Blog Shift – From Life Underwriting Expert to Professional Writer (gasp)

As I typed the title I heard a collective gasp from the Force.  You can’t be serious?  Professional writer?  Do you know how hard it will be to make a living?

Yes, as a matter of fact I do.

I have this to say to my legions of followers:  do not panic.  Here are the service offering changes to expect this year:

  • I will continue to offer my consulting services on a limited basis to select clients.
  • Life underwriting expert witness litigation support services will continue to be provided.
  • Technical underwriting services are fully committed at this time.
  • Professional corporate writing services for life insurance companies and their respective distribution channels.

There are a lot of very smart people in business today; there are not a lot of good writers. Couple this with the fact that companies need to produce more words, via a greater number of channels, than ever before, and you quickly come to realize that the corporate landscape is rife with opportunity for those who know how to communicate, you know, good.  I.J. Schecter

Here is what to expect from this blog:

  • More natural writing posts.  As I transition to more writing for hire I need to write more.  This blog will the primary landing area for my brain droppings.
  • Less links to what I consider to be essential reading for professional life underwriters.  The links to relevant articles will continue, just not in the frequency and quantity of the past five years.
  • More painfully blatant examples of shameless self-promotion.  Got to eat.  And yes, I still have a mortgage, one child in medical school, one child still an undergraduate, three cars and and a nasty writing habit to support.

I look forward to helping you succeed in your business.

Thanks for reading and your continued support.

Life Underwriting Expert Witness (for now)

It’s up to you to carve out your place, to know when to change course, and to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years. To do those things well, you’ll need to cultivate a deep understanding of yourself—not only what your strengths and weaknesses are but also how you learn, how you work with others, what your values are, and where you can make the greatest contribution. Because only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true excellence.  And we will have to stay mentally alert and engaged during a 50-year working life, which means knowing how and when to change the work we do.

Peter Drucker

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be doing expert witness work 10 years in the future I would not have believed you.  Read Drucker’s quote above and read it again.  Let these words sink in, especially the wisdom about knowing how and when to change the work you do.  I’ve changed the work I do multiple times in my life.  I’ll probably change again at some point in the future.  Don’t fool yourself.  Change of this nature is not easy but it will become increasingly necessary for your career.

Why Niche Creation is Where It’s At – The Hart Technique

When you embody a niche in the market, you have fewer competitors. Therefore you also have more opportunities. Opportunities have a way of snowballing. Work begets work. The more you work, the more you work.

via Why Niche Creation is Where It’s At | The Hart Technique.

How a Lawyer Exploited the Fine Print and Found Himself Facing Federal Charges – ProPublica

ProPublica has taken a close look at the Caramadre case because it offers a window into a larger issue: The transformation of the life insurance industry away from its traditional business of insuring lives to peddling complex financial products. This shift has not been a smooth one. Particularly during the lead up to the financial crisis, companies wrote billions worth of contracts that now imperil their financial health.

In a series of detailed interviews, Caramadre said the companies designed the rules; all he did was exploit them. Their hunger for profits in a period of dizzying growth and competition, he contends, left them vulnerable to someone with his unusual acumen. The companies have argued in court that Caramadre is a fraud artist who should return every last dime he made. In his rulings to date, the federal judge hearing the civil cases has agreed with Caramadre’s contention that he was doing what the fine print allowed.

via Death Takes a Policy: How a Lawyer Exploited the Fine Print and Found Himself Facing Federal Charges – ProPublica.

by Jake Bernstein
ProPublica, Aug. 24, 2012

Well written and well researched, this article is worth reading.  An article from the Wall Street Journal in 2010 also makes for good reading and that link is below.

Investors Recruit Terminally Ill to Outwit Insurers on Annuities – WSJ.com.

Intelligence Is Overrated: What You Really Need To Succeed – Forbes

Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge. Additionally, Nobel Prize winning Israeli-American psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if the likeable person is offering a lower quality product or service at a higher price.

via Intelligence Is Overrated: What You Really Need To Succeed – Forbes.

Opportunities EVERYWHERE

Exchange of Services and Adding New Business Lines: I have a good friend who is a young MD type doctor. He was loaded down with student loans and he operates his own office in Encino, CA, a fairly wealthy area. It costs him $225 per hour to keep his office doors open. He had to do hospital rounds at night to survive. Radio time is now going begging. So, I worked a deal for him with a local radio station. He gets advertising air time and even has his own medical “show” on that station. He is also now the personal doctor for the station owner and the few employees. This was an exchange of services. I did not charge for putting this deal together but it lead to a new business line for him that I proposed and share in that revenue. He is located in a wealthy area. There are a lot of wealthy older people in the area who do not like going to see the doctor but from time to time, need medical help and attention. So we set up a medical concierge service that also gets advertised on that radio station. We make house calls and the fee is not cheap. We now have eight doctors on call and business is brisk.

via Opportunities EVERYWHERE Market Sniper – Slope Of Hope with Tim Knight.

The example above is one of the real life money making opportunities highlighted in the article.  Go read the rest.  This is tremendous food for thought.

I started to think about my own business after reading the article.  A while ago I recognized my opportunities were similar to the ones described by Knight.  began to understand that I had started working at the intersection of disciplines.  Underwriting and law.  Auditing and underwriting.  Technology and underwriting.

Can you take your expertise to the intersections of disciplines to meet unmet needs?

HT – Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon