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R&R Insurance Blog

Top 10 Reasons for a Life Insurance Policy Review

Posted by Tom Driscoll

Life Insurance AwarenessWhen was the last time you reviewed your coverage?  Like other financial assets, life insurance policies require ongoing management to ensure your policy is performing up to expectations. There are a number of factors that influence life insurance policies and one major negative influencer in recent years has been interest rates. Agents and insurance companies that designed a number of these life insurance policies didn’t factor in lower interest rates, and the result has been that a number of policies are lapsing prematurely.

Learn about the Top 10 Reasons for a Policy Review and let us help give you peace of mind and assist you with reviewing your life insurance policy(s) at no cost. 

Topics: Life Insurance

September | Life Insurance Awareness Month

Posted by Tom Driscoll

Featured-Client-February-1.jpgThe decision to purchase Life Insurance to protect your family income and/or your business interest is extremely important; but, when was the last time you reviewed that coverage? A lot has changed over the past few years in the Life Insurance market and if you have not reviewed this recently then now is the time!  With people living longer, rates have come down and insurance carriers have strengthened their product portfolios by adding additional features that consumers have demanded.

Here at R&R Insurance, we represent nearly every major life insurance carrier in the market and we would be happy to visit with you and do a no obligation consultative review of your coverage. The best that can happen is that we may be able to save you money and improve your coverage. If we can’t, we will let you know that too. Some added piece of mind for such an important benefit. Nobody likes to pay more than they need to for anything. We would welcome the opportunity to help you assess your coverage.

Complete the following checklist to determine if it's time to give your Life Insurance policy a second glance, or contact Tom for additional information.


Topics: Life Insurance

Avoid Unnecessary Taxes with Your Life Insurance

Posted by Pat Driscoll

iStock-533578726.jpgMost business owners carry some life insurance, whether it’s for their Buy-Sell Agreement, Key Person, Personal Income protection, Estate Planning, or to indemnify a loan. How that policy is structured could mean all the difference at tax time!

Policy ownership is the number one issue when it comes to taxation. Having the policy set up incorrectly could mean the difference between a Tax-Free Death Benefit and a Taxable Death Benefit.

Buy-Sell Agreements
Every business should have a continuation plan, either in the form of a Buy-Sell Agreement or via will. It should specify what would happen with their ownership if they died, were disabled, or wanted to retire. Typically, these agreements are drafted as Cross Purchase Agreements or Entity Purchase Agreements. Most businesses fund these agreements with Insurance, but how that insurance is owned will make a big difference in terms of taxation.

S-Corp vs C-Corp
Whether you own an S-Corporation (LLC) or a C-Corporation, having the insurance owned by that entity could seriously affect the tax treatment of the death claim. Not only do you possibly trigger a 15% Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) on the death benefit, but you could also be increasing the value of the business at the worst time, your death. Plus, the loss of step-up in basis to the surviving owners could be even more devastating. Allowing us to review those policies, and determine the correct ownership structure can alleviate any worries, and ensure your insurance is set up in the most efficient way.

Personal Policies & Estate Planning
Currently, in 2017, each individual has a lifetime exclusion of $5.49m. Anything over that amount gets taxed at 40%. Keep in mind, this is subject to change and most likely will change going forward. Which is why having a plan that provides flexibility is essential. Even if your estate is not over that exclusion amount, you may still want to consider having your policy owned by an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT). An ILIT will provide creditor protection as well as outline how you want the money handled in the event you pass away and your spouse remarries.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact Pat Driscoll or Tom Driscoll for a complimentary review of your policies.


Topics: Life Insurance

Three Ways to Help You Save Money on Life Insurance

Posted by Tom Driscoll

Safety_Net.jpgThere may be a silver lining to the economic crisis that Americans have lived through over the past few years:  We have become accustomed to spending less and saving more.  Even as the economy rebounds, many people continue to look for ways to keep their household budgets in check.   Luckily, spending less doesn’t have to mean doing with less, especially when it comes to life insurance coverage.  There are ways you can maintain your coverage, but pay less for it.

“Life insurance is a financial safety net for your loved ones, so it’s critical to maintain that coverage especially with the uncertainty that remains in the economy,” says Tom Driscoll with R&R Insurance.  “But keeping that coverage doesn’t have to be a financial burden.  There are ways to save money on your existing coverage, and I’ve got some tips to help you do just that.”

