Life insurance awareness month: Interview with Chris McMahon

Why life insurance matters

As the son of an insurance broker and agent, Chris McMahon witnessed first-hand how even well-crafted plans can come undone. Here’s how correcting an insurance oversight helped prepare his family for the future. Listen to or read Chris’ story below.

Interview with Chris McMahon

Life Insurance Awareness Month | EIS

Life insurance awareness month: A father turns an oversight into a vision (part 1)


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Interviewer  0:00

In conjunction with Life Insurance Awareness Month, EIS presents: “With Life Insurance, I’ve Got You.” In this special series of four podcasts, you’ll hear people share their personal stories about how key life insurance decisions and experiences led to positive impacts that resonate to this day. They’ll also share the actionable insights based on what they’ve learned along the way.


Chris McMahon  0:28  

My name is Chris McMahon, and I am responsible for content at EIS. My father, who was an insurance broker and agent for more than 50 years passed away in March. And it was traumatic in all the ways that one might expect. And it really, really clarified for me the real value of insurance. 


My father started a business more than 40 years ago, he and his business partner each took out a $300,000 life insurance policy, and each was the beneficiary of the other’s policy and the business paid the premium. Flash forward, you know, 40 plus years, and there were partners who came and went and they let those insurance policies lapse. This was a big surprise and not a welcome one. You know, at this point, my father was in his early 70s. And he had acquired a host of pretty serious health issues. He had atrial fibrillation, [he] went on to endure three strokes. He had a compound fracture of his leg that required several surgeries, he had his gallbladder removed, and a hiatal hernia, his health had changed dramatically.

My mom went to market and she did find a policy. It was a $250,000 policy, but it was underwritten as table eight, and at the age of 70, that life insurance policy cost $10,133 per year, and she bought it. She also bought my father, separately, another $100,000 policy, also on table eight. You know, my father lived for another 11 years, that was $110,000 that they spent on his life insurance policies. But when he passed away, those policies paid off $350,000. Even at that exorbitant an annual rate, it allowed my mother and father to have that peace of mind. You know, but it’s a hard decision for a lot of people, a lot of people don’t have the wherewithal to spend that kind of money on a premium and have a policy. That’s why you have to do it while you’re young. That’s why you have to make it a priority when you can get preferred status.


Interviewer  2:54  

Wow. Now, given all this, how did it change your perspective on life insurance in ways that you hadn’t considered before?


Chris McMahon  3:01  

Well, it’s one thing to say, yeah, yeah, yeah: Everybody knows you need life insurance. But you don’t really know how much you need until you need it or until you wargame the scenarios. My father, who was 81 when he passed, didn’t have a huge number of expenses because the majority of them were taken care of by a long-term care policy that he had. But because he was an insurance professional, he had a strategy for acquiring these policies. You know, he broke his hip in early February and was in the hospital for 11 days. And he had health insurance and he had Medicare supplemental insurance and, of course, Medicare. But the total for 11 days of care was $367,000. 


Interviewer  4:03  

Whoa! If you are having a heart to heart with a friend or loved one, what would you want to tell them based on what you’ve lived through? What advice would you have?


Chris McMahon  4:12  

You can’t see the future. A former colleague of mine, a woman in her early 50s, late 40s, was not feeling well; went and saw a doctor and discovered that she had a brain tumor. She had that attended to, and had surgery, went home. A couple of days later, she wasn’t feeling well. They called an ambulance. She didn’t even make it to the hospital. This is somebody who I know. This happened just days ago. You know, you can’t see the future, but you can prepare for it. Do it now. Do it while you’re young. Do it while you can afford it. But if you have waited too long, that’s also not an excuse to not do it.


Interviewer  4:51  

There is that so much extra about thinking: What will my loved ones — the people around me — do after I’m gone? How do I best put them in a position to thrive?


Chris McMahon  5:02  

I have a daughter, she is 19 years old, she’s off to university. It’s a state school. It’s a good state school. It’s $30,000 a year times four, that’s $120,000. If I were to die before she graduates, you know, that is a big, big, chunk of debt that she would be responsible for, that my wife would be responsible for. And that went into my decision to buy a million dollar policy. It’s incumbent upon me to make sure that I can pave the way for her; that I can take care of the things that I have always planned to do, whether I’m here to do them or not.


Interviewer  5:48  

Chris McMahon, thank you so much for sharing your story today. A lot of hope, a lot of heart and a lot of helpful advice. I’m sure it’s going to be useful.


Chris McMahon  5:58  

Yeah, I hope so. I mean, if this helps somebody to plan ahead for the future, you know, I hope they take that opportunity.


Interviewer  6:06  

Thanks for tuning into this special EIS podcast commemorating Life Insurance Awareness Month. To hear all four episodes in this series, visit our website, Remember, it’s all in the name of discovering the true meaning behind the theme: “With Life Insurance, I’ve Got You.” 


Until next time, let’s keep in mind one value we all share: That we would do anything to protect our families and ensure they have bright futures. If we were no longer here, we’d want them to continue on financially. Life insurance is a simple, affordable way to say to your loved ones. I’ve got you, and mean it.

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See why EIS is a leading life insurance platform

Based on our completeness of vision and the ability to execute, we were named a Leader in the August 2021 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Life Insurance Policy Administration Systems, North America. Get a complimentary copy of the report.