No Doesn’t Stop Me! 

By Mayer Smith


Too often, people give up at the first No answer to their requests.    

Very often, No simply means “You have not yet provided me sufficient reason to say Yes”. 

After 8 successful years in the homebuilding field, this was followed by a catastrophic ninth year that saw me go from riches to rags. On  January 13, 1956 I entered the Life Insurance Profession.  I say profession because it is a field of endeavor that requires extensive mastery of many estate planning laws and regulations in order to properly guide clients how to plan for their own retirement and for distribution of assets to heirs at their demise.  

In those days, life insurance only was sold by life insurance agents. They did not sell equity/non-guaranteed products. That was left to stock brokers.  

The education system consisted of LUTC I  (Family Planning), LUTC II (Business & Estate Planning) LUTC III (Disability Insurance) for the LUTCF(Life Underwriters Training Council Fellow) degree. That was followed by five additional courses to become a CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter). 

My manager immediately enrolled me in LUTC I.  That was followed by LUTC II the next year.  

Because of my active participation in classes and sharing of sales ideas gleaned from association luncheon speakers, I was asked to chair the following year’s program.  That entailed lining up classrooms, being sure those who were Part I students enrolled in Part II and encouraging agency managers of the different companies to increase agency production by sending their agents to LUTC courses. This activity gave me a lot of exposure to the life insurance community. 

A life-changing event took place when I discovered that several applications for Part II were missing from Part I students from Southland Life, a company whose primary business was small policies entailing house-to-house collection of premiums from lower income families by the agents. The agency manager was Ed Swain whom I had never met. 

I called Ed saying “Mr. Swain, I don’t see applications from your agents for Part II.” In his southern drawl, Ed said “Mr. Smiyuth, my boys never see those kinds of people.” Then came my life-changing response “Mr. Swain, if your boys don’t take this course, they never will.”  Silence reigned for a few seconds. Then Ed replied “You know, I believe you’re right. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If you will hold the class here in my office, I’ll enroll my boys and I’ll enroll too.” BINGO! – By not taking no for an answer, I had rescued four students, gained another, and secured a classroom! 

But THAT’S NOT ALL. What I didn’t know at the time was that Ed Swain was slated to become the local association’s president the following year.  And, because Ed and I became very good friends during the few months of classes he REFUSED to accept the presidency unless the association elected ME as the secretary-treasurer!  

This they did. And, that’s how I moved up the chairs that included becoming the association’s VP for Public Service projects. In that capacity, I got an idea from my good friend, Carlton Blake, that enabled me to create a project to distribute to the General Public ID cards that authorized the use of their organs in the event of untimely death. The project won the National association’s project of the year award. The following year, the Project was adopted by local associations across the country and by two state associations – Washington and Indiana.  A year or two later the National Association adopted it as its project of the year.  

A year or two later, the Kidney Foundation, which until then involved only kidneys, approached our National Association and requested that they, the Kidney Foundation, be allowed to run the program. After doing so for a year or two, the Kidney Foundation approached the Divisions of Motor Vehicles across the country and got them to put the authorizations on drivers’ licenses! 

So-o-o-o, because I did not accept Ed Swain’s No for an answer, YOU have the Organ Donor option on your driver’s license.  

A true story.