Website Review:

When I was growing up in the Lutheran Church, what I disliked most were the sermons. The half-hour spent alternately standing up and sitting down or plodding through an off-key hymn at least required some involvement from the congregation. When it came to the sermon, though, time would slow to a crawl. Minutes seemed like hours as we heard for the umpteenth time that God was good, Satan was bad and we shouldn’t sin, as if we all had ADD and had to be reminded of these basics ever week.

Fidgety wise-guy that I was, I’d usually pick up one of the visitor’s cards from the back of the pew and amuse myself by filling it out with fraudulent information. Under “name,” I’d put something like “Frank N. Stein.” Under “hometown,” I always thought “the moon” was funny. For the question “what led you to Christ?” I’d write “who?” I’d never turn the card in when the collection plate was passed (I didn’t want to go to hell), but instead stuffed it back in the pew where I hoped someone would eventually read it and get a chuckle.

Sort of like my blog postings, I guess.

Anyway, I was reminded of those early attempts at humor writing recently when I chose as my choice for this week’s Website Review. In case you’ve missed their omnipresent ads on every cable news channel known to man, SelectQuote allows you to buy term life insurance either by phone or online. Since 1985, they’ve helped customers shop from competing insurance companies in search of the best offer.

Rather than make snarky comments about all the different threads on their site, what I thought I’d do is actually “apply” for a life insurance quote by filling out their personal profile questionnaire. This turned out to be a relatively intuitive process that I can recommend to anyone who is genuinely interested in having others benefit monetarily from their death. That was not my goal however; I just wanted to have a little fun.

The first of five easy steps was recording some basic data. I decided I would be “Dr. David Weaver.” The title was required information, which I guess was a back-door way of finding a little more about your status than they could legally ask in an upfront fashion. I chose “doctor” for its implied prestige, and because neither “Viscount” nor “Major General” were offered in the pull-down options.

I tried to list my birthday as September 13, 1910 but this was immediately blocked by the site with a note to “please call our licensed insurance representative to discuss your special situation.” I didn’t appreciate being considered “special” just because I was a 98-year-old applicant, though I do understand they have to collect premiums for at least a couple of months before making a payout. To continue, I next tried 1920 and then 1930 birthdates, and finally was able to proceed when I entered 1940. After answering a few more inquiries about my gender (male), my height (four-foot two) and my weight (314 pounds), I proceeded to the health questions. (Funny that being 98 gets you flagged as a risk but being wider than you are tall is perfectly acceptable. Whatever.)

I acknowledged having been treated for high blood pressure, cancer, high cholesterol, heart problems, depression/anxiety, diabetes, alcohol/substance abuse and asthma. I also checked “other significant issues,” just to make sure I was totally upfront about my recent recurrence of Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, not to mention the psychological disorder that causes me to lie on insurance applications.

The next page introduced me to my personal advisor, his email address and his 800 phone number. I was also asked about any current coverage I had (none), how much coverage I wished to purchase ($10,000,000, the biggest number available) and what alternate amount would be my second choice ($9,000,000). I also had to select a desired duration of the policy so I picked 30 years, which ironically would make me 99 years old at the end of a policy for someone who was born in 1940.

Already I’m up to page three where they start to ask about my family health history. I gave my father cancer, heart disease and stroke, and my mother cancer, diabetes and stroke (not very nice so close to Mother’s Day, I admit). I gave my siblings a bit of a break, in part to make my situation a little more believable, and only gave them stroke. Strokes for everyone!

Next, I had to answer some inquiries about my lifestyle. I admitted to four traffic violations in the last three years and a DUI citation in the last year. I said that I currently smoke cigarettes and also use other forms of tobacco; nothing like the rush of keeping a chaw going while lighting each new cigarette off the end of the previous one. I said yes, I’ve traveled outside of the U.S. in the last two years and plan to do it again soon, yes, I’ve flown in an aircraft in a capacity other than as a passenger (that time I tried wing-walking) and yes, I’ve done scuba diving in the last three years.

