A company may be run by a large group of people with the responsibilities spread out evenly between different departments.
Other companies rely heavily on one or two people.
If one of these highly important people were to pass away, these companies would have difficulties keeping the company in business.
Otherwise stated: They would be screwed!
You would think that most businesses are prepared if something happened to one of it's key personnel.
A survey by AMA (America Management Association says otherwise finding the following:
Only 14% of those surveyed said that their companies were well-prepared for the loss of a key person.
It's these type of businesses that would benefit from key man life insurance.
What Is Key Man Life Insurance?
The concept of losing a close friend and colleague can be very difficult for business partners to imagine, but they must do so if their plan is to continue operating the business after the death of an important partner. The key man insurance policy is a life insurance policy that business partners can purchase against the possibility of losing a key partner. If these particular people mean life or death for the company, they are exactly the people who need key man insurance.
Owners of small businesses may have life insurance policies that name their spouses or other family members as beneficiaries. These policies take care of the business partners’ personal expenses, such as the mortgage on the house and other debts.
Business partners often purchase disability insurance and make this available to their employees as well. The disability insurance pays the expenses in the event that people experience an injury or are diagnosed with an illness that makes it impossible for them to work and earn their salaries.
However, key man insurance covers a completely different area. With the death of a key person, the key man insurance policy covers the company. If you’re one of those essential people in the company, or you’re the owner of the business, then you know how detrimental the death of a key person can be. You’ve been in hours of hard work and sweat into helping your company succeed. Key man life insurance will protect that from crumbling down if there were anything tragic to happen.
Key man insurance would not be beneficial to every business, but the owners will want to learn more about this insurance coverage to discern whether or not their companies fall under the category of those that would benefit from purchasing a key man insurance policy.
Does The Company Have One Or Two People Who Are Highly Important?
The owner of the company would certainly fall under this category. The founders of a business may also qualify as key people. If the loss of some employees would cause the organization to experience difficulties in running the business, this company may want to have key man insurance on these employees.
Every company is different, some companies have a whole team of people that they rely on, and if anything tragic were to happen to them, the business would struggle. Other companies have one key person at the top that is essential to the whole operation. Because every company is different, there is no one-plan-fits-all policy that you can buy. You will need to look at your organization and decide which kind of coverage is going to work best for you. Regardless of the setup of your business, it’s vital that your key people have the insurance coverage in place to protect against anything that would happen if they were to pass away.
How Does Key Man Insurance Work?
Key man insurance is a life insurance policy that works much like regular life insurance.
The business will purchase the policy and will also be named as the beneficiary.
This requires that the partners pay premiums that keep the policy active. If one of the key people in the company passes away while the policy is active, the business receives the pre-determined lump sum of money.
This amount may be $100,000, but it could also be as much as several million. The amount that an organization receives will depend on how much the company can afford to pay in premiums. For example, purchasing a policy for a $5,000,000 payment will require that the partners pay more to keep the policy active than if they chose a $100,000 payment.
The partners will not necessarily benefit from a policy that offers them $500,000. The amount of the death benefits will depend on how much money will be required to replace the key person who has died. If the partners in the company believe that $100,000 would suffice, purchasing a policy for this amount is a legitimate choice to make. The partners can also keep their premiums lower if they purchase a term policy that tends to be less expensive than whole life insurance through one the best life insurance companies we have to work with.
What Can the Company Do with the Death Benefits?
What is done with the money will be up to the remaining business partners, but it will be used for the benefit of the business. For example, the business partners can pay any debts that are remaining, or they may offer an amount to their shareholders. Some business partners keep a portion for the business and offer the other to the deceased partner’s spouse.
Who Actually Owns the Policy?
Most key man life insurance policies will have some sort of cash value build up either a whole life policy for universal life. Here's the biggest misunderstanding I see: The individual does NOT own the policy. The company does and is also the beneficiary.
The company may get a tax deduction in paying for the key man life insurance policies' premiums, but they can only do so if they add the premiums paid to the individuals taxable income. This might not sound as attractive if your the individual, but most companies will offer the cash value build up as an added retirement benefit.
I had one client that worked for a old company that had bought a $400,000 cash value life insurance policy on him. He had retired from the company and they let him take the policy with him. The cash value was only around $20,000 which he ended up leaving in the policy to pay for the premiums until it expired.
Are you a business that is need of key man life insurance? Give my office a call and we can give you a free review to see where you might need some coverage.
When you’re looking to get a key man life insurance plan, there are dozens of different factors that you have to consider to ensure that you’re getting the best plan to fit your company’s needs. It can be a long and difficult process, but if you’re one of the main components in a small business, you know the important of getting insurance protection and not paying more for that coverage than you have to.
Obviously, the most important factors are how much it’s going to cost your organization to replace you if anything tragic were to happen. Each business is different and every person’s responsibilities inside of that organization are going to vary.
For example, if you manage all of the finances of your business, you’ll need to hire another person to handle those or outsource the finances. Depending on how long you need to outsource the job, you could need thousands and thousands of dollars of life insurance.
You’ve worked hard to make your small business flourish. It’s your lifeblood. If you started the organization yourself, you want to be able to protect that business, regardless of what happens to you. The best way to ensure that your employees and business partners have the security that they need is to have a key man life insurance policy that will give the resources that they need, if anything tragic were to happen to you.
Additionally, your family probably relies on the business and the income that comes from it. If something were to happen to you, not only would your business suffer, but your family would struggle as well.
Getting Better Key Man Life Insurance Rates
Just like any other type of life insurance policy, there are several things that you can do to ensure that you’re getting the best price for your coverage. You should always compare the rates from dozens of companies before you choose the one that works best for you. You compare the prices of TVs, why wouldn’t you do the same for a key man insurance plan?
Every insurance company is different, and all of them are going to have different medical underwriting requires and guidelines for how they determine their premiums amounts, which means that you could get drastically different rates from two separate companies. The best place to start your search is with the insurance company that you already hold policies with. Just about every insurance company gives discounts for having more than one policy. Getting a bundled discount is a great way to save a couple of extra dollars on your key man insurance policy, and could save you money on your other plans as well.
When you apply for a key man life insurance policy, just about every insurance company is going to require a medical exam. The results of the medical exam are going to play a major role in how much you’re going to pay every month for the policy. It’s important that you or the person being insured is in excellent health. One of the best ways to get lower rates for your key man policy is to cut out the tobacco.
If the person that is getting the plan is a smoker, then you’re going to be paying much higher rates. Anyone that uses tobacco is going to have a higher chance of heart attack and cancer, which means the insurance company is taking a great risk. They are going to offset all of that risk by charging you twice as much for that insurance coverage. If you have any questions about key man life insurance, or about protection your business through insurance, please contact me today. I would be happy to answer any of those questions and ensure that you’re getting the best coverage available. Don’t wait any longer to get the key man life insurance policy that your business and family deserves. You can’t predict the future, which means that you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
This post was featured in the Cavalcade of Risk blog carnival hosted by AMAXX, Workers Comp Resource Center.