Having a sound financial plan requires knowing which insurance and investments
products to buy. But there are literally tens of thousands of insurance
policies, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, etc. from which to choose.
That's where a qualified insurance agent or other financial advisor can help.
LIFE is affiliated with the
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the
nation's largest financial services membership association. With almost 70,000
members nationwide, you can find a NAIFA member almost anywhere.
Locate an Insurance Professional or other Financial Advisor in your Area
You can search by name, ZIP code or city and state.
To search by name, you must enter at least the first two letters of the first
and last name. A search of first name "ja" and last name "ed" would display all
names that begin with "ja" and "ed."
To search by zip code, you must enter at least the first three digits of your
zip code. For example, "208" will locate members in all zip codes starting with
"208." A search of "2085" will yield all active members in zip codes that begin
Also, you must include a city name when conducting a city/state search.
Tips for finding the right agent or other financial advisor
It's always advisable to get referrals. So a good way to start your search is by
collecting the names of several agents through recommendations from friends,
family, business associates, or perhaps your lawyer or accountant. If that
doesn't pan out, you can find a complete list of agents in your local phone book
or by contacting your state insurance department. When interviewing an agent,
Is that agent licensed in your state? A licensed insurance
agent in your area can provide information and recommendations on coverage
options and cost-saving measures. Agents may represent one company or several
companies. All insurance companies and agents are regulated by state insurance
departments, and most states require agents to take continuing education courses
to remain licensed. Agents who sell variable products must also be securities
licensed and registered with the NASD as well as have additional state licenses.
Does the agent have any professional designations? If an agent
has one or more professional designations, it means that person has sought
advanced training, passed rigorous exams and is serious about his or her
professional growth and development. Keep in mind, though, that professional
designations are just one factor to consider when choosing an agent. There are
plenty of excellent insurance agents who haven't earned professional
designations, so don't assume that one agent is better than another simply on
the basis of earned designations, which are generally displayed as initials
after his name.
All the same, professional designations do indicate a commitment to
professionalism and higher learning that you may want to factor into your
decision-making process. Designations that life insurance agents may earn
Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and
Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF). Agents who also are
advisors and, as such, offer financial planning may have other designations,
Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC),
Accredited Estate Planner (AEP),
Certified Financial Planner (CFP), or Member of The Registry of Financial
Planning Practitioners. Other designations yet include
Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) and Fellow Life Management Institute
Is the agent a member of a professional association? Ask
whether the agent is a member of a professional association. Membership in
professional groups is often a sign that the agent is actively involved in
developing his or her skills and staying on top of the latest industry trends
and developments. The largest association for agents is the
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA).
The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) represents an elite group of highly
successful insurance producers. Members of the
Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU) specialize in helping
clients with complex insurance planning needs.
Initials after a name can only go so far. Make sure your agent has the
experience and knowledge necessary to see the big picture. A good agent will
take the time to understand your objectives, help you construct a financial game
plan, and then work with you to find the right insurance products for your