A Publication of WTVP

Would you hesitate to buy fire insurance for your office building? What about liability insurance in case someone slips on your steps? Of course not! But have you insured what could be your most valuable asset—your top employees? If not, you should consider “key-person” insurance.

Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset. The know-how, judgment and experience that build a business are found in people, not equipment or machinery. The company president, its key salesperson or other essential employees help develop new products, attract new customers and generate profits. Those people could be your most important assets.

But what happens if a company’s key worker dies? The firm might fall into disarray and investor capital could dry up. By insuring its top employees with “key-person” insurance, however, the business may be more likely to survive the loss.

Key-person insurance (previously known as “key-man”) offers a financial safety net. It can provide the cash needed to hire a replacement and keep the business running. To keep their businesses running smoothly, all corporations can benefit from key-person policies.

Key-person insurance can be structured in several ways. Typically, the business buys a life insurance policy on the life of the key-person. The company is the owner, premium payer and beneficiary of the policy. The covered person could be the company’s founder or anyone else critical to the business. To purchase a life insurance policy on someone, you must have a financial interest in their life.

The policy may be term insurance or cash-value life insurance. The premiums paid by the company are not tax-deductible. And while life insurance benefits are normally not subject to income tax, the death benefit received by a corporation from a key-person policy may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Key-person insurance can also be set up to fund buyout arrangements or deferred compensation plans for a retired top employee.

Besides helping to stabilize a company’s financial position following an essential employee’s death, key-person insurance can:

Ask yourself how much it will cost to replace a key employee in the event of death, and where the cash will come from. Check with a reputable insurance professional to find out how key-person insurance can provide some answers. iBi