David E. Appel is Managing Partner at Appel Insurance Advisors, LLC, a company that helps individual, family, and corporate clients worldwide obtain “People InsuranceTM”. For over 30 years, David has maintained a successful and service-oriented practice that focuses on generation-to-generation wealth transfer. He is the author of Buy Your Tomorrows Today, a book that outlines the secrets to establishing a life insurance portfolio. David is a former President of NAIFA Boston and serves as a risk advisor for the Insurance Fiduciary Network, a fiduciary dedicated to providing advice that serves clients’ best interests.
David joins us today to discuss insurance risk management and his philosophy on assessing and meeting insurance needs. He recounts how he started his career in the insurance industry and describes how Appel Insurance Advisors has grown and changed over the years. He also highlights what financial advisors need to know when dealing with risk management and life insurance products and explains why many people stop themselves from accomplishing what they want in life.
“Too many of us stop and don’t fulfill what we want to just because we think we need to do it 100% perfect. We just need to get 80% there, and that’s already more than what most people do.” - David Appel
This week on The Model FA Podcast:
● How David got started in the insurance industry
● How Appel Insurance Advisors has evolved over the years
● Creating centers of influence and building relationships as an insurance professional
● David’s experience working with Northwestern Mutual
● Analyzing and addressing insurance needs and David’s thoughts on advisors who come up with smaller death benefit values
● David’s philosophy on considering total death benefit needs and including group insurance in planning
● Why people may consider investing in insurance products despite being young and healthy
● The Insurance Fiduciary Network and how it’s advocating for clients and financial advisors
● Book: The 80% Approach by Dan Sullivan
Our Favorite Quotes:
● “By not putting yourself out there until you’re great, you end up not doing anything.” - David DeCelle
● “Progress happens before perfection.” - David DeCelle
● “Many RIAs miss out on risk management because they don’t have the confidence or background in it.” - David Appel
Connect with David Appel:
● Book: Buy Your Tomorrows Today
● Email: [email protected]
About the Model FA Podcast
The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams.
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President of Model FA, David DeCelle
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David Appel 00:07
You know, transferring a group policy out of a group claims, we sell group insurance to companies to, you know, it's really expensive and not a great way to do things. But of course, if somebody is not insurable or they're not, you know, they can't get their own policies anymore, that might be the only option or the only game in town, which is, you know, become expensive. I do look at it as like an extra bonus to for the most part, I mean, what I typically do when I do my analysis, I include that group insurance or what they have at work that one times two times five times salary, but then I'll show them, hey, for this $500,000 policy you have at work to add that to your plan as an extra $400 a year, whatever it may be, I think we should do that. So if you end up leaving your job, and you leave that behind, you know, we have this locked in at your current age and your current health. And so it is similar to what you described. I mean, I do kind of look at that as a bonus above and beyond
David DeCelle 00:55
that welcome model FAS, David cell here, president of model FA and the host of the model FA podcast appreciate in advance all your time and attention and listening to today's episode. And I think today's topic is going to resonate with a lot of you as well as hopefully clarify a certain segment of planning and the risk management side of things. And we got to David's here today, you know, joining so forgive the redundancy in our names, but David appel is a managing partner at appel insurance advisors, LLC, a 1992, graduate of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. David concentrates his practice with a consultative service oriented approach to personal and business insurance planning. His primary focus is in Generation to Generation wealth transfer goals, as well as helping clients protect their families and businesses from the financial pitfalls of death, disability and the drain of long term care expenses. David has maintained a successful life insurance, a focus practice for over 29 years. And I do of course, want to give a special shout out to how David and I even got connected in the first place. So Barry Goldwater that had reached out to me on LinkedIn, had some phone calls, and then introduced me over to David as a guest. So Barry, if you're listening to this, thank you for that introduction. And this podcast is a result of your networking and your outreach. And without you, this episode wouldn't have happened. So with that, David, officially, welcome to the show.
David Appel 02:34
Thank you very much, David, appreciate being here, of course.
David DeCelle 02:37
So I guess the way I like to start these episodes is just to help set the stage and give a sense as to your background beyond your bio that I just read. So I guess my first question is, how did you get started in the industry in the first place?
David Appel 02:52
That's a great question. And it's a pretty simple answer, because it was somewhat cut and dry. But I'd always been an entrepreneur through high school. And then in college, I had typed tennis and had a tennis program when I was in high school and in college, I had a t shirt business for the fraternities and sororities at Syracuse, and we sold a lot of paraphernalia to the Greek houses there. So I always kind of had a, you know, an urge to do things on my own. And then he got solidified my junior year of college when my dad's company that he had worked for which many of you would probably know or some of you may be too young or the older people would know clinco industries that toy company that made Cabbage Patch dolls and clique division went bankrupt my junior year at college after he had been working there for 25 years so I have kind of seen my dad but you know effort in for over 20 years to accompany ended up having a go bankrupt last three quarters of his retirement said, you know, I really want to play something on my own and go into business for myself and the insurance industry kind of fell in my lap through different means I graduated said I'm going to try it. And you know, lo and behold, here we are almost 30 years later and you know, made it work. And you known been self employed basically my entire life.
