligations or family’s income.

However, today, they are both considered very closely since life insurance is also a legacy and the whole idea behind legacy planning is to leave behind something for your family after you’re gone. This is what we call “Legacy Protection.

Life Insurance

When considering family legacy protection plans, you can use your funds from a 401(k) account or IRA to fulfill your life insurance policies just as well, not just for your own children, but also your grandchildren, thus providing financial security to even more lives.

While you or your parents might be receiving Social Security, you might be well aware of the uncertainty that revolves around the prospect. Our younger generations may not be as lucky if they decide to half or all-out finish the social security system. Pension options are also being taken away by most employers nowadays in attempts to tackle the COVID-19 economic downfall.

Legacy Planning

People who usually include their whole investment portfolio in their wills or trusts often forget about the insurance policies they buy. You as a family man shouldn’t have to worry about it, since this is an insurance agent’s responsibility. A good insurance agent or financial advisor will regularly remind you about the face value of your investment portfolio and the benefits offered by your insurance plan.

The idea is that once you pass away, your family should be aware of the funds to claim and how. Legacy planning is what comes to the rescue here. From life insurance to business succession plans, trusts and more, everything is listed in your legacy plan.

Legacy Armor to Help You Make Things Easier

Paper wills and legacy plans have a way of either being mismanaged or ‘forgotten’ about. The world has seen a rather drastic shift and reliance on the internet due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and the insurance sector is no different.

For that, we offer an online portal where you can manage your legacy and access it anywhere, anytime. The idea is to help you take your legacy mobile and explain to people close to you – your family – what they should be looking for and where. To learn more about it, we urge you to get in touch with one of our insurance agents today!

Recession-Proofing Your Insurance Agency – Legacy Protection for the Protectors

Photo of a DOW J index in a bearish economy

With the COVID-19 pandemic not seeming to end anytime soon and its effects seeming to have an impact even long after the economy restarts, recession seems to be a shiny sword of uncertainty hanging on everyone’s head. From a simple family-man all the way to insurance agencies, legacy protection and recession-proofing is something that can set you on the right track.

Here, we shall discuss how insurance agencies can safeguard themselves from a recession in the economy, whether it’s coming or not. Better safe than sorry, right?

Recession-Proofing Insurance Agencies – A Financial Advisor’s View

Diversify Your Investment Portfolio – Preparing for the Worst & Making Good Better

What do insurance companies do very well? What would you say that you as an insurance agent have that no one else can beat you at?

Analyzing risk and taking preemptive action.

And that is exactly what comes into play when investing; analyzing the stock market for risks and taking action accordingly. Or the company as a whole could also invest and earn dividends. The key idea here is to broaden your line-up and not put all your eggs in one basket. And that means not relying on yourself completely as well.

Look at Your Cash Flow Under a Microscope

As an insurance agency, just pick up your cashflow statement, or even the income statement for that matter, and you’ll see the myriad of expenses you make as a company. Some of those expenses you might not even understand unless you’re an accountant.

We’re not asking that you start studying up on them; just that you know where they originate from and make financial scenarios for such expenses. These might be running expenses, but you should have a plan for how you’ll reduce them if recession hits; or is about to.

The most recent example of this was how insurance agencies had to take their businesses online due to the lockdowns. You can also make contingencies for what you’ll do in case you have to tackle numerous claims at once, closing up shop for a while, or more.

Ideal Clients & Their Road Through the Recession

Keeping tabs on your revenue stream and making sure they stay afloat is one of the most important steps you can take when recession-proofing your insurance agency. Easiest and most lucrative way of doing so is by differentiating between regular clients, high-paying clients and riskier clients.

Here is a table to help you understand this point better:

Client TypePriority
High-paying, less-claiming clientsAverage
High-paying, high-claiming clientsHigh
Low-paying, high-claiming clientsLow
Low-paying, low-claiming clientsVery low

Remember, this chart is only for emergencies, not during the normal course of business.