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, the perfect time to review your life insurance needs with an insurance professional.  If you already have coverage, you may be able to cut costs based on the following says Driscoll:
  1. You’re healthier.  If you have quit smoking, lost a substantial amount of weight or made significant improvements to your health, let your insurance company know.  You may be able to qualify for a lower rate on your coverage.
  2. Rates are near historic lows.  Life insurance rates remain near historic lows.  In fact, the cost of basic term life insurance has fallen by nearly 50 percent over the past decade.  So, if your family’s budget is tight and your health status hasn’t changed much since the last time you purchased coverage, you may want to apply for a new policy.  If you do, make sure not to drop your current coverage until the new policy is in force.
  3. Circumstances have changed.  It is smart to review your policy every year to make sure it’s adequate and up to date.  If the kids are out of the house, your mortgage is paid down, you’ve gotten divorced or family members no longer need your  financial support, your need for life insurance coverage may have decreased.  A smaller face amount policy will likely save you money.

“If people depend on you financially, life insurance is an absolute must,” says Driscoll.  “But no one should pay more than they have to.”

Interested in a free review of your current life insurance policy?  Contact us.

About Life Insurance Awareness Month

Held each September, Life Insurance Awareness Month is an industry-wide effort that is coordinated by the nonprofit LIFE Foundation.  The campaign was created in response to growing concern about the large number of Americans who lack adequate life Insurance protection.  Roughly 70 million adult Americans have no life insurance, and most of those who do have far less coverage than more financial experts recommend.  For more information on life insurance, visit LIFE’s website at www.lifehappens.org.

Topics: Life Insurance

4 Factors to Consider When Creating a Buy-Sell Agreement

Posted by Tom Driscoll

Buy Sell Agreement Diagram_SmallIf you retired, died, or became disabled today, who would own and manage your business tomorrow? Would you want your business interest retained for a family, sold, or liquidated?

A Buy-Sell Agreement controls what happens to the company stock upon the occurrence of a triggering event such as the death, retirement, or disability of a shareholder. A Buy-Sell Agreement, which is a contractual agreement between shareholders and their corporation or between a shareholder and the other shareholders of the corporation, is the center of a business continuation plan.

There are 4 key factors to consider when creating a buy-sell agreement with your stockholders:

  1. Type of Business (S-Corp, C-Corp, LLC, Partnership, Sole-Proprietorship)
    A properly funded Buy-Sell Agreement uses life insurance as a funding vehicle to pay the deceased/disabled business owner's family their share of the business interest. Who owns this policy depends on how many business partners you have and what type of corporation you have (S-Corp, C-Corp, LLC, Partnership, Sole-Proprietorship). Setting this up incorrectly can result in additional tax issues, step-up in basis issues and can even result in the need to liquidate the business immediately whether you want to or not.
  2. Type of Agreement - Cross Purchase vs. Entity Purchase
    In a Cross Purchase Agreement, each shareholder owns the life insurance on each other shareholder. In an Entity Purchase Agreement – the life insurance funding vehicle is owned by corporation.
  3. Value of Your Business
    Your business’ value is extremely important when establishing a Buy-Sell Agreement. This value should be reviewed every 3-5 years to ensure your family receives the correct amount for your interest in the business. In today’s changing economy, it is important to review your current Buy-Sell Agreement regularly to ensure it is aligned with the value of your business.
  4. Funding of Buy-Sell Agreements
    Most businesses don’t have enough excess cash in reserve to buy out a shareholder's spouse upon a unfortuneate demise. The life insurance is earmarked to pay (buy out) a deceased business owner’s business interest, with the funds going to the family. Purchasing life insurance can be a relatively inexpensive way to fund your Buy-Sell Agreement. Knowing that the funds are available when the circumstance arises, reduces anxiety about a family's livelihood and guarantees the proper payout for a spouse.

Any business owner who hasn't had a proper valuation on their business is leaving the fate of the business and the livelihood of their family to chance. R&R offers free business valuation plans as a complimentary service to any business owner wanting more information about their business and how to ensure it’s longevity, and adequate funds for their family’s well-being. The service is provided by attorney resources R&R contracts with – again at no charge to you. Wisconsin businesses should contact Tom Driscoll for more information about business valuation, Buy-Sell Agreements and estate planning.

