This article features an interview with Emily Moak, Director with Allianz Worldwide Partners. Based in Dallas, Emily has been working with Allianz Worldwide Partners to provide consumer specialty insurance to more than 200 million customers around the globe. In addition to its global presence, the firm’s North American headquarters is based in Richmond, Virginia, and includes nearly 650 employees that provide assistance 24/7. The firm specializes in travel, tuition, and assistance services, and leverages social media including YouTube to help broaden its message. Prior to Allianz Worldwide Partners, Emily worked at Kaplan Test Prep for 12 years and earned her J.D. at Texas A&M University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. You can learn more about Emily and Allianz Worldwide Partners at the website of https://www.allianztuitioninsurance.com/partner. Last but not least, thank you Emily for your time, insight and support in working with me on the article. Please read the question and answers to learn about her perspective on college financial planning, and hope that the article provides you with an opportunity to learn more from your peers.
Question 1 (Paul Curley, Editor of the 529 Dash): There has been a recent increase in awareness and understanding about the high level of stress, mental health and long-term chronic health issues of incoming college students. As such, the development of your team's capabilities in the college financial planning process appears to meet a growing and timely need. How did your team get started?
Answer 1 (Emily Moak, Director with Allianz Worldwide Partners): We saw how hard parents and students were working to save for college -- one of the biggest and certainly most important investments of a lifetime. And, as the cost of a college education kept going up, we saw their anxiety increasing, too. We wanted to help. Because, we’ve found, most families stretch to make a college education possible, and that’s just to cover the typical 8-semester program. What happens if, as with almost two-thirds of today’s students, the journey takes longer? What if an illness, injury or the re-emergence of a pre-existing medical or mental health condition means a student has to withdraw and the school only offers a partial refund or no refund at all? Allianz Tuition Insurance was created to give parents and students an affordable way to protect their investment in higher education in the event something unforeseen happens.
Question 2: In addition to the stories that are becoming more prevalent and known, what data or statistics have you recently seen or released on the need and demand by parents and their advisors?
Answer 2: Over the past several years, we’ve conducted some research that really underscores the need for tuition insurance.
• A survey we conducted with leading financial advisors indicated that, by far, saving for college is their clients’ top source of financial anxiety. A majority of these advisors indicated that they recommend tuition insurance to help give families greater peace of mind.
• In our 2017 College Confidence Index, only 52% of students said they were “very confident” they won’t permanently withdraw from college.
• In this same survey, we learned that 85% of parents and students think the financial implications of withdrawal would be severe; 78% of parents worry about their ability to make student loan payments in that event; and the average loss from a withdrawal is estimated to be $11,000.
So it’s clear that, as hard as families are working to save for college, they are worrying just as much. There’s a lot at stake. But the good news is -- for just a fraction of what they are investing in higher education -- they can do something to protect their investment.
Question 3: How does the capability work, and what are the recent product enhancements that you have developed based on user feedback?
Answer 3: Allianz Tuition Insurance is so simple and straightforward it can be explained in just 27 seconds. The process of partnering with us is easy, too. We can customize a program that delivers real and specific value to families who are using state 529 plans to save for college – such as the program we recently put together for South Dakota’s system. The best way to learn more about the value of Allianz Tuition Insurance is to give us a call at 1-866-887-9934 or contact us online.
Question 4: Where can we go to learn more?
Answer 4: The best place to start is at our website. There you can download our white paper on Addressing Parent Anxieties. You’ll also find other scholarly articles as well as a clear and concise look at why there’s such a need for tuition insurance and how Allianz Tuition Insurance provides affordable peace of mind for parents and students alike.
Editor’s Final Note: Thank you Emily Moak for your time and insight in creating the article and on our call, and much appreciated. I look forward to learning more about Allianz Tuition Insurance on the “Effective Direct-Sold Marketing Strategies” session at Strategic Insight’s 529 Conference 2017 from October 16-18 at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Also, I would like to provide a special thank you to the readers of the article for learning from your peers, for your support and your engagement. Have the college financial planning discussion with your clients today.