photo: Zahed Ahmad

Q&A: The Facts of AMA Life Insurance

By AMA Staff

When Kris Hird began his career, he wanted to be an investment planner. He got a job doing investment work for an insurance company—and quickly realized it was that business he liked most. Eventually he came to AMA Insurance, where he spent 10 years as an insurance advisor, and the past five as manager of life and living benefits.

What do you like about the insurance business?
I like being able to assist people when they have a problem, whether it’s a death or a disability or a critical illness. And I like helping ensure they’re prepared should those circumstances arise, by educating them about the different types of insurance and providing information so that they can decide what’s best.

As a manager, do you still work with clients?
I still help my existing clients from the years before I became a manager. Like all our advisors, I handle my clients’ claims directly. If someone passes away, I’ll meet with the beneficiary to personally go through everything. The same goes for critical illness or disability policyholders. Most people want to have a direct relationship with their insurance advisor.

Why should younger Albertans consider life insurance?
You’re generally healthier when you’re younger, which makes it easier to qualify for coverage—and less expensive. However, your debt load is also typically greater, especially if you have a mortgage. If you were to pass away prematurely, the impact of the loss of income to your spouse or children would be quite large over time, so you’d want to have a higher amount of insurance to ensure they’re cared for.

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And for older folks, how do you help them find the best fit in a policy?
I always ask: What are the reasons you’re buying life insurance? You might only want a short-term policy for covering a mortgage or other debt. But if you’re thinking about final expenses and legacy planning, then you’d want a policy that doesn’t expire. Another consideration is whether your premium is going to be manageable once you’re on a fixed income.

How do you handle life insurance claims with empathy?
First I offer condolences and assure them that we’re going to look after them. Then I offer to meet on their schedule, but quickly—claimants often have immediate financial needs, such as funeral costs. For many people, making an insurance claim is the last thing they want to think about, but also one of the first things they should take care of.

Why AMA Insurance?
AMA Insurance is a broker for six insurance companies, but we don’t have contracts saying that we have to sell a certain number of policies for them. While our advisors are paid commission, they also get a salary; they’re not going to pressure you into buying a policy that doesn’t fit your needs. And because they work for AMA Insurance, you can trust that they have your best interests at heart.

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