Spreading the Word Without Marketing Expenditure

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool; not just because it’s free or brings you new customers ready to convert, but also because it pushes you to give the best possible service to every client. This way, you not only reduce inefficiencies in your workflow, but also generate a new revenue stream for yourself that remains strong long after other avenues have failed; such as when in recession.

Getting ready for what’s next might be more challenging than it may seem; even for the most veteran insurance agents out there. If you’re looking to protect your legacy, either by formulating a well-thought-out legacy plan or by recession-proofing your insurance agency, Legacy Armour can help you take the right steps at the right time. Contact us today via call or mail to learn more. 

Coronavirus & Estate Uncertainty – Effects on Legacy Planning & Impending Future Prospects

Future prospects of the industry

There has been a 143% week-on-week increase in the number of wills since the lockdown started, a figure that is predicted to go up to 220% soon. Before 2019, people believed that legacy planning and creating a will was only for the rich; but that trend is changing. It is now understood that anyone wanting to secure their assets and protect their family needs to have a will.

The lockdowns have resulted in heavy reliance on the internet, taking even estate planning online; something for which presence of all parties was crucial. These impacts might seem to be short-lived, or perhaps until the COVID-19 lockdowns remain, but there are chances that they might also stick around, impacting the future of the insurance industry altogether.

From financial planning to business succession and legacy planning, everything might find itself online.

Potential Future Impacts on Legacy Planning

Insurance companies that already had online systems in place faced a certain setback when they upgraded their systems, since the transition took a little while not only to get implemented but also to get used to.

However, this small setback at the time was well worth it, as those who had optimized their online infrastructure fared much better once the lockdowns began, reaping the rewards of a less-competed market. To add fuel to the fire, the market wasn’t just less-competed,but also more demanding than ever!

At the start, the market saw almost a 40% increase in demand immediately. As insurance companies took on more and more clients, the demand only increased. Financial advisors played a major role in this as well, as they asked clients with a diverse investment portfolio to create wills.

This was followed by the drops in share prices, even of shares belonging to market leaders. Case in point; Vermillion Energy Inc. (NYSE:VET).

Legacy Planning And Force Majeure – How Insurance Claims Are Being Treated During COVID-19

Force majeure means “superior force,” and is a major part of many a contract. It includes a set of events that are out of either party’s control, such as war, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, epidemics, or restraints set forth my governing authorities that may result in a claimable loss.

In the case of COVID-19, force majeure is applicable wherever government restrictions (the lockdowns) are preventing, restricting or delaying performance of any clause included within the will.

However, if the clause isn’t included in the will itself, force majeure isn’t applicable. You should advise your clients about any force majeure clauses before letting them sign a contract.

It is important to note that most insurance companies are including the clause within their contracts because of the COVID-19 situation.

The Change in Estate Planning: Helping Clients Protect Their Family & Businesses

legacy planning, insurance, financial planning, protect family, business succession planning, insurance agent, financial advisor, investment portfolio

It is no secret that people yearn to make lives for their children and spouses easier after they’re gone. While wills are a great way of doing that, clients are shifting towards trusts as well now, seeing as how it can be the perfect way to support them financially.

A trust is like a gift from the person who passed away to those they left behind, as it takes effect immediately. It is in an intended beneficiary’s name, reducing the amount of paperwork and procedures that one needs to go through.

Furthermore, trusts can also reduce the estate tax implications and isn’t subject to challenges in probate courts as wills are, further reducing the hassle for whomever the trust is founded. Recommending a trust to your clients can go a long way towards furthering their legacy planning ventures.

However, trusts and wills are entirely different things; so make sure you have the requisite knowledge before recommending it.

As the insurance industry goes into a ‘digital’ state, there is a certain uncertainty revolving the matter of estates. Existing clients are getting antsier and new ones are also equally troubled. We recommend using online tools for now, as there are chances (because of the reduced operating costs they offer) that they are going to stick around even after the lockdown.

Legacy Armour offers a tool for insurance agents to make the most out of this online shift in the industry, offering a streamlined way of handling clients and their real estate planning. Get in touch today to learn more!

