A few years ago, I was asked to speak at a meeting of several hundred insurance agents about a life insurance claim of one of my clients, also one of my friends. Because this is National Women’s History Month it seems appropriate to retell the story.
My client was the typical family, husband, wife, an older teenager off to college, and three other children ages 9, 6, and 3. The family owned a small contracting company with 3 employees. The husband would head off to work before 6:00 in the morning and return after 6:00 in the evening. The wife was the office manager for the company, handling appointments, material ordering, and the bookkeeping. She also managed the household, paying the bills, fixing the meals, keeping the house clean, and providing transportation for the children, just to name a few.
The family had a daily routine. After the husband left for work, the wife would get the kids ready for school and on the bus. The younger child went to daycare while the wife worked as office manager. Every day the husband would call home to check on things around 9:00am. One day she did not answer the phone. After many attempts to reach her, he hurried home. He found her lying on the bed with their 3 year old playing next to her. She had passed away with no known illness. It was later found out she died because of a blood clot.
During our meetings, the wife insisted on two things: 1) There needs be enough life insurance coverage on the husband. We had a plan for this. 2) Against her husband’s objections, she insisted there be as much life insurance coverage on her because she knew how valuable it would be to her family! We also had a plan for this.
A couple months after her death, I was visiting with the husband at his office. His new office manager told me a story about the children. The oldest was a freshman in college and did not want to return to school. She felt she needed to stay home and help, but the father insisted she continue her studies. It was now late spring and the 9 year old was concerned for summer. Every day the prior summer, after working at the office, the mother would load everyone in the car to go to the community pool. The child was worried about who was going to take him to the pool, or if he would even be able to go. The 6 year old cried with anger every night, hitting the father, and pleading with him to bring his Mommy back. One day the 3 year old asked the new office manager if she would be his new Mommy now since his Mommy had died.
The wife had been right! The family needed life insurance on her, maybe even a higher amount than the father, but at the minimum, an equal amount. From that summer on, the father was able to be home until the children went to school and be at the house when they got home. He hired another person to help with the company. He took the kids to the pool as often as he could while the family grieved. Because of the life insurance program on the wife, there were funds that enabled the father to change his work routine, and allowed him to be there for his children when they needed him most.