Life Insurance for Reassurance

Life_Insurance_for_ReassuranceLife insurance is never a topic that people like to talk about. It brings up mixed emotions and a sort of forbearance that makes it seem as if the inevitable will happen that much sooner. But as we get older, we realize that the idea of life insurance is more about helping your family after your passing while also helping build a sound financial plan for yourself and your family. With the knowledge of the varieties in policy types and the added advantage of helping you build a smart financial future, SMA Services can help you get insured and secure a future for your loved ones. Here are a few other reasons why having life insurance is so important.

The first and most common reason for life insurance is to help protect your family after your passing. If your family depends on you and your income to support their livelihood, insurance should be a must, because it will ultimately replace your income when you die. This aspect is mostly important for the parents of young children or couples who’s partner will find it difficult if they no longer have the income provided by their spouse.

Leaving an inheritance may seem like an impossible task after funeral services and expenses, but with life insurance, it’s all taken care of. Regardless if you have other assets to pass to any heirs or not, you can create an inheritance by purchasing a life insurance policy and naming your children or other loved ones as beneficiaries. This is a great way to set your children or spouse up for a solid financial future after your passing.

Sometimes, after the passing of a loved one, some families neglect to recognize the amount of debt left behind by a loved one after their passing. Married couples who have a mortgage may not be able to cover the payment after the loss of one income. A life insurance policy can not only cover the day to day expenses after your passing, but also any outstanding debt, credit cards, or anything that may require a payment after your death.

As for most parents, you probably want to make sure your children are well taken care of when you’re gone. By having additional life insurance coverage, you can provide financial security for your children for a college education, getting married, or any other life venture.

Lastly, we are aware that no amount of money can replace a loved one, but life insurance can provide protection for the uncertainties in life. It is the only foolproof way to be sure that your family will be taken care of when you’re gone. A life insurance policy can bring you and your family the peace of mind that is necessary after a traumatic event like the death of a loved one.

It isn’t known when our time is up and we will pass on. It could be today or tomorrow or even twenty minutes from now, but the one thing we do know is that it will eventually happen. SMA Services can help you protect your family in the event of your passing from the unknowns of life and help them through that very difficult time.


Why Should I get life insurance?


Most people are familiar with the concept, but it doesn’t make them any more eager to discuss it. The obvious question, “What if something happens to you, and your family is left without an income stream?”, is tough to hear but is an important factor in preparing for life after you and the well being of your family. Certain policies can build up a cash value that can be withdrawn tax-free, although some advisors warn against it.

Why Should I get life insurance?

If your loved ones depend on your financial support for their livelihood, then life insurance is a must, because it replaces your income when you pass on. This is especially important for parents of young children or couples whose partner will find it difficult if they no longer have the source of income that was provided by their partner. You will also need enough money to cover the costs of hiring someone to cover the day to day household tasks, like cleaning, laundry, cooking, childcare and everything else a growing family needs.

Even if you don’t have any other assets to pass to your heirs, you can create an inheritance by buying a life insurance policy and naming them as beneficiaries. This is a great way to set your kids up for a solid financial future and provide for any monetary needs that may come up.

In addition to providing income to cover everyday living expenses, your family needs insurance to cover any outstanding debts. Other expenses include funeral and burial costs that can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. You do not want your spouse, parents, children or other loved ones to be left with any extra financial burden in addition to the emotional burden they will be also carrying.

Like most parents you probably want to know your kids will be well taken care of when you’re gone. You not only want them to get a quality college education, but to provide for other life ventures like getting married or starting a business. For this reason, additional coverage is absolutely essential while your kids are still at home.

No amount of money can ever replace a person. But more than anything, life insurance can help provide protection for the uncertainties in life. Without a doubt, having life insurance coverage will bring you and your family peace of mind. It’s one thing you can be sure of and no longer question if they’ll be taken care of when you’re gone.