David DeCelle 03:56
Love it. So how is your business? How has it evolved? Over time? Do you typically work with the end client exclusively? Do you partner up with advisors as that risk management specialist and kind of meet with that and client as well? Like, how did it kick off initially? And what's the structure like now
David Appel 04:17
it started, you know, pretty much I was trying to do everything and be a jack of all trades, I realized relatively quickly that I also didn't want to be a card carrying member of one particular insurance company. And I saw the value early on from just, you know, talking to people in the industry and mentors and really successful people that you really needed to be able to bring a lot of products and a lot of companies a lot of different and underwriting different things to the table if you really wanted to be successful. So I went out on my own, you know, pretty early, you know, away from the kind of like, you know, the mainstream insurance companies at that time. And then I also realized early on, I would say probably within five years of starting the business to say you know what, I'm really not excited about the investment side of the business. I really have a passion, you know, I feel it's really important to be really good at what I do and focus on the protection side. And I started doing that. And I would say, David, probably, you know, 10 years into my business where I started realizing that I was doing a really good job for other professional advisors and decided to focus on that and started doing what I call a roadshow is going into investment advisory firms, financial planning firms, estate planning, law firms, CPA firms, and doing little roadshows of what's going on in the insurance marketplace today, what are your clients need to think about sponsoring breakfast or lunch and just, you know, saying, hey, I want to be your insurance specialist, I want to be your go to guy that you can trust that you can go to and you're going to get, you know, solid advice. And if what people have are good, we're going to tell you that and if it needs to be tweaked or adjusted, we're going to tell you that and if it's really not good and terrible, and needs to be replaced, we're going to tell you that too. So you know, it's evolved over time. But I would say now, probably close to 85 to 90% of our business comes in through other professional advisors, and we're part of that we're part of it, you know, the team around that client in our job is to do that risk management piece.
David DeCelle 06:07
Now, there's some things in there that you just mentioned, kind of want to hit on. So essentially, what you've done is you've created a number of different essentially C allies, for yourself with advisors, as opposed to having to go out and find all these end clients, you know, on your own, and advisors build up their own COI networks via with CPAs, attorneys, etc. And there's some principles within building those relationships. And also there's to a certain degree, I would say, because I come from, you know, a financial planning slash, really an insurance background with my time at Northwestern, and there can be a certain stigma that is associated with insurance professionals. So I guess my question becomes, how were you able to get these advisors to say, hey, this isn't just a, you know, your typical slick insurance guy, which can be the stigma out there? And how did you go about building relationships with these folks to where they've actually sent your business help their clients out through working with you? Because I'd imagine, you know, building CLI is is tough enough. Building CLI is when you're the insurance guy, you know, maybe even more difficult. So what were some of the relationship building things that you did to get them to, like, get them to trust you?
David Appel 07:24
Yeah, I mean, I think one of the differentiating factors is that my firm and myself are licensed insurance advisors to and that allows us to charge fees if we choose to. And so you know, it is one differentiating piece that I can talk about. And I guess, you know, one of the things that really helped within the firms that I worked with, whether they're our IAS or the estate planning law firms were their trustees on trust, that whole life insurance policies is offered to do policy reviews and audits on their clients, existing policies, you know, in that weather, and then depending on the, you know, the relationship that I'm building, you know, in the complexity of the policy and the ownership structure, you know, it would depend on whether I would do that gratis or if I would charge a nominal fee to be able to do that. But it kind of set me apart a little bit, knowing that they could refer me in and be just a fee advisor and say, Hey, I'm going to charge $1,000 or $1,500, to do this review, or $5,000. To do this review, I remember one of my really large case, I got out of Washington, DC I got brought in by the estate planning attorney, you know, it was a really complex case, it was private placement life insurance in Alaska LLCs. With, you know, Lehman brother bond funds and things that had blown up and it was going to be a complicated situation, I said, Listen, this is probably going to be at least a 10 to $15,000 fee, and the client was fine with that. And when we got done with the whole analysis, and I said, Listen, one of these policies, we can save, we can protect this, we can figure out how to make this work, the other policy is going to blow up, and it's just not going to work. And here are some alternatives. He said, I want you to be you know, my advisor and my insurance agent on that. So I had to switch hats, which I do sometimes, and I became the broker, and I waived the fee that I was going to charge him from an advisor fee, because I knew I was gonna get compensated through commission on the insurance products, you know, the clients were fine with that, I think when you can, you know, explain to people from an advisor status and kind of, you know, in or helping them, you know, you can do that. And I think, you know, not to bash Northwestern or New York Life or MassMutual different things, but sometimes when you're an agent for a particular company, you know, the solution always ends up being