Topics: Life Insurance, Business Continuation, life insurance vehicle, buy-sell agreement, Buy-Sell Agreements, Financial Services, funding buy-sell agreements, tom driscoll, sharholder stock, Cross Purchase Agreement, Entity Purchase Agreement

NFL Superstar Boomer Esiason's Story About Losing a Parent Without Life Insurance

Posted by Tom Driscoll

CTA_10_Questions_BoomerRecord setting NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason lost his mother when he was 7 years old. His mother died without life insurance. What a difference life insurance would have made for Boomer's father and sisters.

“We were very lucky we had neighbors who could help out and make sure I was being looked after while my dad was at work,” says NFL great Boomer Esiason, who realized the struggles his dad faced after his mother died. "I learned at 7 that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow, so I’d probably look them in the eye and say, "Just imagine if something happened to you and you hadn’t done the planning. The people you leave behind will feel the brunt of your mistakes."

As spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month, he’s an advocate of both working and stay-at-home parents getting proper life insurance coverage. More of Boomer's story...

Free Download: 10 Questions for Boomer: Learn the connection between football and Life Insurance from Boomer's point of view.

Related article:

  • "Big As Life" as seen online with A.M. Best Company - Boomer is the 2014 National Spokesperson for Life Insurance

For more information about life insurance, estate planning and mortgage protection, contact knowledgebroker Tom Driscoll.


Topics: Life Insurance, Business Continuation, Mortgage Protection, Financial Services, tom driscoll, life insurance awareness month, Boomer Esiason, boomer's story

Aunt Betty Will Make Business Decisions For Your Company

Posted by Tom Driscoll

grandma_FaceThis just in: Aunt Betty finally makes a decision regarding the company's equipment upgrade - she decided that she'd rather keep things as they are - at least for this year. Ugh! You can't do anything about it either - because you're gone. You - the business owner - died unexpectedly and didn't have a business continuation plan in place.

Aunt Betty is used here ficticiously to describe an inherited ownership of a company to anyone you most likely did not intend to be an owner/decision maker. Most likely someone who doesn't have any clue about making decisions in your stead.

So what should you have done? You should have set up a Buy-Sell Agreement to ensure that your share of the business passed along to the appropriate people, and taken care of your family financially in the process.

It’s not easy thinking of one’s own demise – but you really have to if you want to protect what you’ve worked so hard for – your family, your business. If you don’t want “Aunt Betty” making the decisions when you pass away, take some time to have your business valued and come up with a plan to buy Aunt Betty out, and take care of her financially! Life insurance is a great vehicle to fund such a buy out!

R&R offers free business valuation plans as a complimentary service to any business owner wanting more information about their business and how to ensure it’s longevity, and adequate funds for their family’s well-being. The service is provided by attorney resources R&R contracts with – again at no charge to you.

R&R Insurance, in fact, is a perfect example of a successful business continuation plan. One thing is for certain, the face of R&R would be much different today, had we not had that proper planning, and I’d be more than happy to share our story with you if you are interested. Don’t leave things to “Aunt Betty”. If you’ve been contemplating additional estate planning or have questions on the perpetuation for your family business, please don’t hesitate to call me at (262) 953-7246. Wisconsin businesses should contact Tom Driscoll for more information about business valuation, Buy-Sell Agreements and estate planning.

Topics: Life Insurance, Business Continuation, Financial Services

Paralympic Hockey Gold Medal Winner Adam Page Lives a Whole Life Thanks to Life Insurance

Posted by Tom Driscoll

Living a WHole LifeAs a hockey player myself, I find this story truly amazing. Thank goodness for the foresight Adam's parents had in obtaining whole life insurance.

There were no children on the horizon yet for Norm and Sandy Page, but this young couple, in their early 20s, decided to buy whole life insurance policies. Their financial professional explained that whole life insurance builds cash value and that it would help them with their goal of saving for retirement, while also protecting them in case either were to die prematurely.

The Pages’ plans changed in an instant when their son, Adam, was born with spina bifida, a malformation of the spinal cord. The couple had good health insurance coverage through their jobs, but there were certain things it didn’t cover like special braces that Adam needed to walk. To pay for these items, the Pages tapped into the cash value that had accumulated in their whole life policies.