Nobody knows when their last day will be but life insurance protects your heirs from the unknown and helps them through an otherwise difficult time of loss. SMA is there for you before that time comes, and there for your loved ones when it does. Call us today to get started on a secure future for the inevitable.


Is Your In-Box Overrun With Papers?

Overrun With Papers

 Let us help you reduce that stack.

You now have the option to view and pay your SMA Group Insurance Statement online. SMA has partnered with Anderson, Williams, McKinnis (AWM) for billing of the Group Insurance Program.

Visit the website today – to get started.

If you have any questions or need assistance registering,
please call AWM Customer Service at 1-800-723-8908


Employee Spotlight – Fadwa Shunnarah

Fadwa ShunnarahIf you have ever called SMA Tours to make travel arrangements, you have probably spoken with Fadwa Shunnarah. Fadwa, who has worked in the Tours department since 1987, is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to international travel and books airfare, hotels, and rental cars for trips abroad. In addition, she also arranges cruise travel and group travel escort groups. “I have worked with physicians for 25 years and try my best to provide prompt and friendly service,” Fadwa said. “I truly enjoy helping everyone and they have made me feel like part of the family.”

Although her job sometimes requires her to be available “24/7”, Fadwa doesn’t mind at all. “Sometimes travelers experience an emergency such as cancelled or delayed flight,” she said, “And I am here to help them in any way I can.”

Fadwa is very active in her church and in her spare time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, and cooking Middle Eastern cuisine. Her favorite dish? “There are so many delicious things but Stuffed squash is top of the list.


Employee Spotlight – Terri Carroll

Terri Carroll

Terri joined the SMA Services group in 2006, as the IRA Administrator.  Several years later, she moved to operations, taking her IRA responsibilities with her. Terri is responsible for calculating the Required Minimum Distributions for each IRA participant, as well as contributions, other distributions, fee statements, and tax forms. She also handles the administration of Health Savings Accounts.

Terri and her husband have been married for 28 years and have two children.  Her daughter is a Registered Nurse at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham and is married to a professional drummer. Terri’s son has been active duty Navy for eight years. As a retired Navy spouse and mother of an active duty sailor, Terri knows the sacrifices made by our military and is proud of every man and woman who serves our country so that we may enjoy our freedom.

Employee Spotlight – JoAnn Owens

Employee Spotlight - JoAnn Owens

SMA Services, Inc. would like to introduce to you JoAnn Owens

JoAnn began her employment with Southern Medical Association in January 1989 as an Insurance Customer Service Representative. While in this capacity, she obtained and maintains state Life and Disability Licenses. In January 1994, JoAnn then transferred to the retirement department and has grown to be a valuable senior member of the team.

JoAnn is responsible for various Third Party Administrative duties: understanding plan documents and Adoption Agreements; determining annual contributions, required distributions, eligibility, and enrollments for participants; issuance of periodic payments; compliance testing; and electronic filing of year-end reports for numerous plans.

JoAnn enjoys all aspects of her job, including the interaction she has with plan participants. “Working closely with SMA members, office managers, and various investment institutes is a very rewarding profession,” she said.

JoAnn and her husband reside in Mount Olive, AL. They have two children who attend the University of Alabama in Birmingham. In her free time, JoAnn enjoys outdoor activities and especially trips to the beach.


Life insurance can be complicated but it doesn’t have to be.

Most often it is a subject that has all of the elements of confusion and most people feel uncomfortable talking about it.  SMA Services, Inc. can help you make the decision-making more comfortable.

Most people don’t purchase enough life insurance to cover their needs. We tend to see most people are actually under insured. For those that do, many end up making mistakes and buying insurance that does not fit their needs. We also recognize that people tend to put off buying life insurance for many reasons.

  • It’s complicated.
  • It’s boring.
  • It can be expensive.
  • It deals with a subject we don’t want to confront.

According to the Life Insurance and Market Research Association1, more than 30 million Generation X and Y households surveyed reported that they needed more life insurance in 2012. One-third of wives own no life insurance at all.

