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New York Life Partner Shares Life Insurance Tips for the LGBT Community

New York Life Partner Shares Life Insurance Tips for the LGBT Community


A partner at New York Life shares his experiences working for the Fortune 500 company as well as advice for LGBT households seeking life insurance.

As marriage equality becomes a reality for gays and lesbians across the United States, it has never been a better time for LGBT families to start life planning. And one of the most important steps in this process is choosing life insurance. The right policy can offer peace of mind when considering the care of loved ones. But as it turns out, there a number of benefits that life insurance can provide to the living, including access to resources that can help fund college, retirement, and more.

To shed light on these benefits, The Advocate spoke to Adam Bar, a partner in the Los Angeles general office of New York Life, one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. New York Life has been at the forefront of reaching out to the LGBT community -- last year, it was the first to launch a program for HIV-positive individuals in financial planning, and the company consistently ranks high in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, which measures LGBT equality in the workplace.

Bar has worked for New York Life in Los Angeles since May 2010. He was previously a performer in off-Broadway productions in New York City, where he had immigrated after winning the Mr. Israel championship, and he has owned and managed several successful businesses on the East Coast. Since joining New York Life he has won several awards, including the Gathering of Eagles Award. In 2014 he was promoted to partner.

We asked Bar about his experiences working for the Fortune 500 company as well as for advice for gay customers who are seeking a life insurance plan.

The Advocate: First off -- why insurance? What is it about this industry that speaks to you?
Adam Bar: When we look at the definition of insurance, it means providing protection against a possible eventuality -- some of the synonyms include defense, safeguard, security, hedge, precaution, guarantee, and warranty. Helping people is a passion of mine. In the insurance industry, we get to help others every day set a roadmap for their financial futures, ensuring they are prepared for the most important thing: life! We help individuals, families, and businesses safeguard standard of living and protect quality of life without worrying about unexpected events outside of our control. Insurance is not all about having money to pay for funeral expenses. The opportunity to help others achieve their dreams spoke to me. I can help people buy a home or pay for college.

I also liked that I could have a flexible schedule. I work for myself but not by myself. I get a lot of support and ongoing training from New York Life.

I see you got your start as a performer off-Broadway. What is something that you learned as a performer that helps you in your current career?
Never give up! The more auditions I had, the more opportunities I was able to create, which is similar to the insurance industry -- the more people we see, the more people we can help.

What brought you to New York Life Insurance Co.?
I was approached by a New York Life partner at an event I attended. After researching New York Life and the opportunities within the company, and learning about the integrity, the reputation, and culture of inclusiveness, I knew that this was the company where I could help others and make a positive impact in their lives.

What sets New York Life apart from other financial institutions for you?
There are many factors I could point out when it comes to the uniqueness of New York Life, but two primary reasons come to mind. First, the sense of family. When I get to the office, it truly feels like home, and it is a place where I enjoy coming to every day. Second, the commitment the company makes to other people's success -- this includes both the agents and clients. New York Life provides exceptional training and support, in addition to being committed to investing in the professional development of its teams.

Why do you work in the LGBT market, and how has that increased your efforts with New York Life?
I have close people in my life and family members that are a part of the community, and I'm passionate about providing opportunities and inspiring others to improve their quality of life and standards of living.

Are there certain things that gay people should take into consideration when purchasing a life insurance policy?
To me, people are people, and families are families, irrespective to background, race, or sexual preference. We are committed to help individuals and families reach financial security and independence. With that said, it is essential to have a plan that will protect your family or life partner from the unexpected events that life may bring.

What is the number one misconception gay people have when shopping for a life insurance policy?
The common misconception is that someone must die before an individual, business, or family can utilize their life insurance policy. The reality is, while the Cash Value Life Insurance provides protection, it also has unique benefits that allow for access to funds via policy loans to purchase a home, business, college for the kids, retirement, or any another cash needs you might have. Clients should be aware that policy loans accrue interest and reduce the cash value and death benefit.

If you were to talk to a gay man considering a career in your line of work, what would you tell them?
New York Life has an amazing culture of diversity and inclusion. If you are looking to be a part of something great, grow your career, be rewarded, and help others, this will be an amazing career opportunity. New York Life is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/V/D).

What is the most important thing people should know about life insurance?
Cash Value Life Insurance is a multifaceted asset. It is a unique financial tool that has been favorably utilized since the 1800s for its tax advantages. It can also be used for living expenses and borrowing from the policy's cash value for life's most important events, such as marriage, buying a home or a business, and planning for college or retirement. Moreover, some protection may be left as a legacy to loved ones, since loans reduce cash value and the death benefit.

What do you like most about your job?
The positive atmosphere, the ability to form meaningful relationships with others, and the ability to use my passion for helping others. I love to help families reach their financial goals, and I like that I have control and flexibility of my future and income. We are committed to help the community and be a resource to others.

What makes your career fulfilling?
Helping and inspiring others to have a secure, financially independent lifestyle that is driven by giving back to the community. Empowering others to make the appropriate financial decisions for themselves and their families makes me proud.

For a lot of gay people, the treatment of gay employees and a company's record on gay issues are extremely important when considering a job. What has your experience as an employee at New York Life been like?
My experience is 100 percent positive. New York Life's field force is a true mirror of the community. When you visit a New York Life office, the culture of diversity and inclusion is apparent. On my team, we have proud gay professionals that are a part of the New York Life family and they truly feel that way.

Anything else you'd like to add about your job or career that we might have missed?
This is from New York Life's mission statement. I believe it explains a lot: "By acting with integrity and humanity, we earn [customers'] trust and loyalty. ... Every decision we make, every action we take has one overriding propose: to be here when our customers need us."

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