Tips for Choosing the Right Insurance and Financial Advisor
Collect the names of several advisors through recommendations from friends, family, business associates, and other sources. A list of advisors can also be found in your local phone book or by contacting your state’s insurance department. When it comes to insurance, a licensed insurance advisor in your area can provide information and advice on coverage options and cost-saving measures. Advisors may represent one company or several companies. All insurance companies and insurance advisors are regulated by state insurance departments. Keep in mind that advisors who sell variable products must be registered with the National Association of Securities Dealers and have additional state licenses.
When choosing an advisor, you should:
1. Check whether the advisor is a full-time and experienced advisor or one who sells insurance as a sideline.
2. Determine if your advisor has any professional designations.
- In addition to the courses most states require agents to take to remain licensed, many advisors take a series of courses to receive professional designations that you’ll find next to their name. Insurance advisor designations may include Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF).
- Advisors who also are financial planners may have other designations, such as, Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Accredited Estate Planner (AEP), or Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Other designations include Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) and Fellow Life Management Institute Program (FLMI).
3. Ask whether the advisor is a member of a professional association.
- NAIFA is the largest financial services membership association and working with one of our members means that your advisor adheres to our strict code of ethics.
4. Most importantly, talk with the advisor to determine compatibility.
- Remember, you will be placing a great deal of trust in this person’s advice. There are many licensed professionals, so talk to several if necessary to make sure you’ve picked the right one.
Helpful insurance and financial planning websites:
- Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE): www.lifehappens.org
- Health Insurance Association of America: www.hiaa.org/consumer/
- American Council of Life Insurers: www.acli.com/ACLI/Industry+Products/
- Insurance Information Institute: www.iii.org
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA): www.finra.org
- Investopedia.com: http://www.investopedia.com/university/buildingblocks.asp
- Motleyfool.com: http://www.fool.com/school/basics/investingbasics.htm
- Smartmoney.com: http://university.smartmoney.com/Departments/Investing101/
- Find and Compare Nursing Homes: www.medicare.gov/NHCompare
- National Institute of Aging: www.nia.nih.gov
- Social Security Administration: www.ssa.gov
Other helpful sites:
- Insurance and Investment Terms Glossary: www.naifa.org/consumer/glossary.cfm