Of those who have had a positive experience with life insurance, 80 percent indicated that the life insurance industry plays a “critical role” after the death of a loved one.

The survey also revealed that Americans are confused about insurance. LIMRA found that the main reasons people don’t purchase life insurance is because they believe it’s too expensive and they have other financial priorities. However, the survey also showed that consumers seriously overestimate the cost of life insurance by as much as threefold.

Consumers also find insurance to be confusing. The confusion sets in when it comes to determining what type of insurance product they should purchase. 12 percent couldn’t decide what type of life insurance to purchase, 10 percent were concerned about making the wrong decision and 8 percent simply gave up because of a lack of knowledge about insurance.2

These ABCs might help you find your way:

1. Determine whether or not you need life insurance. Not everyone needs life insurance. If you are young and without dependents you may not need life insurance. If you plan on having children, it can be a good idea to buy insurance when you are young. By doing so, you guarantee your insurability.

Insurance premiums are determined by your age, gender and risk classification. You may no longer have a need for life insurance if you are older with no dependents and have low liabilities.

2. Determine how much life insurance you need. A Financial Needs Analysis is one of the best ways to determine how much life insurance you need. You also may just want to replace income in case of an untimely deathThere are two ways you can calculate how much insurance you need:

Income replacement: This approach considers your age and income. Start with your age and determine how many years of income you would need to replace in the event of your death. For example, if you are 40 years old, you might decide to buy insurance that would pay 15 or 20 times your annual income.

Needs-based: This approach considers your individual situation and assesses the impact your death would have on your dependents. Factors to consider include whether your spouse or partner would continue or start to work, the number of children you have, whether there is a mortgage you want to pay off and the cost of educating your children, to name a few.

Our preference is for the financial needs analysis approach. It takes time to put together but we make sure you are on the right path.

3. Determine the type of insurance you need. The two basic types of insurance are term and permanent insurance. Permanent insurance may also be referred to as cash-value insurance.

Renting vs. Owning is a concept we like to use when comparing term insurance to permanent insurance. Term insurance is for a specified amount of time and does not build cash- value. You decide how much coverage you need and the period of time you want that coverage to remain in effect. Term insurance has a level premium over the term of the policy. Term insurance has lower premiums than cash-value insurance. By the end of the term, your need for insurance may be reduced, eliminated or you may need to continue coverage. In the case of continuing the coverage you are now older and your premiums are then based upon attained age.

Cash-value insurance can be confusing but it can also be an excellent product. This is the type of insurance that you own.  There are three types of cash-value insurance, whole life, universal life and variable universal life. All three build cash-value and have guaranteed premiums and cash value. As long as you pay your premiums your policy will not lapse. We are here to help you and educate you to the different types of permanent insurance to best fit your needs.

At SMAS we believe we can be more than one thing to our members and clients. We partner with you across all aspects of your financial future. Our focus is to provide you with viable options that can help make your financial planning a success. We never lose sight of the fact that our job is to help you and that takes a team of dedicated, knowledgeable and resourceful people.  Our service model guides you through the process. Partnership is what makes a difference.



Employee Spotlight – Kay Vasser

Kay VasserSMA Services, Inc. would like to introduce to you Kay Vasser.

Having worked at Southern Medical Association for more than 27 years as a Licensed Insurance Professional, Kay is very knowledgeable about all areas of SMA Services Inc., including the large suite of group and individual products, such as short- and long-term disability, life, health, vision and dental insurance. Kay’s responsibilities include supervising the insurance department, sales, addressing customer service problems, and educating clients in order to determine the best insurance products to meet their needs. She is always ready to help when a problem arises.

Kay has worked with physicians for more than 50 years, and helping them choose the right protection and financial needs for their future is what she finds most gratifying. She has long-term relationships with a large majority of the clients she works with.

Kay and her husband of 44 years have three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.  Kay stays very busy; she has been a member of Beta Sigma Phi sorority for 43 years and has received many honors.  In her free time, she enjoys bowling and watching football and baseball.


