As a life insurance agent, there’s an unavoidable truth that we all must face – at one point or another our clients pass away and we’ll be responsible for handling the death claim. It’s a tough part of the job, but there are things you can do to make it a little easier.

Typically, you’ll find out that a claim needs to be filed when a beneficiary calls you and gives you the news. Your carriers will have company-specific claim forms to fill out when the time comes. Our advice is to keep it professional. They’ve already got condolences coming in left and right, and it’s a hard time for them already. Don’t force them to run through the details with you over the phone – send them the claim form along with instructions, and make yourself available for any questions or concerns they have.

When done properly, the claims process may feel impersonal – but that’s the way to do it. Follow up again later with the beneficiary to make sure the benefit has been received, and of course make sure they’re aware that you’re available to assist in planning the use of the benefit. Check out our post on life insurance and income replacement for more insight on how crucial death benefit planning can be.

The bottom line is professionalism – express your condolences, send the information, and get out of the way. Save the followups and in-depth conversations for the confirmation of the benefit – the initial call just isn’t the time. And if you’re nervous about filing your first death claim, give us a call – we’ll be happy to help you get comfortable.