very similar or the same. And one of the things I think the advisors have said to me in the past, like, Oh, we've worked with somebody from Northwestern, we work with somebody from other companies and always seems like the solutions Northwestern or its New York Life. He's like, we've worked with you now on five different clients. And every time it's different insurance companies and different things. I'm like, yes, he's I'm advocating for the client, you know, depending on their health background, depending on their applications, depending on what they're doing. You know, not all companies are created equal. And you have to really shop those different things. And you ask how do you win them over? I think one of the things also is that you know, when you can go back to the client says absolutely nothing wrong with this policy that you bought, you know, and you don't come up with some reason why it needs to be replaced or why you need to make more compensation that goes a long way. have advisors and with clients
David DeCelle 10:01
love it. So, you know, we've been bringing up some of the other companies, and I guess just to help set the stage, and a lot of our listeners know, my background from prior episodes, but I came from Northwestern, and I was there for seven years. And through Northwestern, you know, they taught us from an insurance perspective specifically, you know, to always make sure that they have the proper coverage, but oftentimes, whether or not you know, was a failure, I guess, is up to up for debate. But that was like, you know, permanent, permanent permanent or whole life, whole life whole life. And, you know, trying to squeeze that into a financial plan almost every single time. And it's no secret that from a commission standpoint, you're gonna make more off of a larger premium, of course, than you are with just term insurance. And maybe in some scenarios, that was, you know, the right thing to do, and maybe in some scenarios, again, up for debate, and then when I started working in the independent space, and consulting advisors, I realized that they kind of fit one of two main categories. One category is they didn't really pay much attention to insurance really, at all, and at least not what I thought they should, based on my training at Northwestern making sure that, you know, they have the proper coverages, and they are sometimes reluctant to have those difficult conversations and push hard because they weren't necessarily compensated on that. So there is no incentive, essentially, and the world runs on incentives, you know, for them to push hard. And then the other camp, do pay just get term and just, you know, take care of that need. And I think that if you look at those stark differences, my belief is that there's some sort of middle ground in there and what that middle ground is, I'd like to know. So I guess, philosophically to start, how do you think about with life insurance? Specifically? How do you think about addressing that insurance need? And then how do you come up with whether it should be term or permanent or a blend of two will under both?
David Appel 12:01
Oh, that's a really good point, Dave. And there's not a clear cut answer on that. But I think, you know, I've come from the camp that I specialize in risk management, I specialize, I need to make sure that if I'm working with a business, or if I'm working with a couple or a single person, single parents, whatever it looks like, the scenario is that that individual dies, the people who are left behind, whether it's employees, whether it's children, whether it's a spouse, they need to make sure that that check that's getting delivered is the right amount. So the first thing for me with whatever planning we're doing through our needs analysis, through our planning software, is that, you know, I have deep conversations with these clients about, you know, what do they want to have happen, I mean, typically, you're dealing with a young emerging wealth couple, they want to know that their kids can go to college, whether they're here or not, and they want to know their spouse is going to be able to continue at least living the same lifestyle that they're living. So the most important thing is, what's that amount of capital, they need to make that all happen. And if that's $2 million, or $3 million, or $5 million, then you know, we need to put a term insurance policy in place a large block a term that's locked in for 1520 2530 years, whatever the number is, you know, depending on their circumstance to make sure that that check gets delivered. That's first and foremost, whether permanent insurance comes into play. Again, for me, you know, permanent insurance is there, when you die. The type of clients I typically deal with, which are entrepreneurs, which are people who own a lot of real estate, a lot of bricks and mortars, they own small privately held businesses that are not easily liquefiable their private equity people, their venture capital people, they're people that, you know, they're investing their money elsewhere, they might have a need for permanent insurance to depending on the overall scenario, you know, and whether a whole life's the right but I mean, have I used whole life? Yes. Is that the be all and adults everything? No, it needs it's the right product for the right person for the right place in the right particular thing, right place in time, other permanent insurance, you get for three times pick a million dollar whole life policy for a 40 year old, we might build to get a $3 million universal life that's fully guaranteed for life, you know, that $3 million is three times a death benefit for the same premium, it's not going to build that equity and cash value that a whole life does. But it's going to be guaranteed to their 110, you know, and it's going to be there. So it really depends on the scenario. But to back up, the most important thing is if I need to come in here and deliver a check, what's that right amount, and if all that can be afforded by those people is term insurance, and that's what gets placed, you know, and that's the most important thing. So I think there's a place in time for everything in it depends on what people are doing that young emerging wealth couple who's going through life, building