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NAIFA Members Provide Financial Independence

2 min read

Delivering a Death Claim

By Christine Cusatis on 11/15/11 3:36 PM

By Robert Miller, M.A., M.S.
2011-12 NAIFA President 

Lost in deep reverie, I stood looking out my office window to the west, past New Jersey and toward the horizon. The day was brisk for early autumn and the sun sparkled off the Hudson River, reflecting back toward the buildings of lower Manhattan. In spite of my mood, there was a sense of rebirth that always follows the calendar when the weather changes and the city reinvigorates itself after the humidity of summer disappears until next year. With the change of seasons we all breathe a welcome sigh of relief.

Painfully, I remembered the phone call. She had been on the line, crying, not knowing how she would cope with the loss of her husband. I could envision her tears and felt helpless to bring her any comfort. The vision of her beautiful features, crushed by her devastating sadness, filled me with sorrow. Her husband, a close childhood friend, had been killed. It was all so tangible and abstract at the same time. It could not be but it was. Our childhoods were intertwined with memories of baseball and football and homerun derby and the smell of bacon on winter mornings. And now that is what it was—just memories.

As agents and advisors, our creed is to help society help itself. We support the American public in the most personal and meaningful ways. When everyone else is at the door with their hands out, we are there to give and aid those who need it the most. There is no doubt that the insurance industry is one of the  solutions to America’s economic  woes. Let us not forget that as we go about our everyday business lives.

On my way to the house, life around me was robust and every action caught my attention. There was a makeshift basketball game in the park, and someone was sweeping leaves away from their driveway next door to my friend’s house. The sun was still bright but low in the sky and golden, signifying my favorite sunlight—the late afternoon sun.

Life insurance to the rescue

When I saw her she seemed to have shrunk. Engulfed by an oversized coat, she was small and vulnerable. Her shoulders slumped in lethargic resignation. Her face, swollen from tears of grief, had lost all of its normal radiance.

I was able to spend a few minutes with her and we hugged before she had to go and meet some friends who were stopping by. This was no time to catch up on all those years. I held out my hand, and in it was the future of my friend’s family. Her lips were barely able to move, but the words “thank you” live with me every day.


Robert Miller, M.A., M.S., is president of NAIFA and a partner at MillerPomerantz in New York City.



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