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REDDING, Calif. – Chairman and CEO Henry Cuenca hopes that when credit unions want life insurance they instantly think of LifeHelp Insurance Administrative Service (LifeHelp) For some 33 years the company has been quietly building its life insurance niche in the credit union community. “The life insurance industry as a whole has turned its back on middle America and are more interested in selling upscale financial services than helping the widow or widower who has a net wealth of between $20,000 to $80,000 with a $20-$30 a month life insurance policy,” said Cuenca. “Well, we are life insurance people-that’s all we do and with that focus we help credit unions serve Middle America and provide those people with funds during a time when they are most needed.” Cuenca credits the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” as a catalyst for getting LifeHelp off the ground. A good friend who happened to be a credit union CEO was adamant about not betraying her members by canceling the popular Life Savings, which established at credit unions nationwide since the `30s and `40s, promised members a life insurance benefit of $2,000 to $5,000 for as long as they remained a member. According to Cuenca, while this served as a great recruiting tool and built the loyalty of the credit union members by the `70s and `80s as insurance premiums started to rise significantly the Life Savings covered by credit unions turned into the second largest expense for credit unions and it became a major issue. Despite the fact that only one-tenth of one percent of the members actually valued the benefit boards that cancelled the service found their credit unions being sued for false advertisement. “When that CEO told me I needed to come up with a solution because she was never going to go back on a promise to her members during the two and half hour drive back from Sacramento I literally had an epiphany,” said Cuenca. “I placed a call to an insurance attorney and LifeHelp was established to not only solve her problem and the problem faced by many credit unions across the country at the time but also help members and create a marketplace for myself. Credit unions understand the challenges people face and see the need to provide low cost insurance to members.” Originally created as an insurance brokerage to serve the credit union industry, LifeHelp has evolved into a nationwide, full-service insurance agency and third-party insurance administrator that serves over 300 credit unions. While there are 25 employees, LifeHelp does outsource for example direct mail and marketing campaign strategy services are provided through its partnership with New York Life Insurance. In addition, LifeHelp works through distributors or brokers across the country. In July 2004, the company teamed with Insurance Central to offer individual term life insurance services. Designed as a complement to its existing group life insurance programs, the move has helped make available to credit unions and their members fully underwritten individual term life insurance coverage from $150,000 to $10 million. According to Executive Vice President/VP Marketing and Sales Robert Hickman, the average policy sold is $65,000 and an average monthly premium is $30. In addition, through its affiliation with NY Life LifeHelp can offer coverage up to $100,000 without requiring a physical exam. Members need only answer three health questions and return the application. Credit union members can also get an instant quote or application online. “We can do it all- provide all administrative services, support to members or staff, create the insured records, do all the billing, pay claims-basically all the underwriting, issue policies and designing private label credit union direct mail packages,” said Hickman. “Studies show that there is a need for life insurance especially for those people who have lost a spouse so our mission is to help credit unions provide small policies to those who have the biggest need.” Cuenca says the company positions itself as a true partner in building relationships from research and needs analysis to development, implementation and management of customized solutions. “We believe in talking to people one-on-one and providing quality service that goes back to the days when agents took the time to sit down and talk to people about goals and how to hold families together,” said Cuenca. “We understand this market better than anyone.” [email protected]

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