Sales Ideas

Hancock Talks

Doing a Policy Review is More Important than Ever

Karin Egan, Vice President of Sales Enablement and Marty Schafer, Vice President of National Accounts, sit down to discuss policy review and why it’s so important for both you and your clients. Featured on the media page on, the podcast highlights:

  • The value of reconnecting with clients and reviewing their existing coverage
  • Strategies and steps for conducting a policy review
  • Recent product innovations that can benefit clients today
  • Analyzing an existing policy and a sample case study of when needs change
  • Marketing tools and materials to help guide you through the review process

Subscribe to Hancock Talks today on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts or wherever you download podcasts!

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For Agent Use Only. This material may not be used with the public. Insurance products are issued by: John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), Boston, MA 02116 (not licensed in New York) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York, Valhalla, NY 10595. MLINY062420235


Competitive Comparison of Term Life Insurance with Living Benefits

Living Benefit Riders on term products are not all the same. From the number of benefit triggers to qualifying illnesses, there are differences that you should consider on which term product to offer.

Linked below is a comparison of the carriers who offer this rider on their term products. Download it and keep it handy when determining which product will best serve your clients needs. To just look at cost, may deprive your clients of valuable riders that could add additional peace of mind to their coverage.

Download the Competitive Comparison here.

AppAssist and other E-App Programs


Agents more and more are discovering the ease and simplicity of the Interview type of applications for life insurance.  With that increase in use, we have seen some issues come up frequently that can slow or stop the process.  AppAssist is currently our most popular, but there are others and all of them require that agents still do good field underwriting to make the process for the right cases successful.  Attached is a flyer that explains the Do’s and Don’ts of using these programs.

If you haven’t taken advantage of this opportunity for your simple term cases, but it is something you are interested in doing, please send an e-mail to Stephanie Georgiev at,  who can assist you.  We have worked with our carriers to streamline this process as much as possible.  Take advantage of this technology to increase your insurance sales!

You Can Protect Against Two Client Risks

Did you know that only 39% of Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency expense? * Life insurance can do more than provide a death benefit.  It can also ease a risk that clients are likely to face while they’re still alive.  Consider Protective Advantage Choice SM  UL.  For more details on this product and concept, click here.

*Martin, E. (2018, January 18). Retrieved from


Mandatory Annuity Training Update

All annuity products now have specific product training, but did you know that each state has their own requirements to sell these products? If you would like to know what requirements are in effect for your state, click here for a complete list. If you are planning on selling an annuity, be sure and check what training is required BEFORE taking an application. If you don’t, you will have to start over which can be a real problem especially if you are ready to submit with case. Just ask me how I know….

Latest News

Let’s Get the Word Out

Life Insurance Awareness Month

A time to share the importance of being protected with clients and prospects.

I can’t afford it. It’s too complicated. I don’t need it. Sound familiar?

This September, for Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM), Legal & General America has teamed up with Life Happens to give you access to the latest marketing materials to help educate your clients on the importance of protecting their loved ones. Because with everything going on in the world, it’s clear that the time for life insurance is now.

LIAM Resources

Discover new materials on our refreshed LIAM resources website and share with agents to empower them to spread the word this September.
LIAM Resources


Reg 187As of August 1, 2019, all NY agents who sell annuities will need to complete general annuity training prior to selling any annuities in NY. This training is IN ADDITION to the already required company specific training.

While multiple carriers have sent out information regarding this, we have found that the instructions from Ameritas were the most complete and understandable. Please click here for those instructions

This course is lengthy and you will need to set aside time to do it. It must be done by the end of the month or before you are able to discuss or sell annuities in NY. In addition, you will be able to get 5 CE credits toward your license renewal. Andrea Graham from our office is a monitor and you can contact her at or 585-273-8530 ext 3012 to arrange this.

If you sell any annuities in your practice, please don’t delay. If you have any questions, you can contact me directly at or give me a call at 585-273-8530 ext 3003. Don’t be left out. Get your training done today!

Informal Care Giving and Home Health Care

The white paper linked below addresses the growing crisis of who will care for our aging population. Informal caregivers provide the majority of care in the home to those who need the assistance. Most traditional long term care products require certified workers to provide care in order to use their benefits.

Nationwide has a great solution to this need, and this paper goes into the reasons to consider it.

Click here to read this important information.

Changes to Ameritas’ DI Products

Ameritas has made several changes to their DInamic Foundation products.  Among the changes are improved occupation classes for CPAs, and new occupations to be included in their Preferred Occupations Premium Program.  They are discontinuing writing policies for all postal service and railroad workers effective June 25, 2018.  They have also loosened guidelines on cigar smokers who test negative for nicotine at the time of application.

