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Category: Sales · 5 min read

Timing is Everything: Find the Triggering Life Events

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on October 29, 2019

author profile photo

on October 29, 2019

A family of four sitting in their living room

Picture this: You’re meeting with a prospect and trying to help them with their life insurance. They seem interested and eager. You’re recommending they purchase additional coverage, based on their life stage and current coverage. But they turn you down. They say no, they don’t think they need more life insurance right now. They leave. End scene.  

What went wrong? What made them not want additional coverage after all? I think it boils down to timing. That’s the reason that sometimes your prospects say no, even though they were interested enough to meet with you. That’s the reason that you can’t sell life insurance to some people. It’s all about your timing.  

When is the right time? I believe it’s when there’s a triggering event. There are certain life events that trigger a desire for life insurance (I’ll explain them below). And reaching out to your prospects and clients at that specific moment can lead to a sale.  

Research from McKinsey & Company found that reaching out during a triggering event makes them up to 14 times more likely to buy life insurance.1 That’s why timing is key.  

But what are the triggering events? And how can you know when they happen? Here are some events and ideas to help you nail your timing.  

Research from McKinsey & Company found that reaching out during a triggering event makes them up to 14 times more likely to buy life insurance.1

Event #1: New Baby 

The adjustment to parenthood can be a big one. New parents go from being carefree and worrying just about themselves, to being suddenly responsible for the care and well-being of a tiny, and very helpless, new human. This life change puts into perspective how important the client's life is, as well as how precious the baby's life is. 

Because of that new perspective, new parents (or parents that just added another child to their ranks) may be more willing to purchase life insurance to protect and preserve their child(ren) if the worst were to happen to them. They may also want to buy a life insurance policy for their new child, too. Either way, this is a good opportunity to reach out to them and see if they are interested in purchasing more/new coverage.  


Event #2: Just Married 

Right after a couple says, “I do,” the first thing they think is: “I need some life insurance.” Okay, maybe not. But it SHOULD be the first thing they think. And you can help them. After the wedding high has subsided and married life is in full swing, there’s an opportunity to connect. Much like a new baby, an increase in responsibility appears, since there are now two lives, instead of one. There’s a family, where before there was an individual.  

Marriage makes people rethink a lot of things, and can make them realize how different their lives were by themselves. It can also make people rethink their finances and future, which is where life insurance can play a role. Consider sending them a wedding present (check with your state regulations first on gifting to see if this is allowed), to let them know you’re thinking of them, and then follow up after they’ve settled into their new life.  


Event #3: Death 

It’s time to get serious for a moment. Death may be the most sobering way to make someone realize they need life insurance. Death puts life into perspective, and causes people to rethink their decisions and how they’re living. It doesn’t matter if it’s the death of a family member, spouse, or close friend. Death affects us. It changes us.  

When you find out that one of your prospects or clients lose someone close to them, give them some time. Let them process, grieve, and recover. Then, after some time has passed, reach out and let them know you’re sorry and you’re there. This could be an email, a letter, a text, a phone call, or an in-person conversation. This shows that you care, you’re sorry about their situation, and they mean a lot to you. Then, after that, wait even longer. Let a few weeks or a month pass. Don’t make your attempts to connect seem contrived, but reach out again and see if they would be interested in talking about their coverage.  


Event #4: Health Scare or Illness 

Sometimes it doesn’t take losing a loved one to get a prospect or client to buy life insurance. It may only be a health scare or a serious illness. While these are both still bad and unfortunate life events, it can make people aware that they aren’t as invincible as they may have thought. It can help them realize that they need a back-up plan if something were to happen to them. In other words, it puts their life into focus. While it’s better for your clients to get life insurance when they’re healthy, it can still be a valid reason to reach out to them and see how they’re doing. 

Next, let’s talk about some ideas you can implement to help find out when these events occur.  


Idea #1: Use Social Media 

It’s helpful to know what specific events trigger a renewed interest in life insurance, but it may be even more important to figure out how you can know they’re going through one of these life events. You probably don’t know their life, or what happens to them on a day-to-day basis, so you can’t predict when something will happen.  

But, you can follow them on social media. After you’ve made the initial connection or had the first meeting, ask them to like or friend you on social media, and follow/friend them back. Most people post their big life milestones on social media, so it’s a good way to keep up with your clients and be aware of any significant events.  


Idea #2: Contact Carriers 

Technology is crazy these days, isn’t it? Right now, there are tools and software (like Lexis Nexis Carrier Discovery) out there that can automatically monitor your book of business for significant life events and perform regular reviews on certain policyholders. There’s also active risk management programs that sift through data and analytics to determine if anyone in your book of business is going through a critical life change or experiences the death of a loved one. You can contact the carriers you work with to see if they offer something like this.  


Idea #3: Follow Up Regularly  

Another option to stay in the know with your prospects and clients is to connect with them on a regular basis. Call them, email them, text them, or meet with them. Every time, ask them what’s new or how life has been going. Be genuinely interested in their life and how they’re doing. Ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them. You can provide value to them by sending them financial tips, sharing an interesting article you thought they’d like, or just letting them know that you’re thinking about them and hope they’re doing well. These kinds of follow-ups help create a relationship that goes beyond your services and into a partnership. 

Timing is essential to your life insurance conversations. It can make or break the sale. So, help yourself out and increase your chances of growing your business and client base by reaching out during a triggering life event.



1. Godsall, Jon, Aditi Jain, Kia Javanmardian, and Fritz Nauck. “Unlocking the next horizon of growth in the life insurance industry.” Oct. 2017.  


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Written By

Kelly McCarty

Executive Vice President

Kelly McCarty is the Executive Vice President of Brokers International. Kelly has a passion for educating, retaining, recruiting, and helping IMOs/FMOs build their agencies, and is committed to building and retaining strong relationships with producers, agencies, and carriers. Kelly also serves as a Member of the Brokers International Board of Directors and was designated as the organization's Ambassador in 2016.

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