Last month I decided I was paying too much for life insurance, so I switched carriers to a more competitive policy (please, don't turn the page yet—this story will get relevant and better).

Making that change required a mountain of paperwork, signing my name on it close to 100 times and then, finally, a Saturday morning visit from an agent representing the new insurance company. They wanted to check me out and determine if my inevitable mortality was a sooner-or-later thing.

That makes sense, however grim. Dead clients not only stop paying their premiums—they get paid! Insurance companies are basically at the track, examining all the ponies before deciding which ones to bet on.

My Saturday morning visitor brought a large bag with her, along with more paperwork. This was a fasting interview, so I sat...

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