For all the details on these changes, click here for their full announcement.

Social Security Claiming as part of Retirement Planning

Our industry abounds in articles about retirement planning – how to position assets, what products to use, and risks to a successful retirement. Today we will look at Social Security benefits and how to advise your clients on when to claim.

When to start benefits for both single and married clients can affect the overall success of a plan. CSocial Security Emblemlaiming social security becomes even more critical when there are minimal assets to work with. A recent paper published by NY Life addresses some of these issues. Don’t leave your clients’ decision to chance. Include this conversation before retirement age. If you would like to read the white paper, click here. Feel free to give me a call at 585-273-8530 ext 3003, or send me an email at for further information.

Consider a Qualified LTC Services Rider for Wealth Transfer

Nationwide’s Indemnity LTC rider may be the answer for some of your clients.  When you open the conversation, you can talk about health care planning or wealth transfer.  There are many ways to address this issue.  Consider Nationwide’s product and click here for details on one of the more creative solutions available.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Upstate Special Risk has been a vital part of my marketing plan for almost a decade. With imagination, insight and an appreciation for the importance of detail, the risk management experts at Upstate have been instrumental in my firm’s growth. Embracing a model of holistic planning has greatly benefited my clients, and has led to my company’s growth through an increase in referrals and introductions. While I can’t be an expert in every aspect of wealth management and planning, my partnership with Upstate Special Risk can bridge that gap and move my clients forward in their pursuit of financial security!

Linda Black, Leesburg, VA

Linda Black, Leesburg, VA


Liz Casper and her assistant Stephanie recently helped me with a life case and their efforts were outstanding. I’d met with a new client and together we completed a review of his family’s investment and insurance accounts. Together we decided on doing a 1035 exchange on his life contract to more closely align with his short and long term needs. I won’t get into all the messy details, but suffice it to say we ended up in quite a pickle. After a drawn out application and issue period it appeared that the old policy was irrevocably canceled and the new policy was about to be issued without the design and features we had initially intended. NO ONE was happy! There was a lot of discussion and Liz ended up expertly pleading our case to the new company. The outcome ended up better than our original plan design as the client was able to omit his 1st year premium. This helped tackle a near term cash flow emergency which had cropped up during the underwriting process. A lot of FMO’s might very well have thrown in the towel, and I would have ended up with egg on my face, but Liz and Stephanie didn’t quit. Three cheers for Upstate Special Risk for both their knowledge and determination!

Scott A Curtis

Scott A Curtis

NEA Retirement Benefits Specialist

Ever since I have made the move to Upstate our Life and Disability production has quadrupled. We aren’t doing anything different but they are. Instant on line term quotes. Rock solid advice and markets for the harder to place risk. Superior support and knowledge. All of this allows me and my staff to feel 100% confident asking our clients for the business knowing that we will get great rates, fast turn around and phenomenal support. Thank you Andy and all the team at Upstate.

Steve Desino

Steve Desino

President, Pinnacle Insurance Agency

Our firm has partnered with Upstate Special Risk for the past several years to fulfill our clients’ insurance needs. Our experience has been positive in every way. Each individual with whom we have had contact has been professional, caring and has provided prompt service. We are kept informed as to the status of each case and receive phone calls or emails with updates. We could not be more impressed with the attention we are given. We highly recommend Upstate Special Risk for all of your insurance needs.

Judy Janesh

Judy Janesh


Upstate Special Risk Services offers prompt, friendly, professional services for my life insurance clients. I especially appreciate the regular follow ups to let me know how the applications are progressing. I have done business with USRS for years and am very happy with the services they offer to my agency and my clients.

Scott Greene

Scott Greene


The purpose of this letter is to communicate my sincere appreciation for the extra effort put forth by Upstate Special Risk. I have been dealing with Upstate for over 20 years and it has been my experience that when a company, like Upstate provides quality service of the highest caliber, they tend to be the competing organization I seek to place my business. As all the people involved are true assets to the organization, I commend Andy Kalinowski for the value these special individuals provide to my Agency. Based on the service I’ve received from Upstate Special Risk, I will not hesitate to recommend your organization to all of my business associates.

Andrew J Fazio

Andrew J Fazio

President, Fazio Insurance Agency

I have worked with LifeMark/Upstate Special Risk Services for almost 5 years. The support has been amazing since our first meeting. The help and guidance of the folks at home office is second to none! They continuously help me grow my business and my knowledge through phone conversations and email as well as GFS and Firm Element trainings. Their approach as fiduciaries and trusted advisors is refreshing and nothing short of exemplary. I am looking forward to our growth together over the next several years.

Ronald J. Drake

Ronald J. Drake

Registered Representative