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The Story Of A Life Insurance Cynic Who Became A Believer

We all have our own preconceived notions. Perhaps there is no subject that this rings truer for than the topic of life insurance. However, sometimes an experience can completely alter our current beliefs, as it did in the case of Maria Gongora.

In the 1970s, Maria Gongora was living a normal, happy life. She was married with two children, age two and age fifteen. Her husband had graduated from Columbia University and was a successful Periodontist, while Maria assisted him with his administrative needs.

Life insurance agents frequently called his practice and Maria was the one who fielded the calls. Her mindset was always to get them off the phone as quickly as possible. In her mind, life insurance was the ultimate sign of ego. It was a person’s pride that made them want to provide for someone else even after death.

At the time, Maria and her family were located in South America. Her husband owned a Suzuki motorcycle and loved to ride them in the mountains. Unfortunately, on one of his rides he had a terrible accident and he passed away 20 days later.

One week before the accident, her husband had been visited by his life insurance agent. She saw the motorcycle in the driveway and briefly mentioned that she thought it was a risk and could be a problem. However, she didn’t bring up the topic of life insurance or push the issue.

Luckily, he already had three other policies in place:

  1. A $25,000 American Life policy that paid double for accident.

  2. An additional $50,000 policy that paid double for accident.

  3. A policy that was provided through his dental school, which had recently been changed from a $5,000 policy to $50,000 policy, and paid double for accidents.

In total, Maria received $250,000 from the life insurance. With that money, she was able to move back to the United States and to send her older child to college at age 17. Also, she was able to support her younger child for a period of time while she wasn’t working. By the time the money ran out, she was already established in a new job.

Maria had not only became a major advocate for life insurance, she got in the business! She became an insurance agent and still is to this day!

Appreciation For A Financial Services Career

I recently had a conversation with Maria at a speaking event. She expressed to me how grateful she was for the opportunity she was provided from her financial services career.

It allowed her the flexibility to earn a good living but also to care for her young child early in her career.

She has enjoyed helping people and having a significant impact on her clients’ lives.

While she has received her CFP® and ChFC® and maintains securities registrations series 6, 63 and 7, it’s her belief in what she does that draws people to do business with her and allowed her to build a completely referral-based practice.

Making The Connection With Clients

As an advisor, you will typically find that the people who have a strong belief in the power of insurance are the ones who have personally needed it, or had a family member or friend who did.

However, for the people who have never had a personal experience with it, sharing a real life story is a powerful way to create a relationship and build trust.

Stories allow clients to put themselves in the place of another person and understand the human side of the business. So, the next time you’re in a meeting with a client, don’t just share the facts, figures and statistics about why they need life insurance – share a personal story, or even share Maria’s, to really help make the connection.


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