How COVID-19 Affects My Legacy Planning – Should I Revisit My Will?

Making an informed decision about your will

The COVID-19 pandemic has had deep impacts on every element of our daily lives – our insurance policies and legacy planning being no exception. Many people, be it businessmen or families, have been forced to consider ‘what ifs’ that were previously a non-issue.

As estate planning sees a surge in interest rates, words like family protection and business succession planning are being thrown around judiciously by financial advisors and insurance agents. But a question arises; is this just people being people or are these concerns actually well-founded? Should I really revisit my will?

Here, we shall explain the effects of COVID-19 on legacy planning and try to present the situation as is to help you make an informed decision.

Should I Revisit My Legacy Planning – Getting Down to Brass Tacks

A straightforward answer is “yes.” However, it’s slightly more complicated than just saying that.

Insurance companies across the globe are looking for governments and regulatory bodies for aid in these trying times, but haven’t imposed any extra costs or expenses to your estate or its planning yet. However, the “all-online” structure that the pandemic is promoting might mean that it would be smart to update your will, even if you have a solid will in place.

This might include taking it online. There are chances that the SOPs set in place during the lockdown might stick around even after the pandemic is over.

Effects of COVID-19 on Wills

As of the time of writing this, the standard rules of insurance claims in the case of someone passing away will be applicable. If you don’t have a will, an administrator will be assigned to your estate and who it is passed on to, including business succession.

However, having a will that reflects your wishes will mean that, although the process might be slightly slower, it will be the same. Since face-to-face interactions are very limited, liquidating the estate might be more hectic than normal.

It is important to note here that while nothing in terms of wills has changed, the overall value of the assets you have left for your family’s protection might not be the same. This is especially true if you wish to transfer shares to your children or spouse.

This presents an ‘unfairness’ issue, that while some might inherit more, others might end up getting less. One would think that this problem would go away once the COVID-19 situation has reverted. However, several companies are facing bankruptcy right now or are about to, which would end up rendering those shares or even your whole investment portfolio useless.

Challenges Presented by COVID-19 When It Comes to Preparing New Wills

Since the presence of lawyers, insurance agents and you yourself (depending on the situation) is necessary for the preparation of a will, the social distancing aspect has halted this process almost completely.

While governments have been called upon for a remediation of this issue, the problem is that allowing either party to not be present during the signing of the will may present a significant risk of fraud. Yet, this has resulted in the Executive Order 2020-14.

This legislation dictates that documents such as Wills, Powers of Attorney and Appointments of Enduring Guardian can be witnessed and notarized online until the pandemic ensues. Following are some requirements to keep in mind:

  • The audio-video connection must not be interrupted at any time. Both parties must be able to properly see, hear and communicate.
  • The call should be recorded and saved for up to 3 years after it takes place.
  • Signatory must state and agree to the name of the document being signed on the call.
  • Each page signed or initialed must be presented clearly on the video so as to be legible.
  • The signing act must be captured on video.
  • A legible copy signed document in its entirety should be sent to witness(es) no later than one day after signing.

The notarization should include at least:

  • Signature of the notary, their seal, title, commission and expiry.
  • Any information required by law in regards to the date and place of the notarization process.
  • Conform to the Notary Public Act of the state.
  • There must be a clear indication of the fact that the signing and acknowledgement was done remotely.

Legacy Armour in Times of COVID-19

As a rough timeline comes into view about when all of this will be over (year-end or early 2021, based on the progress of COVID-19 vaccine), the curve is starting to rise. This means that the insurance sector as a whole has a while before it recovers from the state this pandemic has put it in.

However, Legacy Armour continues to operate online and offers quick, easy solutions to your legacy and estate planning worries. From online meetings to signing and will delivery, everything is done in a manner so as to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Furthermore, with Legacy Armour’s vaults and planning templates, your will is not only more secure and thorough but also more accessible to your family to provide you with peace of mind when it comes to family protection or business succession planning. For assistance or more on the subject, we recommend you get in touch today via call or email!