Insurance Agents Trained to Take Advantage of Seniors

Insurance Agents Trained to Take Advantage of Seniors

Agents for Bankers Life and Casualty, a prominent 100-year-old insurance giant, were caught on tape training new recruits how to take advantage of the elderly.

Inside Edition video image

Inside Edition video report

A report produced by Inside Edition, an American news magazine, has caught the attention of the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging, which has just launched an investigation into the company’s practices.

Among the many questionable sales pitches used is one where the agent calls on the elderly to sell Medicare supplemental insurance.  But once they are in an elder’s home, consumers say agents push them to invest their life savings into the company’s annuities, which can sometimes tie up their money well beyond their life expectancy.

As seen on Inside Edition’s undercover video, agents were told to think of themselves as “buzzards” and the elderly as their “prey.” They also told trainers to play on the fears of seniors, particularly their fear of confinement to a nursing home. “You need to actually put them in the nursing home,” said one trainer. “You need to almost bring them to tears,” said another. A trainer even encouraged the company’s agents to drive elderly clients to the bank to close the deal.

This national, well-known company is based in Chicago.  The training sessions caught on tape by Inside Edition were held in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The company has said it does not condone the depicted practices and is “conducting a thorough investigation of the issues raised by this report.”  So far, it says the investigation has found that the tactics shown in the report were limited to one branch office and “are not reflective of or consistent with our sales and training practices.”

View the full video online.

See our Medicare Fraud section for more information on fraud and abuse and who to contact for assistance.

This post was edited in part from Inside Edition’s report.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.