How Life Insurance Pros Can Screen Estate Planners for Networking

In recent articles, including “The No-Sunset Life Insurance Paradigm Shift Could be Accelerating,” I’ve recommended that life insurance professionals take a hard look at their networking with professional advisors, whom I’ll refer to as “centers of influence” (COIs). Networking, of course, isn’t just about cultivating relationships for the purpose of getting referrals. It’s also about identifying advisors whom life insurance professionals can refer their clients to for estate planning, tax compliance and planning, fiduciary services and more.

I base my recommendation on my view that as the market for estate tax planning and the associated liquidity wanes due to legislative, economic and societal forces, the influence and referral-generating capacity of some of the COIs traditionally cultivated by life insurance professionals will also wane. Life insurance professionals impacted by those forces will either have to cultivate a new and more productive crop of COIs or, shall we say, broaden the perspective of some of their COIs about the roles that life insurance can play in a comprehensive plan.

Three Preliminary Thoughts

First, whether looking for new COIs or reassessing existing relationships, life insurance professionals should be ready to know the “right” COI when they see one. With respect to seeking referrals, the right COI is one who’s technically capable, strategically positioned and philosophically inclined to bring a life insurance professional into the conversation as early as it’s appropriate to do so. With respect to making referrals, the right COI is the one who has the experience, skills and inclination to give comprehensive assistance and advice to clients in the life insurance professional’s market. I’d define “comprehensive” to mean well beyond wills, trusts, probate and taxes.

Second, I can understand that life insurance professionals might say, “Screening a prospective COI is one thing, but re-screening an existing COI is another. It could

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