I figured my personal insurance advisor would be impressed with the variety of other sports and activities I participated in, since it would indicate a vigorous and healthy life worthy of insuring. The pre-selected options offered on the pulldown were indeed remarkable: hot air ballooning, mountain climbing, motor racing, bungee jumping, hang gliding, rock climbing, horse racing, speedboat racing, high diving and skydiving. What I really wanted to brag about was Dr. Weaver’s keen interest in the new concept of “extreme hybrid sports,” where two or more of these activities are combined. Unfortunately, they only offered an unspecified “other” rather than any free-form field, so the short, corpulent physician of my imagination was unable to make note of his love for ballooning with a horse or bungee-jumping in a speedboat. Instead, I selected “horse racing” alone, figuring that might explain the applicant’s short stature.

Finally, I gave my fake street address, my phone number (867-5309) and my email address ( After giving all the data one last review, I clicked the submit button and, incredibly enough, I wasn’t laughed off the internet. Instead, I got the following reply:

“Dear Dr. Weaver,

Thank you so much for your request for term life insurance from SelectQuote. With the information you provided, I will research our pick of America’s top insurance companies and call you within 24 hours (except Sunday) with your best buy. I will review your options, answer your questions, and get you all the information you need on the policies you select from our carriers. From there, I’ll be with you every step of the way during the application and throughout the life of the policy. I look forward to working with you.”

I haven’t heard back from them yet though I imagine I will soon – that is, if I don’t die first, which the actuary tables say is in fact quite likely.


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12 Responses to “Website Review:”

  1. trishatruly Says:

    Oh my Gosh! That was brilliant!
    It must be that Southerners are evil people but you and I think alike!! I once filled out over 100 applications for free info and/or subscriptions in the name of someone I was really mad at! She came to work a couple of months later fuming over the crap that was coming to her mailbox and the telephone solicitors ringing day and night!!
    I thought it was hilarious.

  2. Mallory Says:

    Thanks for the comment David! I’m currently talking a friend down from his swine flu paranoia…”Jason, you’re getting a Ph.D., yet you REALLY think you can get swine flu because your DATE ate bacon?” I sent him

    Enjoyed your article! I used to get a kick out of using fake names at restaurants that requested your name…this takes it to a whole new level.

  3. Rocky Humbert Says:

    Wonderful post! Enjoyed it immensely. When I fill out those forms, I generally pick “The Honorable” as my title. (That’s because they don’t have a title “The Dishonorable”) …

  4. Cube Says:

    It’s like “To Catch A Predator,” but with dickhead insurance agents.

  5. joshwall Says:

    “Strokes for everyone!”
    I think I know what I’m buying the family for Christmas now. Thanks for the off-kilter look at life insurance.

  6. tom1950 Says:

    Absolutely wonderful. I love doing things like that. Back in the very old days of computers when mortgages had little bunches of IBM cards you had to tear off and submit I submitted, for my first payment, the very last card in the bunch. I was duly sent a letter thanking me for my home purchase and wishing they could assist me in my next purchase.

    This was closely followed by both a phone call and an express letter stating “Never do that again”.


  7. Chris Huntley Says:

    Hey David,
    It was a bit of a fluke that I found this article, but I really got a kick out of it. I’m a life insurance agent myself, and I get a lot of people writing made up names on my site too. Anyway, I was looking for any articles I could find about SelectQuote, since the funniest thing happened to me last week. An agent actually called me from SelectQuote wanting to buy a life insurance policy from me. This is funny because life insurance agents ALWAYS are the agents on their own policies, because you get the commission from the policy, which makes it a no brainer to write your own coverage. The funny thing here is that even with his commission, it still made more sense to buy from a carrier that I offer at my site! I got a kick out of that and hope you do too, since all their radio ads make it sound like they have the lowest prices anywhere. I wrote an article about it on my blog, so come visit me if you care to read it.

  8. omron pedometers Says:

    Very informative article with lots of useful info – thxs. Keep up the good work.

  9. bp monitors Says:

    Thanks sharing this Dave, very informative and I’ve learned alot from your article. Please keep up the good work!

  10. Gerry Tropiano Says:

    You know it’s posts like this that can definitely spur people on to learn the path of writing. I found this article to be precisely informative. I will be coming back here for more reading as I really enjoyed this!

  11. LeAnn Says:

    Oh man I laughed till I had tears running down my cheeks!

  12. Gopi Says:

    That is the funniest story I’ve read in a long time 🙂 I loved it!

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