The money from the policies even allowed Adam to pursue a special dream. He developed a passion for sled hockey, and Norm and Sandy borrowed from the life insurance policies to pay for some of his equipment and training needs. At 15, he became the youngest person to make the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and at 18, he won gold at the Paralympic Games in Vancouver.

Over the years, the Pages have purchased more life insurance to make sure that Adam will be adequately provided for should he outlive his parents, which doctors say is likely. For his part, Adam is now attending college to pursue a career in sports management. He even bought his own whole life policy, as he prepares for his life ahead. “I’ve seen what it’s done for me,” says Adam. “Whole life insurance has provided me the opportunity to live a whole life.”

For more information about life insurance, estate planning and mortgage protection, contact knowledgebroker Tom Driscoll.

Topics: Life Insurance, Business Continuation, Mortgage Protection, Financial Services, whole life insurance, tom driscoll, Paralympic gold medal winner, Adam Page

Life Insurance Saved The Farm in Crivitz, Wisconsin

Posted by Tom Driscoll

Farm in the familyAs a third-generation dairy farmer, Paul Krzewina’s priority was keeping his 585-acre farm in the family. But doing that meant modernizing, and Paul needed to take out a mortgage to build new barns and buy additional cows. He was concerned, though, that the mortgage would be a burden to his wife, Michele, and their four young children if something were to happen to him.

When Paul was diagnosed with a brain tumor three years later, the life insurance proved invaluable. He was able to use a loan against his policy’s cash values to pay his health insurance deductible. In addition, Paul didn’t have to worry about keeping his policy in force because of a provision that waived his premiums in the event of a disability. More on Michele and Paul's story and how life insurance enabled the family to save the farm!

Paul died in 2010, but his dreams for his family are very much alive today. His eldest son, Chad, 28, now runs the farm, and used part of the death benefit to add new barns, including a maternity barn. He plans to expand the operation to 500 cows, from the current 200. Michele works on the farm, too, though in the warmer months her attention is on her ice cream restaurant, The Iceburg. “We couldn’t have done any of these things without the insurance money,” Michele says.

For more information about life insurance, estate planning and mortgage protection, contact knowledgebroker Tom Driscoll.

Topics: Life Insurance, Business Continuation, Mortgage Protection, Financial Services, tom driscoll, Business Insurance, crivitz, michele krzewina, dairy farmer

3 Main Reasons to Have Key Man Insurance

Posted by Tom Driscoll

business_peopleKey Man or Key Person Insurance helps to keep your business afloat in the event of the death of a key colleague. If such a tradgey could lead to your company's demise, then you should consider key man insurance. Key man insurance is basically life (or disability) insurance on specific individuals in your company that play a major role in your company's survival.

Key Man Insurance is a life or disability policy taken and paid for by the company. The company is the beneficiary. In the event of a death or disability to a mentioned key employee, the company then has the funds to make appropriate business changes to stay in business. It can cover debts, payments to investors or day-to-day expenses for the business.

Three Main Reasons to Have Key Man Insurance:

  • The business cannot continue in the event of a loss of particular individuals
    Consider how much knowledge your key individuals have. Are you in the services industry? Key partners such as attorneys or physicians, if gone, would surely affect your business performance. How fast can key employees be replaced? Consider the revenue impact of these individuals being gone, and insure for that coverage to get you back on track.
  • Business continuity is a concern
    If there is not business continuation plan in place, who will take over the business? If it is a family business, is the spouse willing and able to resume the role? Perhaps they simply want to be bought out and not have anything to do with the busness moving forward. The insurance could take care of the partner buy/sell issues when a tragedy occurs. More on business continuation planning.
  • Future growth or financing needs
    Banks or financing institutions may require key man insurance coverage to be in place before extending any financing or credit to the company. This ensures the stability and longevity of the business plan and therefore reduces the risk for the lending institution.

Keep in mind that younger vs more seasoned key individuals will have different coverage needs. Younger key employees are more likely to be disabled verses dying. Consider disability in addition to life insurance for younger key employees.

Key man or key person insurance coverage is usually accomplished with a term life product for 10, 15 or 20 years depending on how many more productive years the key employees have in the businesses.

For more information on key man insurance, life insurance or business continutation planning, contact knowledgebroker Tom Driscoll.

Topics: Life Insurance, Business Continuation, Financial Services, death of a key colleague, tom driscoll, Business Insurance, business continuity, key man insurance, key person insurance