the careers buying houses, taking on debt, having children, they need large blocks that term insurance no matter what whether we factor in some permanent insurance into their depends on their overall scenario, or they're maxing out their 401 K's. Are they saving in other places? Are they doing other investments, you know, and they're doing all those things? And yeah, maybe some permanent insurance with a long term care rider makes sense. If not, you know, they need to be covered. You're now then you switch over and you'd have that couple that's already kind of through that bell curve, and they're at the top of life, and their kids are in college or almost through college. And they have parents that are, you know, in assisted living and nursing homes, and they're kind of that sandwich generation, and they're starting looking with some people, their life insurance needs could dissipate, they could start going down at that point. But for others, if they have special needs children, if they have to worry about state and federal estate taxes, if they have to worry about, you know, creating a legacy for that next generation, if they have other family members who are relying on them for income, they need some form of permanent insurance that's gonna go on forever, it can't disappear, like a term policy. So you know, it really comes down to that, you know, data gathering. And then when asking questions like just a total aside, like last week, I was talking to a guy, we went through this whole thing. And then I said to him, I go, Look, let me ask you something. Are there any other family members that are relying on you, besides your immediate family, but also it comes out that he sends his mother $7,500 a month, he pays for his brother's two kids private school education? And like I said, Okay, wait a minute timeout, we need to factor all if you want that to continue upon your death, we need to factor that in that's above and beyond your immediate family. So it's asking those questions that are really important,
David DeCelle 16:08
like how you've worded that where you don't come in and say, Hey, here's what you need. It's more of a discovery process around? Well, this is your choice, like, what is it? If you did not show up at home? Like what is it that you'd want to accomplish? Now, I don't know if it's just been with the folks that I've worked with or not, and maybe it's, again, I'm gonna go back to my Northwestern training, perhaps, you know, we were trained in such a way to, you know, find a larger death benefit than what was needed, although I don't think that's the case. But I find that a lot of folks that I work with a lot of advisors, they come up with a much smaller death benefit need than what I think I would have came up with, as I went through that, do you find that to be the case where an advisor has like a making this number up, you know, a $750,000, Death Benefit number in their mind? And you're like, Yeah, this is supposed to be like 2 million based on my conversation with that, like, do you find that to be the case?
David Appel 17:05
Yes, absolutely. For whatever reason, there's a lot of, you know, I mean, a people are underinsured to begin with, and be, you know, people don't really think about if they think, Oh, I gotta generate 50 grand a year, that's a million bucks at 5%. You know, okay, that's great. But if you put in a 3% inflation into that, 5%, you need more than a million at that 50 grand is not going to be worth 50, grand, 10 years from now, you need to continue to grow that at a 3% inflation
David DeCelle 17:28
got to change that inflation number to seven and a half percent. Right.
David Appel 17:32
I do use a 7% inflation, you know, when I project on college education and stuff, because it has been between seven and 10. You know, and but you do, yeah, you listen, even when I send people my data gathering form, and I asked them, you know, net, spendable amount of money that family needs, like the monthly nut outside of schooling and education, you know, some of the numbers that I could get put down. I mean, some people are really realistic, and I'm seeing the 15 20,000 30,000 a month, and then I see someone that you know, that's making $500,000. And they write down three grants, like Yeah, no, I mean, you're paying three grand for your dry cleaning your cell phone bills, your, you know, your cable, I mean, like, people just have no clue, you know, for the most part with their budgets and what they're doing. But yeah, so I mean, you know, and that's one of the things that drives me nuts when I go in, and I get brought into a situation, you know, where there's already some insurance in place, which again, that can happen frequently. And I need to assess those policies, and whether we're keeping them and we're going to build upon them, we're going to replace them or tweak them, you know, most of the time, and especially if they were put in by you know, an agent of an insurance company, you know, it's a smaller permanent policy that was just not appropriate, you know,
Patrick Brewer 18:38
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David DeCelle 19:28
Have you take into consideration and I keep going back to this because I want to provide context. So short like for me when I was in the business when I was coming up with that death benefit need, quite frankly, whatever they had through work, whether it was you know, one times their salary two times, five times whatever it was, we were taught to not necessarily take that into consideration for the purposes of the likelihood that they're going to be there for the rest of their life these days. Is are small. And more often than not, you can't take those policies with you. Or if you do, you have to go through underwriting at that time to convert it to an individual policy outside the group plan. And therefore, we want to make sure that the proper amount of coverage was in place in individual policy, and that what you had to work was just icing on the cake, it was a de minimis amount that it cost you out of your paycheck, if not given to you as a part of your employee benefits. How do you think through their total death benefit need? And perhaps what they have through work? Like? What's your philosophy on including that or not?
David Appel 20:36
Actually, David, it's pretty similar to that. So give Northwestern a little bit of credit on that, but not totally, I don't think off. I mean, when I do my needs analysis, I do include the group insurance, you know, as far as available income producing assets to take off from the need, like, you know, when I do my analysis, I'm doing my income analysis of what the need for income, I'm projecting a college education, and then, you know, I'm looking at what the total need is, and then subtracting out those available income producing assets, which is any existing insurance, whether it's personal and or group, you're absolutely right. I mean, you know, transferring a group policy out of a group claims, we sell group insurance to companies to, you know, it's really expensive, and not a great way to do things. But of course, if somebody's not insurable, or they're not, you know, they can't get their own policies anymore, that might be the only option or the only game in town, which is, you know, become expensive, I do look at it as like an extra bonus to for the most part, I mean, what I typically do is, when I do my analysis, I include that group insurance, or what they have at work that one times two times five times salary, but then I'll show them, hey, for this $500,000 policy, you have at work to add that to your plan as an extra $400 a year, or whatever it may be, I think we should do that. So if you end up leaving your job, and you leave that behind, you know, we have this locked in at your current age and your current health. And so it is similar to what you described. I mean, I do kind of look at that as a bonus above and beyond. And I always tell people listen, you know, at the end of the day, if there's a beneficiary, and there's an extra $300,000 coming in, no one's going to complain about it. And usually the cost differential is pretty de minimis. And if they're a young couple in their 30s, or 40s, and every million dollars a 20 year term is 400 bucks a year, it's, you know, it's not a big stretch on their, you know, their budget, or whatever it may be to make sure it's all there, you know, I wrote a book called buyer tomorrow's today. And, you know, I'm a big fan of, you know, especially with what happened to me 16 years ago, when I became uninsurable for three years and had cancer, you know, I'm a big fan of while you're young, while you're healthy by those blocks of Term insurance and protect your insurability.
David DeCelle 22:31
It's interesting that you say that, because like, my family and friends think I'm crazy for you know, my current stage in life, you know, not being married, but with my insurance background at Northwestern, I got like five and a half million bucks of insurance. And they're like, Well, why do you have that and say, I want to make sure that my parents can retire, whether I'm dead or alive, I wanna make sure that my cousin because I'm an only child, so no brothers and sisters, but my cousins have some seed capital for their lives as well, because I plan to do that while I'm alive. And assuming that I continue to live, it's like, Hey, I'm gonna need that amount, anyways, and the cost is de minimis. And it's a blend of Term and Permanent. It's funny, I'm not like, old by any means I've crossed into my 30s. So I'm 31. You're chuckling. So I'm 3131. But I've seen friends of mine my age, that have these little nicks, so to speak, in their health history, that they're totally fine. But an insurance company views that stuff, totally different. And I would never want to, you know, have one of those little Nick's so to speak, and then all of a sudden, not be able to get insurance, you know, for a couple years or three years or ever again, I agree, it's important to you know, make sure that you're locking it in,
David Appel 23:53
then David, I commend you for doing that. And having that because you are buying your tomorrows today, you are forward thinking people have to realize to one of the things is important with, you know, the insurance broker you go with, because you could go with someone like me, who has been in the business for 30 years, and I'm 51 years old. And I've seen everything since I was 22. Darling in this business as well. But one of the things that people don't realize is what goes on behind the scenes, like, you know, so if you came to me, David, and you were like, I want to buy a million dollars a 20 year term, you could come to me or you could come to Joe Schmo who just started in the business or you know, could just sell insurance but really has no idea what they're doing and what if they buy a link in or a principle or a John Hancock term policy, it's going to be the same premium for that 31 year old as it is, you know, that I can sell you that same premium as the guy who just started in the business or lady who just started in the business, but where the differential comes in his experience. So like, I got a call in the middle of the pandemic for one of my clients, a CFO who just started working at this company and said, Oh, the two guys had gone SP li the two owners of the business to get you know, buy sell insurance on each other for this business. And as soon as she told me, she's like, Oh, the third a four year old has a pacemaker, perfectly healthy, but that's a pacemaker. That's not going to work with Savings Bank life insurance. And I literally took on the case, I had a shop that between 12 different carriers only got 10 carriers tentatively declined him, which, you know, even with my experience, I wouldn't have known that principle, or Lincoln or New York Life wouldn't have liked that case. But I had to do it all informally, we found two companies, and we ended up going with Penn mutual, we gave them table four, and we were able to get the coverage in place that they needed for the business. But that would never have happened with a normal agent or someone just like, you know, checking the box and throwing in an application, they have to know that I have to gather all those doctor's records at the shop and around to different companies, and see who's willing to take this guy and paint the picture.
