menu +



This is not an April Fool’s joke ;).TheInsuristHasMoved

SandstromLeilaniHeadshotCurrentNot too long ago, a friend introduced me to LeiLani Sandstrom (thanks Michelle!). I was immediately impressed. She had character, charisma, and a certain fight in her eye I rarely come across. She’d been licensed for a bit and had been working with one of the larger carriers in the US, but was seeking a more personable fit. She liked us and we liked her. And while I’m behind on my writing and welcomed her to The Insurist a bit ago, today I introduce you to LeiLani Sandstrom, AKA Lani.

Lani will be our Insurance Advisor in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties with a focus on the service based industries in those areas. She’s also excited about promoting one of our up and coming brands “The Insured Grandchild.”

I sat down with Lani to learn a few things about her and this is what she shared…

What is your favorite book?

I’m not much of a sit down type of book reader, but I will say my favorite is “When Tomorrow Comes” by Janette Oke.

What is your favorite food?

Probably Cajun. I love food and am not overly picky unless it’s “funky” food.

What keeps you going?

Happiness and enjoying what is given to us drives me in life. Mainly my wonderful husband, kids, my grandson, family and friends. I love experiencing new things and giving others the opportunity to experience new things. Sometimes trivial things can be amazing.

How do you spend your free time?

My hobbies are camping, riding quads, hanging out with family and friends, and painting.

What drives you to be in the insurance business?

I love to help people that can benefit from the services we offer. The insurance business can allow my husband and I to live a debt free life and for that I am grateful. It also gives me the space to live my life with my kids and grandkids and that is a rare opportunity.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I was born in Hawaii and raised in Texas. Been in California since 1995. My husband and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary and renewed our vows in my home state of Hawaii.

SpectorLorraineHeadshotToday we’ve announced a new Insurance Advisor in Lorraine Spector. Lorraine comes to us with a wealth of knowledge of the financial industry, having spent most of her career selling information services to traders at large firms, hedge funds and the New York Stock Exchange. She has also spent time helping non profits recruit fundraisers, giving her experience with Dress for Success, New York Cares, Women’s Shelters and Foster Care for Success.

When a friend suggested she use her financial expertise and people skills to start an insurance career she was immediately sold. After getting licensed and learning the ropes at a large firm, she stumbled across The Insurist and knew she had found her home. In the words of Lorraine, “We know that finding the right insurance solutions can be overwhelming, and we work to educate and simplify the process for our clients.”

Lorraine will be heading up our mid city markets assisting corporate and individual clients with life, health, disability and long term care insurance solutions.

We sat down with Lorraine a few days ago to get a better idea of what makes her tick “off camera.” Here’s what we found:

What’s your favorite restaurant?

“I’m not great with favorites when it comes to anything, but in terms of dining out in Los Angeles I would definitely say Mercado and Petty Cash.”

What about favorite books?

“I like to read memoirs and travel books.”

Favorite vacation spot?

“Without a doubt, the Big Island of Hawaii.”

When you’re not working, how do you spend your time?

“Knitting, needlepoint, reading, volunteering for women and children focused charities, hiking, walking and exploring our great city.”

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

“Backpacked through Europe, then jumped on a ship via Greece to Isreal to work on two Kibbutz.”

And finally, why insurance?

“I like that we help people protect themselves, their families and their businesses. I especially enjoy building new relationships and learning people’s stories…that’s where the fun is.”

We welcome Lorraine with open arms and are ecstatic she has joined our team at The Insurist.

Back in November (before all the holiday madness!), I was graciously invited to join Toni Patillo and Karla Dennis on the Call Toni Radio Show. Watch the video for a summary of our conversation…and tune in on Saturdays from 3-4pm!

We’re Hiring!!

We'reHiringYep. We’ve crossed over our one year anniversary and it’s time to expand. We’re looking for licensed insurance professionals who are tired of doing things the way they’ve always been done. People who like pushing boundaries (not the regulatory kind of course!) and want to treat their practice like the business that it is.

What do you need to be considered?

#1 You’ve gotta be a HAPPY person.
#2 You’ve gotta know what it means to be patiently persistent and strategically patient.
#3 You’ve gotta be willing to put in some time.
#4 You’ve gotta be able to maintain a professional virtual office environment.
#5 You’ve gotta be able to furnish adequate errors and omissions insurance.
#6 You’ve gotta have a creative edge to your marketing strategy.
#7 You’ve gotta have a sense of humor.
#8 You’ve gotta walk your talk.
#9 You’ve gotta be responsible for your own results.
#10 You’ve gotta be able to count to 10!


We like to be serious about our results in a fun way here at The Insurist and we’re looking for people who know how to strike that balance. Work hard play hard? That’s a great start.

All serious inquiries can be sent to Please include a resume and cover letter.


Leave it to a late night talk show host to perfectly illustrate the confusion with the Affordable Care Act. Hint: They’re the same thing.

September if Life Insurance Awareness Month, hosted by The Life Foundation and promoted by agents and carriers across the nation. It’s a great time to take advantage of many educational promotions geared towards learning more about how to get the right kind and right amount of life insurance.

Summer Caprese(s)

PeachCapreseA couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend at the Four Seasons Palo Alto for a couple of girlfriends’ birthdays. While it’s largely a business(y) hotel, it’s also a great weekend retreat. For a couple of reasons: 1) it’s not crowded on the weekends when the business types go back home, and 2) their food and bar program is amazeballs. Note: this is the first time I’ve used the term “amazeballs,” something I swore I’d never do, but whatever. I’m practicing flexibility.

So Saturday night at dinner at Quattro we had this grilled peach caprese that was perfect. And of course it became my new mission to replicate it. Can’t be so hard, right? Tomato, mozzarella, basil and some peaches. Balsamic and olive oil. Done and done. But, just in case you want to know how I did it…here you are:

I grilled the peaches using walnut oil and was very happy with the result. You’ll notice in the photo my slices are somewhat small and that’s probably the one thing I’d adjust…use two of same size or go for a larger slice. The peach flavor was slightly overpowered by the rest and should be beefed up. If you’re a basil hound, use two leaves instead of one.

But the coup de grace? This fantastic dressing recipe I found on Kitchen Konfidence. It definitely made the dish and my happy guests smile.

While we’re on the subject of caprese(s), I’ll give you one more. This one I threw together last summer when home visiting family. You’ve got your basil and tomatoes. I used red and yellow pear heirlooms for color and flavor. Burratta cheese. And added blueberries. Reduced balsamic and olive oil to dress it. I’ve found thinner, cheaper balsamics tend to reduce better than their more refined peers, in case you were wondering.

And I just looked in the fridge and noticed a bunch of figs. Which is great because I’ve still got a ton of basil, tomatoes and mozzarella. Yes, I’m a bit obsessive and yes, I’ll likely not want caprese for a couple of years by the time I’m done experimenting.  If it’s good, I’ll be back…

We love it when a good infographic comes along. This time it’s courtesy of the Life Foundation, and they bring up a thought provoking question: Do you have enough life insurance?







TermVWholeLifeBWI sigh just typing those words. Several times.

People get all sorts of riled up on this topic. Cue the likes of Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey. It’s like the Vegan argument. Full of passion, idealism, emotion, and half truths. And no, I’m not calling Vegans liars. My diet comes close, without all the emotion. Same with my views on term vs. whole life insurance.

I believe they’re both good. Depends on the client. Put into the wrong hands, a whole life policy can be like kryptonite for your finances. In the right hands, and much later down the road, a well designed whole life policy can be a diamond in the rough, just waiting to be harvested. This is where the confusion lies. The pundits like to portray this as an apples to apples comparison. It’s not. At all.

Let’s start with defining term coverage. Term is the most basic form of life insurance. At the time of underwriting your risk profile determines your premium. That premium is guaranteed for a certain number of years. 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, etc…usually in five year increments. At the end of the initial term, the premiums typically skyrocket. Why? Because term life insurance isn’t designed to go on forever.

Often times this increase in premium is described as a scam or another example of the insurance industry trying to take your money. It’s really not. It’s just that these products are not intended to go beyond their initial term. That is all. You might think someone who was uninsurable at the end of a term policy might have to continue and pay these enormous premiums. Likely not. Why? Because of something called a conversion privilege…one of the most important concepts when it comes to buying term life insurance.

What’s a conversion privilege you ask? The majority of term policies provide the ability to convert to another, usually permanent, product with no additional evidence of insurance. Huge, right? That means if during the duration of your term policy you decide you want life insurance for life you can get the same amount of coverage in a permanent product guaranteed. The devil’s in the fine print though, because some policies limit the number of years you can take advantage of this, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.

So the summary on term life: simple, affordable coverage that is intended to cover a temporary risk for a defined number of years.

Whole life isn’t so easy to explain. This is often part of the problem. Hard to explain and harder to understand if you’re not eating, drinking, and breathing life insurance every day. This is what leads to the product being SOLD instead of understood.

Whole life is best used as a savings product, not strictly for death benefit protection. And it’s a LONG TERM savings product when used this way. While there are many different uses for whole life products, I’m going to stick to its application as a safe money savings tool.

Treating it as an apples to apples comparison with term life products, the premium numbers immediately point out we’ve got big differences. For the healthiest 35 year old man, a $1 million 20 year term policy will run something in the neighborhood of $40 per month for 20 years. For the same guy, a $1 million dollar whole life policy will cost $820 per month through age 65. Say what?!? No that’s not a typo. $40 a month vs. $820 a month. Who in their right mind would pay $820 for something they can get for $40?

No one. Because it’s not the same policy.

The difference in this example is what happens INSIDE the policy and what you can do with it. Some call it a “living” benefit. If we look at the whole life policy at the end of twenty years (when the term policy expires), the whole life policy has a minimum guaranteed cash value of $231,360, where as the term policy has no cash value built up. If the client pays premium to age 65 and uses the cash value to supplement his retirement income, he has the potential of adding over $27,000 to his annual income from age 65 to 95. So for a total of $196,900 paid over 30 years, the client can potentially draw $834,600 (over the next 30 years) out of the policy on a tax free basis. Yep, you read that correctly. On a tax free basis.

The next argument against whole life typically comes in the form of “buy term and invest the difference.” Often times they’re right, particularly when the client doesn’t have 30 years to let their money accumulate. But rather than lose your attention completely, I’ll stop here and take a break. In a follow up post we’ll tackle that one, with numerical examples so you can see where this does and doesn’t make sense.

One thing to point out here is while we are using the same theoretical client for this example, in real life, the two product examples I’ve used would be applied to two COMPLETLEY different clients. One with a need for basic life insurance protection (i.e. the term product) and one with a decent amount of discretionary cash available to contribute to a long term savings plan. The need for term insurance can be easily identified and solved. The suitability of a whole life policy should only be determined after a thorough discovery process. If someone’s trying to shove it down your throat, run fast.

Thanks for listening. I’m happy to take any questions, and I’ll be back with more on this topic in a future post. Until then…


**Please note: there are all sorts of disclosures about theoretical explanations of insurance products. Things like “this example is only for a 35 year old healthy male in California who’s never been skydiving, didn’t party like a rockstar, and doesn’t play with tigers.” You get the picture. The figures here are for explanation purposes only and represent no guarantees related to any specific person reading this. Play nice kids.

This article was previously published on Daily Money Shot.

backto top