When James Austin was 12 years old, his grandfather died unexpectedly at the age of 60. Odell Pennington was the patriarch of the family — the “go-to guy,” said James. “I had never dealt with that kind of loss before. It was my first experience with death.”
Decades later, James still remembers the stress and sadness of that time. “I remember all the grown-ups scuffling around trying to make funeral arrangements.” James’s grandfather did not have life insurance, so the family had to “pass the hat” to cover the funeral expenses.
That was 1992. Since then, average funeral costs have risen dramatically, with estimates as high as $15,000 for the cost of burial and a traditional funeral service. Families need to be aware that they will need a large amount of money very quickly. To make matters worse, most funeral service providers and cemeteries expect payment in full at the time of the funeral.
“Funerals happen so fast,” said James. As a Membership and Billing Team co-leader at USAble Life, James uses his personal experience to help others.
“What I do every day helps others from having to go through what we did,” he said. “I’ve personally talked to many of our members who are dealing directly with a loss. I feel their pain through the phone, and I want to do everything I can to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible for them.”
James and his teammates serve USAble Life insureds with an uncommon level of compassion and care, largely due to James’s personal experience and emphasis on The Golden Rule.
“I treat others the way I want to be treated — the way I would have wanted to be treated back then,” he said. “When I’m on the phone with a customer, I try to be as helpful and informative as possible.”
Along with making sure that member accounts are set up correctly and questions that come to him through USAble Life’s Customer Care Team are handled diligently, James and his team also assist members transitioning from a group to an individual policy. He is a strong advocate for continuation of coverage and encourages members to make wise choices.
“I really try to help them understand that the earlier they invest in life insurance, the better,” he said. “When you’re young and in good health, you can miss a couple of sandwiches each week to cover the monthly premium. It’s often hard for people in good health to see past their youth to what they will need one day. I spend a lot of time talking to members about not letting their coverage lapse and the challenges of starting over.”
Thanks to leaders like James Austin, USAble Life is always looking out for its members’ best interests and provides the highest level of personal service and support in the delivery of our ancillary insurance products.