Employee Spotlight – Wendy Erhart

Wendy ErhartSMA Services, Inc. would like to introduce to you Wendy Erhart.

Having worked at Southern Medical Association for more than 24 years, Wendy in 2012 joined the SMAS team as a Licensed Insurance Professional. She has knowledge of our large suite of group and individual products, such as short- and long-term disability, life, health, vision, and dental insurance. Her responsibilities include providing advice and price quotes to clients in order to help them in determining the best insurance products for their needs. She assists in updating the client database with payment information and address changes. Monday through Friday, you can find Wendy at her desk eager to answer customer phone calls and emails.

She says working so closely with the members of Southern Medical Association and helping physicians choose the right products for their financial future are two of her most gratifying responsibilities.

Wendy and her husband reside in Morris, Ala., along with their son, two dogs, and cat. In her free time, Wendy enjoys photography, reading, playing bunco, and watching Auburn football – WAR EAGLE!

Can insurance protect your retirement assets? YES…

Did you knowMany people feel uneasy about their projections for a secure retirement during economic uncertainty and the looming future of Social Security. In its 2013 Retirement Confidence Study, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (ERBI) learned that 57% of workers in the United States have less than $25,000 in savings and investments (excluding home values). Are you confident in your retirement security and your nest egg? Do you understand how vulnerable your retirement assets are to the perils of life?

Serious illness, premature death, job loss, and other financial constraints can sneak up on you at any time. These risks can carry serious setbacks to your retirement savings or drain your assets in ways that make it difficult to recover.

Group life at the workplace. 

Retirement savings will be exposed in two important ways if you die prematurely. First, your family members may need to liquidate or take loans from your account to supplement the loss of income. The second exposure is the loss of future contributions, which may be a significant amount.

Group life insurance can be an inexpensive but a powerful safeguard against these two risks. Life insurance proceeds are a tax-advantaged lump sum of money to the beneficiary. The death benefit can help ease short-term financial stresses and keep your 401(k) or IRA intact. Most of the time this amount of coverage is not enough, although it does provide a base amount of insurance.

The power of voluntary benefits.

Premature death is just one of the perils that might put your retirement savings at risk. Serious illnesses or accidents can create significant expenses for you, even if you have a good medical insurance plan. Unfortunately many families do not have the cash flow to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses or to wait out the elimination period before their disability policy goes into effect. In a situation like this you may be under pressure to take out a 401(k) loan, which will only diminish your account balance.

To safeguard against this risk, you may be able to purchase accident/critical illness, hospital indemnity, or disability coverage through your employer at an affordable price. Payouts can be used for anything, not just medical expenses.

Cash value life insurance = Supplemental retirement funds

Individual life insurance not only protects but can also supplement your retirement savings with increased flexibility. For a moment, let’s commingle the two buckets. When most people think of life insurance they think of the death benefit. Yet, not many people know the value of life insurance in protecting retirement savings or building wealth.

While employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs are the primary vehicle for retirement savings, many employees may have made the maximum annual contributions. Through a cash value life insurance policy, you can build cash value that may provide financial flexibility in retirement with the combined desire of a death benefit.

Lifetime retirement income?  Keep your retirement on track.

Some people believe that by the time you reach retirement age that the need for insurance has come to an end. This is often not the case. At retirement, most people make withdrawals from their retirement accounts to give them income, but how long will that income stream last? Will it last you an entire lifetime?

To offset this risk, the insurance industry has what is called fixed annuities. This type of contract is specifically designed to provide guaranteed income based on the interest rate environment. This insurance contract protects your lifestyle and eases the concerns of market volatility.

SMA Services, Inc. can help.

SMA Services, Inc. offers group life, voluntary benefits, individual life, and annuities — these are well-known protection strategies within the financial services industry. As an integral part of the SMAS team, I am here to help educate you on these strategies as a means to protect retirement savings and momentum.