David DeCelle 25:42
And when even the small nuance thing that you just said, which is doing it informally. So it's not like an official stamp of decline on their records, so to speak,
David Appel 25:53
which it is, as you know, from being in the business, that Medical Information Bureau, right, stamp everything. So if you get a decline, every insurance company can go see that for forever. Right?
David DeCelle 26:03
You are declined. Now. So if I'm an advisor, and I'm looking to work with someone like you, I'm sure it can be frustrating if the client comes to you and says, Yes, you know, I was working with John and he said that I need $750,000 of life insurance, can you help me get it. And they're already kind of in a certain mindset, and perhaps you take a peek at their situation, have a conversation with them. And you think the number is much, much larger than that, that needs to be handled delicately, because you don't want to strain the relationship between the advisor and the client for kind of miss quoting. And you don't want to strain the relationship between you and the advisor for stepping on toes. So in an ideal world, if you could paint a picture of the perfect way an advisor, leverages you with their clients, what would that look like?
David Appel 26:55
That's a really good point, because that's a huge differentiator too. And because listen, just the same way that if I was meeting you, David, and I realized that your CPA was a little behind the eight ball was being way too reactive and proactive. Or if you're an estate planning attorney, you outgrew and you know, that was great, or your property and casualty agency that when you were in college, you bought your car insurance and your renter's insurance and the guy in the street, now you're living in a $2 million house and driving nicer cars, I realize, you know, sometimes you outgrow your advisor. And that's a really sensitive topic. But one of the things that I realized, and I think the success that I've had dealing with other professional advisors, and especially a lot of RAS is that I'm not a lone ranger, I don't go out there like a cowboy, and try to put some stuff in place and go behind everybody's back. So like one of the biggest ri firms in Boston I work with, they see every single presentation and every single thing before those clients see it. So if that advisor sent me that case and said, Oh, I think he needs 750,000, please talk to my client. And I look at and say yeah, no, no, 750 seems a little low, he really needs 2 million. I'm going back to that advisor first and saying, Here's my analysis. Here's why I think your client needs 2 million. Here's the backup as to why. If you still think you need 750, we'll go rock now explain to him, but I'm gonna explain to your client when I did my analysis, you know, it's 2 million, because again, we have to have somewhat of a working relationship, right. And I'm also I think there's a liability and a fiduciary responsibility on my part to at least present what I think is the right amount. Listen, I could present stuff all day long to clients, that doesn't mean they're going to take it I could tell a guy or a woman that she needs $5 million. And she comes back and says, Well, I'm only buying two and a half. Okay, well, I think you shouldn't buy five. But if two and a half is what you feel comfortable with fine, but I'm documenting that into my system. And I'm documenting that I showed 5 million because as a licensed insurance advisor, you should also know that I've been brought in on multiple lawsuits as an expert witness in cases and trials. And I've done that three times now. So I've also seen people being deposed. I've seen agents in trouble. I've worked for the prosecution. You know, that's where I've worked not on the defense, but on the prosecution. So I've seen this stuff all go down, not to say a swear but cya or cover your ass on this podcast. You know, I do that frequently. And again, even if I show somebody disability insurance, or if I show somebody something that they just decide they're not doing, I have them sign off on it. Because I don't want all sudden, like their kids or the lawyer for their children coming back and saying Why did you tell my dad this? Why don't you show this? Oh, I did. He didn't want to do it.
David DeCelle 29:29
I'm glad you said that last piece because I don't think enough people do that. And I've heard from advisors that I know that when they actually put that piece of paper for them to sign off on less coverage than what was initially recommended. A good number of those people don't sign it and take the initial recommendation when they realized that you know, you're taking this very seriously.
David Appel 29:56
Yeah, no, right. And I thought I don't want to take on that risk for your friends. Am I right? I also have clients with every application that we take. We have the trustee or owner and the insured sign off on a piece of paper on my stationery that says that, whether replacing an insurance policy, or it's a new insurance policy to make sure they realize that there's a two year incontestability clause on every life insurance, the insurance company can contest the case in the first two years that it's enforced. And also there's a two year suicide exclusion. This is one of the cases that I sat on that went all the way to trial with an agent. And Well, long story short was a guy who had $9 million of life insurance with one agent replaced it with $15 million with a new agent, a year and a half into the policy. He dies of a heroin overdose. The insurance companies are saying, you know, the 9 million is gone. That was enforced for years. But new 15 million are less than two years old, the insurance company contested because they find out that he had gone into to heroin rehabs that he had not disclosed. And the ex wife who was getting alimony, the new wife, who, you know, no one was getting this 10 million and $5 million policy, and they sued everybody, they ended up not getting the money. But one of the things I realized was that oh my god, you know, I don't know, with all the policies that we sell in, you know, annually. I don't necessarily talk about the incontestability. Alright, do but it's all verbal, right. And I want to put it in writing. So anyways, you know, these are things that just need to be aware of when you were dealing with risk management and life insurance products, for
David DeCelle 31:24
sure you use the word as you're going through your description, the moment that go fiduciary, and that's a big word, obviously, in the industry. And I think that, especially with independent advisors in the RA channel, one of their biggest concerns and working with someone like yourself is the worry that that person would be motivated, and perhaps skew their recommendation based on the commission attached to it and kind of address that already with the idea that you can charge, you know, a fee on the front end, they're used to that. And they do that in their business. So perhaps that resonates with them. But you've taken this a step further, and you've created an entirely new entity just recently to address this problem or this opportunity with insurance professionals in the industry to help advisors feel more confident in partnering up with you can you tell us what that entity is and what the vision of that is that advisors are aware?
David Appel 32:25
Sure, there was actually an initial vision of one of my strategic partner Gonzalo Garcia down in Maryland, he's part of agency one, one of the founding partners there. And one of my strategic partners in my firm, we created the insurance, fiduciary network IFM, insurance, fiduciary network.com, which the whole idea was that we've seen too much. We put in there six agents right now like myself, who are trusted advisors across the country in different geographic locations with realizing that a lot of the RAS that we work with meant a lot more than are obviously out there that we don't work with kind of sometimes, even though they're touting doing full holistic planning, and doing everything for a client, they are missing out on the risk management piece, because they're not comfortable with it, or they don't have the background for it, or they don't bring it up to their clients. And we wanted to create an entity in place for those RAS to be able to go to at least, you know, know that they're going to a trusted network that are going to some trusted advisors in the country, where they could get some really good solid insurance advice and partner with them either on a fee basis if they're allowed to do that, or if they just want to know what their clients are taking care of and pass it off to that right person and not share in the Commission's or revenue of those products. But we have access to almost every proprietary and nonproprietary product out there. So you know, like we talked about before it comes down to you know, not every carrier is created equal for that same person it really comes down to do they climb mountains, do they do rock climbing? Do they fly their own airplanes? Do they fly helicopters? Do they scuba dive? What kind of cardio and cancer history they have? You know everything? Do they smoke marijuana? Do they do edibles? Do they smoke pipes or bongs or whatever it may be? How do they drink their alcohol? Do they have speeding tickets? You know these things that people don't think about everything that goes into the background of a life insurance application kind of needs to be addressed. And certain carriers are better than others. I had a guy two weeks ago, Mario Andretti I call them he wasn't really Mario Andretti. But I had like seven speeding tickets and a driving to endanger his health was totally fine. I literally was shopping his MBR is motor vehicle report from his property and casualty agent to the life insurance companies. Because most companies will automatically look at this guy and say standard rates 100% bigger than that threat to himself. But I found three companies that were willing to give him preferred, but you know, I wouldn't be able to pick that out of the hat. I had to shoot that off to 12 or 15 Different companies to see who's going to actually because I don't want him to pay more for that term insurance and he needs to, but again, we as part of this in surance fiduciary network and agency want and and how we work, we don't just sit back put in an application or whatever that insurance company comes back with, we placed with that carrier we're advocating for our clients on a daily basis. And if we don't get what we think is fair or reasonable or right, we're shooting that file off to three or four other carriers to see if we can and that at least. So if I come back to you, David and say, David, this is the best we're going to do. I know in my heart, and I can promise you that you're not going to get a better rate anywhere else. That's what we do, which is at the core of being a fiduciary responsible agent for our clients and or the advisors. We work with these again, the way I've established my practice, yes, do I have that end user client as a client? Yes, but my clients are really the RAS and the attorneys and a advisors that we have a family offices that we work with,
David DeCelle 35:51
love it. But I think this has been super helpful for me to understand kind of how you think through this stuff, how you partner with advisors, some of the things for them to look out for, and making them aware that there are folks like you out there that can help elevate their value proposition, essentially, and add additional value to clients. So before we wrap up, I'm going to a different segment of the show. So if this is your first time tuning in, one thing that I ask all of our guests, is what one of their favorite books is selfishly, I'm distilling a reading list for myself, but also for all of you as well, we have some really special unique and talented folks on this show. And I want to know what they like in terms of their reading. And if it's not your first show listening, then you know the deal. So with that, David, you had identified a book called The 80% approach by Dan Sullivan, what made you choose that what's the impact that it's had on you,
David Appel 36:48
um, I went through the Strategic Coach program a number of years ago, Dan solvent based out of Toronto, and my study group, I have a national study group of five guys from different parts of the country, one's a fully Ria, investment advisor, and New Hampshire to me on the other end, which is the full insurance agent. And the other ones are kind of mixed in between we meet and we did this Strategic Coach together, whether you go on the Sullivan Strategic Coach website, you look at some of the different books that might grab your attention. The 80% book is a short book, but it's one of those things where we all striving to do so much in our lives, you know, both personally and professionally. And one of the things that he talks about the whole concept of that book is, if you get 80% of what you want to do, you're doing all right, it doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be 100%. You know, and even like with the book that I had published, and I put out after I went through my cancer battle, it's like, when I look at it now, could I have done better? Yeah, of course, could I have, you know, made it even better than it was, of course, I could have. But I got it there, I wrote the chapters, I did it, I got it out. And I think too many of us, we stop, or we don't fulfill and accomplish what we want to, because we think it needs to be 100% Perfect. And at the end of the day, it really does. And we just need to get 80% there. And that's a hell of a lot more than most people do.
David DeCelle 38:05
Yeah, I'm gonna butcher this quote a little bit. But it reminds me of a quote that I heard, which is something to the effect of great is the enemy of good. And by striving for greatness or not being willing to put yourself out there until you're great, you end up not doing anything. So it's a give yourself some little wins along the way, progress happens before perfection, if that ever happens. But I like the principle of that, that you shared. Yeah, thank you, before we wrap up, if I'm listening to this, and I'm an advisor, and either I don't focus a ton on insurance within my book of business currently, and I want to or if I don't have a trusted relationship, but I just kind of have like I think of some of these insurance companies that help advisors a picture of it is more of like this massive assembly line of just like churning stuff out. And they want to have a more personal relationship, someone who is going to do right by the clients, where do you want to send them? Where can they reach out, you can go to
David Appel 39:05
my website, appel advisors.com is either one of the best places to go, we can always set up a meeting, I'm happy to set up a zoom and just kind of have any kind of initial talk through with people. Even though I'm based out of Boston. I do work all over the country. We do a lot of work with some international firms. So we have a lot of international clients. We have a lot of expats, US citizens who are living abroad that need us based life insurance, as well as non US citizens also coming to United States and need life insurance. So we specialize in a lot of different things. We have no geographic boundaries. So wherever your advisors are, that are listening to model FA it's not an issue for us. You know where you are, the only thing we have to work out is some of the time differences. They can be anywhere but you know, appel advisors.com, you could check out the insurance, fiduciary network.com I'm also listed as an agent on there. I'm happy to talk to any of those advisors that are listening to your podcast if they want to start an initial conversation. I'd
David DeCelle 39:58
love it. Well for those of you who are Listening, I had an opportunity to get to know David a little bit. And I've come across a number of different risk management specialists in the industry. And I've come across, you know, some really good people, including David and have come across some, you know, really shady and sheisty people, so I wouldn't have them on the show if they weren't legit. So this is a pain point of yours, and you just want to have a chat and intro call, you know, feel free to reach out. And for those of you who did find value in today's episode, and you have some peers who may be in a similar position issue or need some help with the risk management planning, I would love it if you just click the share button and share the episode with them, encourage them to listen to it a lot of good nuggets along the way that we uncovered today. And with that being said, if you would be so kind as to leave a review on iTunes that would help with our listenership. Actually, I've been saying this in the last couple of recordings. And David, this is news to us since we last chatted, but because of our awesome guests, like you, as well as all of our listeners, sharing the show, found out a few weeks back that were ranked in the top two and a half percent of all podcasts globally, which I was like, wow, really, that's that's pretty cool. That's, that's a result again, of our great guests. And even more specifically, you know, I am very, very grateful for everyone's time and attention and listening to these shows. It's motivating for me to not only get to know some great guests, but also know that based on the rankings, you guys are enjoying it and you're sharing it and you're coming back for more. So with that being said, David, this will not be the last time that we chat. So I'm excited to continue to build a relationship. Thank you Barry again for bringing us together and appreciate you joining the show.
David Appel 41:43
Ya know I appreciate being on him. It was great to talk through these things with you're sure
David DeCelle 41:47
well enjoy your day and stay warm in Boston. I'll be thinking to you down here in Florida. Thank you